Charity: Sheltering Arms
As awful as the last race was, this one was in the Goldilocks Zone in so many ways.
Another one of my anxieties is dressing adequately. It was cold and clear and sunny perfection. In that moment of insomnia, I thought to layer my Thanksgiving tee over a long sleeve tee rather than using sleeves and wear gloves that could be stowed easily. I wasn't too cold pre-race thanks to not waiting around too much (see above) and the body heat of my fellow participants. I shed the gloves at mile 2 and was comfortable the rest of the time.
As for my performance, I was able to keep up a steady pace until about mile 4. Normally, a race becomes a lonely experience fairly quickly. This time, even though I was passed by many, I was able to keep up with the pack for a good 2/3rds of the route. I saw the lead runner coming from the turn-around at mile 2. I saw the tail-end of the 10K runners well into mile 4 (almost mile 5). So, no, I didn't run the entire thing, but I also didn't settle too much into a walk; considering my gallbladder was exploding my last 10K, a PR was pretty much a guarantee.
I also made the decision to run with joy--whether I ended up taking walk breaks or whatever, I was going to have a good time. And there was much fun to be had! I'm thinking of developing a turkey trot Bingo card--turkey hat, full turkey costume, cartoon character costume, funny race signs ... I was worried about clogging with the 5K participants; but the course seemed to separate at just the right time, and the starts seemed adequately staggered. Each mile was marked (a feature of which I am fond), and there were enough water stations that I probably could have ditched the fuel belt.
The best part was the finish--but not for obvious reasons. I pushed through the last mile and gave a kick toward the end. As I crossed with a grin (noting I had shaved off 8 minutes from my finish time last May), I saw a handsome guy in a neon-colored Jayne hat! My daughter suggested meeting me there, and her daddy agreed. I was content to take myself, but having someone to cheer me at the end made the whole experience completely wonderful!
Oh, and he brought hot chocolate and drove me back to my car.
This race is definitely on the annual list. Granted, much of my enjoyment was due to circumstances (not to mention my attitude), but I give a huge tip of my hat to the organizers, supporters, and volunteers. This is the kind of race that makes me want to run another one as soon as possible.
For little things and big, for family and friends, for the ability to move and delicious food--for these things and more I am truly grateful and give heartfelt thanks.
May your Thanksgiving be full of love and your Hanukkah be full of light.