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Turkey Trottin'

Thursday, November 26, 2009
This morning I ran in the Turkey Trot at the Zoo. It's a 4-mile run that starts at the Oregon Zoo Forestry Center, descends down to the street next to the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park, goes back up, and then back down again into the zoo itself. There's about 550 feet of elevation difference between the top and bottom, and I ran the whole thing.

Since I started at the back of the crowd (the front was where the people running 5-minute miles were), it was almost 30 seconds after the race started before I actually was moving because 1000 people don't just all start running at once. And, when we did start, we immediately bottlenecked going down the hill so it took several minutes for the crowd to spread out enough to where I could find a pace. After that, I just kept running along.

Now let me be clear: by "running" I mean "moving at a pace faster than walking". While the timer said 44 minutes 39 seconds as I crossed the finish line (indicating a pace of about 11:10 per mile), that's still faster than I could have walked it and I never stopped running. So, while I wasn't fast, I still did it. (Speed will, I'm sure, come with time.) Also, I'm pretty sure I wasn't the slowest runner there.

A lot of people commented that it was going to be difficult to start going downhill and then have to finish going up. I didn't actually find that to be the case. It always takes me a few minutes to warm up and fall into a pace anyway, so I'd have just fatigued myself faster by starting uphill. As it was, the downhill portion gave me a chance to warm up before tackling the hill back to the top.

It was an extremely fun run, with the temperature in the low 40s and a light rain keeping me cool, and I'm definitely looking forward to doing the next run farther and faster!


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