Back in 2009, planning on visiting relatives in Washington state for Thanksgiving Day, my sister-in-law invited me to join her in Kennewick’s annual Turkey Trot 5K run/race. I was in pretty decent shape from daily training on my bicycle but my running was limited to only once a week with an average of a whopping 6 miles per month. A few days after agreeing to do the race, while stepping off the stairs at home, I clumsily stepped on a KONG dog toy and rolled my ankle, suffering a slight sprain.
Turkey trot day arrived, my ankle was still healing, and even though I hadn’t run in over a month, 3 miles shouldn’t be that hard, should it? My original goal of simply finishing quickly changed when I learned that Sarah Palin, who was in town visiting relatives, had entered the race. Being a bicycle racer my strategy was to get up front at the start because there was no way I could let Sarah Palin beat me! I weaved through the crowd of 3,000 people up to the second row behind the collegiate looking runners, dragging my sister-in-law April along with me.
I was determined to get a fast start just like in bicycle criterium racing where starting position can make or break you. The gun went off and I ran the first mile way too fast before completely blowing up, then jogging, crawling and limping the next two miles. Things went from bad to worse when a six year old boy nicked me at the finish. I swore I’d never run or for that matter race again. But when I realized that Sarah Palin didn’t pass me before the finish line, I was totally stoked! We all learned the next day that she didn’t finish the race. She dropped out just like she did from her governor job a few months earlier. What an emotional roller coaster.
It took me about a year after that failed turkey trot attempt to get halfway interested in running again. Our young high energy dog needs a lot of exercise off leash and with miles and miles of great trails near our house he all but forced me to run with him. It’s been a fun sport so far but in the past year but I’ve had my share of runner related aches, pains and injuries. It’s been challenging to go from cycling where I had no injuries (except crashes) to running which I’ve discovered is very humbling and where a good run is a pain-free one. I really like do running for it’s simplicity. A good pair of shoes is all you need before heading out the door.
This past autumn, I’ve been able to run more with the dog and feeling pretty happy with my training. Planning on visiting relatives again for Thanksgiving this year, I was ready to redeem myself at the 2011 Kennewick Turkey Trot. This year was a family affair where six of eight family members were running along with the other 3,700 runners. My main goal was to not go out too fast like I’d done before. On the first mile trying to keep up with April and my husband Bob, I looked at my running watch and saw the pace… “Whoa,” I thought, “I can’t keep this up!” so I forced myself to slow down to about 7:30 pace. Even running at this pace wasn’t something I’d done on any of my long trail runs, and I was worried about getting re-injured. Some minor stomach issues in the end slowed me down but I was elated to finish with no pain! Our 14 year old nephew Porter finished in the top ten in just over 17 minutes. That kid can RUN! I was a very happy 5th in our family.
One of the other family members there to watch and take photos asked us all afterward, “Why didn’t you guys run together as a family?” It was interesting to hear all our different answers to this question. For me, I think some people are just wired differently. Most everyone in this family is competitive. When we hear a starting gun and get that adrenaline rush, we push ourselves to meet or exceed a personal goal. It’s almost as if we have no choice in the matter. Goals are motivation to exercise so we can stay happy and healthy.