Sunday, December 1, 2019

Race Recap: Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon

As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received a free entry to the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon. My opinions are my own.

"You're having a bad race too?"

I was taking a walk interval at about mile 10 during the recent Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon. The runner on the path next to me, who was also walking, looked unhappy. When I told him that I was run/walking this race and actually, no, I wasn't having a bad race, he didn't answer.

I thought to myself about how lucky I was to be out here, running a half marathon. I get to do this! When my walk minute was up, I started to run again.



I've run the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon 5 times and it is one of my favorite races. Held in the Busse Woods Forest Preserve where I do a lot of training, the course is flat and fast. It's scenic and well organized. This is the last half marathon of the year for Chicago runners and so it's usually well attended, attracting some of the top distance runners in the area. Up until about a month ago, I thought I'd be running the 5k. Struggling with RA related fatigue for most of the year, I recently started to find my endurance again. After a couple of nice long runs, I happily decided to sign up for the half.

My running friend Steph and I texted all week about the ominous weather forecast. We talked about DNSing if the weather was too awful but unless a blizzard struck, I was determined to do this thing. The morning of the race was raw and damp, but there was a break in the rain that was predicted to last for most of the race. When you're a runner in the Midwest and it's November, this is a win.

We drove to a parking garage near the forest preserve and boarded a school bus, which took us to the start line. Steph and I visited the ample portapotties and made our way back to the start corral. We ran into Erica, who was her usual cheery self and Jessica, another RA warrior that I met on IG.


Steph and I lined up in the middle of the corral. We were surprised to see so many runners in shorts and some were wearing tank tops. I wore my new Inknburn long-sleeved ladybug crew with an Athleta turtleneck underneath and my old reliable Lucy tights. On my feet were Swiftwick Turkey Trot crew socks. Dressed like this, I was comfortable throughout the race.

The National Anthem was sung, beautifully, and then we were off! I ran with Steph for the first 2 miles and then I started my 4:1 run/walk intervals. I stuck to my intervals for most of the race, varying only when there was a steep hill--there were a couple bridges that overpass a busy street.

Mile 4 took us through a wooded area. My running club, the Busse Woods Running Club, was manning the aid station there. It was great to see some friendly faces and get some hugs! There were multiple aid stations throughout the course with very enthusiastic volunteers. I really appreciated that, considering the crappy weather conditions.


After crossing the second bridge of the race, we ran across a grassy field to a long out-and-back segment of the race. I always dread this section of the race. It's only about 2 miles but it feels like 13. This year, there was a race arch marking the halfway point of the race with Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer on repeat. That made me laugh out loud.

I continued on and was greeted by my high school friend Judy, who was running towards me. She is so freaking fast and ended up winning our age group! It was great to see her out there. I also saw Erica again. After I looped around and headed back out of this section, I saw my friend Tahira and fellow ambassador Alice. It was as if the running gods knew I was going to need a pick me up during the out and back. It's amazing how seeing people you know really puts a pep in your step!

After that, we only had 4 miles to go. The wind was at my back, but it was starting to rain. Up ahead, I spotted Steph. Oh no! What happened? She was walking and I caught up with her. She was fine, she said, just tired. She took off ahead of me while I finished out my walk interval. When we made the climb up to the last bridge, I walked up most of it. I started running towards the top and ended up passing Steph. That was the last time I passed her. I realized that my goal of surpassing last year's 2:09:56 was doable! I decided to try to run most of the last mile to the finish, except for the 2 little hills. I was able to do exactly that and ran towards the finish line, crossing in 2:08:36.


Mission accomplished! My medal was placed over my head and I took a bottle of water. I waited for Steph and she crossed a few minutes after me. There were hot cinnamon rolls at the finish--what a great treat! As much as I wanted to wait for Tahira and Alice to finish, we were so cold. We headed over to the line for the school bus that would take us back to the parking garage.

Whomp whomp.

This year, the race moved the parking to a remote garage which meant runners who parked there had to be bussed. Unfortunately, the buses were stuck in the forest preserve parking lot as runners who parked there were trying to leave. The wind picked up and my hands started to hurt so bad, I thought I might cry. I convinced Steph to run with me to where the buses were stuck in the parking lot. She was worried that the driver wouldn't let us board, but he did, and let me tell you, a school bus never felt so good. Soon, other runners did the same thing. Hopefully, next year, ACE will figure out a better system with the buses.

