Holiday Weekend—Full of Running.

What is Thanksgiving without a Turkey Trot? Thanksgiving morning, the family woke bright and early to partake in the Saint Paul Turkey Trot 10K. The lovely daughter and I were going to trot and the handsome hubby was going to partake in some Caribou Coffee and spectate.

The race started promptly at 7:30a.m. with the sound of an air horn (don’t you love those things?) and we were off. I decided to just attempt to keep the 57min pacer in site and see how it went.  I wasn’t feeling very confident as lately I’ve been having cement legs…perhaps due to my increase in mileage but as the race was only 6.2 and I know the route well 57 minutes seemed a reasonable goal.

The temperature at the start was a whopping 16 degrees with a wind-chill of holy what so I had a face mask on in an attempt to keep ice crystals from forming in my lungs.  The first mile was “cold” but I was smiling anyways. The atmosphere was happy and a great thing about the ice air is slowly but surely, you can’t feel body parts anymore.
Mile 1  9:17

The next mile is rolling and actually felt really good on my tired legs. There is a nice climb right after the first mile mark, a drop around 1 ½ miles and then a climb right after that.  I’m finding that ‘all flat’ is actually more tiring than a little variety so this is one of the routes I run on recovery days.
Mile 2  9:03

Right after the mile 2 marker there is a sharp downhill, flat and then it mildly up and then down again the 3 mile mark.
Mile 3 9:01

Heading to the turnaround is downhill.  It was cool to get yelled at by the daughter who was running the opposite direction and I yelled out back. She was ahead of the 50 min pacer while nearing the turnaround. The turnaround is at about 3.11 and human traffic is flowing well here. It’s moderately bumpy to the mile 4 marker.
Mile 4  9:08

Daughter cruising along in the Turkey Trot. Doesn't she make it look easy?

Daughter cruising along in the Turkey Trot. Doesn’t she make it look easy?

Very soon after the mile 4 marker is the steep up hill. I was able to hoof up this at a reasonable clip knowing that it leveled out at the top and about 400 meters later there would be a drop to regain the breath. Of course, after the drop was another climb but I attempted not to think of that, instead breaking this mile into footfalls instead and keeping that 57 min pacer still in site just up ahead.   At about 4 ½ miles the 5Kers turnaround was in view, luckily on the opposite side of the road. Great job Podium in keeping the races so very separate at this point.
Mile 5 9:10

My brain switched gear a bit here, recognizing exactly where I was and how much was left and I gave a bit more gas. The hills are gentle with only a mild uphill around 5.75 and the rest being quite flat. There are spectators as you near the 6 mile point which is also nice.
Mile 6 8:47

The finish line comes into view and unfortunately the race gets really crowded as the 5K is bumped into the 10K. The 5K had started at 8am and I think the people that were merging were running nearly the same pace, if a bit more slowly but there were so many people suddenly in a thin stretch of road that it felt like a start line versus a finish and was awkward and uncomfortable. Usually I would put on more gas in the last 200m if available and there was just no room to do this.  I did manage to pass up the 57min pace group comfortable and edge through the crowd to finish at a time I was comfortable with.

Mile 0.29 8:24

10K 56:55

I think the hubby expected me to go more slowly as all he got was a picture of my butt. Granted, it’s a lovely butt so who am I to complain? There were photographers on the course but I’m unsure who they were and I have no money right now anyways.

Look, there goes my butt to the finish!

Look, there goes my butt to the finish!

All in all, this was a fun race and Podium Sports delivered as far as race swag with a long sleeve shirt, a medal, socks, and chip timing.  I hope next year they move off Shepard road though, that course is getting boring!

The shirt and socks!

The shirt and socks!

finisher medal!

finisher medal!

Turkey Trot Garmin Data

Turkey Trot Garmin Data

Black Friday (or anti-black Friday) Pike Island Donation Run.

A good friend Don, set up a run for Black Friday to do the opposite of what most folks are doing. This appealed to me for two reasons…1) I hate shopping. 2) I really, really hate black Friday and everything it stands for.

The premise of the run? To donate stuff to the Listening House, a place that “is a sanctuary from the streets where practical assistance, counsel and a friendly ear are offered to people who are homeless, disadvantaged or lonely” and of course get together with running friends for a nice run around Pike Island.

I created a bag full of travel toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, tampons, toothpaste, deodorant and warm socks and headed out to Pike Island, located down in Fort Snelling National Park. There was a nice turnout for this donation run! I think Don’s trunk was stuffed with items for the Listening House and that was heartwarming to see.

