Thursday, December 3, 2009

silly goose, errr ... turkey

i keep not posting to my blog because i said i wouldn't until i finished my SOS race report. needless to say i've missed out on sharing a bunch of stuff since then. it's arbitrary and silly to hold myself to that rule so today i'm throwing off the shackles. there will be completion of the SOS race report, but in the mean time i'll treat you to my turkey trot report ...

i love running on thanksgiving morning, christmas morning and new year's morning. they are quiet, peaceful times when the world, or at least my little slice of it, seems to stand a little more still and smile a little more genuinely. for years i've wished there was a local turkey trot on thanksgiving morning. but no such luck ... just the following saturday. fun, but not what i'm looking for.

so much is my desire for a thanksgiving morning turkey trot, that i've been known to drive myself a couple of hours south the day before thanksgiving, get a hotel room and join in the orange county fun of the dana point turkey trot.

so, how excited was i when this year the topanga turkey trot (typically held the saturday after thanksgiving) moved to thanksgiving day?! the people at generic events put on great races and lots of my friends participate so i was thrilled to sign up!

better even was the fact that my sister is training for the l.a. marathon so she was game to run it with me and j.

the race has three course options 15k with 2285' of elevation, the 10k with 1371' and the 5k with 673'. they are all beautiful and brutal. all start with the same 1.5 mile upupuphill. yes, that's right three ups. it's that steep.

j. and i went and ran a course preview of the 10k a couple of weeks ago. i had planned on running the 15k on thanksgiving, but after running the 10k preview i wasn't sure how i'd make the 15k. my fitness is not all that up to snuff these days and i couldn't imagine adding another 3.1 miles and 900+ feet. but at the same time i had an attachment to doing the 15k.

not sure if it was my ego, my true desire or a little bit of both, but a couple of days before race day i just knew i was in for the 15k. i just had to. between the three of us, we covered each distance.

a little pre-race down dog before running in them thar hills

before the gun went off there was a little course "briefing" of the 15k. my sister told me later that after hearing it, she was genuinely nervous for me. lots of single track, low tree branches, high tree roots, sudden drop offs, and blind hair pin turns. something for everyone is really what that comes down to.

i took the first couple of miles really slowly. heck, i had no choice. a brisk walk up that hill was going to get me up there just as quick as running it was. so i chugged along, made it to the spot where the 15k turned off from the rest of the racers and it was "game on". they weren't kidding about the conditions of the trail and there was absolutely no passing anyone.

at first i was all zen and peaceful thanksgiving-like about it ... but then the guy in front of me listening, on speaker, to the the kinks' "coming dancing" on his iphone started to work my nerves. side note -- has anyone noticed that people listening to music on the iphone without headphones is, in essence, bringing back the transistor radio? why, people ... why!?

trapped behind this fellow i decided to get a little snarky and yell up to a friend of mine 3-4 people ahead "hey, ben! move it along up there ... you've got people back here!" i was kidding, seriously i was. i was just being silly and passing the time, but you know what's coming ...

no sooner did the words leave my mouth than i went launching forward. i felt a searing pain in my right toe joint as my foot folded forward waaay further than it should of and then (miracle of miracles i didn't go down) i landed with all my weight on that same toe joint. i think i broke my bunion! maybe that's a good thing? isn't that what they do when you have bunion surgery?

i was only at mile 4 and the throb, throb, throb of the joint never really let up, but i still enjoyed the heck out of the course. it was gorgeous and challenging. we climbed, descended, twisted, turned, and then climbed, climbed some more. when i got to the aid station at the top of the hill i had to untie and retie my shoes ... there had been so much lateral motion navigating the trail that my laces had loosened up considerably and if you know me, you know i like a tightly tied shoe!

the next few miles were more of the same ... up, up, up ... tell people i just broke a bunion .... up, up, up ... fill my water bottle ... up, up, up ... pee break. all in all i gave up 4.5 minutes to my thirst, bladder and feet. nice killer racing instinct, huh!?

the last mile and a half you absolutely flyyyy downhill. i actually scared myself a few times i was going so fast. but i also had a blast banking myself off of the sides of the trail as it twisted and turned.

coming in to the finish line!

my final time was nothing to write home about, but i had a blast and challenged myself.

having j., my sister and all my running/triathlon friends around was so much better than the anonymous turkey trots i've spent down south. i loved being on the trails and being a part of our community here.

lookin' satisfied, if not a little worse for wear

a week later and my bunion is still feeling the effects, but i can't wait to do it again next year!