Turkey Trotting

2013 Turkey Trot MapI finished the 2013 event calendar in fine style this weekend, completing Fort Belvoir’s 10k Turkey Trot without injury and with a respectable (if not spectacular) time.  Given my inability to run the Marine Corps Marathon last month due to a pulled hamstring suffered the week prior in the Army Ten Miler, it was nice to compete and even nicer to finish without injury.

Like much of the area, Fort Belvoir has plenty of history.  Established in World War I as Camp Humphries, the area was used to train engineers for the Army.  The base was renamed Fort Belvoir in the 1930s in recognition of the Belvoir Plantation that used to be on the grounds.  The plantation was built by William Fairfax in 1738.  William was the cousin of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax and Cameron and the namesake of the county in which the fort resides.   By all accounts, Belvoir was a handsome home until it burned to the ground in 1783, never to be rebuilt (note: a shockingly high number of historical buildings in the area end up being destroyed by fire.  I’m not sure what to make of that.)  Eventually, the Engineer School moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, but other agencies moved onto the base.  Yours Truly was proud to serve on the fort at the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command from 2002-2010, both as an officer and as a Department of the Army Civilian.

You’ll have to forgive the history lesson.  I can’t help myself.

At the Starting Line

At the Starting Line

There were about 700 runners for this year’s event.  This is 100 more than last year and it surprised race organizers who nevertheless pulled off the event with no problems.  The morning was an overcast 50 degrees which made for pretty good running weather.  I left my gloves and hat in the car and probably could have done without my sweatshirt, but I had already pinned my race bib to it and the shirt said Army on it, so I kept it on to show my support.

The first mile was downhill so I am very happy to report an astounding split time of 7:45 for that distance.  Sadly, running down hill required me to run back up the hill (I routinely experience a similar phenomenon while cycling) so my other split times weren’t quite as impressive.  It was a fun race with plenty of room for the serious and not-so-serious runners.  I enjoyed the part of the course that took me on my old Physical Fitness Test route.  I believe I’ve lost a step over the past few years, but then again I started my two-mile run test fresh and not having already run four miles.

I also was surprised to see a very substantial hill on the way back from the fitness route.  I’ve driven that road many times but never took notice of it.  Funny how your perspective changes when you are running versus driving.

In the end, I finished with a time of 57:57, good enough to put me in the middle of the pack, both overall and for my age division.  More importantly, nothing on me was damaged.  It was a nice, if modest, way to close out the season.  Here’s to an injury-free 2014.



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