I wasn’t planning on doing a turkey trot this year, thinking I wouldn’t be able to convince my husband to do one, and I didn’t want to go alone. But then he said we should do a race on Thanksgiving morning. Wha??

Upon further conversations, turns out he plans to run the Chicago Marathon next year, so wants to start doing races of progressively longer distances (he’s done a half marathon, but it was in 2012).

Anywho, he said he didn’t want to do “just” a 5K, and luckily F^3 Events was putting on an 8K. So we signed up and took the L downtown on the cold Thanksgiving morning. Luckily, “Lakeshore East” (is that like … a neighborhood? Or just a marketing gimick?) has some indoor space where we could attempt to warm up while shedding layers.

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This is the third Thanksgiving race I’ve done, and so far seems to be the least crowded. I think we got to Lakeshore East around 8:40, meandered over to gear check around 8:50, then meandered over to the start (on the Lakefront Trail) a few minutes before 9am. The start didn’t have any corrals or even a start/finish arch, so I couldn’t tell how far back we were. Based on my experience with turkey trots (and the overcrowded horror story that is the Bonfield Express in Downers Grove) and the last 5K we did which felt like a turkey trot, and the fact that the Lakefront Trail can be narrow, I wondered how this would go down. But I wasn’t going to try to shove my way up front because I’ve been a lazy runner lately and as long as I beat my husband, I’d be happy.

Luckily, the race wasn’t too bad. The first mile was a little bit crowded but manageable, and I always treat the start like a warm up anyway (especially when I have no time goal), so it was a good way to hold back. By mile two, I had enough space to get into my own pace. The course was an out-and-back, starting along the harbor near the Columbia Yacht Club and joining the actual Lakefront Trail near the Museum Campus, heading south and doing a hair-pin turn around some cones by McCormick Place. We could see the leaders (including Tera Moody) on their way back. Temps in the mid-20s and they were still in shorts and singlets. I was wearing a baselayer, warm mid-layer, tights, gloves and hat, and started feeling comfortably warm by the second half. Before the race, the winds off the lake made me tempted to keep my extra layers on, I was pretty glad I didn’t.

After the race started, I tried to remember what my 8K PR is. I knew it was under 40 minutes, and the pace was under 8:00. But I also know I haven’t been doing speedwork or putting up any kind of braggable mileage, so I just ran what felt comfortably hard, then hard, then almost pukey, and kicked at the end.

Offical time was 40:04, 8:04 pace. Oh. Couldn’t go 5 seconds faster, huh? And then I would have beat Tera Moody, right? Basically … who cares.

I grabbed a few cups of water and a banana, might have spotted Tera near the bananas but wasn’t sure and didn’t want to ask some random woman if she was Tera Moody. And it was cold, so I headed back to gear check, put on my extra layers, got some free hot chocolate and went back inside to wait for my husband. (He finished in 54:19, the non-existent family trophy is still mine!)

On the way back the L, we spotted the remnants of the Thanksgiving day parade.

Post parade

Then it was time for Thanksgiving during which I drank a growler of Revolution’s Fistmas and almost zero vegetables* and tried to get as many kid-cuddles as I could from my niece and nephew.

* Apparently we were supposed to bring the salad. My husband forgot. We did bring beer, a cake, and a pie, so no one seemed to care. 

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I’m going to be sad when my nephew is too cool for cuddles. He’s 8, so I have at least one more year, right?