Racing. I hit the road (driving) at 645 to head on down to downtown O-Town for the Turkey Trot 5K. I was fueled with a plain bagel and the magic blueberry jam and a cup of coffee. Beans were in my pocket just in case.
It was a nice 47F outside with the sun rising over the treetops - in the east no less. I took a nice warm-up lap around the track at the school where I parked.
Over 3,500 came out to run, no less that 50 of them, it turns out, were former or current Winter Park Cross Country team runners or parents. At the post race mob scene the orange and black was everywhere.
I managed to get tucked in towards the front of the start line pack. The collective body heat kept the chill down. Too many runners were overdressed, I thought, with tights, hats, gloves, double layers, etc. I had on my short sleeve shirt and shorts. I knew it would be fine once the sun rose enough.
The start was clean and not crowded. I was a tad stiff but loosened up quickly. I sensed my pace was high. I pressed on my thumbnails to regulate the breathing. I found myself passing some of the WPCC team alums who were clearly out of shape or training. I wondered how far I'd go before walling myself.
I had my timer set for 7:50 mile alarms. I reached the first mile in 7:53. Nice.
The second mile was slightly downhill. I passed 2 miles feeling strong and fast. 7:38. Wowzer.
The turn for the third mile came sooner than I thought. So did the home stretch turn. I was just cruising along feeling like I was on a high. Third mile: 7:48.
Last tenth: :46.
Across the line in 24:05. A "qualified" personal record. Man, did that feel good.
The PR was actually my second best time ever. The other PR was an insane 23:26 I did in August 2005. I remember just screaming through that race in the summer heat but to have cut :51 seconds off my previous PR was too weird. I accepted it but wondered whether the course was short.
Today I was sure of the distance and proud of the effort. I was ready for some football.
Turkey Bowl. Five families including mine and a handful of other young 'uns get together each Thanksgiving morning for a rousing game of two-hand touch football. We counted off and became Teams 1 and 2. Late arrivals were drafted onto the field in no apparent order. Team 1 ended up with 12 on their side. We only had 10 but it really didn't matter.
Everybody ran around with absolutely no set plays and a lot of laughing and joking. And in a record of achievment, for the fifth straight year, there were no injuries. I will have to say that my thigh muscles and others used to pivot and lunge are a bit sore today. It's a lot different than running.
International Relations. We had Kremena, the internation business major student, from Bulgaria, over for Thanksgiving family dinner. It was nice to share the feast with someone so curious about American customs. For me, it was a great excuse to get out the Atlas and tour Bulgaria on the maps and learn about a place I may never see in person. I love maps.