I’ve in the past been against Thanksgiving runs, in theory and in practice. I mean, why would you get up early to run in the cold on a holiday, especially if you got drunk with people you went to high school with the night before or if you have a turkey to emergency defrost?
Obviously a lot has changed for me. I am now a runner who likes to run with people. I wasn’t exactly planning on doing a Thanksgiving run this year—I hadn’t ruled it out and was kind of assuming I’d probably do one—but I saw the shirt for the Iroquois Hill Runners Thanksgiving 5 Miler and was smitten. So many ugly shirts from races I’ve done this year made me a sucker for a cute shirt and this one was adorable.
A word about Iroquois Park. It’s part of Louisville’s Park System and is located south of the city. It’s kind of a heavily wooded, big hill, with a path/road of rolling hills around the outside and an interior road going more or less straight up to a scenic overlook of the best views in the county. I’ve done the loop a few times. It’s a fun place to run. I’ve only done the inside road up to the top once, and it was amazing. Hard, but the view and sense of accomplishment was worth it. The route for the 5 mile race was basically up a hill for two and a half miles, then down the same distance.
I ride shared with a couple friends from my running group. We got there plenty early and found other people in MRTT/SRTT. Always good to see running friends. Lots of fun costumes in general—turkey hats, autumn-colored tutus, even a guy dressed up like a pilgrim. It was chilly, but the energy from everyone was infectious. Everyone was so happy! Yay Thanksgiving!
I hooked back up with the friends I came with and one of their close friends, and we started together with an easy pace. About a mile in, we started doing intervals. Lots of laughing and joking. I was having such a good time. After what seemed like not very long, a truck with loud horns started coming toward us, signaling to everyone to get over because the leaders were on their way down. Amazing how fast they were.
Soon we were at the top, where we took a break for a group photo in front of the beautiful view. Then it was time to go downhill! We kept our easy pace and skipped a few intervals. At the last mile, one of my friends held back, I think because of a cramp, and another friend stayed with her. The other guy and I wanted to get it over with, so we just kept going and went faster. He finished a few seconds before me, then a minute or so later, the other two friends crossed the finish line. I got my fastest split ever on that last mile, 8:44. It was almost all downhill, but it was the fifth mile after almost 300 ft of elevation gain. The race was so incredibly fun. Running it with friends made it the best, and I can’t wait to do it again next year. Hopefully I can get my husband to do it too.