I put my cranberries on the line early today, joining three or four thousand other Chicagoans for the annual Turkey Trot 8K
through Lincoln Park. Entering this race is always a gambler's move, weather-wise, because you just never know what the Midwest is going to serve up in late November. (The handicapper's safe pick? "Something not good.") Dawn broke clear and ridiculously crisp here today, with my in-car thermometer informing me that only 19 degrees had shown up for roll call this morning. With a blustery wind crabbing the morning cargo flights sideways overhead as I drove in, I had a feeling this would be a frigid test.
..And a test it was. My feet never warmed up properly once we left the car. A good crowd of fearless runners who all made the same commitment were all ready for action. Lots of hopping and bouncing around in the start area to reboot circulation to the extremities, even during the playing of the National Anthem (which looked hilariously out of place). I just couldn't get the blood going, and around mile 1 I mentally checked off that right toe, finally allowing myself to let go all hope of a proper, measured stride.
If you haven't run this race before and can place yourself in Chicago on Thanksgiving, you should definitely put it down for some future year. The lakefront, tree-lined course is scenic (if a little barren once the leaves have come down), the layout is very flat and fair, and there are only a few corners that become traffic pinch-points due to thin parkway paving or ill-placed cones. Like many other Thanksgiving athletic events, this one benefits a good local cause
and hopefully fills lots of hungry bellies beyond those in the field of registered runners.
I see now the Tribune is calling this the coldest Thanksgiving since 1956
. Damn straight.
I finished with a time of 37:10, for a 7:28 pace. Since I've been fiddling recently with the idea of qualifying for Boston in 2006, the thing that pains me is that this speed, if somehow sustained for an entire 26.2, will miss by one minute
the 3h:15m qualification time for my age group. I mean, holy crap. I was going flat out in the last two miles and I think my final split was 7' even or close to it, and I didn't have much left at the line. That's great, Shobe — now get out there and run 5 more of those, and you'll punch your ticket for Heartbreak Hill
. Oy. Double-oy.
That Boston issue is for some other day's aggravation, however; I'm just happy to have gotten in a good, brisk run before lots of leisurely, wanton feedbagging. Happy Thanksgiving!
Labels: Hard-Hitting Ethnography