About the Race
Once again, on Thanksgiving morning my family joined our friends for the 25th annual Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K. It’s a fun tradition that’s become the perfect start to our Thanksgiving. The event is broken up into a 10K, 5K, and 2K so there’s a distance for everyone!
Here a little information from the race website…
Whether you run to win, run for fun, run to support a good cause, or run just because you want a guilt-free day of eating – plan to join us for the 25th Annual Ashburn Farm 10K/5K and 2K Fun Run Thanksgiving Day races! Proceeds from the races continue to educate Ugandan children who live in poverty and are extremely vulnerable, a mission of Crossroads UMC since 1999.
Packet pickup was held at the Methodist Church just down the street from our house. I arrived right at the beginning of the pickup window, but had to wait in line outside for about ten minutes until they finished setting up. Once the doors opened, I quickly got our family’s packets and even got to visit with my friends Erin and Cindy for a few minutes.
Once home, I took my shirt outside for an official picture. 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, but it is nice to have the option.
Before the Race
One of the things I love about this race is that from our back yard we can jump on one of our community paths and walk to the start which helps us avoid the traffic over 2,000 runners creates. This year with a wind chill of 18°, we walked over separately, arriving as our own race was about to start… Well, except for me, I headed over a little early to meet my MRTT friends for a pre-race group photo.
While waiting for my friends to arrive, I watched as two sheriff’s deputies positioned themselves as they waited for the race to start.
As soon at we got our picture, Tracy, Erin, and I wished our friends running the 10K good luck before they scurried to the start their race. We took advantage of our spare ten minutes by running back to the church to use the restroom while getting in a little warmup.
Once back at the race, we noticed that the 10K runners still hadn’t started due to some sort of technical difficulty with the timing equipment (at least that’s what one of the runners told me) so we snapped a quick picture while we waited to line up.
Once in the starting corral I slipped off my two throwaway jackets and stuck them in the corral fence with intentions to go back after the race to retrieve them, but completely forgot. Oops, sorry race officials – I hope you donated them to someone in need. Even without my two extra layers and with the wind chill still hovering around 18°, I stayed warm because we were all packed so closely together.
Tracy and I immediately saw our friends Kathy and Lupe; and I suggested we move forward, especially Kathy, who is super speedy.
Once we’d moved into our new spot, I notice my friend Alan and his son Matt standing right next to us.
And behind me…
And with a ten second countdown, we were off!
I had no particular race strategy since I had done zero speed training during the summer and fall, and my average paces have been on the slower side. I simply hoped to run a strong race while maintaining a pace somewhere in the mid-8’s.
Tracy and I started out together, but each with our own music. After a few attempts to chat, we gave up and settled into a comfortable racing pace. About a quarter mile into the race, I pulled out my GoPro for this fun picture just before we started up our first of two gradual incline hills.
- Mile 1 – 8:35
Just after a mile and a quarter into the looped course, we ran up our second hill – both are longer grades rather than steep. Once we rounded the corner on the second hill, I breathed a sigh of relief because the course would be mostly downhill or flat to the finish. It was around this time that I got quite warm. I didn’t want to slow down to take off my jacket so I unzipped it and hoped for the best.
At around 2.75 miles, Lupe caught up with me and before she passed, I captured another fun picture!
- Mile 2 – 8:23
With much of the third mile continuing on a gradual downhill until flattening out for about the last quarter mile, I pushed my pace up a notch. Unfortunately, at this point my right glute and hamstring started complaining and I wasn’t able to push myself as much as I would have liked.
- Mile 3 – 8:09
By the time my watch hit the third mile, I anticipated the finish line and picked up my pace as I rounded the curve and saw the banner. Even though I didn’t see my friend Joe until I was even with him, he spotted me as I approached and snapped this picture.
- Final .1 – 7:50 pace
I finished my eleventh Thanksgiving morning turkey trot with a time of 25:50 (8:20 pace) and won my age group (there were 13 of us). I was quite happy with my race performance considering that since June my training has been more about staying healthy and maintaining my base than getting into a serious training cycle.
Amazingly, my Garmin (affiliate link) distance showed exactly 3.1 miles so I must have run my tangents perfectly. That never happens!
Some of my friends had asked whether or not the race was hilly when they were considering signing up for the race and when I checked out my previous recaps, I realized that I’d never included an elevation chart. Although the hills aren’t particularly steep, they were more noticeable this year since I didn’t do hill repeats as part of my training.
Socializing After the Race
Immediately after I finished, I saw Lupe and Kathy. Kathy won her age group with a time of 22:31!
And before they had a chance to move on, I worked my way back along the outside of the finish line chute to see my Cruiser friends Alan and Joe. Alan’s son Matt placed third in his age group and Alan finished in second in his age group!
I didn’t make it far until I saw Cindy and got to hang out with her for a while. We went inside for hot chocolate and perhaps it was because I’d worked hard running or perhaps it was because it was so cold outside, but that was the best hot chocolate I’ve had in forever!
I had Cindy take a picture of my special Thanksgiving themed shirt which was hidden for most of the morning by my white jacket. That’s the trouble with planning race outfits in the winter, you never know what the weather is going to be like…
Post Race Refreshments Times Two
Even though I needed to rush home to meet my family and friends, I stopped to check out the post-race spread. The nice thing about this race is that the food and awards ceremony are both inside, a welcome treat during cold or inclement weather.
Back home, several of our Cruiser friends joined us for our post-race brunch, an annual tradition for the last eight 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!
My Missing Medal
Time restraints kept me from staying for the awards ceremony, and when I stopped by the running store a few days later to pick up my medal, it wasn’t in the box with the others. After contacting the race director we learned that it had been picked up at the awards ceremony, but they hadn’t recorded by whom. Perhaps one of my friends picked it up for me, but then forgot to let me know. The young lady working at the store was kind enough to let me take a picture of one of the other medals so I could post a picture on my blog.
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, 10K, 0r 2K!
- Did you run in a Thanksgiving themed race?
- Do you host or go to a family or friend’s house for Thanksgiving?
- Do you usually go to races alone or with friends?
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