You may recall that in September, I was a little apprehensive about the season of autumn in general. I had my moments, but all in all, I had a great season. It was definitely full of ups and downs and unexpected surprises, but throughout it all, running was a constant – something I haven’t been able to say throughout many, many falls! Fast-forward to late November. It is a known fact among my close friends that I am not the biggest Thanksgiving fan. Alright, I may have said “I hate Thanksgiving” at least once or twice in the days leading up to it for several years now. Food is only one category, and traditional Thanksgiving food includes pretty much nothing I enjoy. I don’t like turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (it’s the worst, really), that pineapple-orange thing that always seems to be on the table, green beans covered in onions (leave the green beans alone!), pecan pie. Ick, ick, ick. I can’t think of a worse combination. Some people say, “at least you can drink.” Well, no, my family doesn’t do that on Thanksgiving. Football? I’m not really into it, and hardly anyone in my family sits down to really watch it that day. Going out the night before? No desire to go out in my hometown, it’s too crowded, I’m getting up early to run the next day. It sounds like no fun. In other words, yes, I am a Thanksgiving grinch.
It (the grinchness) kind of began in full effect two years ago. The weekend and the context is not worth explaining because it’s in the past, but in short, it represented all sorts of bad things in my mind. Last year, I wanted to try to combat that at least a little. God forbid not by giving in and eating cranberry sauce. By running a turkey trot. I know that’s a tradition for a lot of people and a lot of families, but somehow, despite having many runners young and old in my family, this never caught on! If there’s anything that can make me forget bad memories and live in the moment, it’s running. I kept up my own little tradition again this year and entered in the same turkey trot right down the street in Princeton. The Philly Half may have been a week and a half before…and I was supposedly resting…but I couldn’t resist taking a shot at a sub-20 minute 5k to cap off the year! I knew the course had a relatively big hill the entire last mile, and that I hadn’t exactly been training for a 5k PR, but I was still going to try.
The night before the race, I was thinking of staying in but then my plumbing went all sorts of CRAZY – I’m talking strange noises that sounded like monsters in the walls, really whacked pressure, and brownish-orange water. Well that’s cool…I couldn’t get a shower, drink water, use the toilet, or make my dinner. I packed a bag and went to stay with friends…and kind of went out for a little…and slept on the couch…and was awoken earlier than intended after about 4.5 hours of sleep. All great things to do before racing a 5k. Whatever. I warmed up over three miles because it was cold – just under thirty degrees at the start. I still wore shorts, though I can’t say I really felt anything on my legs at all…pretty numb. The first stretch of the course is straight downhill, then it levels off. I went through mile 1 in 6:21. I was hoping for more like 6:15-6:17 given the big downhill. I was thinking I wasn’t that warmed up yet and continued pushing. There was a gradual uphill during pretty much all of the second mile, which I clocked at 6:33. Then, there was a guy behind me that was clearly trying to pace a girl to a certain time. In doing so, he made sure to repeatedly mention that I was “right there,” and she could “go get me.” This happened like every ten seconds. It was a strange sort of motivation to really get in gear and be relentless in the last mile up the big hill. That mile was 6:37, and when I saw that the finish was close and the current time was only in the low 19s, I really hammered it (at 5:40 pace for 0.1, apparently) to finish in 19:57.15.* I was pleased. While I think I could definitely run 19:30 in the right training and course conditions, I was unsure sub-20 was still possible given the slower splits. And yes, 5k is the only distance I have never been able to negative-split (though, this course was made for positive-splitting with the elevation). Oh, and probably the mile. More on the mile later….
*note: I ran over a minute slower in 2012…and I think the clock began too late and gave us an extra ~13 seconds. Ouch.
Then, the priest/race director gave out free pies in the church. Long story. It was pretty hilarious. I didn’t get one…you kind of had to cheer for it aggressively.
So, I was obligated to “celebrate” the holiday in a way normal, non-grinches do, unfortunately, and I did so. I had some salad and a few bites of turkey…with dressing on it. Not gravy. Anyway. The good thing about Thanksgiving was we…oh wait, that was another family gathering two days later. Never mind. The good thing was the turkey trot. Yeah. Anyway, two days later (after a brutally long day at work into a non-brutally long, fun night Friday), we convened again and found lots of old family photos, which was so fun. Further evidence I have a thing for boats, of any kind:
The December First Lighting of the Lights Party
After that party, I was eager to head right back up for what was to be a spectacular event – or, at least a spectacle in some way – the lighting of the lights, which as a rule was to be done at midnight on the first of December. This is my friend’s annual rule, and he had gone crazy decorating his porch with lights all day. At midnight, we would count down and turn them on. And, according to him, it would officially be “Christmas time!” My feelings toward Thanksgiving sometimes spread into the rest of the holidays, I admit. I believe that sometimes people come into your life exactly when you need them. This friend of mine (as of September) is no exception. It’s moments like these I am most grateful for friends…I have more now than I did in college, and this is a wonderful thing. Okay, I’ll stop the deep stuff and show you the good stuff. Presenting…THE LIGHTS:
I was somehow tricked into having a great weekend…that was coincidentally Thanksgiving weekend! Huh. I hope everyone else enjoyed the weekend too.
As far as the running-related events that are on my radar…the PI Holiday Mile is next Tuesday! Yeah, I’m going for another year-best time. Sigh. It never ends. the good news is I did a regular workout last night that totaled nine miles, and my legs are feeling a lot less tired…aka a lot more ready to take on Boston training well-rested starting in a few weeks! Much more on that later. I’ll probably ask a lot of questions for you to answer if you’re reading, then listen to no one but myself. Oh, and there was bigggg news released yesterday about something coming to the area next fall, but I’ll save that for another post…because this one had such a not-angry ending compared to the beginning!