Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I started mine off by venturing to downtown Cleveland for the 24th annual “Turkey Trot”. Driving there started off as an adventure in and of itself as the highway was reduced to one “drivable” lane, which itself was not overly drivable. But the closer I got to downtown, the better the roads were. I managed to secure a pretty good parking spot in the street and stepped out of my car into what almost seemed like a bitterly cold snow tornado. I quickly decided that the hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants that I had just worn for the ride would become part of my running attire, along with two knit hats and a much heavier pair of gloves.
The race started at the Cleveland Convention Center which is literally a few hundred feet from Lake Erie. While inside keeping warm before the race started, I heard an announcement that the five mile run had been reduced to “between 3 1/2 and 4 miles” because of the bad weather conditions. I was disappointed, but figured it was better than nothing. Around 9:20, we all headed outside for the 9:30 scheduled start. We all lined up headed east, and after a few minutes everyone turned around as we were now apparently starting off to the west. And then we all stood around, many hopping up and down trying to stay warm as the minutes ticked by…9:30, 9:35. Finally around 9:40, the race started.
The streets were slick, but I only saw one person fall during the race. We were running at a decent pace, but slower than a normal run given the conditions and the mass of people. After about 12 minutes, we were back to where we started and that apparently was what the race was reduced to. It could not have been much more than a mile. They didn’t even bother keeping time. I started walking around the course again which would take me to my car, but I noticed there were quite a few people still running, so I followed along and a number of us did another lap around, taking a slightly longer route this time, along the sidewalk. The winds were incredibly strong that close to the lake, and there were some serious 50+ mph gusts that literally blew people sideways. A couple times, I felt just like one of those birds you see that is flying in place due to the strong wind, because I was literally almost running in place, shoulders down, trying to beat the wind and keep moving forward. At one point when we were on the sidewalk, the wind was so strong for about 20 seconds that it was blowing people towards the street, self included. A couple of girls in front of me actually sat down to avoid being sent into the street. I’d never experienced wind like that before where I had to grab something to keep from moving.
So in the end, I only did about 3 miles, but it was sort of fun, especially the second “unofficial” lap with the other diehards. It was just frustrating that the communication was so poor between officials and runners because no one knew what was going on. It was very annoying to stand out in the cold for an extra 10 minutes waiting for the race to start late. But it was all for a good cause and gave me a new story to tell. I think some people would consider this more “insane” than the marathon I did last month. I did manage to burn off a few more calories before the big dinner by shoveling the driveway when I got home. So bring on the food!
UPDATE: The Turkey Trot website has the lowdown on the race, saying the Cleveland Police Department wanted to shut it down altogether because of hazardous road conditions, but eventually conceded to the abbreviated 1.5 mile course. I just don’t see why they didn’t have people do 3 laps around which would have made it close to 5 miles instead of only keeping it open for one lap (my 2nd lap was done on the more snow-covered sidewalks as the streets were opened back up to traffic by that point).