Saturday, November 29, 2014

Race Recap: Mile High United Way Turkey Trot

Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already over! It comes and goes in a flash, doesn’t it? Thankfully we still have another month left of the holidays - to enjoy the the food, tunes, and fun. 

But first, a quick look back to the United Way Mile High Turkey Trot on Thursday. It was our second time running the race but our first time living so close that we were able to do a 1.5 mile warm-up run to the start corrals! Being the people we are, both Woody and I had goals for the race - mainly to beat our times from last year - but we also wanted to get in some good, strong miles before enjoying a big Thanksgiving dinner!

A few things to know about the Mile High Turkey Trot if you ever think of racing it:

  • The race start time is advertised as 10:00am, but the first corral actually crosses the start line right around 10:15am.
  • Over 10,000 people register to run the race, then factor in the kids that “run” but aren’t registered, kids in strollers, and dogs, and the course is even more crowded than that. This is both good and bad, depending on your goal for the race and where you start in the corrals.
Turkey Trot Start
  • Speaking of corrals. The first two are designated for “competitive runners” but this is not enforced so if you actually want to run the race and have a fairly quick finish time in mind, your best to position yourself towards the front of the first corral, even if your bib has a 2 on it.
  • If you’re not able to manage a spot in the front half of the first corral, be prepared for a slow start as you weave through the crowds. Unlike the Louisville Trail 10K we did earlier this fall, I did not go out too fast this time! I guess it was somewhat a good thing that I was forced to go slower as I was able to pick up my speed once the crowds thinned out a bit and maintain a solid effort. 
  • One of the best aspects of this race is the crowd. While most neighborhood races have very few people along the course cheering, this one is an exception. The first mile is along Downing St, which runs on the west side of the park. There are always people cheering from their front lawns, at least a few with elaborate tailgate setups and others - two this year - with live bands playing classic rock songs as the runners pass by! Also, being that it’s a holiday there are lots of family members out cheering for their kin.

Oiselle Turkey Trot


  • Because the route is a big loop around the park then essentially a smaller loop inside the park, it is possible to see friends and family who are ahead or behind you if you keep an eye out. I missed my teammate Laura (above post-race) this year but managed to spot Woody. Thankfully he heard my cheers, otherwise I would have used precious energy on a climb for nothing!
  • The mile markers are tough spot but thankfully we had noticed the 3.5 mile marker during our warmup and I knew where to expect it. I often tend to play it safe in races and don’t push myself as hard as I likely could, but since I broke free of the tight crowds I was making serious effort to get to the finish line and make up for the slow start. When I saw the finish line, I kicked it up another notch and heard Woody cheering for me just before I crossed. I could hardly breathe and had a bad cramp on my right side - a good sign for a hard effort, right? Later, Woody said he couldn’t tell if I heard him or not - that’s only because I was focused on getting to the finish.


Turkey Trot 2014

The finish is pretty much a crazy situation with tons of people vying for hot chocolate, pint glasses from Runners Roost (so bummed I got to the booth too late this year!), and space in the beer garden. Woody visited the Great Divide beer garden while I caught up with Laura, Josh and their little guy. It was great to see so many families and groups of friends out there enjoying a beautiful day in Denver and burning some calories before the big meal. And it raises money for the local United Way.

My hope for next year is that they’ll finally figure out the timing, porta-pottie situation, and corral system, and that one day they’ll actually have a bag check cause it’s not always as warm as it was this year and it would be really awesome to have a place to leave your layers and phones so you can just run. That said, being able to run to the start is fantastic and I haven’t been able to do that since we lived on the UES years ago!

We walked home, ate some food, cooked some food and got ready for Thanksgiving dinner with family and (new) friends. As it turns out, we both achieved our goals beating our times from last year. We have much to be thankful for this year, one of which for me was a PR of more 2 minutes!

How was your Thanksgiving? * What are you thankful for this year?


Lisa said...

I'm amazed that you were able to set a PR with the race conditions at the start. Congrats again.

Thanksgiving was lovely. It was the first time I didn't stuff myself to death :) Grateful for life. I'm grateful that my worst day is really not that bad at all. i'm grateful that I'm able to pick myself when I'm down. I'm grateful for people who are able to celebrate the good with me. I'm grateful for legs that carry me for miles and miles. I'm grateful for wine!

Lisa said...

Thanks! I'm pretty excited about my PR! I think last year at this time I was still kind of getting used to the altitude, and it was only my second race out here so that may have had something to do with it. Plus, my running has been going pretty well lately in general!

So glad you have many things to be thankful for and that you had a great Thanksgiving! It's a bit more enjoyable when the day doesn't end feeling hungover on turkey and trimmings, isn't it?