Over the Thanksgiving break most students go home to their own beds, catch up on some sleep, get some of their mom’s cooking and take a break from schoolwork. But on Thanksgiving morning, I awoke from my deep sleep at 6:30 a.m. to run in my very first 5K road race in Chatham, Massachusetts. Being a softball player, running long distances is not my strong point, but I was determined to cross the finish line and get that free long sleeved T-shirt.
Any morning in Massachusetts in November is not going to be comfortable, so I wore layers. Two pairs of running pants, two long sleeved shirts, gloves, and a winter headband were enough to keep me somewhat warm. Registration was only five dollars and the event collected canned goods for those who did not have food for Thanksgiving this year. People of all ages came with bikes, dogs, matching team outfits and even funny hats. About 200 people came to do this Turkey Trot early that Thursday morning with their Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in hand and their family near.
As I waited by the other participants for the race to begin, I thought that 3.1 miles would not be that bad to run, but I was wrong. I started out without a problem, but about 1.5 miles into the race, the cold started to get to me and my legs started to hurt. I knew I was in bad shape when I saw a house with an HDTV on with a big comfy couch. All I wanted to do was knock on the door and curl up on that couch, but the race was definitely more important. With about half a mile left I began to pick up my pace and the finish line was in sight. When I crossed it, I felt a sense of accomplishment even though I did not meet my goal time. It was a good morning to run the race because I did not feel so bad about all the calories from my Thanksgiving dinner later that day.
Running this race I found a new experience in the world of competitive sports. I have never experienced a competition where the only ones you are competing with are yourself and the clock. Although I prefer contact team sports, running in a road race gave me a different view of how sports can be. With team sports there is a lot of trash talking and an over-competitiveness, but with these races people talk to each other and root each other on, not put each other down.
The whole experience was very positive and this 5K race may turn into a yearly Thanksgiving tradition. I would recommend it for those who have Turkey Trots in their town to try it out. It is a good way to start Thanksgiving and it builds your hunger for turkey and stuffing.