For so many Americans nowadays, Thanksgiving seems to mainly be about how much food can be ingested. I decided when I started my weight loss and health journey in 2009 that I was going to change the idea that the holidays were about eating.
So three years ago I decided to run an 8k on Thanksgiving morning. Hubs and Mini me came along, and mini me even ran the little kids’ dash (which was a feat given that he is a survivor of Guillain Barre Syndrome and at one point we weren’t sure if he’d even walk again….but that is a story for another day). Then last year I ran a Thanksgiving 10k with Leslie while Hubs and mini me ran the 5k. This year I decided to run the Hot to Trot Thanksgiving Day 5k with my guys and one of Mini me’s friends (whom we shall call Mini C).
This one was purely for fun! Hubs and I had just done the Secret City Half Marathon Relay the Sunday before and we didn’t plan to bust a move or anything along the way. Especially with two nine-year-olds in tow.
Another huge thing happening at the same race, but the 10k distance, was our friend Clare running her first 10k (she’s the Mom of mini me’s friend that was running the 5k with us). I was (and am) so excited for her! Her first race was this year in March (Catch the Leprechaun 5k) and she has grown SO much in just a few months! She’s a superstar! I love watching my runner friends excel. It breathes life into my own running. I liken it some to watching the reaction my son has to things. I am able to see “old” events through “new” eyes. Gives it a special magic of it’s own. It is the same way when I run with one of my friends and experience firsts with them. It reminds me that we need to celebrate even the smallest victories and not forget how far we have come!
As a bonus, I ran into my friend Michele right before the race started! She was doing the 5k too and wanted to take it easy, so didn’t mind running with us and the kiddos (which I warned her might be stop and go).
The 5k and 10k start at the same time. We didn’t have to stand in line too long. But it was cold for a Thanksgiving morning in East TN. We had gladly donned layers though and huddled. The gun went off and we were off, then stopped, then off….you know how it goes at stop lines (well unless you are an elite or semi-elite runner and actually line up at the start line….that’s not me). I hit the button on my new Garmin 10 (I’ll be doing a review of this new love of my life soon, the Hot to Trot was my first run with it and I was instantly in love).
Those boys are hilarious. We’d start running and then Hubs, Michele, and I would look back and they’d be sauntering (not even really walking) along at a snail’s pace. We couldn’t be mad at them though. They had willingly gotten up early on Thanksgiving day in order to run/walk 3.1 miles with us crazy adults. I looked back one time and they had stopped and were picking grass on the side of the road (LOL). Another time I heard my son exclaim, “I see my life flashing before my eyes!” I prodded them on saying, “Let’s just try and finish the 5k before the 10k winner crosses the finish line!” Well, no such luck, that dude flew by us when we were around mile 2.5. LOL! We were entertaining to the other runner/walkers I’m sure.
The course is an out and back that starts at the local Fleet Feet store. And then if you are doing the 10k, you do that same out and back again. So this gave us many chances to see Clare as she was running her 10k! She looked strong and was moving right along! She probably wondered what in the world we were doing though.
When we got near the end Michele busted a move and took off to finish the 5k (way to go girl!) and we shuffled along. We saw Mini C’s dad and little sis as we neared the finish and that put a little spring in the boys’ step. This is about the time I saw a lady who was clearly struggling. She was breathing fairly heavily and looked like she was going to cry. I told Hubs to run on with the boys and I slowed down and laid my hand on the ladies arm and asked her if she was okay. She told me that she has asthma and was struggling (this was either her first or one of her first races, it was hard to hear exactly what she said). She wanted to finish though (and we were within about 25 yards of the finish line). So I told her that she was amazing (which I meant) for running with asthma and that I was in awe of her. I pointed at the finish line and said, “You’ve got this!” and we ran across the finish line! I congratulated her and then she was lost in the crowd. I’ll never forget that lady and those moments in time with her. She inspires me. If she could do what she did, then I never should have an excuse.
Mini C’s dad and sis found us and we roamed over to the food and drink area. The boys were enamored with what they kept calling “cake” though I think it was just chocolate chip bread (but hey, if they want to call it cake, go for it). There was also crackers, bananas, and oranges available along with bottled water. There were no huge lines and it was easy to get our food and drink and head back to the finish line to cheer Clare in.
While we were there we’d cheer in other runners. I even saw several other people I know. Clare’s hubby was tracking her and we knew she was heading to the finish. This is when chaos erupted. Okay, maybe erupted isn’t the right word. See, they were also putting on a one-mile fun run. Well, they didn’t think about some of the 10k’ers still finishing up (there were still quite a lot of them actually) and they lined the fun runners up at the start/finish line, thus blocking that finish from the 10k’ers. I kept shouting, “Move, there are people still finishing the 10k!!!” No one seemed to hear a thing. And the runners were having to push their way through to finish. It was really horrible and that absolutely will have to change in the future. Clare was livid (and rightly so) and we couldn’t get her triumphant finish line pictures (she had PR’d her 1k, 5k, and 10k distance). So we waited for the fun runners to move and then we had her run across again! LOL!! Wasn’t exactly the same, but it was definitely what she would have looked like if she hadn’t had to hack her way through a crowd to finish.
Besides that snafu, the race went off really well. It seemed well organized with plenty of pre-race communication. The shirts are AWESOME! There was plenty of post-race food and drink. The course was about as flat as you can get around this area. It was crowded, but we expected that going into this race. This wouldn’t be a 5k I would try to PR at…though the 10k thinned out some and might give chance (well obviously did since Clare PR’d) at that distance. This is a race we’ll definitely do again.
What a great way to start our Thanksgiving holiday. We were exceedingly thankful for the good health to be able to do a race. We were thankful to be together. And we were very thankful for our friends who ran with/near us and then spent the holiday with us. Being so far from family, we have to make our own where we are. I hope your holiday was just as blessed. We look forward to the Christmas holiday, and before then we have one more race! I’ll be running the Santa Hustle of the Smokies Half Marathon (with Clare, Leslie, and Michele) and Hubs, Mini Me, and Mini C are running the Santa Hustle of the Smokes 5k. Look for a race report next week!
Have a great rest of your week. Good luck if you are racing this weekend. Until next time, I’ll be running away in Tennessee…