4. Turkey Day Run, 2006

Turkey PosterHappy American Thanksgiving Everyone! (It’s a late wish, but it’s better than nothing.) While most of you were sleeping soundly on Thanksgiving morning, I was awake and dressed for a race. Since I overtaxed my ankle during the Race for the Cure I’ve been gradually training it up, and at this point I’m finally ready for anything.

The Turkey Day Run is a 5K (3.1 mile) race in beautiful Downtown Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve been running three miles in the gym lately, so I wasn’t worried about getting into any trouble. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Instead of improving upon my time (26:40) from my previous race, I decided to shoot for a more modest goal of 28 minutes. I had just gotten my ankle into a normal sort of shape, and I wasn’t going to ruin it by pushing too hard.

Early, Early Morning

Sleepy City

Sleepy City

I had never done this race before, so I wasn’t sure about what to expect. I was down there at about 6:35, and the parking garage by the Aquarium was wide open and completely empty. I realized at this point that I had probably overestimated the size of the crowd. At left is a shot of the empty streets at about 6:50am. I had just walked from the Aquarium garage, which killed a few minutes.

Many Port-o-Johns

Many Port-o-Johns

Now here is a clear sign that a bunch of people were expected to be there. The streets were void of participants, and I began to wonder just how late I could have shown up for the 9 o’clock race.

The Knights of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus

Here’s a shot of the sponsor, the Knights of Columbus. Once I got into the building to register, I found the missing participants I had been looking for. There were only a few of us, and the rest of the people inside were volunteers who were waiting for the crowds to show up.

Below, there’s one more shot of the empty street, at around 7am. I don’t know why, but I’ve always found the city to be quite charming just before it wakes up.

Early Empty Street

Coffee at Starbucks, Since the Local Place Wasn’t Open Yet

Early Coffee

I was going to sit down and translate a little French at the Charles Towne Coffee Shop since it was next to the Francis Marion hotel and therefore next to the finish line. They weren’t open, however, so I decided to check on some things. First I went into the Knights of Columbus building and got registered. When I came back I asked the folks in the hotel if I could leave my bag there during the race, and they were nice enough to do so. I saw that there was movement in the coffee shop, so I waited for them to open the doors. When they were finally open (much later than the owner would have liked, I’m sure) I bought a coffee and sat down, but I didn’t stay. The two girls in the shop were so lethargic and mopey about working on Thanksgiving that their attitudes were radiating through the room. I didn’t want their unhappiness to bring me down, so I dumpted my coffee and walked a block or two down to Starbucks.

Happy Starbucks

Jen and Paula were wonderful and bright, and there were other runners already in the shop. I sat down, spoke to a few people and happily read my book until it was time to get moving again. Thanks again to the both of them. Their attitudes helped to set the tone for everyone’s day. By the looks of things, it was going to be a good one.

The Race Itself

I went to the starting line and tried to figure out where to place myself. Okay, placement is important…. anyone with 2% body fat needs to be in front of me. I turned a critical gaze over the crowd and I heard someone laugh. Oh, crap. I said that bit about the body fat with my outside voice. I realized that standing directly in front of anyone at this point would sort of be a way of calling them a fat-ass, so I wandered away to another point in the crowd. It worked out well. I spent the race gently passing people, and I had a wonderful race. My time was 27:07, and that includes all the shuffling in the beginning as the crowd sorts itself out. I was happy, and my left ankle was just fine. Life was good. Here’s a photo of me at the hotel as I claimed my backpack. In one hand is a free beer, which wan’t so good after a race, and in my left hand is the water that I wound up actually drinking.

Below are the rest of the photos. I took the finish line photos at about forty minutes after the gun, so these are the older folks and those who spent some of the time walking. They weren’t very fast, but they finished the 5K just like the rest of us, and now they have their t-shirts. Below the finish line photos are a few shots of the festival afterwards. It wasn’t really much of a festival, really, since everyone was going to go home for Thanksgiving. We did enjoy the free bananas, water and cookies, however. You have to love those.