Last year I scoffed at all the people running the Thanksgiving 10k right outside my apartment. Why would you suffer in the cold when there's a nice warm treadmill at the gym?
Well, my walking-distance gym closed down and I've taken to running outside more and more, so this year I joined the suckers for the Turkey Chase 10k.
I woke at the very civilized time of 7am and dressed for the expected low-thirties temperatures. Then it was but a two mile walk to the start line at my local Y.
I arrived about 20 minutes before race time, at which point I discovered something dismaying: because my OS had updated overnight, my phone's battery had plunged to a mere 30%. My friend and fellow runner Sarah texted me her location and bam, another 4% gone. Damn. No music and no photos for this race, apparently. :/
There wasn't much going on in the start area, but there was an announcer on stage with a couple people dressed like turkeys, so that was certainly thematically appropriate.
We were soon shooed into the start line area, where pacers were scattered among the group with signs denoting their expected finish times. The race site had advertised 4 different waves, but there ended up being at least twice that, which no clear delineation that I could see - a certain number of people were allowed to the start, they went, and then another group, etc.
The race started off in the back neighborhoods of Bethesda, initially in areas I was not familiar with before meeting up with my well-traveled regular running route. These neighborhoods were marked by what I would call sporadic hills; nothing crazy, but definitely noticeable.
After all that neighborhood time, we bottomed out at a hill I frequently travel - but where I would normally turn around and head back, we instead moved forward and turned onto Rockville Pike. A mile or so later and we were in downtown Bethesda proper. I waved to our apartment building as I passed by I guarantee Pat was still asleep.
We headed deeper downtown, eventually turning right by the Metro station before heading back up Old Georgetown Road. From there it was a straight shot back to the Y and the finish line.
So that's the course. As for my own performance - it was pretty good! Despite the MUCH hillier route, I was able to shave several seconds off my previous 10k PR a few weeks earlier at the Across the Bay 10k. My official time was 58:04:38.
The only thing that bums me out about it is that I had to stop to adjust my bib pins at one point. I only lost like 15 seconds but I wish I could have those 15 seconds back. Oh well - I'll just have to find a pancake-flat 10k and really beast my time!
The finish area was pretty disappointing, to be honest. I didn't see any snacks or water or anything like that. I guess they assumed people would be saving themselves for Thanksgiving dinner? There were various tents set up too but I didn't see a darn thing in 'em. Weird.
After a quick spin around the area I waded through some spectators and then ran the two miles home. Mission accomplished.
Will I run this race again next year? Hmmm. Maybe. It does seem sort of silly to shell out money for the privilege of basically running around the same backyard I can run for free, especially given how no-frills the event is. No Gatorade, no medal without a surcharge, no free snacks...
On the other hand, it's always nice to have the energy of a race, a timed course, and water stops. I'll give this one a strong maybe.
Did you run a local Thanksgiving race?