A.M. Earn Your Turkey 4 Miler, 21:44.9, 6th place, got the turkey. Not just me - we got 8 turkeys total. My argument with the Lord last night appears to have had some merit. Everybody ran great, and Benjamin and Jenny won their races in spite their fevers.
First Benjamin and I raced in the 4 miler. I was very concerned for Benjamin. I knew from fairly recent personal experience how devastating fevers can be when it comes to fitness. I prayed for him last night, this morning when I got up, and several times during the race. Benjamin demonstrated a classic example of resilience against adversity. His fever and its consequences were not removed - he did not all of a sudden feel 100% healthy. But he felt healthy enough to race, and to run his guts out. He drafted behind Chad Robinson for 3.5 miles. Then he saw a kid that looked no older than 14 ahead of him. He said - that is my turkey, and he went for it. He was glad that he did because the kid did turn out to be 14. He finished in 23:08 - 14th place overall, and 1st in the 12-14 age division. Chad was not too far behind with 23:19 in 18th place. When Benjamin finished he said this was the hardest race that he's ever run. I can believe it. In 2009 I ran 23:05 myself after experiencing a fever 4 days prior.
Now on to my race. In the first half mile I maneuvered my way past the fast starters that lacked the fitness to maintain their starting pace and found a runner of perfect size and perfect pace. It was Bryce Peterson. I've run with him a few times in the past, but I did not recognize him at the time. He now lives in Arizona, but came over for a visit. Thanks to him I was able to run a decent time today, in fact this is my best since 2008. The official mile markers were off except for the first one. However, Bryce happened to have a beeping Garmin that appeared to function correctly as it beeped in places that I remember were the right ones, and the splits quite reasonably agreed with perceived effort and total time. So I will go off his beeps. The first mile was 5:18. I felt thankful when I saw the split. The pace felt hard, but sustainable for some time. At that time I knew that I was going to get a good result, and with it being the day of Thanksgiving I said a prayer of thanks. The next mile was 5:26, 10:44 for 2. I could tell that the pace had slowed down and became more manageable, yet I knew from how it felt that I did not have the strength to pass Bryce and push a faster pace. In fact, it was just perfect.
The third mile was 5:36, 16:20 for 3. Again I could tell that we slowed down some more. But again, I felt it was still too early to push. Maybe if somebody had passed us at this point I would have latched on, but I definitely did not have what it takes to break way.
The last mile was perhaps the most exciting. With about 1000 to go I made an attempt to pass Bryce figuring if I had a chance of beating him it would be now. But he was strong and sped up. I tucked back behind him. We were closing on a runner in front of us as we tried to navigate a crowd of walkers and runners we were lapping. In this race somebody going 12:00 or slower does get lapped, and there was quite a crowd, more than I ever remember in the history of this race which I have run every year since 1997. Then with about 400 to go there was an interesting development. The runner in front of us saw a frozen turkey on the road and picked it up. This was part of the race - if you saw a turkey on the course you could pick it up and run with it. I wondered how well he could run in this state of fatigue and with a turkey in his hands. Turned out not very well at all. We passed him very quickly. Bryce started his kick, I tried to kick as well, but did not have the kicking gear. He ended up a couple of second ahead of me with 21:43 low.
The winning time was 20:44, I think it was Trevor Nielson. Jaydn Asay was second with 20:48 if I remember right. Then John Hedengren with 21:08 - he is back at BYU teaching chemical engineering and obviously getting back into some decent shape ( he was a 29:30 10 K runner in his prime). Then Derek Moody with 21:12.
I looked through my old blog entries and realized that this race has been won in the past by two Olympians. In 2006 it was Josh McAdams (19:19), and in 2009 Cam Levins 19:36.
Chad and I ran and found Sarah and her training partner Shelly on the course shortly before they approached the 3 mile mark. They were moving faster than I was expecting. Sarah is eight months pregnant with our eighth child and she gave me permission to announce that loudly as she approached the finish line. Last time Sarah ran this race this pregnant she got 57:00. This was when she was pregnant with Joseph in 2004. In 2008 while pregnant with William she established a new standard of virtual pregnancy with 34:37 in a 5 K at Payson Onion days which equates to 11:08 pace. This was done at 7 months pregnant. Today she raised the bar. While 8 months pregnant with her 8th child she ran 4 miles in 42:03 averaging 10:30 per mile which will average out to 32:40 5 K. So, able bodied men who are reading - if you cannot do that, you may just as well be 8 months pregnant. Stop eating junk, relaxing in front of TV or video game console all day long and start training!
Now with my race over, I could focus on helping the kids in their races. This year was the first time that we had a kid that was too old for the little kids races - Benjamin is now 13. This will be more and more of a pattern from now on. I told Benjamin he should go in the car and rest, but he wanted to participate in pacing his younger brothers and sisters, so I let him. I figured it would cost a few extra hours and degrees of the fever later on, but it was more important for him to share in the joy of achieving with his younger siblings. Thinking about this in retrospect helps me appreciate what a great son Sarah and I have in Benjamin.
First Stephen got 2nd place in the 100 m dash in the 0-2 age division with the time of 49 s on my watch as Jenny and I paced him. I will ignore the official times for the kids races as they were all off and report what I had on my watch from now on. We hoped for the first, but we knew that it would be difficult to convince him to race all out at such a tender age. So 49 seconds on race day is a decent result for him. This ended up being our only non-win in the kids races for the day.
Then William won the 400 meter race (ages 3-4) with 2:14. In addition to the turkey he is going to get a violin. Jacob has one, so he wanted one as well. I told him that if he either won the race or broke 2:00 he could get one. Julia and I ran with him.
Joseph and Jacob won the 800 meter race in their age groups. I paced Joseph, while Benjamin paced Jacob. Joseph took the lead at the turnaround - his split was 93. Then I think he relaxed a little seeing that he's broken the competition and maybe did not quite run as scared as he should have been. But he won the 7-8 age division with 3:14 by 7 seconds over his competitor. A bit slow for him, but it is hard for little kids to run a good time in the fall.
Jacob had a problem with his pants falling down (in the bustle of getting all the kids ready on the morning of the race an uncertified/unapproved pair of pants managed to sneak past security), but still won with 3:40 by 44 seconds in the 5-6 age division.
Then Jenny and Julia raced in the mile. I paced Julia while Benjamin paced Jenny. Julia moved into the first girl position after the first 200 meters or so and stayed there until Jenny passed her with about a quarter to go. Both of them ended up winning their age divisions with very good times. Jenny ran 6:45 which is only 3 seconds slower than her healthy track PR. Julia did get a PR of 6:49 by 6 seconds.
So with me winning the 35-39 age division, and all of the kids except Stephen winning theirs we earned 7 turkeys. Additionally we got a turkey + potatoes award for the largest immediate family participating in the race. We hoped also to get the most pregnant participant award, but they never announced it before we had to leave.
Overall a good day for the family.