Hi everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and enjoyed your long weekend. I had a blast making my Christmas list, online Black Friday shopping, and baking up a storm while the snow fell outside! That’s right, we FINALLY got snow! More on that later. For now, it’s time to recap my very first Turkey Trot in Alaska!
On Thanksgiving morning Andrew and I had the chance to sleep in a bit because the race wasn’t until 11:00 am. The sun doesn’t begin to shine through our windows until about 10:30 (and if it’s cloudy it doesn’t shine at all) so it’s really easy to sleep super late on days that we don’t have work. We set our alarms for 9:00 and woke up in the dark so we could start preparing a few things for our Thanksgiving dinner! As always, I ate a pre-race breakfast of oatmeal. In Anchorage there is only one Turkey Trot, and it’s put on by Skinny Raven which is the awesome running store here. Back in Philly I feel like I had tons of Turkey Trots to choose from (and ran a different one every year!) so it was nice having only one choice and knowing that it was going to be awesome. It was around 20 degrees outside so I wore my fleece tights, a tank top with a fleece half zip over it, and a fleece ear warmer. I also wore my trail scarf to help stay warm while waiting for the race to start, although I took it off my face once we got moving!
There were a few thousand people running the race, which had a 5k and a 3k option. The race started right outside the Dena’ina Convention Center so we could wait inside until a few minutes before the race started. It also ended inside which was awesome since it was so chilly outside! At 11:00 us 5k runners were off. I seriously love Turkey Trots – I feel like they’re such low pressure races and are focused more on fun than on being intense. Plus I can think about food the whole time! I spent most of the race listing to funny conversations going on around me, most of which were about food. It seemed like everyone was running with friends or family and I’m going to try to get Andrew to do it with me next year!
Although the race was timed, I didn’t really go crazy with this race. I didn’t wear my Garmin or record my time at all, and just ran at a pace that was comfortable and pushed it whenever I felt good. It was by far my most slippery race ever with all the random ice on the roads, and I was so glad I wore my studded shoes! As for the course, most of the race was flat and looped around the Delaney Park Strip downtown. At one point we were near the coastal trail and I could see the inlet and the huge mountains across the water. It was a really fun race and seemed to go by quickly. There weren’t many spectators, and there were no water stops (can you even have those if it’s below freezing?) but the support between runners was awesome. I made sure to thank each police officer that was blocking the road for us, and also made sure to tell runners behind me when I hit super slippery spots. One thing that initially frustrated me about this race was that the 3k runners met up with us near the halfway point, and they were mostly parents with their very young children (many under 10 years old). This meant that there were little kids all over the course sprinting, sliding, stopping, and crying randomly, and I spent a lot of time weaving my way around families and strollers. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving (and not caring about my race time) I tried to not let it bother me that there was literally no race etiquette going on and instead tried to enjoy running with so many little runners-in-training! By mile 3 most children were crying though, and I felt really bad for them because even though they were only in mile 2, it must have seemed long. When I was nearing the finish line I passed a little boy who was crying and begging his mom to let it be over. I could hear that she was trying her best to cheerfully keep him going, so I told him he was doing a great job and that we were almost done! He stopped crying for a bit and his mom looked pretty happy at that point! And I was so happy to be sprinting my way into the Dena’ina Center and toward my turkey dinner at home! Although it was my slowest 5k ever, I felt awesome and thought I did pretty good considering the road conditions, the poor race etiquette of the other runners, and the crowded course. My pace was 11:20 which is faster than most icy runs I did last year, so I’m excited to see how much I improve by the spring!
Post-race refreshments were basically nonexistent – we had to stumble through a huge crowd to find coolers of water in the corner that we used to fill our own cups, and there was no food. I guess they figured we were going home to eat a lot anyways, but it was 11;30 and I had barely eaten all day! We left pretty soon after I finished and went home for a hot shower and the yummiest cinnamon rolls ever. Oh, and a big win over Dallas! #FlyEaglesFly
The rest of my day was spent baking my very first cheesecake, slow cooking a turkey (seriously, best way to cook one!), and using my Kitchen Aid mixer for the very first time to make yummy mashed potatoes. And of course I had the chance to Skype my parents and my dog, who totally responded to my commands over Skype. I miss her! Overall it was an awesome Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to do it all next year!
Did you run a Turkey Trot this year? What did you eat after the race?