Who have I turned into? 3 races in November, 2 less than a week apart. It’s rare for me to run 2 races in 1 month!
On Thanksgiving we have always traveled to my parents/sister when we lived in the northeast (for 17 years we lived in TX, and most of the time we did not travel home).
It’s a 90 minute drive (more like 2 hours if we bring the dogs). The dogs need to be walked first. I’ve always run on Thanksgiving, but only around my neighborhood.I just didn’t feel like losing another half hour, at the very least, to driving to a race.
This year, however, my sister passed the torch to me. She works Black Friday. She doesn’t enjoy cooking and cleaning. I don’t enjoy cleaning either, but I do enjoy cooking and this way I didn’t have to worry about the dogs.
So 2015 was the year I finally did a Turkey Trot.
Turkeys are plentiful here
Actually, wild turkeys are plentiful around here. We’ve had them wandering around our neighborhood some years. Those suckers are big! Just like the Troy Turkey Trot; I chose not to do that one, despite having plenty of friends who do.
Darlene tried to convince me to do the 10k. Except it starts at 8 am. Which is a good thing, of course; then you have your whole day in front of you. Except since I like to get to races an hour early, that would have meant leaving around 6:30 am. No, thank you, not when I’m exhausted and am hosting my first family Thanksgiving (I’ve done friendsgiving in the past).
And it’s $35. There’s also a turkey trot in Schenectady, in Saratoga, and the one I settled on: Cohoes.
Like Cohoes Falls, no one seems to even know there’s a turkey trot there. Except the race is almost as old as I am! But even my friends in my Weight Watchers meeting, people who have lived here their whole lives, had never heard of this race.
Basically, I rolled out of bed, ate breakfast, fed the animals, relaxed a bit, and then left the house in time to get to Cohoes about half an hour before the race. I did not register ahead of time. The website said there was limited day of the race registration (which , by the way, is free, another good reason to run this race).
I figured the worst that would happen would be I would have to go and run by myself in the park. The best? Run with hundreds of my new runner friends.
When I swim, it’s at the pool at the Cohoes communtiy center. It’s $7 per swim and it’s a nice, warm pool (unlike some of the others I have tried) and usually not too crowded during the day.
I don’t know Cohoes that well, but obviously I knew where the community center is and the free parking lot opposite it and looking at the map the race was only 1/4 mile away, plus, of course, I knew how to get there. It worked out perfectly, even though I didn’t get there super early as usual.
I wasn’t quite sure where packet pickup was. Supposedly new Town Hall, which it was, in the end, but not really all that well marked. Basically I just followed the noise. And registering was easy.
You’re supposed to bring a canned food donation, which I did, but it was free even if you didn’t. And it’s chip timed!
Plan — what plan?
Seems as though I’m planning less and less these days when it comes to racing. Maybe because I’m racing more and more. And they’re not goal races; I’m still striving to do my best, but the pressure is off so I really just don’t think about it much.
I wanted to try to start out slow and keep my pace around 10:30 mm.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 11:01. Oh well. Although we weren’t on a narrow path, it was still crowded and I tried not to weave much. I actually passed a lot of people that first mile, which is almost unheard of for me; obviously I should have started closer to the front.
- Miles 2: 11:36. 117 ft in elevation gain. It sure seemed like a lot more than that!
- Mile 3: 10:23. Downhill all the way, baby! And the crowd had thinned out.
- Last 1/2 mile: 10:11.
The weather & dressing
It was unseasonably warm for Thanksgiving, but that didn’t exactly translate into warm. 41 at the start, but overcast.
The good thing about so much racing lately is that I learned from it: I wore light tights, a light quarter zip, and my windbreaker.I brought a throwaway sweatshirt, but didn’t need it. I did wear light convertible mittens/gloves, and was glad I did.
What I Saw/Felt
Despite the fact that I knew no one at the race (although a runner friend is thinking about it for next year), it was such a festive atmosphere it put me in a good mood.
And even though I’m not a kid person, it was fun to watch the kiddos doing the 1 mile, 1/4 mile, and 1/8 mile races.
I spent a little time jogging around a bit and doing my dynamic stretching, until I went in search of a bathroom (which oddly enough I never used and never needed & even though I don’t have GI issues I always need a bathroom!) and discovered that everyone was huddled in the warmth of city hall. Good to know for next year.
I chatted with an elderly gentleman who used to run, who was there to support his daughter, who was running, for a while.
Then it was time to head back out into the chilly day.
There were tons of people spectating, but apparently they only cheered for their family, because they just lined the streets silently watching for their loved ones. It seemed a bit odd, but whatever.
You start in downtown Cohoes, which is fairly flat but a little bit of inclines and declines. Even though it’s a small race, the start was very crowded and I was definitely held back by that the first mile. Not necessarily a bad thing. The streets aren’t completely blocked to traffic the entire race, either, so sometimes getting far enough over for my walk breaks wasn’t easy.
Not long before mile 2 we ran past where I’d parked, and that meant the start of the long, slow climb of a hill that basically went the entire mile. Which obviously slowed me down even further.
Around mile 3, though, you enter the Cohoes bike path, which is nice. I know that I run out to Cohoes on the bike path but I could never quite figure out whether or not this was a portion I’d run on before.
Around mile 3 you come back out and run along the Mohawk river. And it’s a glorious downhill all the way. I think we ran close to Cohoes Falls, which are a hidden gem around here, but I’m guessing we were actually a bit downriver from them.
And then it’s back into the city and a sprint to the finish line.
Further proof that this was a holiday crowd filled with a lot of non-runners: I ended up almost exactly in the middle of the pack. When the speedy runners (who no doubt were all in Troy) come out, I’m definitely BOTP.
Was the race well run?
Yes, absolutely. There were volunteers directing you to parking. Packet pickup was easy. The course was well marked; I never worried at all about where to go. I could’ve used more water in my cup than a bare inch at the water stop, but it was only 3 1/2 miles anyway.
If you want a shirt, you pay for it; I didn’t, although I kind of wanted to seeing as how it was my first turkey trot, but I wasn’t sure about the timing of walking back and forth to my car.
Post race refreshments were just a bit scarce: water, coffee, donuts/pastries. Sure would have been nice to see some home baked goodies, but then again, it was Thanksgiving anyway. I had some water, the protein bar I brought with me, and then hustled home to stretch, shower, and get dressed.
Will I run it again next year? All depends on what my Thanksgiving plans are.
38:19 (new 3 1/2 mile PR)