Running For Kicks 4 Mile Turkey Trot – 2013

I love the holidays.  I love spending time with my family.  I love getting in an extra run here or there when I can.  I love that running has not only become a regular part of my life but one on which I now center a few holiday traditions.  Thanksgiving is one such holiday.  I run the Running For Kicks 4 mile Turkey Trot every year not only because it has become one of my “traditions” but also as a way to gauge my fitness level on an annual basis.  The race is always post Chicago Marathon season, in a relatively low mileage month, on the same course year after year, and at time when my fitness is decent.  Plus the weather is pretty steady usually ranging from 20-30 degrees.  All of the above factors produce decent conditions for a realistic comparison on an annual basis.  So let’s get to Turkey Trotting!!


This year was a normal year.  I was healthy.  Conditioned.  Ready.  Going in I felt fit, somewhat fast and was ready to see what I could do.  My only concern was that I had registered Aby and in my head, I was tossing around the idea of running with her.  The course is HARD.  Lots of rolling hills.  Aby is good on hills but a Thanksgiving race puts her out of her season and not anywhere near peak conditioning.  It’s the end of running season for her and the start of volleyball.   Last year since I was just coming off an injury, I ran with her and she wasn’t necessarily grateful.  We normally do not race together but rather “run our own race”.  Since that time, we made another attempt to “race together” and while it went much better, the fact of the matter is that we are different runners, have different strengths {and weakness} and to be honest, it doesn’t do either of us any good to make the effort to race together.  We don’t “need” each other and in reality we hold one another back at various points, resulting in neither of us having our best race.  So, I decided to let it fly off the start line and she would either follow, or not.  Pre-race photo while we shivered waited.  Me & Aby on the left.  F’N Runners on the Right:  Pam, Brian, Aby, Me & Nicki.

RFK Turkey Trot_2013 me & aby  RFK Turkey Trot_2013 group

So I let it fly.  This race is different than most.  Since it’s so hilly, I have to focus on really running the straights/flats & downhill’s as fast as possible because I’m a crappy poor uphill runner.  I once described this race as a 4 mile fartlek session.  It’s a constant variation of pace due to my uphill running weakness.  So I run fast when I can, like off the start line.  My only indication of how the race goes is the finish time cuz let’s just say that running it never feels great and pace is sporadic.  Here is my “history” with this race.  I started running it in 2007 after a much more “relaxed” Turkey Trot in 2006.  I wanted more structure.  More challenge.  I found it.  And I keep coming back year after year.

  • 2007 – 34:21 – I was a bit in shock over the hills.  Hardest road race to date.
  • 2008 – 32:33
  • 2009 – Mr. Michael arrived
  • 2010 – 31:53 – Under 8 min/mi average – HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!
  • 2011 – 31:55 – Consistent, Plantar Fasciitis was at it’s height & I was preparing for time off running so happy with the result.
  • 2012 – 34:29 – Recovering from torn tendon in June 2012 (damn PF!!), only been back to running for a couple months, decided to run with Aby “for fun”.
  • 2013- 31:02  – Proof that fewer miles, the addition of CrossFit & regular Chiro sessions with Dr. Alexis has been a winning combination for me!

Great day that brought us an amazing run with a local food bank as the choice charity.  Great swag, several store coupons, plus lots of free stuff, mainly socks, which was pitched into the crowd while we awaited awards.  Plus, they raffled off 7-10 pair of shoes at the end of the event.  Aby happened to win a pair of the FREE shoes but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are sending them to a young lady who happens to need a pair.

RFK Turkey Trot_2013 swag

Aby improved a lot this year too.  Last year she ran a 34:25.  This year a 33:14.  Her time was good enough for third in her age group!   Yay, Aby!!  Love to see the progress!!  I have high hopes that this will become one of her cherished Thanksgiving Day traditions too.  See you next year, in Palos Hills on Thanksgiving Day! 

** Who Runs to Eat? ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Best SWAG Award for 2012

It’s certainly no secret that runners and triathlete’s love free SWAG.  However, the majority of the time, the items in the SWAG bag don’t elicit much excitement from me because 1) the items rarely fit (unisex sizing) or 2) the items are not technical or 3) the items are FUGLY.   However, on a rare occasion even I get a SWAG bag that is exciting. 

For all intents and purposes, I consider myself a SWAG expert due to the numerous races I run annually.  🙂   Last year, my favorite SWAG item from the Hot Chocolate Race quickly turned to crap as all the print started rubbing off the windbreaker within weeks of receiving the item.  Oh yeah, and the sleeves were about 4 inches too short for Ms. TooTall but I know I’m not a “normal” size so no real complaints in that area.  This year, I’ve received some cool things but  nothing I loved…… until today.  My friend Pam picked up the Running For Kicks Turkey Trot packets last night and delivered them to me today.  As you probably already know, I’m a huge supporter of Mel and the Running for Kicks team.  They are a major force in our running community supporting everyone who moves from walkers to runners alike.  They also support many local charities and each race they direct brings additional charity monies to our local community.  I’d run the Running for Kicks races with or without a good SWAG bag just because I like Mel, the store, the staff and the charity component.  However, this year, I would definitely award them with the TTF Best SWAG Award for 2012!

RFK Turkey Trot_2012 SWAG

  • Sport Tek Half Zip lined with fleece (with thumb holes) – SUPER snuggly!!!
  • Feetures No Show Socks
  • GU Chompls
  • Sport Wash
  • $15 off coupon for Running For Kicks
  • Chip Timed Race on Thanksgiving Day

I register for the races that I want to run, regardless of the price which is evident since I even sprung for an Ironman brand race this year.  I will pay more for a race that is in my backyard where I don’t have to travel too far because it reduces the stress on my family.  When registration became available for this year’s 4 mile Running For Kicks Turkey Trot I heard nothing but bitching about the price verses the mere 4 mile distance complaints on the cost.  The registration fee was $55 for a chip timed race on Thanksgiving morning.  The SWAG, which was previously announced, is the best I’ve received all year and is equivalent to the registration fee in my opinion.  Plus the race donates money to local charities and collects food for the Worth Food Pantry.  There may not be a band along route but you will have friends and family cheering for you who actually know you by name.  You will be eligible to win a multitude of raffle prizes and you will get more than what you pay for in hospitality, plus you will be supporting the local community in a magnitude of ways. 

I always stay local if possible and I am thankful for great races like this one.  This amazing half zip is just a bonus!  RFK Turkey Trot_2012 half zip 


RFK Turkey Trot_2012 half zip


That’s an embroidered logo….guessing that won’t “rub” off anytime soon.  Plus its a ladies cut.  Super score!  And thanks, Mel for keeping that turkey logo a reasonable size so that I’ll actually wear this thing.  🙂

Do you want to run the cheapest race around to save some cash or are you willing to spend a bit more for a good cause or even a specialty theme?  I certainly love the cheap races but also like to go where my friends go and sometimes that means that my friends are the organizers.  I like to support the people who support me, my run friends and my community on a daily basis and yes, I don’t mind paying a little extra for that.

Tell me which race would win the Best 2012 SWAG award in your opinion. 

** Happy Turkey Trotting ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **