The 2010 Turkey Trot for a Cause was my “A” Race for one reason and one reason only. I would be racing my 11 year old daughter for family bragging rights. This was our 3rd annual Thanksgiving Day 5k, but it was the first time Stephanie was in condition enough and competitive enough to actually race me. I will cut to the chase and admit that she did beat me. It was not a fitness victory, rather it was the superiority of her tactics. It was a close race, 25:51 to 25:52 and the outcome was not set until the final 100 meters.
First a little background. Last spring Stephanie (who I refer to as MLG ‘my little girl’ for short) ran cross country for her charter school. In her first race, she shot out to the lead by the first turn and about a mile in was running in 3rd place. Did I leave out the fact that MLG was a 5th grader running against 5th-8th graders? Meet after meet this would be the case as Stephanie would finish in third place with only 2 older girls ahead of her. Since the regular season meets included the same 5 teams, this would be expected. The next meet would be the regional meet and an additional 5 team. At this meet Stephanie would come in 3rd again. Finally the state meet rolled around and all of the National Hertiage Academy charter schools were represented. MLG was complaining of a sore knee and had a limp, but she wanted to run really badly. She did run and finished the 2 mile race in 14:45 but was limping really badly. Both her mother and I knew something was wrong. We eventually discovered she had a stress fracture of the Femoral Neck and underwent surgery at the end of May to put 2 screw into her femor to stabilize the Fracture.
After a remarkable recovery began training for Select Soccer with the Van Buren Wildcats F. C. We could early that she needed time to build up her fitness again and strength in her leg but by the time Fall Season started, I think it would be fair to say she was fully recovered. It was during this recovery that MLG decided the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot would be a race instead of a run we did together.
I had run my first Marathon in October of 2009, my first Half Marathon in April of 2010, my first Half Ironman distance Triathlon in June of 2010 and my second Marathon in October of 2010. My focus has only been on longer races so until 2010, my only 5k races were ones I ran with MLG. The best was a 28:06 that we ran in 2009. This year I did a sprint triathlon where I ran a 27:04 5k run leg. I then ran a 24:35 5k on Father’s day.
All of this being said, I was expected a competitive race. I didn’t count on MLG’s tactical superiority. She got me with the one strategy that will work every time. She used the “My Dad will always look out for me” strategy. We started very fast and I held back because I knew the pace was to fast for me. Then I saw MLG coming back. I eased off to keep her going and we ran together from about the half mile mark until the 3 mile mark. We ran at a good pace, but not at the ragged edge for me. I thought MLG was about to give up at the 3 mile mark, but as we rounded the final turn, she turned on a sprint that I was no match for because I simply am not as fast as she is in a sprint. I might say next year I will show her no mercy, but that is probably not possible. I am guessing next year she will be far to fast for me to keep up with and even if she isn’t I will always be a sucker for this year’s strategy.