Other than the bus debacle, the race went off without a hitch. I think the course measured a little short--my Garmin said I ran 13.08. This race had probably some of the more brutal weather conditions I've run in--but there's no controlling the weather! I was happy to see so many runners come out to run. The medal was cute. Free race photos are always a treat. As in past years, the runners received a fleece sweatshirt--this year's had a fun design on it. The Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon is always a favorite race and I hope to run it for many years to come. RA will not win!

Happy to be done! And frozen.

I outran #rheumatoidarthritis at a rainy, windy, cold Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon /via @oldrunningmom @allcommunityeve #running #runchat #turkeytradition #turkeytrot #curearthritis

Did you run a Turkey Trot? Have you ever run a half marathon in November? What are the worst conditions you've ever raced in? Favorite finish line treat? Did you figure out why that Bon Jovi song was playing at the halfway point?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown.


46 comments :

  1. YAY for beating your goal!!! BOO for the bus muck-up!! Geez what a pain!!! and definitely yes I know why they were playing that song haha! well played, Schaumburg!

    I had a really cold and windy race, half marathon, in January, not in November. I don't recall running a half in November. But in January is kind of the kick-off to the year's racing in Egmond aan Zee. It's right on the coast and you never know what kind of weather you'll get. The first 7KM are on the beach. That year we already had to wait a half hour for the waves to subside and the tide to go in a bit but there was only a teeny tiny strip of sand to run on with 1000's of other runners. and the wind was horrific. I wasn't even as slow as I am now but I think the 7KM took me almost an hour!!

    I ran a turkey trot (or officially the Hobbler Gobbler) in Rio Rancho 6 years ago when I was last home for Thanksgiving. It was fun!

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    1. There are 2 January half marathons in Chicago. I've never signed up for one--the weather is just too unpredictable. Last year, one of them took place on that polar vortex weekend. I think Erica ran it! She's a better woman than I.

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    2. Congrats to you Wendy!! It's always a treat to see you on the course 🏃 🏃

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  2. Congrats. You rocked this race.

    I’ve run in many a monsoon half. Not fun.

    I did turkey trot. With a sore foot. Not sure if that was smart. We’ll see.

    Taking a running break.

    So happy to read how well you are doing.

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    1. Thank you! I"m going to back off the miles this month--it was interesting how sore I was after ramping up for my race! But it felt great to know I still had some miles in me. Fingers crossed I can do a few halfs in 2020.

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  3. Well done for the 2:08! I knew you'd be under 2.15!
    Isn't it great when we see friends during a race? It's really encouraging.
    I think I would have a major meltdown (or freeze?) with those missing buses. The worst thing that can happen to you after a race. Are you going to mention it to the ACE?

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    1. I almost had a meltdown when we were waiting for the buses--I seriously thought I was going to break into tears. I was so uncomfortable. There's cold and then there's that burning feeling in your hands...I will mention it to ACE. That was a mess.

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  4. Aw yes! Congrats on a great race!!!

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  5. I don't think I've ever heard Bon Jovi at the halfway point of a half, and I've done a lot of them LOL I do know why he was singing to you, though :-) I did see a funny sign once, at the half way point, that had a crude image of a lemon and a pear that said "halfway there, ohhhhh lemon on a pear!" Congrats on a strong finish to 2019!

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    1. I've done quite a few halfs myself and each one presents with some new experience! Makes a good story, though.

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  6. Congrats on a strong race in crappy conditions! Cinnamon rolls after a half sound really good to me (who am I kidding, they sound good at any time).

    The crappiest weather I ever had was probably Cape Cod in the Nor'Easter last year. Although I've also had some incredibly hot ones that were no picnic either. I rarely get good weather. :(

    No racing for me on Thanksgiving, racing is probably done for 2019.

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    1. I'll pretty much run in anything and even though it was cold for this race, I'll take that over the sweltering humidity I've had at a few of my halfs.

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  7. Congrats on beating last year’s time. That’s a great way to finish your 2019 racing! I think the medal is awesome.

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    1. I'm really surprised and pleased! It's great to have some fire back in my legs.

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  8. Awesome job! The weather sounds tough, but you are tougher. Way to go!

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  9. Nice work lady!!! Congrats on another finish line. I'm guessing Living on a Prayer was playing because of the line - whoa, whoa, we're half way there! ;) The worst weather I've ever raced in? Probably the Mid Winter Classic a few years ago. There was a snowstorm the night before that left the roads snow covered, icy and below zero wind chills. The race was almost cancelled due to the super tall snowbanks but the city came through like champs. BUT the sun was out so that made it feel decent. Winter racing is always fun!

