Thanksgiving morning was a cold one. 22 degrees with a blizzard. Not exactly prime running conditions, but I was willing to make the most of it. Erie RUnners CLub was sponsoring a Turkey Trot 10k (in addition to a 5k run/walk to be held before the 10k), so I figured that, when I signed up, I could use my time to improve my starting spot for PHM.
My outfit consisted of:
-RBX athletic tights (Style #CR655)
-Nike Pro Dri-Fit Hyperwarm tech sweatshirt (which kept me plenty toasty during this run!)
-Thorlo pad socks and Saucony pro/Grid Ride 5 running shoes
-Adidas athletic jacket
The run took place on Presque Isle State Park, which is located in Erie, PA. It’s a peninsula that stretches into Lake Erie. It’s a prime spot for lake-effect snow and wild weather. Standing around waiting to begin, the skies started to clear up a bit, so I was hoping for good weather.
First thing I noticed when I lined up: the terrain. It was a sheet of ice. We would be running on asphalt…but nothing was done about the half-inch of ice that covered the area. Now **this** was going to be interesting. I noticed that some of the other runners had different material wrapped around their shoes for traction.
The 5k was run before the 10k began, which was supposed to have started at 9:45 at the latest. We were lined up and then looped back around to face the other direction. By 10:00, we were finally off. Everyone was slipping and sliding all over the place. I told myself that finishing was the only goal. I didn’t care how slow I was going to go; I wasn’t about to kill myself for a PR. (Although, seeing as this was my first 10k, it would have been a PR, anyway!) By the end of mile one, I was near the back of the pack with a 13:38 time, according to the guy at the one-mile mark. That was fine with me.
As the race went on, a gentleman caled out to me, “Looks like you’re running the same pace as me!” I turned around to him and we both agreed to be running buddies for the rest of the race. His name was John, and also an Edinboro University alum. We traded off stories, cheered on other runners, and made decisions on whose tights and turkey outfits were the coolest. Along the route, we started asking each other, “Where are we? What mile are we on?”
There were no mile markers. Ever.
We paced ourselves with a run/walk and made sure we didn’t fall down. As long as we didn’t finish last, that was okay with us. (Turns out he didn’t have his timing chip, but he going to run it, anyway. How sweet.) Rounding a corner, we determined we had reached halfway; there was the cone that people took too fast around and totally bit it. The gentleman manning it suggested, “Make sure you walk around this!” and John yelled back, “Oh, trust me, we have no problems walking!” We asked if he had a time, and he said no. -__-
Heading back to the line, the weather picked up. Blizzard + headwind = miserable conditions. By this time, I was starting to feel my thighs going numb and parts of my body hurting. Since the terrain was so gross, I had to alter my footing so that I wasn’t running a full stride, but it was more like the energy was focused on the outer part of my feet. Kind of hard to describe. (Even now as I type this, the inner arch of my right foot feels swollen only when I have my running shoes on and the insert is rubbing against it. It’s very annoying.)
Unlike Disney, there are very few to no spectators cheering you on this course. John and I rounded the corner and saw the timing line. His friend, Jeremy, who had finished significantly faster than us, came rushing over and ran the rest of the way with us. I finished in 1:26:37. According to the official results, that evened out to a 13:48/mi pace. I have NO idea how I managed that, but I’ll take it. I submitted it to runDisney, so hopefully my corral gets bumped up for the Princess Half! 🙂
Notes and observations:
-Shuttle buses = 🙂 There was a steady stream of buses to take runners from the parking areas to the race area and back again. Since I was one of the last to finish (fourth to last to be exact), there was still a bus waiting for me and the people who waited around for me to pick us up.
-Weather…obviously I can’t control the weather, although I wish I could. If the snow would had held off and had been about 20 degrees warmer, it would have been decent. My choice of outfit kept me plenty warm, though.
-Icy conditions: I’m not sure if PISP has maintenance crews that focus on this kind of thing, but the icy paths were ridiculous. At times I was fearing for the safety of myself and others that were running.
-Lack of mile markers = 😦 This was the most frustrating part of the whole race. It would have been really nice to know where exactly I was along the course. I didn’t have my phone or any kind of electronic device on me to track mileage. Good call on my part; I don’t need to be replacing broken electronics at this stage in the game.
-Minimal comraderie: This was kind of upsetting. In Disney, people line up the streets for miles amd miles and support each other throughout the race. In Erie, there was not a soul at that finish line waiting for us slowpokes. I’m not sure if it’s an attitude thing or what have you, but it would have been nice to come down that last little bit of (icy) stretch to at least someone or something to congratulate us. **sigh**
-Scenery = 🙂 PISP is very beautiful. If you ever get the chance to visit, I would suggest it. Plus, for the runner fanatics, it is one of the flattest, fastest courses in the country and is a Boston qualifier.
I might run this again, but it depends on the weather. I’m not a big fan of cold in general. At least I can say I ran in the snow/ice AND improved my 10k split from PHM by ten minutes.
Next up…couple months of training and Glass Slipper Weekend!