Once again, on Thanksgiving morning my family joined our friends for the 24nd annual Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K. It’s a fun tradition that’s become the perfect start to our Thanksgiving. The race has 10K, 5K, and 2K distances so there’s a distance for everyone!
One of the things I love about this race is that we can jump on one of our community paths and walk to the start which helps us avoid the traffic 2,300 runners creates. Bill snapped this picture of Daniel, Jess, and me trying to stay warm as we walked over.
On my way to our MRTT meet-up location, I saw Lupe and her two sons. Her older son has run several 5K’s with us, but this was the first time her younger son came out. Based on their reactions after the race, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of them at our local races!
While I was hanging out with my friends, Bill, Joseph, and Julie saw Brett, a friend from college. His wife isn’t in the picture, but she wears a chef costume in the Thanksgiving morning race.
Lupe and I were supposed to meet our MRTT friends at the turkey balloon at 8:10 AM, but since we got there a little early I had the opportunity to snag this picture of him all alone!
Next to arrive was Angela – she and Lupe were my roommates for the Shenandoah Half in September. For this race, they would be running the 10K and I would be running the 5K.
We found Erin and the rest of our MRTT friends and got a group picture before the ladies running the 10K had to scurry off to the starting chute.
With ten minutes to spare after wishing my friends running the 10K good luck, I ran back to the church to use the restroom before my race started. I opted to use a porta potty since in the past there’s been a long line to get into the ladies room inside the church. While waiting my turn I ran back and forth as I worked toward warming up for my race. As you can see, the gentleman in line in front of me was jumping and doing his own warm-up.
I ran back to the starting line where I easily found Bill right where he said he’d be, ready to take pictures of the start of the 5K. I handed him my jacket and mittens and then eased into an open space in the corral with about two minutes to spare. I heard someone say my name and turned to see my friend Alan and his son Matt standing right next to me.
As Race Director Leslie entertained the crowd until it was time to start our race, I held my GoPro up and took a picture both in front…
And behind me…
With a ten second countdown, we were off!
There weren’t as many Thanksgiving themed costumes as in past years (my family opted not to dress as pilgrims, Indians, and a turkey like we did last year), but there was a T-Rex!
As I mentioned in my Weekly Run-Down, I had aggravated my SI joint late on Monday night while working with a client and the pain caused me to have to bend slightly forward in order to walk comfortably. I spent the next two days doing a combination of exercises and stretches (and taking Advil) to help alleviate the pain. I woke up on Thursday morning feeling pretty good.
My race strategy was to try not to push it too hard during the first mile and then to run on feel – I didn’t want to aggravate my back even more; however, if everything felt good, I would push it as much as I felt I could. Luckily my back felt great and I settled into a comfortable racing pace.
- Mile 1 – 8:25
Just after a mile and a quarter into the looped course, we ran up our second hill – both are longer grades rather than steep. I kept a steady pace on the climb, but once on the downward side of the second hill I got distracted looking for my family rather than focusing on picking up my pace and gliding down. As a result, I ran about a twenty second slower mile than I easily could have run.
- Mile 2 – 8:11
With much of the third mile continuing on a gradual downhill until flattening out for about the last quarter mile I was able to push my pace up a notch with a combination of gliding and then trying to maintain that pace when the downhill ended. Just after the course started to flatten, my MRTT friend Ellen caught me and we silently pushed each other – it was exactly what I needed at that point.
- Mile 3 – 7:51
By the time my watch hit the third mile, I could hear the finish line crowd and picked it up to a near sprint as I rounded the curve and could see the banner. Even though I didn’t see Bill, he spotted me and snapped this picture.
- Final .1 – 6:48 pace
I finished my tenth Thanksgiving morning turkey trot with a time of 25:05 (8:05 pace) and won my brand new age group!
Shortly after I finished, I saw my friend Maureen who I used to run with last winter and spring. This was her first race post-baby and I can’t wait until her little boy starts sleeping through the night so she can meet me at 5:30 AM again to run!
As we were milling around we saw some of our other MRTT friends. Isn’t Sara’s turkey baby bump the cutest?
Even though we were on our way home for a light brunch and I wasn’t at all hungry after racing, Bill and I stopped to check out the post-race spread and snap a few pictures. The nice thing about this race is that the food and awards ceremony are both inside, a welcome treat during inclement weather.
Back home, several of our Cruiser friends joined us for our post-race brunch, an annual tradition for the last seven years. Hosting brunch makes for a very busy Thanksgiving morning, but I wouldn’t trade this tradition for anything. Thank you, friends, for making it so fun!
Time restraints kept us from staying for the award ceremony, but I was about to stop back by the church on Tuesday afternoon and pick up my medal. I have to admit that I gulped when I saw those numbers in writing on the back…
The long sleeved unisex cotton shirts are not my favorite, and serve as fantastic throw-away shirts in other races. There is an option to upgrade to a technical shirt for $15, something I’ve never done.
Overall, the Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K, 10K, and 2K are very well run races and the 5K continues to be one of my favorite races of the year. The only major improvement that I think needs to be made would be changing the shirt from cotton to a technical fabric; otherwise, this race can’t be beat!
I hope to see you next year at the Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K!
- Did you run in a Thanksgiving themed race?
- Did you stay home or travel for Thanksgiving?
- Do you usually go to races alone or with friends?