Friday, November 23, 2012

Poultry Predictor Race Recap

As I may have mentioned, I have been doing a lot of studying lately. What has suffered the most? My running. I have had to choose work or sleep over running and I feel like my fitness has dropped off. I have been in denial about it mostly, until the race on Thanksgiving morning. Yikes. Let me back up a bit.

The Pilcher Park Poultry Predictor (say that 3 times fast) is a race where you win by guessing a time close to what you thing you will run. You don't win by being the fastest, you win by being the closest to your predicted time. What do you win? Pies and turkeys! I put my predicted time down of 32:00 which is an 8:00 mile. For 4 miles, I figured this was doable, especially since I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k at an 8:05 pace less than a month ago. I was able to register the day of the race for $10 ($8 if you pre-registered). There was no shirt and the race was gun-timed, not chip timed. The race sold out at 350 people. If you wanted to run the race, you still could but you weren't part of the "predictor" competition. A bunch of the FNRC was there and we took a group photo before the run.

I started the race with Nicole Fritz (occasional guest post writer, local speedster, half fanatic) and her cousin. We snapped a quick pre-race photo.

What is that on my head? Oh yeah, my awesome turkey headband that my co-worker made. It was quite the hit and appeared to be much easier to run in than some of the other turkey hats I've seen. On to the actual race. It was gun timed and pretty crowded at the start. We did some weaving and I could tell from the beginning that it was going to be a rough race.
Early in the race and still feeling good, hanging with Nicole's cousin.
Thanks for snapping the pic Nicole!

I started off strong but really started to feel it about half way. I wished Nicole and her cousin good luck as I had to drop back. As this was a "predictor" race, there were no mile markers and no Garmins or timing devices allowed. (Kind of freeing actually, but makes it really easy to go out too fast.) There were mile markers on the trail, but from a previous race. I spotted a "2" mile marker which was more around mile 3 and it totally beat me up mentally. Was I really only at mile 2? I felt awful! I wasn't in physical pain or anything, I just didn't feel like I was running my best (and I knew I wasn't).
(This is what pain looks like. And paleness. This is definitely what paleness looks like.)

It was a looped course and was well stationed with people directing you where to go. EXCEPT at the finish! I almost missed the last turn and was thankful that there were some of the speedier guys on a cool-down that helped direct me in the right way. I could hear some footsteps behind me and I knew a guy was right on my heels. I was going to do everything in my power to not let him pass me. He pushed and I pushed harder. I hear him call out "Nice kick!" as I entered the finish chute without letting him pass me. (Gotta say, that did feel good.) I was happy to be done and now it was time to wait for the results! When we finished, there was no clock alerting us of our time so we literally had NO idea how we did. I kind of wished there would have been a clock to let us know if it was worth hanging around or not. I had a hope that I finished in 32:00, but that was only a hope.

I waited with some of the FNRC for a little while, picked up my bag of goodies (clementine, granola bar, and 2 mini muffins. I only ate the clementine and gave the rest to a friend). The coffee pot was empty fairly quick, and I wasn't able to grab a cup (one of my favorite things about local races is the post-race coffee). I was next in line after the guy that took the last drop. First World Problem, for sure.
One more photo, modeling my headband
As I had to head home to hit the books, I didn't stay for the awards ceremony. I figured with this type of process with a lot of manual entry would take some time, and it did. A few of the other members of the group also had to leave to finish their Thanksgiving day food prep. My friend Amanda stuck around and was able to send me a copy of my time (Thanks Amanda!). Official finish time was 33:08. That is 7 seconds slower than my time last year on a very, very hilly course and also slower than my average pace for the Hot Chocolate 15k earlier this month. Just proof that my speed has dropped off a bit during this busy period with everything else going on in my life. I know I can always get it back with a little work and some time. :)

In summary, this race didn't have many frills, but that was one of the things I liked about it.

*I had never run on this trail before so it was a really nice change of pace.
*The support along the way was great, with signs of things we're thankful for, and volunteers directing us
*Cheap race without a bunch of stuff that we won't use/don't need
*Warming area and bathrooms. We had nice weather this year, but I imagine this isn't always the case. It is nice that this was offered
*Stroller and dog-friendly race... Not all races are popular with jogging strollers or dogs and it nice to know that this one is.

*The results took a long time to post.Given the old school method of tearing off the bottom of the bib, and the associated manual entry of the predicted times, this was kind of expected
*No one directing you into the finish area! A volunteer or sign would have been really helpful.
*Not really much of a post-race spread, but for the cheap price I was glad there was at least something :)

I'm not sure if I would do this race again, but I think that is just because I'm not sure if I'm a huge fan of the "predictor" style of the race. :)

Have you ever done a race like this before? What are your thoughts on the more "non-conventional" races?


  1. Britt @ Chicago Runner GirlNovember 23, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    trail races are always a bit more challenging, and sometimes slower. but that doesn't make your finish any less awesome! love the headband. wish that i wore something festive yesterday. at first when i looked at the race pics, it didn't look like you had shorts on and i was thinking 'what kind of $10 race is this???'...but than i looked closer.

    hope your turkey day was lovely otherwise!

  2. Thanks! Haha, apparently those shorts and my legs look about the same pale color in the brightness of the morning sun. LOL. Note to self to not wear those shorts when legs are as pale as they are now. Haha

  3. $8? Seems like you are always running races that cost about the same amount as the "transaction fees" of bigger ones. Yes, quick results are always a plus right after a race. Especially one where everyone who entered could be a potential winner.

  4. Girl, you look fierce! I've never run that type of race but it sounds like a blast!

  5. The predictor part of the race sounds really interesting and fun to try once or twice. But, man, I don't know how well I'd do without my Garmin or course clocks! I think you did really well considering those circumstances.

  6. Haha, I can't pass up a good deal! :) The pluses of living in the suburbs. Parking was also plentiful and free. :)

  7. I've run without my Garmin a lot during races before, but the hard part was the lack of mile markers. I had NO IDEA how things were going. It was a rough race but I was happy to be done. Thanks!

  8. What a cool concept for a race! I like this little twist!

  9. Maybe next year you can come out here and run it with us!?

  10. Sounds like a cool concept for a race. I love your turkey headband! I know how feeling slow is.. Currently facing the same thing as I get through these injuries. Heck! We can't be at 100% all of the time :) can't wait until your exam is over next week!!

  11. Haha, thanks! Yes, I have definitely been trying to adjust my expectations with running. It was inevitable but I'm happy I'm just able to get out there and run (if I have the time, that is).

    I also can't wait until my exam is over. :) Hope to see you and CB sometime soon! :)

  12. Potato pancakes at the christkindlmarket next week!!!!

    And CB is now good as new with all the stitches removed so he will be able to play with pepper. :)

  13. You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to those potato pancakes!

    Great news about CB!! We'll have to schedule our puppy play date soon! Let's discuss over boots full of liquid. :)

  14. I would come in last place if i had to predict my time. When i think i'll do great, i do terrible. When i think i'll do terrible, i do awesome. #fwp.
    That turkey headband is so amazing!

  15. I have heard of predictor races before but never knew someone who ran one! What a challenge! I didn't even think about the fact that they would not have mileage on the course and you would wonder how far you went! How did they police the no watch rule?

    You still had a great, speedy time!

    Love the hat! We saw some really cool turkey hats at the Turkey Trot I did!