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    1. I have to agree with you about winter racing! It really brings out the tough runners!

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  10. Congrats on a strong race, especially in lousy conditions. Having to get a second bus after the finish sounds like a total cluster. I wonder why you can't park across Golf Rd anymore. I have to say the toughest conditions I've endured are the freezing rain and wind that lasted through the entire Tokyo Marathon. It's the closest I've ever come to no being physically able to finish.

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    1. I totally thought of you and that Tokyo Marathon after this race. The race itself wasn't bad though. It was that finish and wait for the bus that did us in!

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  11. I was happy to see that photo and see you were able to catch a break in the weather and run this. And I love the medal! Well done on a great strong race.

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    1. Thank you! I couldn't be happier about how it all turned out.

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  12. Nice work on your half marathon! I'm so glad that you had a good race experience. I know it's been a year of ups and downs when it comes to running but it looks like you're on the upswing for sure!

    Oh that's a bummer about the parking situation. Like you mentioned, hopefully they will listen to feedback and fix that for next year. There's nothing worse than being wet with sweat and then having to wait outside in the cold.

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    1. The half was a great way to close out the year. In spite of my struggles this year, overall, it was a good one--I had a lot of fun, even if there weren't a ton of miles. It's all about the big picture, right?

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  13. Wow look at your beating your time from last year and using intervals too! Way to go Wendy you sure are a warrior :)

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    1. I have to admit that I don't think I could do as well without the intervals. Go figure.

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  14. Congrats on a great race and having a good time despite dealing with RA all summer! I'm glad it seems like you're having a good streak! I know it can be frustrating when you are off due to injury/illness and have to regain endurance.

    Race season down here starts in November and goes until about March, so I do plenty of halfs in the winter months. It's always nicest here in those months :-) But i think the worst weather I've had for a half is humid and hot!

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    1. I've run a few of those Florida halfs--it's always tough for me to come from training in the cold to running in the heat! I give you southern runners a ton of credit for running in that.

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  15. COngrats on the time improvement. Friendly faces along the route make all the difference. Every Half should play Livin' on a Prayer

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  16. Congrats on a great race! The weather on Saturday was crappy. :-( I've run in pouring rain in Nashville and I was miserable.

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  17. Awesome! It was great to see you out there. You looked terrific mid run and I knew you were having a good day. I like the course and we ran faster than I expected to, as well. Strava had me at 13.4 but with all the curves and turns it's probably just screwy from the GPS.

    We were on the first group of buses so we didn't get into that snafu but the drivers were confused about where to go and some people wound up at the wrong place and in a panic.

    We were super lucky with the weather - could have been much worse!

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    1. We really were lucky that we caught that break in the rain! I think a lot of people had fast runs that day. I came in 8th in my old lady age group, which shows how fast that course really is!

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  18. Congrats on beating your goal time! It sounds like a good race in general, minus the bus issue at the end.

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    1. It's one of my favorites and I hope to do it again next year!

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  19. Congratulations, rockstar!

    I think that's awesome! I don't know if I could run with a turtle neck. I'll sometimes grab a buff or gaiter, but that constriction of the neck makes me all kinds of anxious. I guess I'm just not used to it, here.

    I had to DNS my Turkey Trot this year. No running on broken bones, apparently. Bummer.

    A few years ago, I ran a Thanksgiving 5K in torrential downpour. It wasn't freezing, but it was cold and humid. That was awful. To be honest, our brutal conditions tend to swing to high temperatures, sun and humidity. It's a different kind of grueling.

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    1. There is a different degree of brutality when it comes to weather, right?

      PS I can only wear the loose turtlenecks, like the one I'm wearing in the photo. If it's tight, I feel like I'm choking!

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  20. Congrats! You are amazing and an inspiration!
    They played "Living on a Prayer" at the halfway point at least one of the times that I ran California International Marathon. It's the perfect song for that point in a race!
    My first half marathon was a November half in Northwest Indiana. It was windy and cold! But I'd still rather run a November half in the Midwest than a summer one.

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    1. The weather is always crappy for this race. But I don't mind it at all. This race brings out the best, heartiest runners around. All the speedsters show up, which makes it super competitive!

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  21. Congrats on a strong race - especially in such lousy conditions!

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    1. Thank you! It seems like a lot of runners did well at this one. Go figure!

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  22. Congrats, Wendy! I'm so happy that you were able to run the half and didn't have to drop down to the 5K. It sounds like your walk intervals are working out well!

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    1. I would rather just run, but my body seems do to better with the walk breaks right now.

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