Last year at Turtlefest I put together a great race and improved my PR by around seven minutes to 26:10. My goal for that race was to run under 30 minutes somehow I was able to beat that by a good margin. I was really looking forward to going back this year and trying to improve on that effort. I has hoping that I would be well recovered from the Chase Race and Hillsboro and that my hard effort in each of those races would leave me in better shape for Turtlefest.
Erin and I got up early Saturday morning to drive down to Perham. When we got there we drove to the park where the race was last year. On our way to the park we passed what looked like the finish area for the race which seemed odd. When we got to the park it was empty so we headed back to where we saw the finish line. This year the race organizers had changed. The local cross county coach was running the race now and as part of the change the route had been moved a little. After picking up our packets we had a little bit of time to kill. As we waited we saw Jill and talked with her for a while. Ray also showed up with his kids who were all running the race this year. Erin and I were a little disappointed that Connie didn't come with but we were happy to see the rest of the family with Ray.
Erin and I warmed up and headed over the where the race would start. The race started on the road and would eventually move onto the bike path. There wasn't chip timing at this race so we both started a bit more forward in the crowd then we normally do. Since my goal was to improve on my chase race time I had my splits memorized and figured I'd just try to beat each of them by a few seconds. The first mile I was able to shave off 12 seconds and I was feeling really good. I figured I would raise the intensity a bit for mile two and hope that I could hang on through the end of the race. I was able to make it through mile two, but I was really feeling the strain of the effort. The last mile seemed to drag on forever. I kept looking at the Garmin to figure out how much was left and each time I checked I didn't think I could hang on until the end. Eventually the route moved out of the trees and I could see where the finish line was. Somehow I picked the pace up a little knowing that I had a chance to go under 25 minutes. As I rounded the last turn I could see that the clock and gave it everything I had. When I finished I wanted to throw up but felt good about the effort I was able to give. As I waited for Erin to finish I talked with Ray and Terry. The congratulated me on my run and my new PR.
As Erin was finishing I shouted encouragement and she gave a strong finishing kick to finish right around the same time as the chase race. I thought she had beaten that time, but we needed to wait for the results to be posted to be sure. Erin wanted to sit for a while after the race to catch her breath. We talked about how things had gone and she said the thought during the race that she wished she was running a marathon instead so she wouldn't have to be working so hard. When she was feeling a bit better we got up and went over to check the results. We confirmed that she had taken a second off her chase race time for a new PR. I knew I had a good time, but didn't think I would be so high in the overall standings. I had taken 61 seconds off my chase race time. I knew it was a good race but I was blown away by how well I was able to do.
Ray's family had a good day with all of them placing in their age groups. Erin came in at 29:13, a new PR, and I had run 24:40 which was good enough for second place in my age group.