Race report: Granville Island Turkey Trot (10k)

On a race that was held on Thanksgiving, I have to give thanks that it wasn’t the rainout that was expected a few days ago. Even still, there was a brief downpour at the start, and again when I finished. I’ll take it.

Twitter friend Tina (blog) invited me to join a team that she was organizing for this 10k race that’s based at Granville Island and makes its way around the False Creek seawall. When she and someone else told me about the post-race food, I was sold. Since it’s two-thirds of the way through my training for the Fall Classic, I figure it would also serve as a test of how my training has progressed so far, and an indicator of the distance I could reasonably race in November.

Despite being a runner for five years, this is only my second 10k that’s not the Sun Run (ie. a smaller race in which I can race instead of weave). All I know is that the distance is long enough that going all-out from the get-go might not work. But I had in my mind a plan to start conservatively and hope I have enough speed near the end. Being on the seawall means it’s mostly flat, except for a stretch on the Burrard Street Bridge, which happily is in the first 2-3 km of the race.

Even though I’ve run on this seawall many times, racing it is completely different, and one thing I’ve noticed is the many types of surfaces on this course, from asphalt to cobblestones to a wooden boardwalk near the finish. With the on-and-off rain, some of those surfaces can prove slippery if you’re not careful. Luckily, nothing untoward happened on that front.

It turns out that I ran this 10k exactly as planned. I averaged around 5:50/km (9:23/mi) for the first 3 km, then went to 5:35/km (9:00/mi) for the next 3. It was in the last 4 km that I moved to yet another gear; each kilometre split was under 5:20/km (8:35/mi), with the final kilometre in an incredible 4:46 (7:40/mi). My watch displayed 54:44, the same as recorded by the timing chip. Not just a new personal best for a 10k, going sub-55 went beyond my expectations for this race, and I’m happy that I’m not suffering unduly in the day or so afterward.

What dampened my expectations, however, was the post-race food. I’m not sure what was available last year, although I overheard canapes were served. There were the usual bagels and bananas, but at least the bagels were stuffed with cream cheese in the middle. And while there were two separate tables of food, one of them was placed near two monitors that displayed runners’ finish times. Guess which table was frequented more often?

I’ve also gotten an email confirmation from Tina that our team of 5 won the mixed-team category, based on our combined times. We are awaiting word from the organizers as to what prize(s) the team has won.

With a fast course and fun times, the Turkey Trot adds to the myriad of race options that take place over the October long weekend. It just made it harder to pick a race to train for and run!

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