Turkey trots are contested in cities and towns all over the country Thanksgiving weekend. For some reason, people imagine that running a 5k or 10k negates the overindulgence of the Thanksgiving meal; that running in a race somehow wipes the calorie slate clean and the meal is a free for all.
This year, I travelled on Thanksgiving Day. Since most of the turkey trots are run Thanksgiving morning, I was unable to participate in the usual races. With some internet sleuthing, I happened upon a 10K race held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Temecula, CA at the Cougar Winery.
Temecula,a burgeoning city north east of San Diego, is most famous for its wineries. I had been to Temecula a few times previously and thought it was a perfect place for a running race. Rolling hills, lovely scenery and flowing alcohol, what more could one want?
I did my due diligence and perused the course map and elevation profile. It was clearly designed by someone with a sordid sense of humor; the out and back layout was mostly downhill for the first half rendering the second half an uphill grind with a nasty upgrade to the finish line.
|See those trees and building in the distance? That is the finish line.|
Of course, some things are universal to every race; the porta potty line is an unavoidable inconvenience to any pre-race preparation.
A unique aspect to this race was the ability to register your dog as a participant. For an extra five dollars (all proceeds from this race went to charity), your dog not only received the right to run, but also a bib number and a timing chip. I saw dogs of all breeds and sizes (the largest being a 165 pound Great Dane) donning t-shirts and sweaters with numbers fastened to them.There was even an award for the fastest dog.
|Jenna with her canine companion|
|Another cutie who did the race|
The race itself was a blast. I had never run a 10K that was not preceded by a swim and bike. My normal race tactic is to negative split; the course did not allow for this method. I did try to pace myself on the first half to make sure I did not fall apart over the last few miles.
Fortunately, I had a rabbit in front of me. One of the guys who had started off fast came back to me and by mile 4 I caught him. We jockeyed back and forth over the next few miles. I made a decisive move just before the 6 mile marker in an effort to break him before the final hill. Even though I gapped him, he caught me right before the finish line. My time of 36:37 was much faster than I had expected.
The real fun began after the race. As part of the entry fee we received tickets for wine tasting. So, at 9:30 in the morning, my parents and I joined hundreds of other people in the tasting room for our turn at the bar. It was 5:00 somewhere!
|My mom, having some fun|
|Competitors enjoying the post-race festivities|
All in all, a fun day at the races.