This Thanksgiving, I participated in the 3 Run 2 Turkey Trot 8k “race.” Race is in quotes because it was an unofficial race – no chip time, no closed course, no entry fee, no water or aid stations on the course, no bag check, etc. It was basically the same thing as the Sunrise 6k: a group tempo run but with an atmosphere of semi-competition because we call it a race. However, this was SO much fun and I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Typically on Thanksgiving I participate in the North Shore Turkey Trot because it’s in Highland Park and my parents live a few blocks away. However, this year I would have had to pay ~$70 to participate and I sad HELL NO. No way I would pay that much for a 10k! I scrambled around to look for something else. Luckily, my friend Andy posted about 3 Run 2’s event. 3 Run 2 is one of the only running groups in Chicago I hadn’t ever joined for a run, but I have wanted to for a while. This was a perfect opportunity.
3 Run 2 offered a 5k-ish and an 8k-ish distance. I say ish because, since the race was not official, the distances were approximate. We started and ended at Dark Matter coffee on Western. We ran south to Hubbard and then east to Ashland (for the 5k) or Halstead (for the 8k). At the corner, we turned north to Chicago Avenue, then left back to Western. In other words, a rectangle. As an unofficial race, the course was open. Meaning cars, pedestrians, etc. Also meaning that if you got to a red light, you had to stop and wait for traffic. That was all part of the fun!
The races started at 10am. I arrived at about 9:30 to do a warmup mile and to go to “Packet Pickup” (they had printed off paper bibs). A huge crowd of November Project folks were there too which was great to see.
I would estimate about 100 runners or so came, which was more than I expected. After Micaela took a large group picture, the 8k runners lined up to race: racers in the front and the “fun speed” or stroller/dog walkers behind them. My plan was to run a time trial to assess current fitness level, keeping in mind the red lights might throw things off.
I encountered a red light at Grand, and again at Damen. On the way back, I was stopped at the Milwaukee/Grand/Halsted three-way intersection and the Ogden/Chicago/Elston intersection for about a minute each. I actually enjoyed the stops because I would catch up to the runners who were just in front of me, and the runners who were a few blocks behind me would also catch up. When the light turned green, it was extra motivation to stay with the just faster runners while trying to lose the just slower runners. Plus the little breather didn’t hurt.
Overall my splits were 7:04, 6:54, 7:02, 6:56, 7:00 (for the .8) – total time of 33:30. It was about a minute slower than the 8k I did in December 2015, and a minute and a half slower than my 8k PR last year, but I was second female overall for the 8k! Plus, for where I am at the moment speedwise, I’ll take it. This is a refocus period after all. It was a good way to get a semi-benchmark for the F3 Half Marathon in January (read about my training here).
After the race, I hung around with November Project friends and said hi to Maggie, a fellow running blogger and social media friend. AND I had coffee for the first time EVER. Yes. You read that right. EVER. Blame my parents for being overly-scary when I was growing up. “NEVER START DRINKING COFFEE IT’S THE WORST HABIT EVER!” It was ok – a bit too bitter for me – and I was really hyper for the rest of the day.
I’m glad I participated in the 3 Run 2 Turkey Trot instead of doing my typical race. It was a great introduction to 3 Run 2, and a fun way to start Thanksgiving. Although the course was not closed and had red lights, the idea of doing a rogue, unsanctioned race made it a bit more exciting. I loved that they had bibs for us to wear, and the dollar coffee from Dark Matter was a great perk! Hanging out afterwards with friends and meeting other runners was also time well spent. This is definitely something I will keep on my radar for next year!
Did you run a turkey trot this Thanksgiving? Have you ever done an unofficial race like this? What’s your stand on coffee? I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap to bring you this race report. Hope you had a lovely holiday!