Tradition continues, back again to the Turkey Trot in Clearwater, previously known as the St Pete Time Turkey Trot, now the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot and this year for the first year ever with chip timing. Previously, the top 125 male and female runners would get a mug and their time recorded in the results. Once the race finish cards were passed out, no more results were recorded. But, this year the bibs came with chips. Top 125 male and female still received coffee mugs but it was essentially gun time since cards were passed out as people crossed but you no longer filled out any information.
Arrived at the race a little bit later than hoped for, just after 6:30, parked on the street near Rumba restaurant which was close to the start but farther from the planned meeting spot near the stadium. Drove down with Jessica, Jacob, Sophia, and Aubrey. Andy, my father-in-law drove down with Emily, John and their kids as well Hannah and Noah. Jenny drove down with Thomas.
Jacob and I went ahead to warm up and line up near the start, only had time for a few minutes of warming up, 0.33 miles total including a few strides. Squeezed our way into the crowd and once everyone else squeezed in we were about 8 rows back. Saw Dixie before the race start. He pointed to a guy nearby wearing flowery shorts and no shirt and asked if I could beat that guy, had no way of telling, he looked pretty fit, mayb early 50's. Jacob found a friend of his so was a row or two back from me. When the race started I didn't see him but he kept me in his sights and was pretty close to me for the first mile. First mile came in at 6:30, although I started my watch before I crossed (close to gun time) so it was closer to 6:25. Turned the corner just after the mile marker and kept a steady pace, next mile felt harder but was only 1 second slower. Shortly into the third mile is the hill, which I recently learned was called cemetary hill. Looked for the cemetary and saw it for the first time running this race.
Slowed down just a little on the uphill, but made it back once the road flattened out. Still passing a few people here or there. For a good part of the race I was following the guy in the flowery shorts, he was running pretty strong. At some point lost sight of him, not sure if I passed him or if he pulled ahead.
Finally, the turn off to the stadium was just ahead. No idea if there were 125 male runners ahead of me. Approached the track and could see the clock - 19:56, just a little way to go. Goal had been to break 20:30, maybe 20:15 or better if I could. Crossed the finish line and saw the guy with the cards still had some left, handed me one which I took to the awards tent.
Got my mug and then saw Thomas walking away holding a mug - 17:53 chip time for him, 24th overall. Next, ran into Jacob, pretty excited about his time, 20:55 chip, 21:06 gun time but did not get a mug (later saw that he was 108th male so not sure why he did not get a mug) - about 26 second PR for him. Ran into Jenny who was also carrying a mug.
Drove back to Palm Harbor after the race, ran another easy 3 miles to make up partially for the change in schedule (was supposed to do 6 mile @half marathon pace with warm up and cool down).
As I was looking for the rest of the group I could hear them announcing awards - overall, masters, and they were also doing grand masters, surprisingly, I hear my name called. Go back to the award tent, get a medal and told that I'll get an email good for free entry into next year's race.
Happy with the improvement since PHSC and since last year when I was 30 second slower with much less even splits.
Later in the afternoon, picked up the boys (including Sammy the dog) and went to my parents house for Thanksgiving dinner. I was in charge of pies, had bought three from JJ Gandy's and Andy made a green bean casserole.