Richmond’s Turkey Trot 10K is one of my most favorite Richmond races. This year, I ran it for the fourth time in five years, missing it last year only because I was in Texas. I ran Houston’s Turkey Trot 10K instead, which was fine, but mostly it just made me miss Richmond’s trot.
Recently, turkey trots became America’s most popular race, with almost one million runners participating in more than 1,000 turkey trots nationwide. It’s a tradition that apparently dates back to 1896. Maybe that’s the thing that makes it so popular, the whole tradition thing. That, and it’s always nice to knock out some fitness before spending an entire day eating and drinking.
I love that Richmond’s Turkey Trot is a 10K because that’s a solid 600 calorie burn that translates into extra mashed potatoes and also PIE. I fucking love pie, you guys.
The Richmond Turkey Trot runs through the campus of the University of Richmond and the surrounding neighborhood. It’s beautiful and hilly and neighborhood residents spectate from their front lawns, drinking coffee and cheering on racers. It’s a smaller race, with only about 1,600 runners, and this year the Richmond Turkey Trot celebrated its 40th running and was sponsored by Wegmans.
For me, this year’s race felt hard. I ran a real fast 10K in Texas last year – 47:52 – and I knew I wouldn’t get near that pace this year. I’m training for a half marathon the first week of December, so I’ve been running a lot. Still, I felt off for the trot. My music wasn’t right, I was thirsty and hungry and sleepy. My legs felt heavy and what I mistook for pre-race jitters turned into a very serious need to pee around mile 2.
When I don’t feel great on a run, I don’t look at my pace. I run by feel instead. For me and my sanity, it’s better to just run rather than stressing out over not hitting my goal pace. So that’s what I did on the Turkey Trot. I didn’t look at my watch, opting instead to keep it covered for the duration of the run. I slowed down when I felt like I needed to and I sped up when I felt like I could.
Somewhat surprisingly I ran a 52:45, which is an average pace of 8:30. That’s the fastest I’ve ever run the Richmond Turkey Trot. So maybe that’s why it felt hard.
It was a nice surprise, for sure.
Post-race, I grabbed a salted pretzel bagel thing and trotted my ass back to the car because I was cold, y’all. I have not accepted it’s the cold weather running season yet. I’ve got three big races between now and March which means I’ll be training through the winter. Hopefully my the spring I’ll figure out how to dress myself appropriately for winter runs.
The Richmond Turkey Trot is hosted by the Richmond Road Runners Club and happens every Thanksgiving at 9 a.m.