Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Race Recap: Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon

This race has become an annual tradition for me. The last half marathon of the Chicago running season, it takes place in the Busse Woods Forest Preserve, a place where I train and know well. The mostly flat race attracts a fast group of runners and many PRs are made on this course. New for me this year, I was selected as an All Community Events ambassador and was proud this year to represent the race organizer.



My running friend Steph wanted to join me again this year, so we signed up and planned on lining up at the start together. My training had gone well and I continued to incorporate the run/walk intervals into my runs. Based on my training, my goal was to finish around 2:10. Anything less than that would be a win!

I almost didn't get to run this race. I have rheumatoid arthritis, which has been mostly quiet for the past 6 months or so. The week before the race, I felt all the symptoms of an impending flare. I recapped all that on my last post. The day before the race, I was in so much pain that I made the decision to start a steroid pack with the hopes of reducing some of the inflammation so that I could line up on race day.

Fortunately, the steroids lowered my symptoms to a dull roar and Steph and I headed to Busse Woods to run the race. The plan was to get there early to meet up with the other ambassadors for pictures. When we arrived, we were able to park near the finish line. The couple who parked next to us looked like they were in it to win it. Sleek and small, they were wearing Dick Pond Fast Track Racing Team shirts. They told us they run a lot of races. Clearly, they do, because when I looked up the race results, the guy, Arturs Barelkis, came in 2d overall (the winner was Tyler Jermann) and his wife, Jane Barelkis, was the first female!

Steph and me on the shuttle to the start
The race is point-to-point, so Steph and I got on one of the shuttles to ride to the start line. After being dropped off, it was a short walk to the race village. There were ample portapotties and no lines. The 5k runners were getting ready to go. We walked over to the park shelter where packet pick up was taking place. I found a few of the other ambassadors. Fortunately, it wasn't too cold--about 45 degrees--and not much wind.

A few of the ACE ambassadors
Steph and I ran together for the first mile until I stopped to do my first run/walk interval. The race was run on the bike path and it was very crowded for the first couple of miles. I felt a little stiff but my legs loosened up as I progressed. Eventually, the 2:10 pace group caught up with me and I played cat and mouse with them for most of the race. I didn't want to lose sight of them. As much as I loathe running with pace groups, I liked having this group to chase. The lead pacer was a very fit man who was wearing green metallic tights that left nothing to the imagination. I enjoyed the view until he started sweating. I couldn't unsee it. At one point as I passed the group for the umpteenth time, I told Mr. Green Pants that I was pacing with them while using run/walk intervals. He said to me "that's a good strategy".

The run/walk intervals worked well for me. I was able to give my legs a break every 4 minutes. There are a few bridges on the course that run up over a busy street which splits the forest preserve in half. The hill leading up to those bridges are long and steep. I was so proud to run up all 3 of them without stopping and used the downhills to pick up some speed. Thank you to Coach Sammy Jo for all that posterior chain work! Steph, who also works with Sammy Jo, commented on the same thing.

It's just another hill...
The final approach is a long hill to the finish line. While I was feeling fatigued, I kept the pace group in my sights and that kept me running up the hill. I pushed it to the finish line, crossing in 2:09:57. My Garmin showed 2:10. I caught up to Mr. Green Pants and showed him my Garmin. He congratulated me and I thanked him for a great job pacing!

Glad to be done!!
Steph was waiting for me at the finish line. She was really happy with her race. Last year, she hurt her hamstring during the race and finished in pain. We both felt great this year. Me, I couldn't stop smiling! We got some water and chicken noodle soup and recapped our races.

Steph and me
This well-organized race is always a favorite for me. The course is pretty and there were ample aid stations. I spotted some portapotties on the course but since I didn't have need for one, I didn't pay much attention. There were small but very enthusiastic groups of spectators along the course. We received a half zip pullover made of some strange material but I did see a lot of runners wearing it for this race. Free race photos are always nice. This year's race was affiliated with the American Turkey Tradition, which is a national affiliation of Turkey Trots. My running club won the $5000 prize for having 120 runners in this race, which was the most out of all running clubs in the US. The club donated the money to a local charity.

While the course is point-to-point, there are a few out and back portions. I couldn't help but think how easy it would be to cut the course. There was only one timing mat at the 10k point. I would hope no one cheated! Some of the runners were gross--there was a girl who kept spitting and a guy blowing snot rockets. Ewww. One runner next to me threw a plastic water bottle in the woods. That bothered me. Come on, man! I also spotted a skunk running around in circles in a field adjacent to the path. Rabid?


