2015 Martinsville Turkey Day 5k
22:23 (7:13 min/mile) 2/8 AG 24/269 Overall
November 26, 2015 – For the second year in a row, Leigh Anne and I decided to participate in the Turkey Day 5k in Martinsville since we were spending the Thanksgiving break there. We’d both finished second in our age groups in 2014, but she’d decided to run with the kids in the family division. I was given permission, however, to run as an age group participant to see if I could make the podium again.
Thanksgiving morning was cold, but not freezing. We arrived at the Martinsville YMCA about 45 minutes prior to the race, and they have a nice elevated track around the basketball gym inside. I ran a few laps and did some stretching to warm up, and the kids thought that the track was fantastic. I kept telling them to stop running or they were going to tire themselves out, but my wisdom was lost on them. They had never run a 5k, and I think they were unable to grasp the distance that they were about to take on for the first time.
When the race was a few minutes from starting, we all filed outside and into the street. Even though this is a fairly small race, Miles in Martinsville is still able to close the course to traffic, which is nice – particularly when your young kids are running. I lined up near the front of the starting pack, with Leigh Anne and the kids towards the back. The National Anthem was played, and after a few words from the race director, we were off.
Having run the Richmond Marathon less than two weeks prior, I knew that my legs would not be fully recovered. Nevertheless, I was still looking to PR in the race if at all possible. The last standalone 5k that I’d run had been the same race in 2014, and I’d finished in 23:09 – which is a 7:27/mile pace. I knew that the trick to handling this particular course is cruising downhill in the first mile without losing too much time going back uphill in mile 2. You still had to leave something in the tank for the last mile, however, since it finishes uphill.
Mile 1 (7:12)
The first half mile was fairly flat on the public roads that wind around the YMCA. I spent that time avoiding other runners and trying to settle into a good pace. Unfortunately, there were a fair amount of people who decided to sprint the first few hundred yards and then throw on the brakes, so there was some dodging and weaving early on.
The course then entered a paved nature trail with a very steep downhill portion. I tried to let my legs go without braking, but it was too steep and crowded to do so safely. Thus, I had to hold myself back a little. At the .7 mile point, the course bottomed out and a long uphill portion followed. I was ready for it, having run the course in 2014, and slowed my pace, but only a little.
Mile 2 (7:38)
The long uphill section continued beyond the nature trail and until the intersection of Franklin and Main. The course finally flattened out at the 1.5 mile point, which meant that there had been .8 miles of solid climbing. By that point, my legs were really burning, and I could definitely tell that I was not recovered from the marathon.
After turning right on Main, there was a shallow downhill, so I was able to pick up the pace again. Nevertheless, my lungs were beginning to burn by that point, and I guess they were jealous of my burning legs getting all of my attention. Mile 2 was 26 seconds slower than mile 1, but it was mostly uphill, and mile 1 was mostly downhill. I was happy with the relative consistency.
Mile 3 (7:15)
The final mile of the 5k is undulating, with the last portion uphill to the finish line. My GPS was telling me that I was slightly ahead of my 2014 pace, and that motivated me to try to speed up even more. After turning right onto Church Street, I knew that it was a straight shot to the finish line. The finish is just beyond the crest of a hill, and you can’t see it until you are upon it. In 2014 that caused some confusion for me, but in 2015 I knew where it was, and thus, I also knew where I could start my finishing kick.
As I climbed the final hill, the legs and lungs were screaming at me, but I kept pressing on to finish strong. The inflatable turkeys adorning the finish line were a welcome site, and I finished in 22:23, which was a PR for me by 46 seconds. Not too bad for having post-marathon legs.
After finishing, I walked back down the hill and began looking for Leigh Anne and the kids. When they finally came into view, Jillian looked like she was doing pretty good, but Jackson was struggling and Leigh Anne looked frazzled. Apparently, there had been a fair amount of complaining about tired legs, which probably stemmed from all of those laps the kids made around the indoor lap.
Once the race concluded, the awards ceremony was held on the basketball court. Sadly, the llamas from 2014 were not present, but I did get second in my age group once again. The winner of my age group finished in 18:33, so he blew the doors off of me. Sadly, Leigh Anne’s projected time (if she’d have run solo) would have led her to win her age group, which I ended up hearing a lot about! Thus, I volunteered to run with the kids in 2016. Team Gravatt did come in 8/19 in the family division, which was dominated by families with teenaged children.
And with that, my 2015 racing schedule came to a close with another second place age group finish and another pumpkin cutting board to add to my “trophy” case. It had been a productive year, but it was time to hit up the Biscuitville for some much needed coffee, and then Thanksgiving Day lunch to start putting on my winter weight.