I'm sure I'm not alone right now in feeling like I'll never even be able to fit into my running clothes again, much less actually be able to run. Yes, I enjoyed quite a bit of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and desert. Quite a bit. But at least the day started off with a metabolism boosting run.
My friend Dave Zimmer, the owner of Fleet Feet Sports, says Thanksgiving day is the biggest day for running in the U.S. That's because there are so many 'Turkey Trots' everywhere. In the Chicago area alone there are at least a dozen. Dave's store sponsors three of the biggest: Lincoln Park, Edison Park, and Elmhurst. It's like that in many other cities as well, and it makes sense.
Judging by the race I ran in Elmhurst, there seem to be lots of people who run one race a year, and it happens to fall on a Thursday in late November. The Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot was in it's 24th running this year, and they drew more than 6,000 runners. It has become quite a tradition in the western suburbs. From what I could see there were relatively few faster, more experienced runners, and lots of families running together. There were also plenty of walkers. And everyone seemed to be having a good time.
This was not the race to worry about P.R.'s or speed. I estimated the first mile marker had to be long by probably somewhere near 200 yards, judging by my splits, but I think I was one of the few who noticed. And I doubt anyone really cared much. This was all about having fun, and working up an appetite for later. They also raise quite a bit of money for the Dupage County food pantry, and on this day there really can be no better reason to run than to help others less fortunate than ourselves.
They also weren't collecting numbers or chips at the finish line. I will have to live without knowing what place I finished in, or my official time. That wasn't something they were worrying about, so neither was I. I got my time off my watch, and I succeeded in running an easy 7 minute pace. Hey, this is the off-season! And I got a couple extra miles in running to and from my car, which was parked quite at least a mile away. So all in all, a good day, and the start of a good relaxing holiday.
Lots of food, family and football. Eventually, I'll digest it all and hit the roads again, but right now I can't imagine when. The diet starts tomorrow (or after all the left-over turkey is gone). Happy Thanksgiving!