Overall, I could not be happier about this race. I was only chasing my own goal, which considering my AG place was a good thing. This race brings out the best local running talent. I knew that I'd have to dig deep but running on familiar territory was the perfect anecdote for a tough week leading up to the big day. It's always amazing to find your strong and as determined as I was, it was right there. Just like it always is!

Have you ever had to dig deep and pull out a big finish? What's been your toughest race? 

I'm linking up with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for Tuesdays on the Run!


36 comments :

  1. My toughest race was definitely one I was injured & shouldn't have started in the first place, but I was fairly new to racing at that point. I've definitely run a bunch of tough races -- very few of them have been easy, as a matter of Fact!

    You definitely look happy & you should be! That's so awesome you were able to meet your goal despite the flare. I'm really happy for you. Never say never, eh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here I keep thinking I'm going to give up on running!

      Delete
  2. Congrats on spanking your goal Wendy! You really lucked out with mild conditions given where our weather has gone since then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steph and I keep saying that to each other! Talk about doing a bullet.

      Delete
  3. Glad the race went so well for you! It's great to end the season on a high note. I love the medal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was my best finish time of the season. As it always is with this race!

      Delete
  4. So cool that you were selected as an ambassador.

    I think your finish was great but as we know pace is relative.

    I am so glad that you keep running. You are an inspiration to all of us.

    Many of my races have been tough.

    The one in Paris because it was hot and not enough water and then my most recent one because of the insane hills. I am always happy when I finish!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know me, I'm still chasing those fast finish times from a few years ago.

      Delete
  5. Great race, Wendy! If it wasn't for yesterday's post, no one would ever know this was such a struggle for you. Way to get it done! It sounds like a great race. I couldn't do it this year because my husband was out of town and I had no one to stay with my mom. Maybe next year!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great race recap! You look so happy in the race photos :)

    My turkey trot on Thanksgiving was run by the same company, lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't realize they were out east! I wonder if my ambassador benefits extend out of Chicago?

      Delete
  7. I actually talk about that race in my post today. I was too stubborn to let an injury sideline me and I knew the race would be tough before I even started.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think it's pretty darn impressive that you were able to run the race w your walk/run intervals and finish w such a great time. After such a rough week you had, this is a real win! congrats Wendy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I think my run/walk intervals frustrate the people in the pace groups. I'm sure they're thinking that if I ran slower, I could run the whole thing. Sadly, it doesn't work that way.

      Delete
  9. YAY!!! Oh Wendy I'm SO happy for you!! Although the green pants and sweating - gross BUT it carried you to the finish. Great job overcoming your RA once again and showing us how it's done!! I hope you're still basking in your race glory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The view was pretty until it wasn't... and you know I'm all encouraged about running again!

      Delete
  10. Favorite races are so nice, aren't they? Really glad it went well for you and huzzah for hitting that finish time!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yay! Look at that finish time! You were right on track with your own goal! That guy throwing the bottle into the woods would bother me too. I know people who toss out empty GU packets on the race course(and that kind of bothers me but I can let it go)but tossing the bottle in the woods is just unacceptable. -M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know who he thinks is following him and picking up his trash!

      Delete
  12. You did so great! I think its nice to run in familiar places so you know what to expect. Its great that all that crossfit is really paying off with your running!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really happy about the results of my strength training!

      Delete
  13. Congratulations! I'm so glad you had a good race in spite of the week leading up to it. And while I didn't see Mr. Green Pants in person, I not have a image of him in his sweaty tights that will not go away!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just think black is a safer color. That is all...

      Delete
  14. Love those smiling faces at the finish line! That interval pattern really works for you -- that's a great finish time. I can't imagine doing a Half on Thanksgiving weekend - I'm usually still recovering from all the cooking and eating. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't complain at all about my finish time--obviously, I miss running straight through but the run/walk intervals are working out just fine for me!

      Delete
  15. I'm picturing Mr. Green Tights and I want it to go away. Are you sure it was sweat? ;) Congrats on another successful race!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Way to go, Wendy, you did awesome! And as for Mr. Green Tights, at least he made this experience EXTRA memorable?! Uffda!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great race report and I love the smiles and medal. Hooray for Mr Green Pants. I'm helping lead a "jeffing" taster session at running club this week so I will definitely mention your strategy and time to the group (if we get a group).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know what the group says!

      Delete
    2. We got a group and they LOVED it. Two ladies came who aren't part of our friendship group (two of the Sedate Ladies came to support us) and they were actually disappointed we can't run the session EVERY WEEK. And they said this in the club's facebook group, too - yay! They really liked all the examples of different runners who use the strategy that we shared.

      Delete