Keeping Busy Over the Holidays: a local 5k Turkey Trot and a semi-local 50k

The Turkey Trot: Over the 10 years spanning my racing career I have always managed to find many races to keep me in shape and help me justify eating lots of calorie-laden holiday treats. This year, I cut back dramatically (on racing, not eating) and so have only two races to discuss since Crooked Road. The first is an easy fun 5k that attracts lots of Tallahassee residents. There is also a 1 miler, 10k, and 15k but most people do the 5k. I did the race last year with my son and granddaughter and enjoyed it so I felt it worthwhile to keep this new tradition alive.

The weather was a little warmer than in 2015 (good) but all the races were delayed about 40 minutes (not so good) to allow everyone a chance to get to the start line (understandable). Fortunately I did not have to return home to put a turkey in the oven this year. Instead we postponed our big dinner until the weekend and instead hosted a brunch. Most of that meal had already been prepared so there was little for me to do after the race except serve the meal. That made the delay more palatable.

My back was still sore so I did not try to race the 5k. Instead I just went with the flow of leisure walkers in the back of the last corral. By mile 2, I had warmed up considerably and ignored my backache to walk a little faster. It still took me about 46 minutes to finish, a PW for that distance but I was unconcerned. It was a lot of fun. All finishers received a turkey medal.

The Tallahassee UltraDistance Classic 50k: This was my very first ultra way back in 2008. I try to do it every year or at least every other year because it is such a well-organized low-key race. The course consists of 5 loops on a 6.2 mile paved roadway in beautiful Wakulla State Park, about 30 minutes south of Tallahassee. Traffic is held to a minimum, the road is wide, the 3 aid stations well-stocked with water, Gatorade, and treats (in 2 of them), the volunteers kindly and welcoming; it is just overall a great race. The only problem I have is dealing with the first long, very long, out-and-back; I sometimes think I will never reach that initial turnaround. But then I do and the journey back and out to the second turnaround doesn’t seem that bad.

There is also a 50 mile event and those runners must do 8 loops plus an extra section. There is a 10 hour cutoff for both races. Since it takes me at least 13 plus hours to do a 50 miler, I wouldn’t consider trying that distance at Wakulla but the 50k is a pleasure. I will probably never repeat my personal best here (7:03 in 2013) but no worries. As long as I finish within that 10 hour time frame, I am good.

This year the weather was perfect – cool at the 7 am start, sunny and breezy later in the day. Packet pickup is the morning of the race. Instead of a tee shirt we were given a visor (unfortunately it is not adjustable and since the elastic strap is too tight for my head I will probably give it away). Finishers received an attractive ceramic medal with a drawing of a cute baby manatee on it. For people coming from out of town, the historic Wakulla Springs Lodge is right on the course, with special rates for runners and walkers. A big plus are the real bathrooms across from the main aid station. This year I finished in 7:48:46; since my goal was to complete the race in under 8 hours, I was pleased. This race is highly recommended for walkers.

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