Sunday, December 4, 2011

Turkey Trot (11/24/2011) and the end of running season

Thanksgiving Day may be synonymous with overeating, but there's no guilt attached when the turkey is preceded by a morning race. The Christopher Dailey Turkey Trot has become a Saratoga Springs Thanksgiving tradition, and a record 3,000-plus participants turned out for the 10th annual running, including Beth and me.

Start of the 2011 Christopher Dailey Turkey Trot, Saratoga Springs, NY.

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Lining up for the start, it's hard not to feel inspired. A field that large makes any race exciting, but there's a tangible sense of purpose among these runners: just before the start of the race, the Christoper Dailey Foundation presented a check for $55,000 to Double H Ranch to support their programs for children with life-threatening illnesses.

With the large number of participants and a challenging, hilly course, I knew I wouldn't be setting any kind of personal best, but I was more than pleased with my 21:16 result, fast enough to put me just inside the top 100.

Within the next month or so, my running shoes will be put away until early spring. Late season running has its challenges, and for me the challenges will soon outweigh the rewards.

My last run on the bike path, just before the end of Daylight Savings Time

The chief reward for me is movement, outdoors. That's the same basic attraction I have to hiking, skiing, mountain biking, paddling, climbing. Running indoors on a treadmill just isn't an option. I already miss running on the bikepath, which became impractical when we set the clocks back last month. Instead, I've moved my running to SUNY Albany, where I can do a 5K-ish loop around the campus on well-lit sidewalks and paths after work a few evenings per week. It's still better than a treadmill.

So I'll pound out a few more runs between now and the end of the year. I've long since shifted into a ski mode anyway. All we need now is some cold weather, snow is optional. With any luck, Herb Stevens, the Skiing Weatherman, is right and real winter is just around the corner.

Turkey Trot photo courtesy of The Saratogian, Ed Burke photographer

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