A run like this is cool because people just kind of hit the trail in clumps that match their pace and return whenever they get X number of miles in. I took off with my dearest friend Stef and we chatted while we ran, enjoying the soft trails of Pike Island and the nice scenery as well as each other’s company. We did two loops of the island and then headed out to Champps for lunch and drinks. Great day!

Pike Island Garmin Data

Pike Island Garmin Data

Ugly Sweater Run Saturday- Twin Cities erupts in Ugliness for Toys for Tots!

I used a Groupon for this race and was excited to do it! Ugly Sweater? Running? Toys for Tots? YAY!
I picked out the BEST ugly sweater ever. Seriously. It had a duck and a fireplace. Can’t go wrong with that right? It smelled weird though so I decided to wash it and I’m apparently a poor laundress.
My husband walked upstairs from the laundry room holding the sweater in both hands shaking his head and tsk tsking me.

“Sarah. Wool and heat…NO.”
The sweater was now fit for a doll. It had shrunk to a very small size. And it still smelled funny. Who knew?

Luckily I found another sweater and even got to partake on the shopping trip with a friend, Ananda who was also in need as she was running the race too. This made the excursion more fun as I’m not a fan of shopping.

I dressed excitedly for Ugly Sweater day, even though this ugly sweater too smelled a little weird and also donned my new Ugly Sweater hat, courtesy of the race packet and hubby and I headed to Harriet Island where the festivities were being held.

It was definitely a party atmosphere. Inflatables were everywhere and so were some of the best ugly sweaters we had ever seen. FUN! The “Tot Boss” food truck was also parked in the midst of the crowd putting out the smell of tator tots and I soon started drooling heavily for tator tots.

Posing next to one of the inflatables

Posing next to one of the inflatables

My good friend Stef showed up in her beautifully hideous sweater soon after us and we posed in all of our ugly glory before heading to the start line. We didn’t find Ananda until the turn around.

Me and Stef practicing our Ugly!

Me and Stef practicing our Ugly!

Once the announcement came to hit the start line, we beelined it over. I don’t take the easy way on anything so decided to “hop” the fence. The fence was taller than my legs so this didn’t work well and I got stuck requiring the crowd on one side boosting me one direction and a couple gentlemen on the other side lifting me the other direction. THANK YOU GUYS—you saved my lady parts.  Stef took the clue and got boosted BEFORE getting stuck. Smart gal.

We swerved our way to the front of the start line and waited for the sound of the “GO”, making a few friends in the process.

The start line, making new friends

The start line, making new friends

And then we were off. It’s fun to run with Stefanie and this was a nice course to boot. We chatted and I dreamed of Tator Tots (or maybe whined out loud abit about hurrying to the finish to get some). We both declared that we must be near the mile point and checked our watches and were dismayed that it was only ½ mile in so the tator tots weren’t coming for a bit.

Mile 1 8:38

At the turnaround we stopped and chugged some hot cocoa and ran into Ananda and her gorgeous, happy dog Sugar who was also running the 5K. Sugar was wearing jingle bells and antlers which made the rest of the run EVEN MORE HAPPY, if you can even imagine that! The cocoa was luke warm but kind of yummy just because it was cocoa.

Mile 2 8:53

Now we were running back to the tator tots…and beer…and with a pretty dog that was jingle belling. This was fantastic! If all races were like this, I’d have a perma-grin forever. Really. The only thing that I didn’t like was that I smelled like a musty basement. That was making my nose tickle and wrinkle. I was still smiling though, just because I had an ugly sweater on and was running with beautiful ladies in ugly sweaters and a happy dog in jingle bells. Life was good.

uglyrunninguglyrunning2uglyrunning3

Mile 3 8:42

TATOR TOTS ARE COMING! No seriously, they are. I really, really wanted some tator tots. Hubby was there spectating as was Stef’s lovely BF and his happy son. We ran into the finishing shoot all-a-smile.

Mile 0.27  8:25

I went and got some Sam Adams Angry Orchard (OH YUM) and Hubby got me a TATOR TOT BURRITO (no, seriously!) and I was in some ugly sweater heaven.  We all hung out having tator tots and beer and enjoying the festive atmosphere on Harriet Island.

Tator Tot Burrito!!!!!

Tator Tot Burrito!!!!!

Stef, Sarah, Sugar, and Ananda!

Stef, Sarah, Sugar, and Ananda!

This race was a true win. The Thanksgiving weekend was all about running as I followed it up by doing a nice solo 11 mile run on Sunday to top off the four day holiday taking some time for me, myself, and I.

Hope you all had a nice holiday. This post has been brought to you by a lot of rambling!

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