In any case, to earn my turkey this year, I decided to register for the TXU Energy Turkey Trot 10k in Houston.
I was a little apprehensive about registering for a race in another city with a bunch of different schedules to contend with, but my dad and brother both promised to find a way to get me there, so, registration was a go.
Packet Pick Up
PPU makes or breaks a race. If they handle packet pick up well, then chances are that the race will be well organized. I know this from my days with Color Run. Regardless, I went over to Luke's Locker (hello awesome), got my packet in less than 5 minutes, picked up some KT tape, body glide, and the obviously necessary:
Man, it was COLD. Granted, I am always a little grumpy on cold running mornings, so I knew I just had to suck it up. Parking looked like it could have sucked, but we grabbed a spot just on the other side of the highway (God Bless Texas for highways being on bridges so you can walk under them)
Despite the cold, it was a gorgeous day. People were drifting toward the start line. I got into the gate and had a couple of minutes to tie my shoes, chat with the other very friendly Texans (you think runners are friendly? Try Texan Runners. SUPER friendly) and when the gun went off, I had about a minute before I crossed the mats.
You could choose a few options - 10k, non competitive (not timed), 10k competitive, 5k non and competitive, and a kids' fun run, which I believe was a mile.
I really enjoyed my run. My ankle hurt a little, but nothing that the KT tape couldn't handle. I hit my first mile somewhere in the 8:20s and felt really good. I knew that my biggest problem was going to be keeping gas in the tank. I haven't raced a lot this year and I've gotten back in the bad habit of flooring it across the mats.
One moment that he stuck with me was around mile 4 - it was quiet, most of the supporters were closer to the start/finish line - I looked up and saw a river of runners in front of me. It was just enough people that we could all run our own course, but large enough that the chorus of footsteps sounded like rain. That is one of my favorite sounds in the world. It was just cold enough that as we all exhaled, our breath turned into small clouds. The view from my run was peaceful. I felt incredibly thankful in that moment to be among them.
Will met me at the finish line. It made me warm and fuzzy to see my brother there waiting for me. We ran through the finish line festival so I could have a banana and get yet another free water bottle. Mom and Dad had coffee brewing and FOOD so we stopped by Grandjoy's house so I could refuel.
My grandmother's cat has a coat. No joke. We were both freezing.
If you don't want to squint, here are the stats:
- Finish time: 51:50
- 1st 5k Pace: 8:29
- 2nd 5k Pace: 8:13 (NEGATIVE SPLITS!)
- Overall Pace: 8:21
Yes. My real name is Amelia.
I like ending on a high note, so I'll list the meh stuff first:
- Etiquette. As is the case with most Turkey Trots, there's a little lack of etiquette. A few walkers were up front at the start line, so there was a bottleneck. Are you going to walk the first mile? Move back.
- Water, water everywhere...but...While there were a TON of water stations (I think 5 in total??), there were a few times where there weren't enough volunteers to actually hand out the water.
- Meh Finish Line Festival. The finish line festival had bananas and a bunch of other sugary snacks. I just wanted a granola bar that wasn't made of chocolate chips, but the banana was good.
- Just for the race directors - there wasn't much thought about having the runners actually go through the festival, so I imagine that many of the vendors and sponsors felt a little miffed. There were a bunch of activities for the kids, so if that's your speed, have at it!
- It was a beautiful course. Maybe it's just me, but I loved running down Post Oak and seeing the Transco (now Williams) building RIGHT THERE. I kinda wish DC had big buildings after seeing this.
2. There were a lot of water stops. I really do like having water frequently, so this was nice.
3. I liked the shirts. There's a huge movement to get away from long sleeve, cotton shirts...but I really do like them. I use them as post run, pre shower gear.
4. The people. I am a Texan. I love my people. Being around them, chatty, friendly, happy...I was in heaven.
5. The crowd was just right. Enough people to have energy, not too many people to be crowded and irritating.
If you find yourself in Houston on Thanksgiving, give it a go. It's a great race to do before the cooking craziness starts. Even the cons weren't really cons, just preferences.
How was your Turkey Trot?