Bill McCarty and I after the race.
Thursday, November 28 was perhaps the most enjoyable race in the last decade. It was Thanksgiving morning, a day off and doing what I enjoy most......running!
After a year of running a 5K race in the city, running friends - Bill, Greg, Greg's wife and I headed northeast to Pinole, California. Pinole is about a 30 minute drive from San Francisco and a few minutes east of Berkeley. The 20+ annual Gold Medal Turkey Trot Four Miler took place.
It had been over two weeks since last racing which was the Embarcadero 10K. The previous Sunday, I volunteered for a couple of hours in a four mile race with the Dolphin South End Runners. So, would the racing layoff be a factor? We would have to wait and see.
The course is an out-and-back from Pinole Valley High School to a small park about two miles south. There would be a gradual hill of a half mile or so to the park. It has always been a problem for me and to this day, I don't know why. It was no different this year.
Going in to the event, I had run this event five times and never broken 37 minutes (37:17). The course is between 4.15 and 4.2 miles in length. Yet, in the raffle department afterwards, it was the first race ever where I won a turkey (and it has happened three times!). Could it happen this time?
At the race, I met Mike D. (from Dailymile) and Jim Buck, a long time runner from the Bay Area who is done well in races over the years. As we grew closer to the 10:00am start, there were roughly 50-60 participants. The event had several kids doing the 400 meter event about 10 minutes prior to the four-plus miler.
Greg Brown, Big Al and Bill after the event. Big Al has been race director for the Sky High Races for 30 years!
For the first time since the Across The Bay 12K race, I wore the Pamakid Runners green singlet. It's important to do it, particularly in races out of the city. Several people recognized it. One runner in particular mentioned how well we ran in the PA USATF Cross Country Championships last Sunday.
Leaving the stadium and heading south, I felt fine as we were heading towards the local park. As we made the right turn, the legs started getting a little heavy and the pace felt like a crawl. Yet at the turnaround point, I clocked 18:45 for 2.09 miles according to the Garmin.
Coming back, I was in contact with a couple of other runners from the area. I was fighting a side stitch and tried shaking it off. Eventually, it subsided with about a mile to go. Having a gentle downhill portion of the course helped.
The high school parking lot was in sight and made a left turn into the stadium for the final 400 meters. It felt like an eternity since there was only one other runner running on the track at the time. He was about 100 meters ahead of me as this runner/blogger came off the last turn to the finish. The Garmin was reading 36:23 which became 36:37 (4.2 miles) at the finish. All of the runners received a medal.
It was fun sharing running stories and listening to some others from the runners afterwards. Also, the cameras were out in force as a number of participants were taking photos of others.
And yes, the raffle was for 15 turkeys and a couple of bottles of wine. My name was called for the 14th turkey, with the weight in the neighborhood of 16 pounds.
With December remaining in 2013, a 10K, a possible Christmas Relays leg and a 5K are likely for me. I'm also committed to the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon which I'll be entering early next month.
After returning home, it was an afternoon of eating, football and relaxing!