GRANT PARK TURKEY TROT RACE REPORT 2015

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.

Race MorningIMG_7408

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.

The Start

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

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 IMG_7388finished, 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.

IMG_7393IMG_7404

Post Race

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 IMG_7409the 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: 0IMG_7419
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: 19:29Screenshot 2015-12-25 22.22.50
2nd place age group
17th place overall out of 1886

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2014 in Review

I was thinking about this the other day – I had a moment where I said to myself, “the last year has been really great.” But what I realized was that I’ve been praising the last 365 days for the last, well, about 365 days, meaning I’ve had an amazing year-plus, with no end of awesome in sight. Fingers crossed.photo

Let’s do a 2014 by the numbers: 

Number of races: 9
Number of races I won: 2
Number of age group podium placements, not counting wins: 2
Number of medals: 9 (but only from 5 races!)
Number of trophies: 1 (it has flames on it)
Shortest race: Grant Park Turkey Trot 5K
Longest race: HITS Naples 140.6
Most bizarre race I participated in: Brooklyn Bridge SwimIMG_4538
Favorite race: HITS Naples 140.6
Number of severe sunburns received: 1 —>
Best finish photo: Rev3 Half Aquathon
Worst (but sort of best) race photos: Grant Park Turkey Trot
Number of visits to Finish Line Physical Therapy: 24
Number of specialists I saw: 2
Number of broken bones: 1
Number of times I flew to Chicago: 4
Number of times I drove to the Midwest: 2
Number of flat tires this year: 2
Number of pairs of shoes I ran: 10
Number of those shoes that were test shoes: 5
Longest ride not in a race: 146.8km (91.2 miles)
Longest ride in a race: 180km (112 miles)
Longest run: 21.6 miles
Fastest mile in a run (never tried for a single mile pace): 5:38/mile (5.3 mile run)
Number of crashes: 0
Number of athletes I coached privately: 9
Number of athletes I coached privately who met or exceeded their goals: 9
Number of times said athletes cursed my name: unknown
Number of whole cakes I consumed alone in under 72 hours: 2
Number of mini muffins consumed mid-ride with ETC: approximately 42
Number of times I put coffee in a water bottle while riding my bike: 1
Weirdest thing I ate while riding my bike: leftover burrito
Most memorable ride: first time to Orchards with Cameron
Most memorable run: canceling the ETC run because of rain but running with everyone (at their own risk!) anyway while it monsooned on us
Song most often stuck in my head while running: Sia “Chandeliers” (1-2-3, 1-2-3-3)

Monthly highlight reel & favorite moments:

January: Placed 1st in AG, 4th overall at HITS Naples 140.6. Two weeks later, ran the coldest half marathon of my life. Started attending November Project workouts. Interviewed Janet Mock.

February: Spoke at Harvard. Joined the GO! Athletes Board of Directors as Director of Strategic Initiatives. Wrote for Huffington Post.

March: Named to Trans 100 list.

April: Helped my wife with her amazing show at Abron’s Arts Center. harvard1Modeled for Brooks Pure Project Trunk Show at New York Running Company. Volunteered at Brooklyn Half.

May: Enjoyed the Bahamas. Taught kids how to ride bikes.

June: Volunteered at REV3 Quassy. Won my first race. Attended the Nike LGBT Sports Summit in Portland. Enjoyed Voodoo Doughnuts. A lot.

July: Was inducted into the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Did my first evIMG_7135er (and likely last!) swimming race. Got officially cleared by USADA. Modeled for the Role Model issue of Candy Magazine.

August: PRed and placed top 10% in NYC Tri, even with a 6 minute stop to change a stranger’s tire. A week later, won the November Project Positivity Award and a silver medal at Gay Games 9. Recorded my first radio interview with OutCasting Media.  Named to Advocate 40 Under 40 list.

September: Won my second race. Spoke on panels in Denver and 10489847_805774314922_2196117563667788321_nYonkers. Began job as bike messenger. Went camping and loved it.

October: Spoke twice in NYC. Led NYC Marathon training runs and conducted a marathon clinic for runners. Maybe slept in?

November: Volunteered at NYC Marathon. Attended the NCAA Think Tank on LGBTQ Athletes and Religion. Transathlete.com turned 1. Met a muppet (cannot wait to talk more about this in 2015). Did my first recorded Google Hangout panel with Campus Pride. Spoke in Philly. Began the Deck-a-Day New Year’s Resolution Jump Start group, with nearly 400 members today.

