Name of the race: PPTC Turkey Trot
Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
Date: November 24, 2016
Time: 9:00 am
Distance: 5 miles
Terrain: Rolling hills of Prospect Park
Entry fee: $35 (I think)
Swag: Burnt sienna beanie and finisher’s medal
Post-race Food: Hot chocolate, bagels with cream cheese, apples and water
Performance: Overall 247/2229; Gender: 59/1291; Age (35-39): 11/232
Weather: 43 degrees, 61% humidity
My running club PPTC is known for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot and for the biweekly 5K summer series. These are fun cheap local races that attracts a strong running crowd.
Ben and I wanted to do this race last year, but we failed to heed warnings about how quickly this race sells out and before we knew it, the race was sold out and we were shut out. So this year, as soon as it was announced that registration was open, we registered for the race and then in a few weeks, the race once again sold out. Selling out in a few weeks is quite impressive for what is a local race.
I volunteered to help out with bib pick on Tuesday afternoon the Brooklyn Jackrabbit running store. Jay helped out with bib pick Monday evening, so he had a whole system for how the boxes with the bibs had to be set up for maximum efficiency. I approved heartily. I hate slow lines.
We’re a low key group so our bib pick policy is quite chill. You tell us your name and we hand you a bib. Picking up for friends? That’s cool. Tell us their names and we’ll hand you their bibs. No IDs. No confirmation emails. Nothing. All on the honor system. And it works. If a bib is missing, it’s because either the person forgot that they didn’t register (happens more often than you would think) or because they had a friend or a family member who came by to pick up for them and forgot to say something.
Because I love efficiency so much, as soon as a person appeared downstairs, I greeted them with, “What’s your last name?” Then depending upon what their last name was, one of the three of us scrambled to find the bib. Then the bib was presented with a flourish and I would say, “Please go over there to enjoy your burnt sienna hat.”
Every year PPTC gives away some kind of cool swag for this race. The past couple of years have been beanies. I really love the beanies because they’re quality beanies. Lovely thick material for keeping the cold out and the color (burnt sienna) was lovely. Some of the volunteers had a hard time believing that burnt sienna was a color, so I kept on saying it as many times as I could. Every time I told someone to enjoy their lovely burnt sienna hat, I cracked myself and the other volunteers up.
The other funny thing was that a couple of teenage boys thought it would be funny to register under fake names, “Fast Willie McQuick” and “Smarf Poopy.” We were dying to see who they were.
For most people, the bib pick was super quick. They were in and then out. Very few actually had to deal with a line of any kind.
I’ve wanted to run in a turkey tutu for a while, but I never got around to making a tutu. This year I vowed that I wasn’t going to let it go by me. Wed evening I made a half tutu with brown, orange, and yellow tulle because at the past weekend’s turkey trot, I saw runners sporting half tutus made to look like turkey tail feathers. I thought it looked great, so I did the exact same thing. I also wore the same turkey socks.
Thursday morning, we spent more time looking for parking than we had anticipated, so we had just enough time to toss our check-in bag to our teammates and scurry over to the start line. There were over 2200 people for this race (we sold over 2700 entrees), so the start area was CROWDED. Ben and I tucked into the woods to make our way over to the front because I didn’t want to be buried in congestion. Even with starting near the front, it was still quite congested for the first half mile. I will still never understand people who start at the front, but they’re committed to walking the entire race.
Because the main loop of Prospect Park is only 3.3 miles long, we start at Center Drive, which run across the park at the midway point. If you do just the lower loop of Prospect Park using Center Drive, you get a nice 2’ish mile run. The course for the Turkey Trot was to start on Center Drive and then run the main loop. The finish line is the usual place where we end for the summer 5Ks.
Despite the congestion, it was a lot of fun running with so many people. There were lots of spectators, which is unusual for a short race, and because it’s a race run by my club, I had lots of people cheering for me when I ran by the water stations.
My goal was to run somewhere between 7:50-8:00 pace, obviously taking the hills into account. So a little faster downhill, but a little slower uphill. The first mile was a tad too fast, but I had a nice downhill.
- 8:07 (uphill)
- 7:51 (failed to take advantage of the downhill)
As I ran toward the finish line, I could hear Ben yelling, “Shake that tail feather.” Well, I shook my tail feathers all the way to the finish line with a time of 39:14. A time that I was pleased with until later that day I discovered that my PR is 39:11. Sooooo close to a PR. I definitely could have shaved off a few more seconds had I known. For some reason, I had a Paul Ryan moment and thought my PR was a lot better than it actually was. Part of the reason I didn’t push myself all the way was my feet were developing some hot spots. Those cute turkey socks are fine for 5Ks, but they are horrible for longer distances. I discovered that they chafe and I was starting to develop blisters. Luckily I didn’t wear them any longer because I was actually able to reverse most of the damage with some TLC on my feet. If I had known I was so close, I would have been willing to endure a bit more pain. What’s a little blood for PR glory?