Time To ‘Earn My Turkey’

download (1)Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in America and for me it will contain a new first, a half marathon.  This year the term ‘first’ has been applied to many new endeavors as I am a newly minted athlete, former life long ‘couch potato’ and this half marathon should be the last of my ‘firsts’ experiences for 2013.  The half marathon I am running is the Atlanta Track Club Thanksgiving day half marathon.  Their catch phrase for the event is “Earn Your Turkey”  and with 13.1 miles of running I am sure I will.

Last October/November I ran my first three 5k races ever (I lump these together as they are sorta a blur now).  At that time I believed a 5k would be my max, maybe I could push for a 10k distance race.  At that time I ran the 5k distance in around 45-46 minutes and it took days to recover.  As last Thanksgiving rolled around and I scoured the web for running races I came across the Atlanta Half Marathon on thanksgiving day.  It’s “Earn Your Turkey” moniker really stuck, but I could not conceive of being able to run that distance in a year, I had just began running.  Deep down I filed this race away in my head and my dreams and I secretly thought it would be a great way to finish 2013, a year full of firsts.

downloadAllot has changed since Thanksgiving time a year ago.  I am a much more confident person and I have changed.  I know what I can and cannot do and I know I can endure more pain and hurt than I ever thought possible.  Up to this point, I have ran 10.5 miles and felt like a few more would have been doable.  Tomorrow I get to run around Atlanta and see the city from the unique perspective of a runner.  I know Atlanta and its sights, but the chance to run and see them should be really cool.  I have simply chalked tomorrows Half Marathon up as a fun 3 1/2 hour limited sight seeing run.  I figure instead of focusing on the mileage I would just focus on the major sights along the path.  2 Miles and I am at Centenial Olympic Park… 4 Miles Atlantic Center Station… 6 Miles I get to run through Piedmont Park for the first time ever… 10 Miles Oakland Cemetery (I once worked here as an archaeologist during renovation) home of numerous prestigious Atlantans including Bobby Jones… then the home stretch and I will be done.

imagesHandling the run in this manner should get me to the finish line by the three and a half hour cut off time.  When I ran my 10.5 mile run a few weeks ago I was slow but with an average pace around fourteen and a half or so, I should be able to finish by the maximum cut off time with a few more miles.  Of course I know this course is hilly, but it cannot be any worse than the 4.5 mile loop I frequently run.  I plan to incorporate a five to one run to walk ratio.  While the Galloway running method prefers shorter run to walk ratios, I feel five minutes is perfect in giving me just enough time to get up some speed and get my legs moving before taking a break and recharging. When I start to feel tired and worn out I can always switch up my walk to run ratio, doing some two minutes running to one minute walking til I get enough rest and can get back to my standard five and one ratio.

This weekend I ran my final shake down run of five miles, a distance that would be light enough to loosen the legs and keep the stiffness at bay.  Unfortunately I did not take it easy enough and I finished two minutes faster than the previous runs.  On Monday I did an hour and a half recovery spin, low gear and high cadence,as well as spend allot of time walking, stretching and foam rolling throughout the week.  Today, my legs feel great!  I feel ready to run and I feel charged up for tomorrows run.

images (1)There are nerves of course, I am human after all, this is 13.1 miles and circles downtown Atlanta.  Just thinking of that total number of miles makes my head spin and suddenly I truly respect everyone with a 13.1 bumper sticker on their car.  I know what they had to do to earn their half marathon running sticker.  While I know I can finish, even if i have to walk, I am still nervous.  I always get a bit nervous before attempting a new unknown.  But I also know from everything I have been through this year and my ability to conquer the unknown.  Today I get to experience the expo and packet pickup, tomorrow I get race with 10,000+ plus people as we all run to earn our Thanksgiving turkey, gonna be an awesome day.  Wish me luck.  Til next time.

Any suggestions for my first half marathon?




  1. Good luck. That’s definitely an accomplishment and a great way to not feel guilty on Thanksgiving Day. I’ve even heard of the Atlanta one and “Earning Your Turkey” way up here in the Northeast. That’s pretty cool to be a part of that event.

    1. That’s hilarious to hear this event has become a little bit ‘known’. Should be fun as I have never ran with this many people or this big of an event before. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. I ran my half on a scenic route as well, spanning Detroit and Canada; I struggled through so many training runs but it was so much different on race day just soaking in the scenery!

    It wasn’t until mile 7 that it actually clicked that I was running a HALF MARATHON. At mile 10, my body kinda said nope, done.. and I felt like I had walked much of the last few miles, but my goal was to finish. I had no major expectations and based on my training runs set up goal of 2:45. Provided there are no injuries and you are fueled properly, I guarantee you will go faster than you think!

    I finished at about the same pace as my 7 mile run!

    1. Read the race write up, really cool. Loved the crossing of the border. It was very inspiring and you are inadvertently fast. Thanks for the follow and suggestions.

      1. Thanks for calling me fast! 🙂 I get stuck in the comparison game reading other blogs but absolutely did my best and super proud of my time!

  3. Yeah Chatter! Have an awesome run!

    Advice? Nothing you don’t already know. Drink before you’re thirsty (but small sips!) and eat before you’re hungry (a Gu at 0:45 and 1:45 did me good). Don’t worry about pace, just finish!

    Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

    1. Thanks Gina. I try to Gu every thirty as this keeps me from hitting a slump. Kinda allot, but this is what I found worked in my 15k earlier and my double digit run. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Second the GU thought; eating wont replace fitness, but it can sure help keep your legs going. I found I needed one at km 15 (sorry, Canadian) but didn’t have one. Bad idea.

    Finishing a half marathon is a big feat, so make sure you smile crossing the finish line.

    Good luck this weekend.

  5. Best of luck! I love running half-marathons – it’s a real challenge that requires some serious training, but doesn’t take over your whole life either. You can absolutely do that. I remember when I trained for my first half-marathon and found that the mental side of things was surprisingly challenging. I also found it hard to get my head around running that distance. Be playful with it, is what I’d say. Respect the challenge, but don’t ever let that stop you. For now, make sure you just enjoy the training and benefits it brings – all the best!

  6. Good luck, enjoy, and take it all in! Hydrate, pace yourself, fuel regularly and stick to the strategy you trained with. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

  7. The hardest part is behind you (the training). Relax, run and enjoy the experience! 🙂 Best of luck … we’re excited to hear how it goes!

  8. I need to know how it went!!!

    1. Will get a post up, but 3:13:00! And I am ready to do another.

  9. […] Time To ‘Earn My Turkey’ (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

  10. […] Time To ‘Earn My Turkey’ (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

  11. […] Time To ‘Earn My Turkey’ (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

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