Friday, November 26, 2010

Race Report: Cleveland Turkey Trot

Sometimes, it's more fun to hang back and talk to the giant turkey running beside you.

In this case, I mean that literally.

I ran the Cleveland Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning and had a blast. This was my sixth race since I resumed this insanity in May. In the other five I was all about the time, how fast can I go? Can I PR? How many women are in front of me? (In only one case was there the correct amount: 0).

A number of factors aligned to show that I would not be racing this one:
A) I was fighting off a nasty cold
B) My big race is a week from Saturday
C) I wanted to stick with my little sister, this was her first race since having a baby (note to self: Stop calling her "little". She's a mom now.)
D) There were 2,000 people there so there was no way I was going to win

The race started at 9:30. After a relatively hectic morning, which included hitting up everyone in my house because neither of us had any cash to park, we pulled up at about 9:20. Parking was a pain, there was a long line to get into the lot so we parked a good half mile away (we didn't need that cash after all). We met up with my college buddy, Evelyn, as the bullhorn was going off. Yay for chip timing, we stood back to avoid getting trampled then jumped in with the fray.

BURR. Let me say that again! BURR! Mother nature was nice enough to hold the monsoon until later in the day, but it was cold! I wore my MIT jacket for the first time.

This race boasted two types of crazy people:
1) Full high school cross country teams who, despite the 30 degree weather, wear singlets and shorts and get there early to line up in the front.
2) People who wear giant turkeys on their heads.

Some of the costumes were ingenious. Some wore turkey hats, of the cooked varieties. Others boasted feathers, boots, pilgrim hats, you name it.

Katie complained that the course was boring but I was enamored with it, mostly because I mostly do woodsy trail runs and solo treks down the bike path. This was right in the heart of Cleveland. Here's the course map.

We started at the Galleria and went down E. 9th, where we looped around by the Cleveland Browns stadium and the Rock Hall. Then we did a Figure 8 back by the Galleria, went south for another mile, and then came back down E. 9th.

The whole time I'm taking it slow and catching up with my sis. It was cool to take it easy and take in the scenery. Actually stop for a drink of water instead of trying to master the drinking-while-running art.

Right around Mile 4 we catch up to this guy huffing and puffing, and probably overheating. This was probably because he was dressed as a giant turkey. Wish I had a photo. I mean this costume pulled out all the stops, a headdress, feathers, boots.

As we passed him, I said something to the effect of: "Man I don't envy you right now."
He says: "Yea, I didn't think this through. And the guy up ahead has the exact same costume."

I've picked up a lot from spending a few years hanging out with politicians. One thing I've learned? Sometimes the best strategy is to set the bar so ridiculously low just so you can enjoy the ego boost when you hop over it.

With about a block to go, the clock is reading 53 and change. I turn to my sister and grin: "Think we can get there in 7 minutes?" The finish line is no more than a block away. We jogged across it. My official time was 54:26. I'll take their word for it, I never bothered to start my watch.

The end was kind of a sight in itself. People gathered in the Galleria, which is kind of an upscale shopping center. All the fancy shops were closed yet the mall was packed with sweaty runners. Not their typical crowd.

Next up: The Salt Fork 10-mile trail challenge. I'll take that one slightly more seriously :)


  1. Glad you had a fun race! Good luck on the trail run...I've never done one of those.

  2. Oh you should, they are so much fun! I know it sounds absolutely insane, but it actually makes the distance seem easier since you are focused so much on your footing, you forget how tired you are.

  3. You were smart to take it easy, especially when you haven't been feeling good. Also, it adds to the fun when you can do things with your sister. Now for the tough stuff. A ten mile trail race is going to a good challenge. Good luck!