Sunday, November 29, 2015

Race Recap: Inaugural Riverside Turkey Trot

Riverside, CA | November 26, 2015

I'd been eye-balling a turkey trot race for a while, but couldn't decide on which one to do. I'd done the local Claremont trot two years ago, but as soon as I heard about this inaugural race and it offering a 15K, I knew I was in. 15Ks are hard to come by, especially around here, so I was super excited to not only be running, but to get another chance to pace this race. I was in for the 15K and Doug then signed up for the 5K -- look at us both getting our pre-turkey sweat on!

The race also offers a combo challenge - 15K and then the 5K and you get a bonus medal. The 15K started at 7 am for that reason, and then the 5K not until 8:45 so you had a solid hour + 45 minutes to finish the 9.3 miles, jog back to the race start (.10 miles, if that) and start again with the 5K. 

15K course map.
5K course map.
While race day packet pick up was offered, Doug and I made our way down to south Riverside (Arlington Park, home of the Citrus Heritage races) on Sunday morning to get our stuff, as we figured it was one less thing to worry about on race day. 

Since the start times were so drastically different, I left home by myself about 5:45 to be at the start line at 6:15 to meet up with the other pacers and get things in order. It was mighty cold, and I'm glad I left my long sleeve tech shirt on and didn't even get warm until mile 8 (which says a lot because normally my arms are warm in the first two miles). Doug and his coaching buddy Eddie followed along about 8 am for their later start time. 

There was a good number of people lined up for the 15K - again, the selling point being that 15Ks are hard to come by! Final results show just over 350 finishers, which is a pretty great turn out for that race, and then another 900 for the 5K alone. Fantastic, in my books, for an inaugural race. 

As the 12:00 minute pacer, I was looking forward to a good, fat-burning slow run and just wanted to enjoy the morning, as cool and perfect as it was for a race. There were a couple of folks who lined up around me, but only one guy, Dave, actually hung with me the entire race as we talked about races, running the 50 states, his daughters and running partners, and literally killed the entire race just talking. Sometimes those are the best ways to distract yourself during a race! 

Running along the Santa Ana River trail was absolutely beautiful and a great change in scenery. I'll be running at Fairmount Park for Lace Up again next weekend, so it was nice to have a slight change in scenery but also to familiarize myself with the area and what I'm getting into for next weekend's half marathon! We were a little fast coming into the second turnaround at mile 6, so got to slow up a bit and enjoy the last few miles - my Garmin came in about .10 miles short (9.2) so we were tracked at a slightly speedier pace than what we maintained. I was relieved to see that another pacer or two had also caught the course short and that it wasn't just me! 

After the next pacer came in and I could pass off my signs, I headed backwards along the 5K course (also the last 1.5 of the 15K course) to find Doug and run him in a bit. I ran with him for another half mile or so until he hit the monster downhill into the finish, and then ran back up to find his friend Eddie (his second 5K ever, and his first was just five days prior!) to run with him the rest of the way in. An extra 1.8 miles for me to round out to an even 11 for the day! 

Medal adorableness.
We hung out at the finish line for a bit and then made our way out to head to a (light!) breakfast before getting on with our Thanksgiving day excitement (Disneyland + duh, dinner!). A great race, Eddie PRed and Doug ran just about his target time for the 5K. A success all in all! 

Race Pros:
- Great course; mostly flat and fast with few rolling hills
- Fantastic medal + tech shirt for both 5K and 15K participants 
- Pacers for both races 

Race Cons:
- It's totally a pet peeve for things to say "1st Annual" because for as much as you intend for it to be an annual thing, you never know... plus, having an "inaugural" medal makes it that much cooler! But that's minor. 
- 15K course slightly short 

Seriously, for an inaugural race(s), I have no major complaints whatsoever. I loved the course, the company, the volunteers that were out (high schoolers) spending their Thanksgiving morning with us! A super job well done to the Riverside Road Runners for a great race and a great Thanksgiving morning!

Did you Turkey Trot this year? How was your race?

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