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It had been three years since I’d run in our local turkey trot. I missed my Thanksgiving morning staple in 2019 while in Charlotte meeting our future daughter-in-law’s parents; however, our family participated in their local Turkey Dash so we started the morning off just like at home. Last year, I was all set to run our local race virtually with family and friends, but learned three days prior to the race that I had been exposed to someone who was asymptomatic but had tested positive for COVID and that had me quarantining and running on my treadmill.
This year, though, on Thanksgiving morning I joined my friends for my favorite turkey trot and it felt good to run in a live race again after twenty months of hit or miss racing (and mostly virtual at that) due to the Covid pandemic.
About the Race
The Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day race is broken up into a 10K, 5K, and 2K so there’s a distance for everyone. In its 28th year, this annual Thanksgiving morning race continues to support poverty stricken children in Uganda. Here a little more 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 28th 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 Crossroads United Methodist Church just down the street from our house. I arrived shortly after the start of the pickup window and breezed through, quickly picking up my bib and long sleeve cotton t-shirt.
Shirt front and bib…
Shirt back with sponsors listed…
Course Map and Elevation Chart
Most of the race course follows one of my old training routes so it’s quite familiar and easy for me to race, understanding how to pace myself on the long gradual uphills and when to turn on the jets on the downhills.
Although the hills aren’t particularly steep, they are long enough to be noticeable.
Before the Race
I walked the half mile to the race start where I met my MRTT friends. We were practically giddy with excitement to be gathered again for an in-person race!
One of the things I have always loved about this community race is how it brings families together to start their Thanksgiving Day celebration with a workout and our running group was a shining example of families running together!
Each race distance starts at a different time and before we went our separate ways, I had one of my friends snap a quick photo while I posed showing off my new Gone for a Run turkey capris (affiliate link). After searching online to no avail for a matching shirt, I pulled out my orange Virginia Tech tee which ended up working great!
With ten minutes to spare after the start of the 10K until I needed to line up for the 5K, I got in a little warm-up by jogging to the church parking lot to use the porta potty. With masks required to use the restrooms inside the church, the line was a little longer than in previous years, even with the addition of extra porta potties.
Back at the starting line and with a couple of minutes remaining until the start of the 5K, I got my music going, popped in my AirPods (affiliate link), and was ready to rock and roll… except after about 30 seconds my AirPods died so I had no choice but to run without music. Note: Bill surprised me by replacing my very old AirPods with AirPods Pros (affiliate link) the very next week!
Not letting my AirPods mishap distract me, I held up my GoPro (affiliate link) and took a picture both looking forward…
With most of my energy being focused on cycling all summer and fall, I had not trained for a 5K; however, I had been running relatively strong and hoped to maintain a steady pace somewhere in the low-8’s. My primary goal was on having fun, not racing, but being very competitive with myself, I knew I wouldn’t be slacking.
Self seeded pretty close to the starting line, it was easy to fall into a fast pace out of the gate. I pulled out my GoPro for a couple of fun pictures just before we started up our first of two gradual inclines.
As we started climbing the first hill, I caught up with a dog and his two humans who became my pacers, guiding me up the hill. Once the course flattened, I passed my four-legged pacer, but unfortunately, he would be passing me again soon.
- Mile 1 – 8:19
As we passed the first mile marker, I felt my right shoelace loosening and tried to ignore it, but knew it was only a matter of time until it would come completely untied. I gave in and pulled over to the side of the course and retied my lace. According to my Garmin (affiliate link) I was stopped for 22 precious seconds. While knelt over tying my shoe, my pace dog from earlier passed me.
Shortly after stopping and about a mile and a quarter into the looped course, we ran up our second hill – both hills are longer gradual 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.
- Mile 2 – 7:59 (even with a 22-second stop)
With much of the third mile continuing on a gradual downhill until flattening out for the last quarter mile, I continued to push my pace. I eventually caught up with my pace dog, but was never able to pass him, and eventually he and his female human pulled ahead again.
- Mile 3 – 7:47
Final Tenth of a Mile Stretch
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 arch.
- Final .08 – 6:40 pace
I was thrilled to finish my thirteenth Thanksgiving morning turkey trot with a time of 24:35 (7:59 pace) and bummed that I’d lost 22 seconds while tying my shoe. It wasn’t until writing this recap that I realized that my Garmin (affiliate link) had stopped due to auto-pause while I was tying my shoe which resulted in my 7:59 pace. Officially, I ran a 8:03 pace.
Socializing After the Race
After catching my breath, I walked back toward the finish line to look for my friends and immediately saw Leslie, the race director.
And then my good friend Lupe…
And then these familiar faces from my crazy fun 60th birthday OBX Half Marathon weekend…
Next I rounded up my Cruiser friends…
And then one more Cruiser found us…
My official time was 24:56 (8:03 pace) which put me in second place out of 21 in the 60-64 year old age group – a speedy 60 year-old won our age group running a 7:14 pace.
Post Race Refreshments
Because I didn’t have a mask with me, I didn’t go into the church to check out the post-race refreshment assortment. Previous years they’ve had bananas, oranges, bagels, water bottles, etc. It would have been interesting to see if Covid had any impact on what was served.
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!
Local friends, I’d love 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?
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the blue product link and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for referring you. You will pay no more or less for the product; however, Amazon will show their gratitude for my referral by paying me.