Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks & The Grand Strand Turkey Trot 8k!

Oh Thanksgiving morning, how I adore thee... Honestly, it's quite possibly my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving morning last year, I had welcomed my daughter, Gabriella, into the world. Needless to say I missed the Turkey Trot and enjoyed (sorta) my dinner in the hospital.
This year I couldn't feel more blessed. I am in the full swing of my passion for running, back into my pre-pregnancy jeans, and thoroughly embracing everyday with my family.  A lot of awesome things have happened for me, and my family. I had my daughter, completed my first unofficial triathlon, ran my first half, took a new job and found time to smell the roses.
When I was approached by The Digitel Myrtle Beach to be their sponsored athlete for the Myrtle Beach Race Series, I was thrilled! Who me? Ah, heck yeah! So today was the first race of the series, and I completed the 5th Annual Grand Strand Turkey Trot 8k.

It was a typical morning, I had been up with Gabby at 3am, back to sleep at 4am, and the dreaded alarm blared at 615am. Ugh. My friend Jenn picked me up at 7am, we decided to carpool to packet pickup on this very chilly and a little bit breezy Thanksgiving morning.

We had some time to kill after we got our bibs & shirts so we just spent it chit chatting in the car, since it was still 45 degrees out. As the time dwindled we made our way to the start. I guess there was an overwhelming response to this event (which is awesome since it was for charity!) and we got off to a little bit of a late start but nothing crazy. I didn't mind because I had a few minutes to catch up with my friend Christine who had recently moved away, and was in town! She was pacing her little boy while pushing a double jogger - she kinda rocks like that! I wish we had more time to chat but it wasn't long before the siren sounded and off we all went! Jenn is a tad faster (ok, a LOT faster than me) and when the crowd started moving, she was gone.

I decided for this race that I would abandon my start fast and go like that for as long as possible, since it really wasn't working for me. I decided today that I was there to simply enjoy the run. So the only goal I set, stay under a 10 minute mile, and finish before 50 minutes. The course is flat, they say fast, but I say - depends on who's running it! As I hit 1.70 miles a gust of wind took my Nike visor right off my head! Thankfully (as going with the theme for today) a runner that was behind me scooped it up and handed it back to me. The whole visor thing through me for a minute, I had to get back into a groove.

 The 8k and 5k runners started off together, and as we reached the split, I have to be honest - I had wished I was doing the 5k! I think my problem is that I really don't get comfortable until about 3.5 miles.

As I started heading down Farrow Parkway, I started seeing people coming back (since mile 3 & 4 are an out and back) already - sometimes that can be a downer. Today, I just looked at the people passing me trying to guess how fast they were going and perhaps for a fleeting second, daydreamed about how it would feel to be at the head of the pack. Despite my daydreaming, I maintained a good pace, and soon enough I was turning around. Now, I was the person people were seeing, and all I could think was, "Good job guys!", and I like to think that's when everyone who was passing me was thinking too!

I was at about 4.7 miles when I felt like I could pee myself (any woman with a child knows what I am talking about) but I knew I was close to the end.  The running path had started getting busy with non-racers, so I was weaving in and out of walkers and post-race peeps cooling down. Just a little farther, it's right about this corner, up over this last little bridge. You got to love a little downhill action to propel you toward the end, and boy did I need that! I don't have an official time yet, but according to my Garmin, my time was 49:28 (Update: Official Chip Time : 49:33) and my average time splits were 9:46, 10:01, 9:53, 10:00, 9:40 and 8:07 with an overall average pace of 9:52. In my book, not a bad day at all - this turtle will take it!

What could be better than hitting a race goal you ask? Well for me, I think the best part of any race is when I can see my wonderful husband, who is always so supportive of all my races, standing at the finish line holding my baby girl. Someday she will actually understand what is going on, and I can't wait to hear her cheer me on... Of course the Eptons never decline a photo op, so here we are taking a minute to digitally document our day at the race, thanks to Jenn for being our photographer ;)

Cutie Connor
The last part of the day, which I think is beyond adorable is the Tot Trot. Of course next year Gabriella will be sporting a pair of Newtons (do they even make them that small?) for the Tot Trot so watch out! My friend Regan was there with her adorable son Connor (a.k.a. Future Heart Breaker!). He was so pleased with his race bling, and who wouldn't be?
I think he was making eyes at Gabby too - we will have a chat about that later! I love seeing little kids being active, kudos to all the parents out there making their kids part of this wonderful race day!

Now no race would be complete with admiring my own race bling! I love this medal, it's cute, it's colorful and it's a good size too! I really had a good time at this Turkey Trot, there were so many people just hanging out, listening to music and putting off positive vibes.

I am so excited for this whole race series! Next up in the series is the Pressed for Time which means this girl here better be hitting the weights! I'm not hitting on much when it comes to the upper body strength and I am going to need to do some serious work! The bench press portion happens on January 13, 2012 and the race is the 14th. I cannot wait to see what the t-shirt and race bling for this race it going to look like!
The rest of my Thanksgiving involved me attempting to make a homemade macaroni & cheese (which turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself!), and nice dinner with family and friends, and of course a little football! I haven't quite made it to dessert, my mom made homemade apple pie & pumpkin squares, not sure what I am waiting for! I guess Monday is when I will be recommitting to a healthy diet and fitness routine...
Tomorrow is my baby girls first birthday so there is cake in my immediate future! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I know I could not feel more blessed than I do today.

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