For the last few weeks I've had this vague notion that I should run in my town's Thanksgiving day Turkey Trot 5K. This notion doesn't sound too unusual until you consider the fact that I haven't run in months. And no, Tuesday's mad dash through the Charlotte airport to make the Unmakeable Flight doesn't really count. (I was wearing boots with 3" heels, though.) Apparently even I didn't believe myself, because at about midnight I thought to myself "Oh, right. Turkey Trot. Guess I'd better go to bed if I'm going to run." Then I got in the bed and thought, "Guess I'd better get back up and find out when the race starts."
So, I got up and dressed, and as I was brushing my teeth, I realized it was raining. If it is hard to make yourself go out and run a 5K when you haven't run in months, know it is even harder to make yourself do it when it's freezing. But it's almost impossible when it's also raining. That said, I got in the car and went. As I looked for a place to park, the voice in my head kept saying, "Oh, just go home, it's raining. You don't really want to run anyway." But I parked, trudged through the rain to City Hall, paid my fee, and pinned on my number (4327). Now it wasn't just a matter of determination -- I didn't want to waste my $25, either. My office is close to the starting line, so I went in and stashed my keys (the front doors have a locked, keypad entry after hours, so this was a safe move).
Every year I make the same mistake. I line up back in the 10-minute mile section, but then it's actually 1.5-2 minutes before I can actually run past the starting line because of the slow pack. This year it was 1 minute, 40 seconds before I was past the start line and could begin actually running. So no matter what my official time is, I'll knock off 1.5 minutes because that short distance could have been covered in less than 10 seconds if I didn't have to fight the crowd of slow starters.
Running in the rain is not fun. Running in the cold is not fun. But running in a race is fun -- I could have never gone out on the track and run 3 miles cold, but somehow the race atmosphere makes it possible.
My primary goal was to finish and my secondary goal was to not stop running. I managed to do both, but man, it was hard. Anytime I wanted to stop, I thought of my mother. I am sure there were times in her treatment that it was more difficult than I can even imagine, but did she stop? No. She kept going, kept pushing. Stopping was not an option.
My unofficial time on my watch was 35 minutes and change, with 18 and change for the first half and 17 and change for the second half. All those include the 1:40 before I could actually start. When the official results are posted, I'll update this. That's a pretty bad time and slower than even my first 5K, but not bad considering that I'm not really in good running condition because of my lack of running and my general fatigue from work and travel. So, I'll take it.
One more thing. If you ever consider going out to see a road race, please go ahead and do it. It may sound silly, but it is really energizing to have people along the course cheering the runners on. It's a little thing, but it makes a difference.
And now the kitchen is calling my name. Happy Turkey Day, y'all.