There are many things that I am thankful for. And once a year comes a day when we celebrate and show how grateful we are for everything and everyone in our lives. For the last six years, I have started out this Thanksgiving by running our local Turkey Trot. This is probably one of my most favorite races every year. I always get to see friends I haven’t seen for a while and just like every year, the most competitive runners of Redding show up to compete.
After warming up and stretching, we line up and wait for the start. I can’t believe that this will be six years to the day of my first race, this very race! And once again, I am standing with family and friends ready to start yet another amazing day.
I was careful when I lined up to position myself on the outside of the first turn. So when all the pack takes the inside, I am in a lane all to myself. We all take off very fast and I end up just behind the lead group. All the top contenders fly as I fall into the chase group and what was turning out to be nearly the same as last year: All the best of Redding are running strong. In the first mile, I rolled up right next to Ryan Ghelfi and hoped I could hold on but by the time we got roughly 2 miles in, I started to drift back.
PC: Tori Parks
Just before I got to the Ribbon bridge, I was passed by Austin and then I could hear someone else right behind me as we ran across the Ribbon bridge. And just like last year, Sara Hall passed me at about the same place she did the year before. I saw Sara Hall pass Austin and then watched them both slowly start to get further away. My race then turned into a battle with my mind to stay strong. I started to use every trick I could to keep going a good pace when I wanted to slow down. I managed to hold on.
PC. Tori Parks
As I got closer to the Diestlehorst bridge, I could hear one more set of footsteps behind me. I was pretty sure I knew who it was and I picked up my pace. Just before we got to the bridge, of course, my brother passed me. I tried to hang with him but I was already on the edge of my oxygen and started to cough at the start of the bridge. So, I slowed and got it together just in time for one final push to the finish. Now going in an all-out sprint for the final 10 seconds, I pushed as hard as I possibly could and decided last minute that I was going to enjoy this moment as much as I could no matter the result of this race. So, I jumped as high as I could across the line with both hands in the air smiling.
We all have those less-than-perfect races and often when we are in those moments, it is hard to appreciate all that is going right for us and even harder to appreciate all that is going wrong. But the harder the race, the more we can learn and grow from them. When I look back now, I am happy with the performance I put together. I do realize that I am still not quite 100% recovered from Pine to Palm 100. I also needed more sleep leading into this race. But now that it is all over with, I get to sit down with my family and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner together. I’m reflecting on how blessed I have been this year and I also ate some pie…
I hope now and in the future that I will always be thankful for these hard races. I hope that they will continue to show me how blessed I am and ultimately make me a better person for having run them.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
Run grateful, come back smiling.