Turkey Trot

This morning I got up at 0500 to do the Turkey Trot. It’s a 10 mile run held, appropriately enough, on Thanksgiving.  This run is a little different, though, because it’s not a race per se but rather a pacing competition.  Before the run you have to predict your finishing time and you’re not allowed to wear a watch, an iPod or any other electronic devices.  The winner is NOT the person who finishes first, but rather the person who finishes the closest to their predicted time.

We’ve done this run before but this year there was another new twist.  Our coach, Brian Clarke, and Jack Scaff from Honolulu Marathon Clinic set up a challenge between our two teams.  I’m not 100% clear on the rules, actually, but it boiled down to this: each team was going to pick its 25 best pacers and when the run was over the team that had paced the best would win.

They give us these wooden tongue depresser sticks and you have to write your predicted time on them and then carry them with you to the finish.  I am tempted to write "2 Hours, 9 minutes" but at the last moment decide to write "2 Hours 11 minutes" instead.  I just intend to cruise it and don’t want to have to press.  There’s a little added pressure because I’ve been picked as one of the 25 pacers from our group and I don’t want to let Brian down — I know how much he’d like to win this competition.

So we line up for the start, and it’s a PERFECT Hawaii day.  Clear, not too hot, blue skies.  BOOM goes the gun and we’re off.  Trying to keep it frosty on the pace at the start and we cruise around the park nice and easy.  Up and over Diamond Head we’re still trying to dial in on our pace.  Vern, Kathy, Kelly, Karen, Alan, Cathy (yes, the other one) and Christine are with us and we’re chatting and feeling great as we come down the far side of Diamond Head and into Triangle Park. 

Around through Kahala, Sarah joins us and we chuckle about how she was right and I was wrong about the mile markers on the half-marathon.  Yes, I need to listen to her more often.

So, on through Kahala and up Diamond Head Road and Vern starts to worry that we’re too fast.  We back off the pace slightly and decide to keep it cool back up the hill on Diamond Head and not press, like I usually do, coming down the hill on the other side.  Down into the park, Vern is still concerned that we’re a bit fast – I honestly am not sure at that point.  We could be fast but we’ve been dogging it for the last mile or so and I worry that we might be slowing down TOO much.

Still, we cruise through the park to the finish line.  "2:08:35" the guy calls out as I cross.  Drat.  Too fast.  My prediction is off by 2 minutes and 25 seconds.  Over the course of 10 miles it’s not bad, but in the context of our competition…  Some of the runners were off by mere seconds, one lady (not in the competition) hit her prediction dead on.

So we sit anxiously through the awards ceremony, waiting to hear if we’ve won or lost.  As the results are tabulated all I’m hearing is "It’s close."  This is a tough competition in part because you can’t really tell how the other team did.  Remember: it’s not who finishes first, it’s who finishes the closest to their predicted time.  You don’t know what they predicted for their times!

Finally the time has come to announce the winners.  Both teams are summoned to the stage and I walk up there with my team.  As we walk up I see Brian hand the clipboard with the results to Jack who is emceeing the event.  He turns to walk away after handing off the clipboard with this sort of disappointed look on his face so we think surely we’ve lost.  Oh, no.

We’re on one side of the stage and Honolulu Marathon Clinic’s group is on the other side.  Jack reads the results.  "And now, to present the winner’s banner to Brian Clarke’s group…"  WHAT!?!  WE WON!  What a great feeling!  High fives all around, we gratefully accept the winner’s banner and present the second-place banner to the HMC folks.  They ran great and it was a tough competition but it felt great to bring the victory home for Brian.  Hopefully we can duplicate the effort next year.

Ceremonies concluded I headed for the car, changed shirts, took off my running shoes and started up the car.  My iPod started blaring out "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears.  Yeah.  🙂


* The water at the aid stations and the finish was awful.  Tasted like it had come out of a brand new hose — had that awful rubber flavor to it.
* Karen baked a couple of pies that she shared with us at the finish.  I had a slice of the apple and it was DELICIOUS!
* It was great to see Cappi come out to run this morning.  She tells me I’m inspiring her to get back into running; though I haven’t managed to talk her into a marathon yet.  🙂


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