On Thanksgiving, I ran the North Shore Turkey Trot 10k like I have the previous few years. This is one of the few races I repeat each year because of its proximity to my parents’ home and our Thanksgiving celebrations.
Similar to last year, Fleet Feet hosted the expo in downtown Deerfield. However, unlike last year, there were massive crowds and about a 45 minute wait time to get through the process. I was surprised to see that packet pickup was only from 10-6pm on the Wednesday before the race. What about people who have to travel for Thanksgiving? Or people who have to work until 5? They did allow friends or family to pick up the packet if you couldn’t make it, but I still think 6pm was a bit early. Needless to say, it took a long time and was pretty hectic for a small store.
Race Day and Course Map
It was seasonably chilly on Thanksgiving morning. No shorts nor tank top this year! I love the no-frills start of the race. Parking is plentiful and the start area has more than enough porta-potties. The 5k started at 7:30 and the 10k started at 8:10. I realized this was for anyone who wanted a “Double Helping,” or to run both races. Smart! Maybe I’ll do that next year…
The course was identical to last year’s race. The crowd support was similar as well: crowds at the start, crowds at mile 4 (because it was a straight walk down the street from the start line) and crowds at the end. Along the way it’s sparsely populated with some locals walking their dogs or getting their morning newspaper. A very stark contrast to the crowds of Chicago or New York!
This Turkey Trot was my 16th and final race of the 2016 season. My legs were tired. I was mentally done with racing and looking forward to a few weeks of just running without a plan. Therefore, I was not going for any time goal. I was in corral G, the first corral of the 10k. When the gun went off, I surged out with the rest of the field, sucked in by adrenaline and competition. So much for not racing it.
By the time we made it down St. Johns to Cedar for the first turn of the race, I counted that I was third female. The rolling course brought us to Sheridan Road and the Nuun aid station just past mile 2. My splits for miles 1 and 2 were both 6:36, but by now I had dropped to 5th female. My legs just weren’t having it.
As we approached mile 4, we could see the fans gathering again. This was the other spectated area of the course because fans just had to walk down Central Ave. from the start line. I spotted my mom, taking a grainy video on her iPhone 3, and my dad a ways down trying to take some pictures. But just like that, we were alone on the roads again.
Around mile 5 another girl passed me, except she was really rude about it. As she ran by, she cut directly in front of me so I had to weave over to the curb to avoid clipping her heels. Where was you Thanksgiving spirit, girl?! By this point I was just wishing for the race to end. My splits were tanking hard; I had barely any gas in the tank. Mile 3 was 6:46, mile 4 was 6:55, mile 5 was 6:58.
For the last mile I was able to bring it to a 6:55, but I was fighting for that. Since the Chicago Marathon I had stopped speed training and it definitely showed! At the end, I ran in as 6th female overall with a time of 42:26, almost a full 2 minutes slower than last year, but good enough for 1st in my age group! Again at the end of the race there was no medal. Only non-vegan pies. Boo! The lack of finishing swag is definitely at the top of my list for things to change about the race!
As always, my parents were the best fans. I started my Thanksgiving off being thankful that they’d braved the cold weather to see me for a total of 30 seconds. Maybe one day I’ll convince my brother to join, so they’d at least have entertainment for a whole minute!
What do you think about not getting a medal at the end of a race?
Happy Thanksgiving and happy running,