This was my second go at the Grant Park Turkey Trot on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Last year’s race was great, and the location is right outside of the in-laws’ place, so this year we got the whole family involved.
We had a busy afternoon the day before. We got our race bibs and great hoodies from the running shop, a Christmas tree from Home Depot, a bunch of groceries for our night party from Whole Foods, dropped off my wife’s mom at work, and then put up the tree. After that, it was off to dinner. We had a night out at Kiki’s Bistro (same as last year) where I again ate a pizza. Last year’s pizza incident was remembered (it sat in my stomach like a rock) so I only ate ¾ instead of the whole thing. Haha!
We left the restaurant early and went to a bar to see a friend, and returned to the house around 10:30. We were sleeping around 12 or 1 am.
We got up around 8 am. The crew was myself and my wife, her mom, and her two cousins. After getting dressed and pinning on our race bibs, we set off to Grant Park, just under a mile from the door. The wind was blowing, making it a little cold to begin. On the way over, I told my wife I was going to just have fun today. My last serious running was the Chicago Marathon, and I had done just a few fun runs since then. Nothing serious, very little speed work, and definitely no 5k race pace miles. I let myself off the hook on the PR – I felt I was not in a position for a PR, and acknowledging this was a good way let myself have fun.
We walked to the start and arrived about 10-15 minutes before the start; just long enough to not freeze, but with just enough time to use the bathroom one last time. I ran back toward the start, said goodbye to my wife, and went to line up near the front. The corals were full, but I made my way to about 3 rows back from the line. In front of me: a family wearing jeans. I politely pushed past them in the last minute and ended up starting with maybe the first 20 folks.
The race starts with a slight downhill and turn under a bridge, and then a very short, somewhat steep hill. It levels out for a mile out on the sidewalk and a mile back along the lake, then back under the bridge. The last miles is the perimeter of a chunk of park. Last year, I made the mistake of kicking when I saw the finish line … about a quarter mile too early. This year, knowing the course, I settled in at a strong but not exhaustive pace and let it rock. I didn’t push too hard. After the first mile, I got passed by the number two woman, but no one else.
There was a lot of goose poop on the straight stretch from mile one to two along the water, so that stretch was dodging piles, which added a little fun. I was wearing my new Nike flash vest over a long sleeve Nike hoodie and a tech shirt, which was perfect for the first two miles, but a little warm in the final mile. Awesome for running, and plenty of compliments after, but it was one layer too much during the run, so I was running with it open and draping off of me for the final .75 miles.
It was a good run. Basically, a strong tempo run, with no pressure. I finished, put my medal in my vest pocket, and ran back on the course until I found the rest of the group at about the 1.5 mile mark. My wife was wearing THE MOST AMAZING OUTFIT (everyone else in the group – along with 80% of the rest of the field was wearing the race hoodie) and was running up and then running back to walk with her mom for a bit, so we ran up and then back, and then I walked with her mom for the last mile until about 200 meters to the finish, when I ran up on the outside of the course so I could get finisher photos for them.
After the family finish, I checked the awards tent. Even with the easy cruising, I felt like I did okay, but I ran without a watch so I couldn’t tell the pace. I ended up with second place in my age group, with the first place guy smoking me.
After I got my award, I found the fam in the apple cider line. Then, cold walk home. Very cold walk, once the sweat froze. Very happy for the vest! We went to breakfast and had a great warm meal at Eggy’s.
After we got back, my wife and I went to the gym with her cousins. We met two little boys – probably ages 8 and 12 – and played an hour of 3 on 3 basketball, boys vs girls. We didn’t keep score, but it was a lot of fun.
By The Numbers
Temperature: 31 start, 32 finish
Weather: clear and beautiful, very sunny
Number of times I hit the bathroom before the race: 3 in house, 1 at race
Big burps I let out on the run: 1
Number of people who passed me: 8
Number of people I passed: 3
Nutrition consumed in race: 0
Hydration consumed in whole race: 0
Hydration consumed after race: 1 cider
Layers of shirts: 3
Layers I needed: 2
Layers on legs: 2
Song playing when I finished: “What Do You Mean” Justin Beiber
Number of medals I got: 2
Number of miles I ran: 5.5
Miles in the race: 3.1
Number of 5Ks I’ve ever raced: 2
Number of Grant Park Turkey Trot races I’ve raced: 2
Seconds slower than last year: 17
Number of times someone got hit in the face with a basketball: 3
Finish time: 19:29
2nd place age group
17th place overall out of 1886