Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey trot, trot, trot

(Bottom row, Lisa and Me, Top row, Dad, Nick, Craig in a turkey suit, Amy, Mike, Rachael, Richard (holding Rock))

My family has run the Turkey Trot in Mesa for like 30+ years now, or almost as long as they've put it on. It was just my dad for many of those years, but as you can tell, he's converted most of his children to the sport of running. This makes him a little giddy, as he loves running almost as much as he loves us.

Before you get any ideas about how lovely this all is, a family full of runners getting together early Thanksgiving morning to celebrate and enjoy one another's company, I have to tell you that this is not for fun, although we have fun. We are not occasional runners. We take this seriously.

For example here are some words we exchange with each other as we await the start:
What do you think your pace is going to be today?
What is your goal time?
How did you do last year?
Do you think you'll set a PR (personal record)?
Did you eat a good dinner last night?
What did you eat for breakfast?
Are you feeling strong?
How's your hip, calf, foot, etc.?
Remember, don't go out too fast (to the newcomer).

As we congregate on the patio above the sign in tables, we hand off all of our keys, wallets, phones, and newly acquired t-shirts to the spectators (usually mom, some spouses and small children). We stretch and jump and pin our bibs to our shirts. We discuss whether we think the weather will be good, and whether we should add or shed layers. My dad visits the portajohn a million times, just in case. We watch the 1 milers finish, and then the 2 milers. Then we start our descent to the start line (surprisingly this year, one of us was skipping very big skips to the start, I won't say who).

My eldest brother who runs 6 minute miles is usually right up near the line. The rest of us are nearer to the front than the back of the pack. We wait, and wait, until the gun goes off. And then we go.

No, we don't run all together.

We each have our own pace. Sometimes those paces match up, and we'll get two of us running together. This year was Rachael's first year, as she's a newcomer to the sport. Amy ran with her. They did awesome, although I know Rachael was slowed down by the massive ring on her left hand, placed there just the night before by Greg(g). I am excited to have another sister in the running ranks (Beka you are next). I am also excited to have another brother.

We weave in and out of the thousands of people. The crowds don't seem to thin at all, as it's a 10K and there aren't enough miles to separate them. We turn onto Brown, turn again at the end of the park, turn again on Adobe. All the time passing runners and being passed by runners as we find our paces.

I am surprised this year as I see my dad ahead of me. I catch him, smile, and run past him. I wondered, rightly so, if his injury was bothering him. I don't see any of my other siblings. I wonder who is ahead and who is behind me. I slowed down for mile 5, it's a slight upgrade. I get discouraged because I don't foresee making my first goal (53 minutes) and try to salvage my second goal (55 minutes). I hit mile 6, with .2 to go and realize if I kick hard enough I can make 53. I don't know how I made up the time, but I kick. I cross the finish line, then turn to the ropes to catch the rest of my family. I look for them, and pretty soon I see Nick, then Amy and Rachael. I cheer and then go find the rest of the family on the patio.

Someone tells me I beat Richard. What?! I came in 1st BM (behind Mike, who ran it in 42 minutes, the freak show). That can't be right, I say. Are you sure? I beat Richard?! I came in after Mike?! I let the reality of that hit. It was a wonderful feeling, sublime actually. Although I somehow missed them, Richard, Lisa, and Dad came in right after me.

We discuss the race back on the patio. We dissect the miles, recap our injuries and illnesses and how we feel now. We eat orange slices and drink water. And then we wish each other a Happy Thanksgiving and leave. Some of us go to the parents, some to the inlaws.

It's one of my most favorite holiday traditions.


Tri Harder said...

For the record, the first half of the race, I was pushing Maverick. I dropped him off with his mom because he was done racing. His mom and I chatted for a minute and then I went after Lisa. I passed Lisa and kept a good, non-breathing hard pace for the rest of the race. If I had known you were ahead of me by 10 seconds, I would have easily caught up to you and beat you. However, I did not do this and yes, you did beat me. I now challenge you to a race around the block. The loser must by the winner a D.P.

Erin-lou said...

Funny that moment turned into a minute. Good for you Melanie, he deserves a good slice of humble pie to go with his turkey every now and then. (I love you Richard, but girls sometimes have to stick together.)

dawheelers said...

Love it. So proud of you Coach. I feel bad that we are slowing you down so much! I will try harder. I know you can beat your brother around the block too! Especially if you know that there is a soda for you at the end! HA!

Beka said...

Good luck with trying to get me to run. I wouldn't hold your breathe.

P.S. the fam looks HOTT in that pic.

PassTheChips said...

Nothing wrong with a little skipping.