so despite my injured IT band/glutes (which are still really bothering me after 2 months…prayers greatly appreciated, thankyouverymuch), i went against the probably-sound advice of most of my friends/family and stubbornly insisted upon running the 10 K (6.2 miles) Troy Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. this was my first organized race, and i was still suffering the minor letdown of not being able to run the Schenectady Stockadeathon in the beginning of November (15 K) due to a little problem called “i think i broke my hip/butt muscles.” (per doctor’s orders, i obediently opted out of that race and watched my dad run from the sidelines like a good little injured girl. at least i got to wear a brand new adorable winter-white jacket i’d bought the day before…that kept me semi-pacified. simple pleasures, really.)
so i went and picked up our little chips for our sneakers and numbers for our shirts, and it was exciting, especially because i’d heard so much about this run and how it draws thousands of people every Thanksgiving. my dad picked up my friend Trent and i (yes, others are capitals even if i am “i”) and the three of us headed to downtown Troy in our cute lil running gear, mittened and ear-banded and sneakered and pleasantly surprised by the near 40-degree weather and thin November sunlight. roads were blocked off and the excitement was underway, and we joined the crowds to watch the 5,500 5K runners who ran an hour before us (including my bff Jessica and her boyfriend and brother)! it was awesome, watching that many people begin a race, led by those crazy “just get me on television” attention seekers who sprinted out in the front of the pack, decked in full-out turkey suits (gobble gobble) and Indian feather headdresses, no shirts and war paint….craziness. and we loved every second. one of the best parts of the day for me was standing next to my father, watching that race begin…and seeing him laughing and cheering and so entirely consumed in the moment, sharing the happiness and energy of these crazy runners and the crowd around him and continually turning to me and saying, “would you look at this? look how many people are here, look how many people are running this! this is awesome. this is quite an event.” he’s been a runner all his life and he loves people…and this event combined those two passions of his and brought out the best in him. he couldn’t stop smiling, couldn’t stop talking to people around him, couldn’t stop cheering for the runners. it hit me how thankful i was to be there with him at that event, able to share my very first Turkey Trot and race with the man who got me into running and never stopped treating me like a princess. only 9:30 on Thanksgiving morning, and i already had plenty to be thankful for, just watching his face. he said, “i wish ryan would have run this with us,” and we both felt it, my brother’s able absence…but he wasn’t a runner, and has never expressed a desire to share this passion of ours, and we’d tried to convince him to run with us (even saying we’d down-grade to the 5K if he would join in)…but to no avail. just not his thing. but we had Trent with us, and he was as excited as we were, and i was thankful for him, too. father, friends, gobble gobble trot. i was pumped.
i doubt more than a thousand people ran the 10K – quite a fraction of the 5,500 stumbling over each other in the previous race, but a welcome difference when you’re in the pack. Trent and i ran the entire course together, and without him, i probably wouldn’t have kept my pace, because around mile 4 my hip/glutes started bothering me and continued to grow more and more painful as i ran…but this was my race, my first race, and i wasn’t stopping. i could be sore and hurt and whine all i wanted afterwards, walking around for the rest of the day/weekend with an ice pack tucked into my pants if need be, but i wasn’t stopping. we talked and laughed and passed people and kept up a pretty steady pace, even finishing the second half of the course with a faster time than the first 3.1 miles and posing for a surprise picture from Jessica, who found us from the sidelines on our way back. i didn’t run with my dad – he was a good 6-7 minutes behind us – but knowing he was there was enough, and sharing it with Trent was fabulous. he’s a good runner and a great friend and just the person i needed beside me to encourage me to run through the pain and finish steady. it was exciting, the people screaming and cheering us on from the sidelines…hitting the halfway mark and turning around, knowing the finish line was awaiting, with crowds of people flocking it on both sides…knowing this was only the beginning of a great day full of thanksgiving and family and friends, food and relaxation (and an ice bag for my sore muscles).
i was happy. happy with the day and the blue sky; happy with my ability to run regardless of physical pain; happy with God and friends and a love for life. i was happy to be in the moment, just where i was, one tiny dot on this great earth with no other place she’d rather have been that morning. and our time wasn’t so bad, either, all things considered.
two days later, and i’m still icing my hip. but i wouldn’t trade a second of that morning for all the world.