Rob Lucas’ 2017 Turkey Trot Leftovers

November 27, 2017

As I mentioned in the days leading up to the Buffalo Niagara YMCA’s 122nd Turkey Trot, I did very little training compared to last year.  And I paid for it, finishing 2:45 slower than my average for my age group time of 46:29 in 2016.  Last year I ran about 15 training runs in advance of the race, this year I did 4.   Like anything in life, your return is based on your investment.  And I didn’t invest enough.  I never felt comfy at all during the race, never got my legs under me to the point where I felt “loose and flying” like you often do during a good run. The cold never let my calves loosen up, I never felt like a got my knees going upward as much as they would have on a warmer day.  I now totally believe those who told me that I would never see weather as good for a Turkey Trot as it was in 2016, when it was almost 40 degrees with no wind.  2017 was 10 degrees colder, and with a slight wind as you got closer to downtown.

I do need to give a shout out to fellow runner and SPCA employee Jen Garver, who beat me by a sound 5 mins this year, after I bested her by 4 mins in my first trot last year.  Now that I know she used me as a motivational target, I’ll need to return the favor next year.   But unless you are starting right up front, the Turkey Trot isn’t about your race time…for too many costumes and characters can slow you up if you start far back in the field.  It’s about the event, which I think is my favorite in the Buffalo calendar year.  Here are my thoughts, written as they popped into my head, as the day unfolded.

  • I parked next to a family dressed as turkeys and another as 4 elves.  I have yet to see the guy in the T-Rex costume.  But I know he’s lurking.
  • No matter who you end up next to at the start line, you will have a kindred spirit.  The anticipation of something big and special is about to happen.  Doesn’t matter the pace, the age, or gender.  It’s just special.
  • There is simply nothing like running under the train bridge at Delaware and Linden or under the arched 198 overpasses at the S curves and seeing people looking down and rooting you on.  As you pass underneath and hear the screams, yells, and noises of yourself and 500 runners around you, reverberate from the stone and metal above into a cascade that sounds louder than a Bills or Sabres game, the feeling is priceless.
  • There’s one of the guys who runs the whole things carrying a canoe.  How did that start?  Did he lose a bet?
  • The Turkey Trot is truly a family event, as evidenced by these two guys pulling their kids in a wagon made up to look like the Arcade and Attica Railroad.  And if it wasn’t for the uphill’s, I may not have beaten them.  Those guys were in shape!  Their kids were getting the memory of a lifetime!
  • Just saw a guy grab a cup of water…and was surprised it was Stella Artois. Obviously a first timer!
  • Nice to see Bethany from the SPCA as part of a 10-person centipede.  I caught up with them at about the 3 mile mark.  They must have started up front, as they were going at a joggers pace.  Props to all of them…I would have gotten bored and taken off, thereby making the centipede a…well…whatever is one less than a centipede.
  • The 3 mile marker seems to be off.  I think it’s more like 3.25 to this point.  I checked my watch, and I know what my pace had been. The woman running next to me agreed with me. Before she passed me.
  • Nice to see a guy wearing a T-shirt with my stations logo on it…from 1991!  Seriously, this guy had a shirt on with big giant logos for Underground Screen Printing (they aren’t in Buffalo anymore) WBEN 930AM (in giant bulbous letters that only the 90’s could bring out), and MAJIC 102-5…which is what the now STAR 102.5 was called in 1991. Gosh I wish I had a camera!  But I just can’t run with a phone on my person.  How do people do that?
  • Nothing better than the camaraderie of running under the extended ladder trucks and cheers from the Buffalo Fire Department as you get into downtown.  So many runners high-fiving and thanking police and firefighters for turning out, not only today, but EVERY day!  Everyone in Western New York should experience this!
  • There are about 20 other runners and groups that I swear I’ve passed multiple times.  Only to have them pass me back.  And they feel the same way about me.
  • Watching the running form of some (including me) can be confusing.  I’m told that I look like I’m in pain when I run. Those who say that are correct, I don’t know how people can smile while running, or even talk.  I saw on woman who looked like Bambi walking on ice, her legs flailing all over and arms at a very weird height.  Yet she was doing great, and much faster than me.  But then so were 4 people dressed as pilgrims, one of which was carrying a small turkey.  I’m betting they traded off on the turkey carry, each in the group taking a mile.
  • No one has a better exit from the course, and better post party, than the Turkey Trot.  I walked into the convention center to hear DWAYNE GRETZKY, the best cover band I have heard in forever.  They are incredible!  A bunch of millennials and Y Generationer’s doing songs that sounded EXACTLY like the originals.  DWAYNE GRETZKY is comprised of members who are TRUE MUSICIANS who care about their craft and have appreciation for the history of music, not old guys still trying to be rock stars (sorry old guys, for I am one of you).  I caught them doing a back to back of THE CHAIN and YOUNG AMERICANS, and you would have thought it was Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie on stage.  Note-for-note, it was simply perfect!  I want Dwayne Gretzky to play at my funeral.  Seriously.  Big going away party, not a sad dour affair!