Friday, November 25, 2011

The Flying Feather was Fun!

On Thanksgiving, I did the Flying Feather -- a 4-mile race here in central Ohio. My sister had signed up for it first, and because this was her first running race in well over 10 years, I decided to enter it, too. As it turned out, three other Buckeye Striders and one of our adult "kids" and her boyfriend were also entered.

The temps were in the mid-30s -- much more chilly and windy out in Dublin than it was at home! Before the race started, we stood next to a building to reduce the wind to help stay warm.

My little sister Cathy and Me.
She is a runner, but I still like her.
(I'm wearing the hat that was
in the race packet.)
We separated at the starting line based on how fast we thought we would be. Barbara and I went back to the 13-min mile area. These types of events attract people and families who don't enter a lot of races, and don't know they should be near the back. We almost went back farther, but decided 13 was close enough and would reduce the number of people we would have to pass.

There were huge speakers all along the starting corrals and the music was loud and great!

Immediately, Barbara and I were passing people left and right. The first mile was on a wide road, so everyone was spread out and it was easy to maneuver. I finally looked at my watch, saw that 18 minutes had gone by and realized I missed the first mile marker! (The mile markers were huge yellow flags that could be seen from more than half a mile away. I don't know how we missed it.)

The race progressed into Glacier Ridge Metro Park where the wide road turned into a narrow path. It was a little more difficult to pass people and we got stuck a few times with nowhere to go. In the park, there were trees near most of the path, so the wind was blocked pretty well. There is a section of this park we call the plains, and though it is usually pretty windy here, it wasn't this time! Both Barbara and I started to get a little bit over-heated. At the second mile marker, our time was 28:28. I knew we were way too slow.

Buckeye Striders Sharon, Barbara, Me and
Steve before the Flying Feather. (It was cold.)
We picked up the pace as the crowd thinned a little and we moved back onto wider streets to head to the finish line. We did the third mile in 13:26. This felt like a much better pace for me. The closer we got to the finish I tried to pick up the pace a tiny bit. About half a mile away, I asked Barbara if she could go a little faster and she accused me of trying to kill her -- again. (The first time was during the Air Force Half Marathon a couple of years ago.) Still, she picked up the pace a little!

As we turned onto the final stretch, there were two slow runners right in front of us and I refused to let them beat me. I went into my real race mode and passed them a few yards before the finish line! Our final mile was 13:16! (Barbara was 4 seconds behind me.)

At the end we were given a finisher's medal, bottled water, Nutri Grain bars and a bottle of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009. There were holiday cookies for those under the age of 21.

Because it was still chilly, and my sister was freezing, (she had been waiting around for me for 15 minutes)  we left quickly and walked the half-mile to the high school where we had parked.

A Thanksgiving race is a great way to start a holiday devoted to food! This one is well organized and the course is not difficult. With the registration we received a technical shirt, a fleece hat, toss-away gloves, a finisher's medal and a tasty bottle of wine. The shirt is a little bit ugly even though it is a technical shirt. (The earlier races gave cuter shirts.) But I'll wear the hat and the wine was good! So, overall, it was a positive experience and I'll probably do the race again.

Hints for this race:
1) The shirts are in men's sizes only. The size small shirt will be big on a small woman.
2) Sometimes they run out of size small shirts early. It is a good idea to pick up your packet on one of the first days, just to be sure. My sister was able to exchange her large for a small on race day, so there were plenty this year.
3) Parking can be tight, so plan to arrive early. I like to get to this race 45 minutes to an hour before the start.
4) It is OK to line up a little closer to the starting line than you would in a typical race (if you normally line up at your real pace). There will be many people strolling in blue jeans and walking with small children lined up too close to the starting line, and you will have to pass them. Do not expect to PR in this race.
5) In previous years, the volunteers were more careful about making sure each person received just one bottle of wine. We saw several people walking away with more than one bottle (one with a whole box!) and there were still plenty of people behind me. Get your wine as soon as possible after crossing the finish line to be sure you get a bottle. After all, if you don't get the wine, you might was well do any other Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving!

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