YMCA 5k Bel Air Turkey Trot


Josh Turkey Trot

Bundled up and ready for the Turkey Trot.

The YMCA Turkey Trot 5k takes place in multiple cities throughout Maryland. Josh ran the Bel Air, MD course this year, his second formal 5k.

The turnout for the event was impressive — a total of 2,272 runners, with a mass of other people lining the streets and cheering the runners on. Dogs and kids in strollers were also allowed, so. Katy and Ellie were there for a shorter walk along the course to show support and check out the crowd.

My goal was to beat my last 5k time, 29:57. I didn’t really train for this race nor do I train for speed right now (I’m still focusing on weekly mileage as I build up a base) but this time I didn’t have Aaron running and coaching me along.

The morning was cold at 25 degrees. Despite having run in those temperatures in the early AM hours, I was not prepared for standing around for 30 minutes and the low wind. I intended to take off my fleece jacket as the run started, but was so cold by that time I left it on for the entire race. My hands and feet never did thaw (I have light weight runners gloves/mittens but they don’t work well below freezing apparently).

Being only my second race ever–the first being a fraction of the size of this one–I learned a lot from the experience of running in a large hoard of people. It took about 3 minutes from the “gunshot” until my group (9 min pacers)  got to the starting line. It took about a half mile before I was able to actually have a consistent stride, though pacing was pretty erratic throughout the entire course due to the crow.

Turkey Trot Runners

Over 2,000 runners were present at this large Thanksgiving Day 5K.

Prior to the race I had set my watch to track my pace so I could glance down and see if I was ahead or behind my goal time. Around mile 2.5 I looked at my watch I saw that the time was 29:45. I felt like I was doing much better and decided I’d just finish it out at the pace I was going and not worry about a missed goal. Once I could hear the finish area I picked it up for a final push, thinking I was well over my 30 min goal. When I finished I realized my mistake: the 29:45 I had seen was my predicted finish time, not the amount of time that I had been running!

According to the official race results I finished with a 29:41 time, and placed 588 out of 2,272. Goal achieved, no injuries, and I’m looking forward to jumping right back into my training routine with no injuries (though maybe 3 lbs heavier from Thanksgiving dinner). I’d like to do the Turkey Trot next year, though I’m hoping it is much warmer!


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