I was excited this year to head out for my very first turkey trot! I’ve always heard of people heading out for races on Thanksgiving morning, even “non-runners” and thought it seemed cool but couldn’t imagine myself as one of those people. Among other things, when you get up and get started cooking early, it’s hard to shift gears a couple of hours into to head into town to run a 5K! Now that we travel for Thanksgiving with a two year old, we stay in a hotel so we aren’t really there to help with early morning cooking anyway. It seemed like a good time to try out a quick run on Thanksgiving morning before heading over to their house. My husband laughed at my logic that it was “only an extra 30 minutes” – when did I become that person? I found this particular race by looking at the calendars of a couple of local running stores, but you can use Google or the local running club to find events in your area or the area you are visiting.
The NWA Turkey Trot is a merged event of two prior Thanksgiving fun runs, now benefiting both the Springdale Police Department’s Benevolent Fund as well as Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (the Facebook page is here, no dedicated website which is part of what made this hard to find!). In addition to the 5K, they also had a 1 mile walk and a Crossfit-styled 5K with the run and Crossfit workouts thrown in. I was interested only in the straight 5K – no need to go overboard! I’d hate to injure myself with the Crossfit stuff and miss Black Friday shopping!
This race definitely wins the award for most eclectic swag bag in my book!
In the pink World Gym bag we got:
- Grape juice
- Jif to Go peanut butter
- Small Clif bar
- Atkins chocolate coconut bar
- 4 plain Bic pens
- Rectangular wooden pencil from Home Depot
- Sample of dog treats
- Sample of contact solution (?????)
- Car air freshener (????)
- Burt’s Bees lip balm (pretty excited about that one, honestly – love that stuff!)
- Several coupons for local gyms & frozen yogurt
It was a very kooky collection. It also included a chip for timing (I didn’t realize this was timed!) but no bib. There was also a t-shirt with a sort of odd looking turkey:
It started at the Arvest baseball field, home of the local minor league team. It was cool, so almost everyone was waiting in their cars for things to start. I was watching people to see if others had bibs and mine was just missed or if there were truly were no bibs. I could see the Crossfit set up from my car:
Ten minutes after the traditional 5K started, they started the Crossfit 5K where people would do a round of workouts here, then run a mile and then do more workouts. My knees hurt just watching people jump up and down off of the those boxes and then head off running!
The 5K was supposed to start at 8, but ended up starting closer to 8:15 because there was a problem with the timing system. While waiting around, I jogged a little to warm up and did lots of people watching. There were lots of track teams and lots of families with children. There were a few people out with their dogs too. I saw 5 turkey hats, 1 afro wig, 1 sparkle skirt and 1 guy in a chicken suit. Spoiler alert: the guy in the chicken suit beat me in the race!
The run finally got started and I started off way too fast! The starting corral was self-seeding and I spent the first quarter mile dodging around people, which lead to me running a lot faster than I intended! I finished the first mile in 9:03. At this point, I should explain that my only real goal for this run was to get out and run it. I wanted to join the ranks of people who thought going for a run on a day associated with eating tons of food was a good idea. I did check my 5K PR from the Midnight Run earlier this year (31:54) but wasn’t planning on pushing for anything. It was a paved round out in the countryside with no traffic and a lovely, cool, clear day to run.
There were little rolling hills, but only one prolonged rise that felt difficult at all. I was feeling really good overall and after that first minute, realized I really could get another PR. In the second and third miles, I felt so worn out from going too fast at the beginning! I have really got to work on that. I finished mile 2 in 9:30 and ended up stopping to walk in mile 3 after reminding myself that I was out here to have fun, not to push for a PR. I was honestly pretty disgusted with myself though, for wearing out so quickly at the beginning. I walked about 30 seconds up the last big hill before the turn to the finish and decided to switch my Garmin over to show my total time rather than my pace. 27:40! That meant not only did I have a PR in the bag (I could see the finish line) but I could break 30 minutes for a 5K for the first time ever. My legs felt so tired but my spirit felt so good when I crossed that finish line at 29:40!
Of course, I had my lovely cheering section at the end which was the icing on the cake.