Name of the race: NYC Turkey Trot
Where: Roosevelt Island, New York, NY
Date: November 26, 2016
Time: 9:15 am
Distance: 9.33 miles (15K)
Entry fee: $50
Swag: Fleece zip-up sweater and free race photos
Post-race Food: Cinnamon roll, granola bars, bananas, and water
Performance: Overall 65/268; Gender: 22/164; Age (35-39): 8/39
Weather: 46 degrees, 76% humidity
I’m discovering that I’m getting pickier and pickier about my race experiences. It’s not that I need to have a fancy or luxurious race experience, but I really like and appreciate races that are runner-centric. Basically races that are for runners by runners. I can definitely tell the difference between races that do not have serious runners as race directors and those that do.
I went into this race with very low expectations. Not about my running. Just about the race. I signed up because I needed to do a long run, it’s local (there was no way I could drag Ben and myself away for another weekend), and I’m seriously lagging in motivation to do any long run unless it’s in a race. I really am that person who will race her training.
You know how I said that what I was most proud of for the PPTC Turkey Trot was how efficiently the bib pick up went (at least during my shift, I’m assuming it went well in the other shifts too). This bib pick up was the opposite. It wasn’t as bad as the clusterf*ck at Oyster Bay Turkey Trot last year, but it was bad. I arrived a few minutes past the opening time for bib pick up and there was already a long line snaking through the Brooklyn Running Company (my favorite running store). No, not because there were that many people, but because bib pick up was soooo slow. They were unorganized so people were looking all over the place. For example, you’d think it would make sense to arrange the boxes containing the fleece jackets from small to extra large in order. Instead, they were randomly strewn so people had to look in a few different boxes before they found the correct size. Little things like that add up to minutes being lost and long lines being created.
The quality of the fleece zip up is uneven. The material appears to be thick and warm (I gave mine to Ben, so only he has worn it). Ben said it was warm and soft. But the cut of the zip up was odd. It was really boxy, even for a guy, and the wrist openings were far too large. Ben looked it and asked if I accidentally got a larger size. It’s fine for a casual wear for when no one sees you or as a throw away item.
I drove to Roosevelt Island the morning of the race. When I lived in Astoria, I ran around Roosevelt Island on a regular basis, so I know the area well. You’re encouraged to park in the parking lot on Roosevelt Island because street parking on the island is extremely limited. The parking lot is really expensive and I’ve always been too cheap to park there, especially when I’m alone, so I’ve always parked on the Astoria/Long Island City side of the bridge for free and walk over the bridge. A lot of people had the same idea because I wasn’t alone in crossing the bridge.
I decided not to check anything in, which was a good thing because Jay texted me to tell me that bag check was a sh!t show. I wasn’t surprised. The whole race organization was chaotic because they changed the start time for the race a few different times (with no email warning to the runners, you had to check the website). There were well over 1000 runners, with most doing the 5K. The 5K and the 15K started at the exact same time.
Because it was a turkey trot, I wore my turkey tutu again, but I foregoed wearing the turkey socks. I shudder to think what would have happened to my feet if I had worn them considering how blistery they got after 5 miles. There were several people in full turkey costumes. I admire their dedication to truly turkey trotting.
The organizers intended for the 15K runners to line up behind the 5K runners. When I saw the huge swell of runners, I knew if I didn’t want to be fighting my way through congestion the entire time, I had to be up front. I started fairly near the front close to another teammate who was doing the 5K. Jay was a tiny bit behind me, but he said that he was going to catch up to me and we were going to run together.
I was happy to have Jay’s company because I probably spent 2/3 of the race wanting to quit for no good reason. Having Jay around prevented me from crossing the finish line early (the 5K was one loop around the island, the 15K was three loops, so I went by the finish line twice before the end). I wanted to run between 8:15 and 8:30 pace, which I mostly did. The first mile was too fast (typical of me).
For the last mile Jay picked up his pace and left me behind, which I was cool with. I ran the PPTC Turkey Trot hard, so I didn’t have the energy to go any faster that Saturday. There was some guy that I unintentionally encouraged to go faster. He was in front of me most of the time, but he went out too fast because several times he broke down to walk. I ran past him. He’d see my tutu and just had to go back out running to get in front of me. We did this several times. When the finish line came up, he really couldn’t bear the idea of a girl in a tutu beating him, so he ran his little heart out. As for me, I ended up with a soft PR of 1:18:54. I say soft because I technically did break my previous 15K PR, but it’s soft because I’ve actually ran longer races (10-milers & halfs) at a faster pace than this race’s pace. Technically I’ve ran faster 15Ks, but not as a stand alone distance. Still, a PR is a PR and a new PR is always a good thing.
Jay was waiting for me at the finish line and we got our post-race food – cinnamon rolls! I was excited about the cinnamon roll until I ate it. It wasn’t any good.
Would I do this race again? Unlikely. I didn’t care for how the race was organized and it was on the chaotic side. It wasn’t a horrible race, but it wasn’t an enjoyable one. Next time I think I’ll keep my money and run loops around Prospect Park.