Whew! What a whirlwind of a holiday weekend that was! If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope that you had a wonderful one. I am exhausted this morning and feel like I could really use a break from my break!
Like thousands – or maybe even millions – of other runners out there, I started my 4-day vacay with a Thanksgiving turkey trot! There was no shortage of race options in my area, but because I planned on eating extra dessert that day, I opted for the longest one I could find: the Gobble Cobble 7K – which works out to be just about 4 miles – in downtown Baltimore. This event is aptly named because the first mile and a half (or so) of the course tours the historic area on the waterfront, complete with the original cobblestone streets. Sound dangerous? You betcha.
Race time was 8am and I arrived to the starting location about an hour early to pick up my bib. Apparently I was not one of the first 600 people to sign up so I did not get a shirt which was lame and disappointing. In the off chance that someone who helped organize this race happens to stumble upon my blog: There were more than 600 participants LAST YEAR so like…maybe you should consider ordering more shirts. I’m just saying.
The temperature was around 25 degrees, but unlike with Zoo Zoom, I had a nice, heated fitness club to hang out in rather than my freezing cold Mazda. That was nice. No one was interested in standing around outside, so the place filled up fast. I don’t recall anyone telling us that it was time to go line up, but at about 5 minutes to 8 I joined the mass of people cramming themselves down the main staircase and headed out to the start. You could tell the people that were just coming to the gym to get their regular exercise on because they looked super pissed at all of us for clogging the stairs. The whole thing was pretty loosely organized. We stood around in the cold for a few minutes as everyone else made their way out and a few minutes past 8 we were off.
As I mentioned before, the first part of the course was on challenging terrain. Being from here I thought I was pretty well versed on the road conditions, but I quickly realized that I was WAY underestimating how hard it would be. First, it’s cobblestone. Then it’s old so there are a lot of cobblestones missing. Then there are trolley tracks. THEN THERE WAS ICE, which I totally didn’t anticipate at all. I felt my ankles start to roll numerous times. I knew the road would be a lot more forgiving later on so I just did the best I could. Thankfully there was a glorious oasis that was a little stretch of sidewalk to run on for a bit.
I didn’t fall, but I learned from talking to a girl in the locker room later that other people did. I got to mile 2 and the cobblestones were behind me, but by that point my calves already felt like they had gone through a meat grinder. The next two miles were pretty painful, but at least I had a wonderful view of the city to enjoy. We crossed over Pier 5, joined up with Pratt Street for a bit, turned down Light and then looped back up the Harborplace Promenade with the harbor on our right. It was lovely, even though I could barely hear anything over the sound of my legs screaming. Eventually I ran over a wooden bridge and was never so happy to see a finish line in my life.
My official time:
I wanted to get it done in under a half hour, so I hit my goal! I believe I came in 5th in my age group and 14th of the women. Pretty darn good considering how rough I felt out there.
I was back to the fitness complex pretty early, so I got cleaned up a bit and wandered around drinking some water. They had bagels and bananas spread out for us, which was great but I didn’t bother with them because I knew I had a big meal coming up soon and all I could think about was the coffee I was going to get on my way home. The #1 male and female winners were presented with a cool looking plaque and then we were all dismissed to our Thanksgiving festivities.
Overall, I liked the energy of this event. It was pretty informal, but organized enough when it needed to be – MORE SHIRTS THOUGH, PLEASE!– the volunteers were nice, and the option to wait inside for everything to get started was perfect on a freezing morning. Especially waiting in a place that had treadmills that we could use at our convenience. Will I do it again next year? Maybe. I do like that the course is a little longer than a standard turkey trot, but those cobblestones…those were TERRIBLE. I’m just glad I made it to dinner with all my teeth in tact. All the better to eat my turkey with.
Did you turkey trot on Thanksgiving? How did it go? How was your dinner? Did you have pie? (I sure did!)