The rising of the sun, and the running of the deer
Wait, was I whining earlier about training through the summer in Phoenix, getting up hours before sunrise to get my run in? Because now that winter hibernation reflex has kicked in, it’s a struggle just prying my butt out of bed in time to get in to work! Add to that the usual schedule crunch of the holiday season, and I definitely have not been getting all the miles in that I should be lately. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been having some fun!
The final two races of my holiday trifecta (which could become a quadfecta if I do a New Year’s day run) were the Mesa Mi Amigos Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, and the 12Ks of Christmas in Gilbert.
Mesa Mi Amigos Turkey Trot 10K
Held in eastern Mesa on Thanksgiving Day, this race is advertised as a “family” event , and there were a lot of families with kids there for the 2K fun run. Yes, there was a turkey to chase, or at least someone in a turkey suit, as well as a guy dressed as a giant tiki log (?) who was apparently the mascot for an orthodontics office (!). The 10K course is a loop on city streets that look flat, but there’s a stealth hill – a nearly imperceptible grade south to north that just makes you wonder why you seem to be slowing down…
About halfway through I had to pull to the side and stretch out my lower back, which was getting really tight. Then back on the road again. Other than that I was feeling pretty good. My pace times at track have shown a big improvement lately so I felt pretty comfortable pushing myself a little. Among the spectators lining the final mile were quite a few little kids putting their hands up for high fives from the racers – how kewl!
Official time: 1:00:48 – a PR – and next time I’ll break that one-hour mark!
12Ks of Christmas
Who could resist an invitation to “run in a sea of Santas”? Benefitting several local animal rescue groups, this is more of an event than a race. There’s a holiday crafts fair, a separate area where you can adopt a new friend, a mainstage with live bands, and “carollers at every K” along the race course. Costumes are encouraged; dogs are permitted in the race; and dogs with costumes were everywhere.
I ran into a couple of people from my running club in the start area. Weatherwise we were just coming out of a cold snap into a warm stretch, and the race didn’t start until 10:00, so no-one knew quite what to wear. I wore my capris and a short-sleeved tech shirt over a light long-sleeved T (that read “You want figgy pudding? You can’t handle figgy pudding!”). I neglected to bring my sunglasses – big mistake. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
So with 1000 entrants the race got off to a slow start, dipping into and right out of a steep gully before hooking up with the trail. The course ran between a riparian area along the backs of some horse properties and along one of the canals. Two horses, a pony and a mule were so excited by the sight of all the human runners that they were galloping laps around one corral.
It got hot pretty quickly, especially running along the canal, and by the halfway point I’d shed my Santa hat and tech shirt and pushed up my sleeves. The carolers were a nice touch, ranging from Renaissance to school jazz band to youngsters rapping Christmas carols. Along the final couple Ks I started overtaking the back pack of the 6K racers, who had started 15 minutes later than the 12K.
Official time: 1:14:36. I reward myself with a bean-and-cheese burrito, then head off to put in some more hours at work. Bah humbug.