Although packet pickup was available the two days before the race, we opted to pick up on race morning. Normally I like to take care of all this before race day, but with my sister not arriving until Wednesday night, early pickup was not possible. Since Oceanside is a good 40 minutes away, and I didn't know what the parking situation would be like (there was also a 5 mile race starting at 7:00 a.m., which would further add to the parking problem) we left my house at 6:45, which I hoped would be plenty of time for an 8:25 race start. As it turned out, parking was very hard, so I was glad we'd left early.
I decided to dress up in costume for this race, in a Thanksgiving theme. We saw a lot of people with turkey hats, etc...but I think my costume idea was unique: we were footballs! I found football hats in the dollar bin at Target and was able to get enough for all 7 of us. I wore my Dallas Cowboys football jersey, and a few others in our group wore football shirts as well. Hey, football is just as important a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey is!
Once parked, we easily found our way to the registration tables where we received our bibs and commemorative timing chips ( t-shirts were given out to finishers at the end). We then had time to kill, which we spent in the back corral. This was a mistake. It took forever for our corral to cross the start line, and that was with all the walkers. We had a lot of walkers to weave around. But it was too crowded in the corrals to have moved up. In the future, if I do this race again, I will get there even earlier and line up in the appropriate corral for running my pace.
Once we crossed the start, and got past all the walkers, we settled into our pace. By "we" I mean my son and my niece. My best friend and the exchange student were right ahead of us for the first half of the race, but we took a walk break and lost them. My sister and nephew were only a few minutes behind us, doing a run/walk. The first half of the race was on a regular street---but the second half took a turn west, with a spectacular view of the Pacific laid out in front of us. We then turned north and ran the last mile on the street adjacent to the ocean. The weather was perfect---I was in short-sleeves and got hot. A truly magnificent run.
My son, niece and I ran most of the way, only taking a few walk breaks. I was so proud of them both, especially my niece, who truly rocked her first 5k! Once we got to the finish line, the kids sprinted ahead of me and crossed. Once there, we got our medals (a great touch for a 5k) and found my best friend and the exchange student, who had already finished. Just a few minutes later my sister and nephew crossed. More pride! To be there for my sister's, niece's and nephew's first race was amazing. We got our (cotton) t-shirts, given only to finishers, and proceed to come home, shower and cook.
I would definitely do this race again if I do another Turkey Trot. It was much better organized than the one I did a few years ago (this year, that particular race was short on distance on both the 5k and 10k...this race clocked me in at a perfect 3.13 per my Garmin). The views of the ocean are unparalleled. I loved the wonderful costumes people ran in. As I said, the only thing I would do differently is get there earlier to get in a corral of runners, rather than walkers. All in all, it was a GREAT start to the Thanksgiving holiday!
In January I will again be running with my niece and nephew, this time in Houston. I can't wait, mainly because they were so excited! They told me the race was one of their biggest highlights from their trip to California. Maybe they've inherited the racing bug from their aunt? I can only hope