Since I flew back to Illinois to see my family for Thanksgiving this year I decided to enter the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot in Elmhurst. It seems that things don't change much in Elmhurst between my visits... the Trot grows steadily every year. Some dude named Ogelthorpe gets some one-liner printed on some shirts and we all wonder who he is and why people think he's funny (this year's entry: "My kind of music? ... Plymouth Rock!"). And there's a race or something.
It was drizzling and cold when Dad and I walked over to downtown Elmhurst to register ourselves and my brother Lyndon, who was sleeping in. We got there early, before the crowds really rolled in, and apparently before they worked all the kinks out of their operation. They gave us child-size shirts! The effect was funniest on Lyndon, who was a gymnast and still is muscular and broad-of-shoulder. We were able, fortunately, to get them exchanged.
The three of us jogged back downtown for the race together, then split up. I ran into Matt and Dave Montgomery (HS cross teammates) and we started off running together. Matt and I weren't in great shape, and Dave was, having just finished his college cross-country season. Dave was rocking a classic Al Dimond look: a scraggly beard and pajama pants. As usual, we started way too far back in the pack and had to dodge little kids, people with stollers, dogs, cats, and the York High School swim team, which was running the race in Speedos. Splits at the first mile were called out by a guy that was walking back against the flow of the runners. As we approached a turn-around point about halfway through Dave realized that he would have had a shot at winning had he really raced it from the beginning... but that he still had a chance to be the first finisher wearing long pants. So he took off in pursuit of that goal. Matt dropped me with about a half-mile to go because, well, I'm kind of slow right now. A couple blocks before the finish I caught the guy Dave spotted as the first pants-wearer at the turn-around and put him away with my deadly kick. I'm pretty sure that the Montgomerys and I were the three first pants-wearing finishers. And that has to count for something. Final time: 17:47 (oof).
I saw my middle-school cross coach after the race -- he ran a few marathons and was glad to hear my dad was planning to run one. I ran into several other cross teammates as well. And we saw some other old classmates and found out where we were living and what we were doing with our lives. Just like every year at the old Turkey Trot.