First I’d like to say that the idea of running a “turkey trot” with thousands of people wasn’t my first choice when I asked my sister if she wanted to run a 5k on Thanksgiving morning. I really wanted to do the trail race in St. Paul, but since we would be pushing the kids in the stroller that wasn’t even an option. So I looked at the lower key race around one of the lakes that had a nice kiddo race too. Buried deep in the fine print it said, “no strollers”. Fortunately, I saw it just before we registered! So we signed up for the Lifetime Fitness Turkey Day 5k.
We got a discount for being REI members and some of the swag included a 20% off REI coupon! Registration was pretty easy online and packet pick-up at REI went pretty smoothly. They assigned our race number at pick-up so you could get them at a variety of stores around the metro and no chips. The event included a race village and kid’s carnival with a race. Unfortunately, due to the extreme cold we didn’t really get to partake in those activities.
Waking up on race morning the temp was -1. We probably should have bailed at that point. But we paid a decent chunk of change to participate and dressed in multiple layers. It took some time to get the kids dressed in multiple layers as well and we were finally out the door already sweating and running a little behind. The plan had been to save a few bucks and park at the church lot and take the LRT down to the starting area which was less than a block away. As we were buckling the kids into the stroller my sister made a random comment about our shirts and I realized we had left the race numbers at home!! I ran home while she took the kids to the LRT, fortunately I made it home and back before the next train came. We rode with a few other runners to the start and waited maybe 10 minutes for the proverbial gun to go off.
It was cold!! Even dressed in 2 layers it was cold. My toes (mesh shoes) and fingers (Saucony Utili-Mitt gloves) were the coldest. Once we got moving they warmed up. It did take almost a mile before I felt like we were really starting to warm up and feel like we were going at a decent pace. They had 3 waves of runners and I figured with the stroller we’d line up at the back of the first wave in the 10 minute per mile range. I’m glad we did, but man we passed a lot of people! It was super congested for pretty much the whole race. My sister and I didn’t necessarily run side-by-side, but trying to keep track of each other and the stroller meant we had to slow way down at times to get around into a clear spot to pass someone. And I know this was a fun run and a family event more about the getting out and exercising together, but come on – if you are going to walk within the first half mile you need to line up farther back! I can’t tell you how many people we passed or were walking down the middle of the street in the first half mile. Ugh. I did need to stop for a second in the first half mile, I can’t remember why now, but we made our way to the edge and stopped.
After the first turn I realized that we needed to be further out on the outside for turning. We actually found some nice breathing room and was able to pick up the pace a little before getting super congested again. At one point I needed to tie my shoe, so Meg pushed the kids and I got stopped. Catching back up was easy as I could weave my way through the crowd. The course made a few turns downtown and ended up on the Riverfront from Gold Medal Park until 4th Ave. The kids had done pretty well in the stroller until we made that turn. Then Caleb began crying and shortly after Nadia started in.
So for the last 1/2 mile or so I got lots of judgmental looks. I thought, if these people’d just get out of my way I’d finish faster and we’d all get the chance to warm up! We did finish in 32:53. With no chips my Strava report will be the closest we get to an official time. Not very fast but considering the conditions and the congestion I’ll take it. At some point in the last mile my sister stopped to tie her shoe. I didn’t realize it and she wasn’t able to catch back up, oops. As soon as I crossed the finish line and walked the requisite block that the announcer kept talking about I stopped and picked up Caleb. As soon as I held him he calmed down. Meg picked up Nadia and we all started walking towards Target Center so we could warm up. Nadia’s feet were pretty cold. Caleb couldn’t communicate and was just super fussy – pointing down but when I set him down he’d cry. Then crying for a bit while I held him. We decided to head back to the car, Nadia was cold enough that she didn’t want to find the kid’s carnival.
At this point I kind of regretted that we had parked so far away. We re-bundled up and headed back out into the arctic air. We swung through and got some Aspire and hot chocolate before getting on the LRT and heading home. Once we got home we all cuddled under some blankets to warm up! As we were boarding the LRT I saw a bunch of people with strollers coming through the finish area. I felt a little vindicated in the fact that at least my kids weren’t out there as long as others!! Just that in the first part of the race there wasn’t any strollers. I don’t think we could have done much more to keep the kids warm. They were both wearing warms clothes and socks under their full winter gear, under a fleece blanket in the Chariot with the wind/rain shield zipped up and a hand warmer stuffed in there. Before we started running they actually had fogged up the rain shield quite nicely!
Here is my Strava data:
From my Instagram feed: