Saturday, November 29, 2008

11/27/08: Turkey Trot

They’ve been running the Turkey Trot in Dallas for 41 years now; I’ve run it for two. The first eleven years it was held at White Rock Lake, from the Bath House “to the big oak tree and back”; apparently the big oak tree was about four miles away and so the eight-mile distance was established, although supposedly it was actually 8.2 miles. How they figured that out in those pre-Garmin days, I have no idea. At any rate it’s now the largest running event in Dallas, which I scoffed when I heard that because I thought the Race for the Cure was bigger but apparently they only had 25,000 participants this year while the Turkey Trot had about 34,000 between the two races.

In 1979 they moved the race to downtown Dallas; in 1984 they added a three-mile fun run. New this year was the Chrono Track D disposable timing tag which came attached to the bib number, from which it was easily detached and then attached to the laces of the running shoe of your choice, preferably one of your own that you would actually be wearing for the race. The advantage of this over the usual Champion Chip was that every race that uses the Champion Chip requires that the chip be picked up the morning of the race. The Turkey Trot (eight mile) started at 9:00; I could have had someone drop me off at Wood and Ervay at 8:55, squeezed my way into the starting hordes and been ready to go. The disadvantage is that it’s a one-time use item but, as the Turkey Trot website points out, “You may keep the chip as a souvenir.” Perhaps someday they’ll become family heirlooms.

I saw what I thought was a gaggle of young Amish women before the race; eventually I realized that they were running the race constumed as Pilgrims and the Dallas Morning News reported that they were members of the Plano West High School cross country team, which happens to be the alma mater of the race winner, Scott MacPherson, who currently runs for the University of Arkansas. Costumes are not unusual at the Turkey Trot although turkeys and native Americans are more commonly seen than Pilgrims.

As for me, the race had one embarrassing feature: about a half-mile into it, my bladder was urgently requesting relief. As we entered Deep Ellum, I ducked down a side street, up an alley and behind a dumpster to attend to some personal business. Almost immediately, a truck came into the same alley and stopped on the other side of the dumpster; luckily they were too busy doing whatever the hell they were doing to bother ragging on me for public urination. What with the crowded start and the unscheduled pit stop my first mile was 10:59 but after that the race went pretty well, considering I was sick Tuesday and Wednesday with a cold. I finished in 1:08:57, 2064th out of 7174 overall, 1593rd out of 4086 men, and 175th out of 481 in my age group. In other words, just one small part of the huddled masses yearning to be done.

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