Sitting in my parents’ house in Wisconsin and looking out the window to several inches of recently fallen snow. A drastic difference from last Sunday’s sunny and clear run in Minneapolis.
I rented a little red Ford Fusion and made my way down to Wisconsin Friday night, with the slightest notion that the 40/50 degree temps might fall away to some snow as I headed south. Very slightly… Enter, snow vortex (you know, that snow flurry that seems to consume you and your vehicle upon nightfall) a few miles from my parents’ house. It continued to snow…
Saturday morning we woke up to a plentiful amount of a freshly fallen first snow of the season. A beautiful race morning! Until you consider the 30 mile drive to the race. My sister and I were VERY fortunate that our dad was willing to do the driving and off we went to Lake Geneva for the Clear Water Outdoor 11th Annual Turkey Trot 10k/5k.
I should mention we (not my parents) were dressed up as lumber jacks. Nearly any costume is workable while running if your base layer is running-specific. I went with a pair of Mizuno running tights and their breath thermo long sleeve (which I love for the warmth in a light-weight package, semi-loose fit and non-stereotypical color option). I was fortunate to be sporting a pair of trail shoes as well, Brooks Cascadias. One lesson-learned: pin your suspenders to the top of your flannel shirt so it won’t feel like the suspenders are slipping off while running…
In the back of my mind, I thought about The Turkey that would be awarded to the first place female and first place male finishers…
Around 9:40 a.m., “3… 2… 1… GO!” the pack of a hundred or so 5k runners tore down the snowy road and into a sharp turn onto the trails of Big Foot Beach State Park. I took off with the front pack of guys and one woman was just in front of me. As we entered onto the trails, there were conveniently two tracks side by side, muddy and slippery, but runnable. I eventually passed the woman and chugged along.
What a gorgeous trail run! I imagine it is lovely on a sunny summer day, but that snow, 10 inches of it, really made the scene. And it made for a tough run. To my surprise, my pace was over a minute faster (thanks for the info, Garmin Forerunner 10) than it felt as I barreled through the snowy trails. The course was well-marked at most points, only a little confusing as the 10K’ers were running toward the 5K’ers and there were three different paths ahead of me. Fortunately the volunteers were plentiful and diligent in directing the foot traffic.
The only markings “missing” were mile markers, so I was grateful to be wearing a GPS watch. As it beeped at 3-miles I thought “Hey self, PUSH IT!” and the glory of ‘winning’ a small-town race with a turkey trophy was within reach.
My parents greeted me at the finish and we waited for my sister to run through a few minutes later. I checked the posted results and confirmed my victory. So, we shivered around for an hour to wait for the awards ceremony. Around a half hour in my sister and I realized the nearby yurt had treats for the finishers. I indulged in a flaky croissant and hot cup of Starbucks coffee.
Awards time! Although it was not made clear, the awards were presented by age group. The top three athletes by gender for each age group made their way onto hay bales to be photographed with a guy in a turkey costume, Big Foot, and their respective medals. According to my sister, the highlight was when the announcer suddenly realized I was the first overall female and he yelled “Get her the turkey!” and I cradled my Butterball frozen turkey for one last photo.
For a race I didn’t think we’d make it to on account of the snow, it turned out awesomely. I had the chance to participate with my sister and I really felt like I put forth a racing effort. Enough to win the turkey.