My usual Turkey Trot race is either the 10K or the 5K at the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot the Sunday before Thanksgiving. However, due to various circumstances I ended up not running that event. Too bad as it’s one of my favorites. However, that didn’t mean I skipped the turkey trot tradition this year. Nope! I decided to try out the Grant Park Turkey Trot 5K instead.
Why the Grant Park Turkey Trot? Several reasons:
1. Close to home. With a race start just about 2 miles from my apartment I could get in a nice warm-up run on my way to the race. If I didn’t want to run it was easily accessible via public transportation.
2. Familiar course. I’ve traveled that section of Grant Park and the various paths and pedways on many a run. No surprise hills on this course!
3. Company! At least two other people I knew were signed up.
The race had bib number pick-up on both Friday and pre-race on Saturday. I chose Friday since with my plan to run to the race I knew I wouldn’t want to run home carrying my fleece sweatshirt.
My ugly (but warm) fleece sweatshirt. Why do turkey trot events always have the ugliest shirts?
Anyway, bib pick-up was a little less organized than I would have liked. I’m not a fan of races that require you to look up your own bib number but don’t allow you to do it in advance on their website or that don’t send it to you in advance via email or paper mail.
Race morning dawned much colder than the previous mornings and one of my running companions bowed out due to the weather (and too much Black Friday shopping). I bundled up with the idea of ditching my jacket at gear check when I arrived.
Unfortunately, gear check was way less organized than I would have liked and the line was wrapped around several tents.
With not enough time to wait in the line I joined a coworker at the start and resigned myself to running with my jacket tied around my waist. Ugh.
Let’s just say that when the race started I only made it about half a mile before I had to stop and readjust things. I finally gave up and ran holding my jacket.
The course itself was a bit crowded in spots but nothing I haven’t dealt with before. And while it was nice that there were no surprises, I think it allowed me to be a little lackadaisical during the last mile or so. At one point I found myself zoned out and not even trying to push my pace!
Overall, though, I finished in 25:42. And then ran the two miles home after watching my coworker finish.
Despite some of the disorganization and slightly crowded course, I would do this race again. It was refreshing to be able to get up at a reasonable hour, jog to the race, and got home. If you live near downtown and are in the city for Thanksgiving next year I recommend checking out the Grant Park Turkey Trot!