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Can you believe I’ve never actually run a Turkey Trot ON Thanksgiving?!  I typically workout on Thanksgiving so I don’t feel so completely full + miserable by the end of the day.  But, I’ve never actually done an organized run ON Thanksgiving.

This race was actually Matt’s idea.  He heard about it from a parent of some of his runners, about what a great race + course it was, and that we should definitely think about doing it.  Plus, it was SUPER cheap, they had a FREE kids race, AND it ran through Six Flags St. Louis.  I mean, you all know that it takes very little convincing to get me to do a race, especially when it’s my favorite distance!

Of course, it was absolutely FREEZING that morning.  OK, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it was pretty cold.  And there was wind.  AND I had a fever just 36 hours before the race.  I still couldn’t breathe out of my nose well.  I was still pretty achy.  I still had some major sinus pressure.  But, I had my sights set on a sub-20 at this race.  The race we did 2 weeks before at Silver Dollar City was about as hilly as they come, right?!  St. Louis isn’t hilly – especially not Six Flags!

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Boy, did I end up eating my words…

I knew being so sick just a few days before the race that a sub-20 probably was not in the cards for me that day.  So, my goal was just to run as hard as I could.  Of course, I’m super competitive, so I knew there was no way I was just going to be taking it easy.  A bunch of my family was running the race and I wanted to keep my title of “fastest in the family”.  (OK, that’s not really a thing, and I’m pretty sure my brother is faster than me, but I still wanted to beat my 14-year-old cousin…)  I was thinking I could still run around a 21-minute 5K and possibly place in my age group.  Overall was another story, thanks to all the dang XC runners running in the off-season.  Boo.

One of the best things about this 5K:  they had starting “corrals” based on mile time!  That doesn’t mean everyone lined up correctly, but it made it so that I wasn’t having to run around people who should not be in the front.  I lined up in the 6-7 mile/mile group next to the XC parent, Rich, who told us about the race and right in front of my cousin Quinton.  He was running 19s during the cross country season, so I was hoping that I could at least stay with him.  Rich was telling me about the course and warning me about the hills, but I just kept saying that Silver Dollar City was hilly so this would be no big deal.

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The first half mile of the race is run in the parking lot.  Totally boring, but I’m pretty sure it was the only flat part in the course.  After that half mile, the whole race was run through Six Flags and on the service roads.  What you don’t realize is that Six Flags is situated at the base of a pretty large hill and all the service roads go along those hills.  Oh dear God, those hills SUCKED.  I tried to use the downhills as much as possible, but those uphills KILLED me.  I run much better on hilly courses, but not this one.  Not with a lower lung capacity and chilly air.  But, we were able to run under several roller coasters and through the amphitheater, making it a very neat race to run!

I kept my sights on a few girls ahead of me.  One my age passed me right before a big hill, but I used the downhill to my advantage and passed her and lost her.  The other girls in front of me were all teenagers, so I knew I had to use my experience to my advantage, more than my ability.  I always try to set goals of when I need to pass someone – I look for a land mark or mile marker and tell myself that I HAVE to pass that person before I get to that point.  It gives me the kick in the rear I need and helps keep me mentally focused during the race.

We rounded a one of the last corners and I saw 2 girls right in front of me.  One I was able to easily pass, the other I knew was going to take a LOT more effort.  I got close but just couldn’t get up there with her, and the girl behind me kept good pace with me and actually ended up beating me on time, even though I finished before her.

Overall Time – 21:23
Pace Per Mile – 6:48
5th Overall
1st in Age Group (30-34)

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Overall, I’m pretty happy with how the race went.  While my time was super disappointing for me, I was happy that I ran as well as I did and was still able to place in my age group, even though I didn’t place overall.  And, I still kept the title of “fastest in the family”, beating my cousin by about 10 seconds.  He gave me a run for my money though!

Oh, and MacKenna ran her first race ever!  It was a half mile race and I was able to run it with her.  She might not have REAL running shoes yet (let’s face it, the child is not quite an athlete), she ran the ENTIRE RACE!  I am so incredibly proud of her and she absolutely LOVED it!  I’m actually totally surprised she liked it as much as she did – I thought for sure it would be pulling teeth to get her to do another, but I think she’s ready for her next one!

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