Monday, December 2, 2013

2013 Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! We enjoyed many wonderful moments with family in Dallas, Texas. Our time was filled with lots of laughter, a ton of food, and…of course…a little bit of racing!

When I first discovered that our Thanksgiving holiday was going to be spent in Dallas, I immediately began researching Turkey Trot races.


What I discovered in my search was a multitude of different races, distances, and locations. I went into my search knowing that I wanted to run more than a 5K, but less than a Half. (A 10K would have been the ideal distance.)

After much deliberation with my brother and sister-in-law, we finally chose the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot, the largest Thanksgiving Day event in the country.


My brother and sister-in-law arrived in Dallas with enough time to pick up our packets at Luke’s Locker in downtown Dallas the day before the race. Thankfully, this saved us from beating the crowd of 40,000 + for race morning packet pickup.

The race began at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning and our goal was to beat the crowds and find a decent parking spot before downtown turned into a madhouse. I read several race reports prior to race day that encouraged runners to arrive early. We made it to downtown about 1 1/2 hours before the race and had no trouble finding a place to park. All of the parking spots charged a fee, (our lot was $10), so if you’re planning on running this race, be prepared to pay for parking.


I was excited to run a race with my brother again – it had been several years since we ran our last one together. Speaking of running races together, two out of the three coldest races I’ve ever run have been with my brother. Hmm…


Did I mention it was freezing on race morning? Cause it was. You see my getup? I ran the ENTIRE 8 miles without taking any of it off. Brrrrr!

After taking a photo with the giant turkey (pictured way above), we began our search for the social media tent. We were awarded VIP passes earlier in the week via Facebook and had to pick up our wristbands in order to gain access to the tent.


I never saw my tweets pop up on the giant board, but I did tweet these guys several times throughout the morning! :0)


VIP wristband in place, ready for some pre-race fun!


Inside the VIP tent, Corner Bakery had a table filled with pastries! We also had a nice, hot cup of coffee which helped warm my hands.


It was Thanksgiving Day and I was at a Turkey Trot, I couldn’t pass up a photo with the turkey.
A new feature offered this year was the timed chip option. All of the racers (5K and 8 milers) began this race together – the difference is that some chose to have their times recorded. Those who used the chip timing option were granted access into a special area, closer to the start line. (Score!)


For such a huge race, the volunteers were awesome (there were a ton of them, too) – I didn’t feel as if any aspect of this race was lacking. Everything was incredibly organized and very well put together. It seemed to run like a well-oiled machine.


I purchased this awesome Turkey Trot Sweaty Band and I was bummed that it couldn’t be seen. Sad times.


Our corral closed at 8:40 a.m. and we arrived in plenty of time to secure a good spot. I’d read reports about the first two miles of this race being a nightmare, so I wanted to make sure we weren’t stuck behind a lot of walkers.


In front of us…(above)

and behind us…(below)


Keep in mind, only the timed corral is pictured here – beyond this corral was several thousand non-timed participants. Dogs were included in this race, too….and I loved it! Even dogs were given race bibs!

After jumping around and moving as much as possible to keep warm (it didn’t work), we were off!


The first thing I noticed when we started running was that my feet felt like blocks of ice. I couldn’t feel my feet or my toes at all.


The route took us past City Hall and away from downtown.


Once we started running, I never felt as if the route was too congested, or as if I was stepping on anyone’s heels. It was great!!


My brother and I actually ran the first two (almost three) miles together. He isn’t a runner and didn’t train a lot for this race, but he did great!

Approaching downtown…

After 2.8 miles, I said goodbye to Brian and continued my journey solo.


At first, I thought I missed the cutoff, but I am glad to say…it was very well marked!


The 8 mile route led us through Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll, the location of the President Kennedy tragedy. As a matter of fact, we ran right over the X on the street, which I heard was covered up recently – I didn’t realize it was still there until after the fact.


Mile 5 (no, I wasn’t running THAT fast)!

Actually, it was around mile 5 when my right knee/IT Band began to bother me. I realized two things – 1, I foam rolled an hour and a half to two hours before this race (big mistake); 2, I couldn’t feel my feet for a solid 3 miles of this race – who knows what my running form consisted of.

I realized I should not push myself any longer and I began to walk – which I haven’t had to do in a while. I was bummed, but I knew if I pushed myself, I would encounter bad news at next weekend’s Half Marathon.

As I jogged/walked, I prayed for a distraction.


My distraction came in the form of a runDisney shirt. See it ahead? You’d be able to pick it out in a race too, right?

