Friday, November 27, 2009

11/26: Turkey Trot

So last year at the Dallas Turkey Trot they introduced the disposable (or collectible) timing chip; this year they charged five bucks over and above the registration fee if you wanted a bib number that would include one. Essentially, five bucks to be timed and included in the results. Which I wanted, although I’m not exactly sure why - my watch time was going to be reasonably close to my chip time (it looks like they differ by .12 seconds, so I paid five bucks for .12 seconds - if only I could get paid at that rate) and I wasn’t going to be competing for any age-group awards. If I wanted to know where I finished in my age group or overall, I could mentally insert myself into the results easily enough.

The five bucks bothers me more than it should, probably because it identifies the Turkey Trot more as an event - an apolitical run-in - than a race, which is what it was when it began back in 1968. Now, the race duties are an onerous task for which the race officials require additional compensation. Of course, what really bothers me is that by next year I’ll have forgotten all about this until I go to register (unless I do remember, in which case I may do some other race) at which point it’ll be too much hassle not to pay. And the grumbling will begin again.

I should point out that for all I know this isn’t actually a change - that they charged the extra $5 last year and I just didn’t think it was that big a deal. I’m not always as consistent about these things as I’d like to be.

This was my third Turkey Trot which means half of the eight-mile races I’ve run have been Turkey Trots. I don’t remember feeling as hemmed in and bothered by the press of humanity at the start before which may mean I was in a pissy mood for this race, or may be because I wasn’t in good enough shape in the previous races to care if the crowds slowed me down. This year’s race broke down into three stages - a claustrophobic first mile that took about 8;25, four strong miles that I covered in about 29 minutes, and three miles where I was hanging on that took about 23:30. Overall I ran 1:00:55, good enough for 62nd out 299 in my age group, 649 out of 2595 among all men, and 542 out of 4439 overall. I failed to break one hour, which was my high-end goal going in, but I did get my eight-mile PR, which was my more realistic goal. My previous best was 1:02:30, in or around Memphis, Tennessee, in 1996. Or maybe 1997.

It looks like about 7000, out of nearly 35,000, people paid for the timing chips. I’d be interested in knowing how many untimed people finished ahead of me but I guess there’s no way of knowing. Well, there’s probably a video you could watch and count but that would be painful.

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