Disclaimer: This 2022 Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K Race recap contains affiliate links…
A Thanksgiving Tradition
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without starting the day with friends at a turkey trot and this year was no exception. In it’s 29th year, this was my 15th year running in our community’s Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K or 10K.
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 29th year, this annual Thanksgiving morning race continues to support those in need, both locally and abroad. Here a little more information from the race website…
“All proceeds from the run support the mission outreach of Crossroads UMC – local, regional and international. This includes providing food and emergency financial assistance, coats and boots to the unhoused, offering English as a 2nd Language classes, mission trips to help build homes in Guatemala, and continuing to support students in Uganda.”
Packet pickup was held at Crossroads United Methodist Church from 2-8 PM the day before the race and 6:45-8 AM on race day. I almost always pick up my packet right as it opens the day before the race (gotta have my bib to post my flat runner to Instagram), but this year I almost forgot. Just after 4 PM I remember and rushed over, easily breezing through…
Before leaving I chatted with my friend Lesley, the race director….
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. And just to refresh my memory, I ran most of the course on the Saturday before the race.
Although the hills aren’t particularly steep, they are long enough to be noticeable.
Before the Race
I walked the half mile from our house to the race start where I met my MRTT friends for the obligatory pre-race picture. We’re missing a few who didn’t make it in time for the 8 AM picture.
And then I asked for a picture with these fabulous ladies who joined me five years ago for my crazy fun 60th birthday weekend which was highlighted by running the OBX Half Marathon…
Each race distance starts at a different time (8:15 AM for the 10K and 8:25 for the 5K) and before we went our separate ways, I had one of my friends snap a quick photo while I posed with the balloon turkey in my Thanksgiving themed capris (affiliate link) and socks (affiliate link). Gobble gobble!
While the 10K runners lined up to start, I got in a little warm-up by jogging down the street and then to the church parking lot to use the porta potty and got back with five minutes to spare before my race.
I slipped into a spot near the front of the pack of almost 1,5oo 5K runners, but several rows behind the 8-minute mile pace sign. With a goal of running paces somewhere in low 8’s it seemed like the perfect place to self-seed.
I checked to see that my Garmin (affiliate link) had found its GPS signal and then started my music. Unfortunately, the bluetooth connection to my AirPods (affiliate link) had disconnected since using them the previous day and I couldn’t get them to sync in my panicked state. Not wanting to be “that person” with music obnoxiously blaring from her phone, I closed the music app and ran without music.
With less than a minute to spare before Leslie counted down for our start, I held up my GoPro (affiliate link) and took a picture both looking forward…
I usually do well in this race and having just moved up into the 65-69 year old age group, I expected no less this year even though I hadn’t been training seriously. Cycling keeps my cardiovascular fitness high, but to keep my spine happy I try to avoid pounding the pavement (running) any more than once or twice a week. I’d done zero speed work, but still hoped to pull off paces in the low-8’s. I hoped to run the first mile around 8:30, the second somewhere between 8:00 and 8:15, the final mile just under 8:00, and kick it into high gear for the final .1 mile.
I started out running around an 8:30 pace, but I seemed to be working too hard so I slowed down slightly. I was shocked to see so many people passing me, something that normally doesn’t happen in this race.
I pulled out my GoPro for a picture just before we started up our first of two gradual inclines.
As we ran past our previous home, there was a guy sitting on a sofa right next to the intersection. I missed a great opportunity for a funny picture by not turning on my GoPro in time.
- Mile 1 – 9:05 (~ 30 seconds off goal)
Shortly after passing the first mile marker, the course made its way out of house lined streets and onto the parkway where we could see runners who had already passed the u-turn on the out-and-back section and were heading back toward the church. While taking this picture, my friend Alan (on the far right) shouted “Go, Debbie, go.” It’s always fun to watch for friends either in front or behind while running on the parkway.
Before tucking away my GoPro, I turned it to capture the runners behind me.
Shortly after taking the above pictures 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 – 8:46 (~ 30-45 seconds off goal)
With much of the third mile continuing on a gradual downhill until flattening out for the last quarter mile, I tried to push my pace, but I just didn’t have it in me.
Despite my struggle to stay on pace, I was energized when I saw a 10K runner cross the parkway in front of us where the 10K and 5K courses merge for the final half mile.
With renewed energy, and on a noticeable downhill, I was able to slightly pick up my pace…
- Mile 3 – 8:34 (~ 30 seconds off goal)
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 even more as I rounded the curve and saw the arch. A man and his dog and a mom with a jog stroller both became my rabbits to pass before crossing the finish line.
- Final .07 – 7:16 pace
I finished my 15th Thanksgiving morning turkey trot with a time of 26:55 (8:41 pace), but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that I didn’t meet my goal. I felt like I ran smart, but probably could have pushed myself a little more than I did.
Considering that I only run once or twice per week, have done zero speed work, missed a week of training in early October when I had Covid, and then missed another 10 days in late October after skin cancer surgery, I understand why I felt like I was working much harder than my paces showed. Yes, I was initially disappointed, but I’m fine with it now. We’re our own toughest critics and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m extremely competitive, especially with myself.
My husband was so sweet to be waiting at the finish line to cheer me in and to snap this picture!
Socializing After the Race
After catching my breath, I walked back toward the finish line to look for my friends and immediately found my Cruiser friend Alan who had cheered me on from way ahead during the out-and-back section of the course. While chatting, we both discovered that we’d won our respective age groups – the race uses the app RaceJoy so you can check your results immediately upon completion.
And then I spotted my good friend Lupe…
And then Alan’s wife Shawn and daughter Laine who ran the 10K (Shawn placed 3rd in her age group and Laine placed 2nd)…
Post Race Refreshments
Post-race refreshment were served outside and included bananas, an assortment of bars, pastries, water, coffee, and hot chocolate.
I have no idea what hot chocolate mix they use or if they make it from scratch, but it was just about the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. I remember drinking some after one of their previous races and it was equally delicious!
For the first time ever for this race, I stayed for the awards ceremony. Even though a few of my friends placed in their age group, the only other person I knew who stayed to pick up her medal was my Katie. We haven’t run together in ages and it was so fun getting to hang out with her and catch up.
My official time was 26:55 (8:41 pace) which put me in 1st place out of 13 in the female 65-69 year old age group, 97 out of 766 females finishers, and 353 out of 1,469 5K runners.
Katie placed third in her very competitive age group…
Leslie double checking that she’s giving me the correct medal…
Mandatory post-race medal selfie…
And planning ahead for medal Monday…
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. It will be the 30th anniversary so let’s make it big!
- • Did you run in a Thanksgiving themed race? ~ yeppers
- • Do you host or go to a family or friend’s house for Thanksgiving? ~ I cooked and served a full spread, but kept it small with just the immediate local family. We had lots of leftovers to get us through the weekend!
- • Do you usually go to races alone or with friends? ~ I see lots of friends at this race, but always run it alone.
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.