Prospect Park Turkey Trot (3rd place woman + 5 mile PR!)

The view from the train!

Hey there, friends! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Our family tradition is to spend the holiday with cousins in NYC, and for the past few years I’ve been scoping out Turkey Trot options. Most years I’ve been too late to get into the uber-popular Prospect Park Track Club’s Turkey Trot, but this year my brother and I managed to snag bibs before the race sold out! We took an easy subway ride down to Brooklyn on Thanksgiving morning and had plenty of time to grab our bibs before heading out into the chilly morning for a warmup jog.

This race was super organized and efficient, and the indoor space to stay warm + use the clean bathrooms was a major perk. This was my first time in Prospect Park and it was absolutely gorgeous. We kept our layers on as long as possible before sneaking up to the front of the start corrals. The one downside of this race was that the start wasn’t seeded at all, which made for a pretty chaotic start with 2000+ runners and walkers. Either way, Ari was off like a shot and I started out at a hard but steady clip. I did have some goals in mind for this race:

  • A goal: PR the 5 mile distance (sub 34:09, which I ran at the Harpoon 5 Miler).
  • B goal: Place in my AG (probably sub 35:00 or so)
  • C goal: Finish and have fun!

Given those goals, I figured I would try to keep the pace under 6:50, which was my previous 5 mile PR pace. The first mile was on a slight downhill, and felt fairly smooth at  6:40 pace. During mile 2 we started to climb up, so I kept my effort even and let it slip a bit to a 6:48 pace. During mile 3, we hit a fairly long and steep climb, and my pace was at a 7:02. It was at this point that the crowd had thinned considerably, but the course wasn’t closed off so there were lots of walkers and joggers in and around the racers. I was legitimately shocked when someone called out from the side of the path “You’re third woman!” I was pretty convinced they were wrong, but just in case I figured I would hold on as best I could despite some small cramps that were creeping up. I got some encouragement from J along the sidelines and then put my head down and cranked the pace up to a 6:29 for mile 4 and another 6:29 for mile 5. Before I knew it, I had crossed the finish line and was being directed over to the sidelines to pick up my prize–for the first time in my life, I had come in as the third female finisher!! I dizzily spelled my name for the guy at the finish line and happily accepted my prize–an apple crumb pie, which I proudly carried as we headed for celebratory hot chocolate and snacks at the finish.

I have to say that placing in a race has been a semi-secret goal of mine this year. Running in a city like Boston, it feels like no matter how fast I get I can’t even crack the top of my age group. I’ve considered signing up for some small local 5ks to try to place, but it feels a little bit like cheating–I don’t want to run a race just to win an award. So this was an incredibly gratifying surprise, especially given that this was a good-size race in a big city. My official time was 33:31, which was good for 3rd woman overall (out of 1,260 female finishers). Needless to say, I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day. Overall, the race was reasonably priced ($25 if you register early), had great swag and medals, and was well-organized and fun. I’m hoping to be back next year with more family members in tow!

I hope you had a fantastic holiday! Did you trot? Have you ever placed in a race?

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3 thoughts on “Prospect Park Turkey Trot (3rd place woman + 5 mile PR!)

  1. Congrats on the PR and placing overall- heck, congrats on just getting into the race. I have done a few turkey trots and I PRed one two years ago. I ran one this past weekend but didn’t do so well (stupid illnesses/injuries/half marathon recovery). You did a really great job and have so many awesome races and running adventures ahead of you, you’ve been on a PR kick lately!

  2. Congratulations! It’s my running club who put on this race. Of course, I think it’s a great race, but I’m biased. It’s always nice to hear from other people that it was a good race. Congrats again on winning a pie.

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