Race Report: Rockland 5 Mile Turkey Trot

In which I submit another race report and extoll the virtues of Tivo, dessert and sleep.

Yesterday was my second running of this Thanksgiving Day race, the Rockland Road Runners’ Turkey Trot. The weather was wonderful for running: upper 40s, overcast, no wind to speak of. The good conditions yielded a much bigger turnout as compared to last year: 1400+ runners. The Elvis impersonator looked much happier to be there this year too.

This was the second of three races I’m running in as many weeks, and the one I care about the least. I did an easy 10 miler on Wednesday, so I knew my legs wouldn’t be as “fresh” as they could be yesterday morning. Still, in relative terms, this was my best race so far — slightly better than the 10K in Nyack last weekend. New 5 mile PR — 36:41.

I know the course was a bit easier than in Nyack, because my heart rate was at around 91-92% max throughout the race. It was 92-93% max last weekend. (What did people do before heart rate monitors?) I was aware, while running, that I could have pushed harder, but I just didn’t want to. Although one woman passed me at around mile 3 and stayed five seconds or so ahead of me all the way to the finish. She was driving me a bit crazy, as each time I caught her, she’d open up the space again. Turns out she was in my age group.

Speaking of which, I missed an age group award by two slots and about 1:20, which was fine. I would have been surprised to have won anything given the field size, especially coupled with my “I just don’t feel like running faster” racing strategy. Jonathan won his again, however, with a time of 31:14. Sir Speedy.

We followed up with an early dinner out in Tuckahoe, capped by some lovely cake and dessert wine at home. Then collapsed into bed at around 9PM for ~10 hours of sleep. A couple of party animals, we are.

Three days of quiet await me, with only recovery runs and a Sunday 18 miler to punctuate them. I may go see a movie. But today I’m inside avoiding the Black Friday madness.

I did acquire a new toy recently: a Tivo DVR. We missed television coverage of the NYC marathon earlier in the month, since we were on a plane back from Nevada at the time. Plus there’s stuff on at odd hours that I can’t watch, either because I’m asleep, running or engaged in that incredibly inconvenient, time-sucking activity known as “working.”

It’s a useful gadget, although a bit overenthusiastic about auto-recording things it thinks you’ll be interested in. For example, it had us pegged for fans of the ’80s sitcom “Full House” and elk hunting programs. I have no idea why. At least you can refine it by programatically saying things like, “Never grace my cathode ray tube with the likes of John Stamos or Bob Saget again! Anon!” The upside is that I now have about 10 hours of English Premier League and Euro Cup 2008 Football awaiting me, plus a bunch of movies.

The best part? You can pause television, and there’s an “easter egg” that allows you to set up the remote so you can skip 30 seconds ahead at a time. This enables you to zip through several minutes of commercials in just a few seconds. That is worth the price of admission alone.

Next up: the Hot Chocolate 15K in Central Park next Saturday. I’m going to taper a bit for that one because I do care about how I do in that race. Next week’s a recovery week too, which means lower mileage, so my legs should be in better shape on Saturday. My goal is to run it in under 1:11:00. It’s not an easy course — plus there are always wildcard factors like wind — we shall see. Last year’s field was 4,000+ people, including lots of fast middle aged women…names I’m starting to see over and over again, in fact!

Yesterday’s splits:

Mile 1          7:25
Mile 2 7:10
Mile 3 7:07*
Mile 4 7:22
Mile 5 7:07

Finish time 36:41

Average pace 7:20

*When I first started racing two years ago, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be able to run this fast.