I sped up to catch him and saw that he was wearing a Goofy Challenge shirt. I couldn’t pass up my opportunity so I began talking to him! He was excited to talk to another Goofy Challenge runner and so we ran together for a half mile discussing all things runDisney. He ran Goofy’s Challenge in 2010 (which was the year of my first Half Marathon). That year was one of the coldest in Disney Marathon Weekend history, so we had a lot to talk about. It was just what I needed at that moment!
We parted ways and I realized I only had 1.5 miles to go! Yay!


We entered Downtown Dallas once again and before I knew it, I could see the finish line!


I spotted Jason and knew I was close!


Almost there!


…and done!


I didn’t reach my goal of  1 hour 12 minutes…or even 1 hour 15 minutes, but I did keep a good pace and despite my knee pain, I finished under 1 hour 20 minutes. I was ok with my results…not happy (mostly aggravated with my knee), but ok.


8 miles, done!

I crossed the finish line, grabbed a banana and a water, found my crew, then headed for the car to begin our journey home. After all, I had a fresh homemade batch of these guys waiting on me…


…and they were worth every mile! :0)

Final thoughts on this race:
  • Arrive early!!
  • Pickup your packets ahead of time if at all possible
  • Follow them on Twitter for extra fun race-day perks
  • Don’t forget to have fun!
Did you run a Turkey Trot on (or around) Thanksgiving Day? If so, which one?


  1. That looked like such a fun race. Sorry you had issues with your knee/IT band. However, those sweet rolls looked worth the effort! Congrats!

    1. It was SO much fun! The crowds reminded me of Marathon Weekend. :0) The rolls were amazing, too! Thanks, Pam!!

  2. Looks like a very fun run! So sorry about the knee!

  3. Sounds like a great race Karen! Sorry about the knee pain. How cold could it possibly be in Dallas? Are you a cold-wuss or was there a freak cold spell? LOL...the year I lived there I was wearing shorts on Christmas.

    1. It was 29 degrees on race morning! Girl, I'm from Southwest was COLD in Dallas! Haha!

  4. That sounds like a wonderful race! I am a little disappointed I couldn't find a Turkey Trott where we were for Thanksgiving.

    Hope you had a great weekend.

    1. Sorry there were no turkey trots near you, Sarah. Hope you had a great thanksgiving!!

  5. Well done! I did not run a turkey trot myself. But I should get a medal for my efforts to walk my two big dogs and my daughters tiny puppy together on Thanksgiving Day.

    1. That definitely deserves a medal! Haha! Great job!!

  6. Looks like a fun race. I imagine it would have been even more fun had the weather been warmer! What a great way to start your Thanksgiving Holiday! No Turkey Trot for me, although my mom texted me an hour before hand to see if I wanted to run one with her. If I would have had more notice I probably would have cause it was only a 5K!

    1. I didn't mind the cold once I warmed up. It was good after that. Bummer you missed out on the turkey trot but I'm sure you still had a great thanksgiving anyway! :0)

  7. That sounds like fun! The only Turkey Trot by me is about an hour away. I've done it a couple of times, but this year I decided to just to three miles around my house and save the driving and parking hassles.

    1. I don't blame you...glad you were able to run on your own! Hope you had a very happy thanksgiving!

  8. Great job on your race, it looks like a fun one! Even cooler that they gave out medals, I haven't seen that before in a Turkey trot, how fun is that:)

    1. This one didn't give out medals but I wish they had! :0)

  9. Ah this looks so fun and cold! Sorry to hear about your knee :(

    I did not do a turkey trot this year, but my favorite was doing it with my mom and brother for a few years in Detroit.

    1. It's ok...thank you! All will be well soon! :0) The Detroit turkey trot sounds like fun! Hope you had a great thanksgiving!

  10. That is a HUGE Turkey Trot! Bigger than any race (including marathon/half marathons) I've participated in. Our local one has only been around for the last 4 years and I've run it every time...started around 400 people and this year was about 1,300. I wouldn't mind it being a bit bigger, but not Dallas-sized, that's for sure.

    Your headband was cute! I didn't wear my turkey trot Sweaty Band because it was just as cold here and I needed a better headwarmer. Oh well...

    1. It's neat your local turkey trot is growing! Sad times for the sweaty bands...maybe next year! :0)

  11. GREAT recap. I cannot stand the cold feet that come with cold weather...I can deal with all else....just not that. Big races are so much fun! This was a fun read! Congrats on your finish!

    1. Thanks! I'm not a fan of cold feet, either so I know what you mean! Thanks so much! :0)


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