Back in 2005, a year after I started running, my uncle Gerry asked me if I wanted to run the Turkey Day 5K with him. Gerry, a distance runner before running was popular, was the person who inspired me to start running in the first place.
Here he is finishing up his second leg of the Ragnar Relay this summer:
At that time, I had not completed a 5K race yet (I ran a 3K and a 4-miler earlier in the year, races sponsored by my alma mater), so I signed up for the race. Since then, we've kept the tradition of running the Turkey Day 5K year after year. However, this year he did not join me, due to a prior family commitment. I was bummed that he was unable to run with me, but future hubs, who ran with us last year, joined me this year.
This year, Thanksgiving morning dawned with a cold chill in the air, temps in the single digits. Weather forecasters stated that this was the coldest Thanksgiving since 1985. Future hubs and I made sure to dress appropriately for the weather:
We took the light rail line down to the Target Center, where we joined the throngs of people waiting inside the complex for the start of the race. We made sure to grab a few of the samples of body lotion and lip balm that J.R. Watkins, a race sponsor, was handing out. Before the start of the race, we joined the herd of people heading outside to line up behind the start banner. We situated ourselves in the middle of the pack, like usual, and listened to the national anthem being sung. At 8:20, the race started.
Although I do enjoy running these fun runs with family, I find the lack of race etiquette annoying. Runners trucked along three or four abreast, creating road blocks for faster runners to maneuver around. Several walkers started toward the front of the pack, when they should always start at the back. There were plenty of strollers and dogs out as well.
The race wound its way through downtown Minneapolis, going past the Mill City Museum and Guthrie Theater before turning onto West River Parkway to follow the Mississippi River. The route then turned back into the business and residential area just north of the Warehouse District before returning to First Ave. and the finish line back at the Target Center.
Future hubs and I kept about an 11 to 11:30 minute/mile pace going, due to the crowds and patches of icy roads. This pace was fine with us because we've both been recovering from running injuries (ITBS for Mark, runner's knee for me) and had done no training besides our normal yoga and strength training. By mile 1, the old pain flared up in my right knee, and became the proverbial "thorn in my side" for the rest of the race. Needless to say, I was happy to be done running once finished. My knee was thanking me.
Despite how my knee was feeling and the cold weather, the morning was beautiful. The sun rose above the downtown skyscrapers into a cloudless sky. Exhaled breaths created a lovely fog over the runners as we made our way along the course. Everyone was in a good mood because they were running with family, friends, and were excited to be eating delicious food later in the day. Future hubs and I saw and talked to three of our Team Ortho friends (Mike, Willie, and Lori) throughout the morning.
After about 35 minutes of running, Mark and I finished hand-in-hand, like we always do when we run together. We made our way to the refreshments area and loaded up on the post-race goodies. Having run this race five times beforehand, I came prepared with a collapsible tote bag for us to store our goodies. We made out quite well, making up for the cost of the race.
Here are my goodies, spread out on the floor back at home, including my race t-shirt and bib:
We rode the light rail line back to the Park and Ride station where my car was waiting. After cleaning up at my place, future hubs and I headed out to his parents' house for our Thanksgiving meal.
My next race isn't until March, so now I have plenty of time to heal up my knee.
What did you do for Thanksgiving?