December: Got a holiday card from the President. Candy Magazine released. Broke my toe. Named Best Personal Trainer of the Northeast by Competitor Magazine. 

Best-of-Competitor-2014-LogoThat’s not all, but that’s enough. It has been a TREMENDOUS YEAR and I couldn’t be happier to have the community, opportunities, and blessings I have. I was thrilled to meet great new friends, to spend so much time with Empire Tri Club, to see the athletes I coached have such great success, and have the opportunities to share my story with others. I have an awesome life, an awesome wife, and big goals to keep the momentum moving into 2015.

Happy New Year!

Grant Park Turkey Trot Race Report

headerSaturday, December 1, was the Grant Park Turkey Trot 5K in Chicago. I was in town for Thanksgiving, and knew I would be close, so I couldn’t pass up the option to take part in another Windy City race. I was staying in a hotel on Michigan Avenue with my wife, her cousins, and her mom. The hotel had a grand pool, where I got in a quick 600 m the night before – my first swim since the Poconos. Shhh….IMG_0790

I ate a huge dinner at Kiki’s Bistro, where I had a super cheesy pizza the size of a plate and various desserts. I was still feeling full when I woke up on race morning – never a good sign – so I didn’t eat anything. My wife and I were sharing a room with her cousin, so I got dressed in the bathroom and snuck out of the room at 7 am to get to packet pick up in Grant Park.

Pre race 

I ran just over a mile to get to the packet pick up. It was about 31 degrees, with a wind chill to make it feel like 25 degrees. I wasn’t sure what to wear, because it was expected to warm to 40 by the end of the race. I ended up in my typical winter ninja outfit: black tights, a tech t covered by a long sleeve covered by my black Nike jacket, hat and gloves, and my Rev3 buff.

I was nicely warmed up by the time I got there. But I also had 45 minutes to wait until race start. I got my packet, pinned my bib. I took trip to the porta potties, and tried to stay warm near a wall by the bathrooms. I did a little active stretching and lunge matrix warm up, and with 10 minutes to the race start went to drop my bag. I took my jacket off and checked it, and went to the start corral.

This was a Turkey Trot and a family-friendly event with some children and many walkers. I intended on running, and knew I wanted to line up near the front. I saw the 10 or so guys who I expected to win and lined up by them.

The startIMG_0792

With four minutes to the start, I decided another bathroom trip would be a great idea. I ran to the porta potties and back with a minute to spare. That was a good warm up.

The race

The race was one mile up, one mile back along the lake to the aquarium, into Grant Park, and a loop to the finish. I kicked too hard when I saw the finish line without realizing there was still about .15 miles left. I hit the 3 mile sign when I thought I was going to be at the finish. Rookie mistake to not know the course! Still, no one passed me. I expected to average about 6:20/mile with my foot injury and not really running since September. I was surprised to run 6:12 averages. I was definitely racing it, but felt untrained and slower than my potential. I also felt my pizza for about half the race.

The Photos

I had one photo from an old NYRR race that looks like all of my skin is falling off my face. I’ve always said it was my worse photo. But the photographers had to have a field day looking at the photos of me from this race. The photos look like it hurt more than I remember it hurting. It was a 5K! It was not this serious!!

photos

After the race, I saw a guy in a New York Running Company shirt. turkeytrotI asked if he was a NYer, or just ran the marathon. He actually works at the Running Company, so we talked and took a photo. I drank some hot cider, gathered up a few protein bars and cookies (but didn’t eat any – still wasn’t hungry) and did my deck a day while waiting for awards. I knew I did well, but wasn’t sure how many people ahead of me were in my age group. I didn’t win anything (5th in AG) but I would have won the AG I’ll be in next year – something to consider for next November. Then I walked back to the hotel.

By the numbers

Temperature: 31 start, 38 finish
Weather: clear and beautiful, very sunny
Number of times I hit the bathroom before the race: 4
Number of times I did that because it was warmer than outside: 3place2
Big burps I let out on the run: 1
Number of people who passed me: 2
Number of people I passed: 3

Nutrition consumed in race: 0
Hydration consumed in whole race: 0
Hydration consumed after race: 2 ciders, 2 coffees

Layers of shirts: 3 before, 2 during, 1 for photos
Layers on legs: 2

Number of 5Ks I’ve ever raced: 1

Finish time: 19:12
5th place age group
15th place overall

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