Sunday, November 29, 2009
I had a wonderful visit, as always, with my family in Southern California over Thanksgiving break. This stretch, from Thanksgiving to Christmas is always one of my favorite times of year because it encompasses the most time I spend with my family during the year. Our family is full of traditions and I have especially enjoyed in the last years as we have welcomed new faces into these special moments.
This year, we had my older sister's husband and his mother once again joining us. It must be 4 or more years that they have been an added part of our Thanksgiving, but this was the first year that James attended as an 'official' part of the family, which was exciting. Ed, of course came down, as well as his mother (who came last year) and his brother Tom (a wonderful new addition!). Hopefully next year we'll have Ed's whole family :D
The magnitude of our blending families was emphasized when Ed and I went to pick up the race bibs for our annual Turkey Trot 5k. We've been doing this since I was a sophomore in College, and I look forward to it every year. I missed last year because of a nasty cold (which seems to visit every time I have any time off from work), but I was proactive with airborne, vitamin C, and ecchinaccea, which I took this year the moment my sniffles started (coincidentally the moment that I said goodbye to my little balls of germs, a.k.a, my students). Somehow it worked and I didn't get sick!
Anyways, this year we were picking up EIGHT race bibs! Quite the showing from the Suhr/Geaney/Bonner-Lyon clan. This year we got snazzy nylon bags in addition to the shirts, which was fun. We also got blessed with crazy race weather. Last year it was raining; this year it was at least 70 degrees and sunny at the start!
I ran with Ed and his brother Tom, who promised to stick with me. The crowds of people made it difficult to stick together, and Tom and Ed ended up taking the lead (of us), leaving me to chase after them, and running quite a bit faster than planned. It was actually pretty fun, even though I was struggling a bit. At about mile 2, we cut Tom loose, who was itching to speed up (unfortunately, he thought the race was almost over at that point, not understanding that there was another out and back loop before the finish). Ed stayed with me until we could see the finish, and then I cut him loose and watched him sprint ahead with superhuman speed. I pushed myself, despite the fire in my lungs and my legs. I certainly hadn't run like this in probably years.
As I saw the clock ticking closer to 32 minutes, I gave one final push. Since it took over 2 minutes to get to the start, and I hadn't set the timer on my watch, I wasn't sure what my time would be, but I wanted it to be my best.
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I slowed to a shuffle, carried along by the crowd but about ready to collapse. Thankfully, I saw Ed soon and grabbed onto him, letting him guide me through the crowd. I felt a bit ill and claustrophobic with the throngs of people around me, and crossed my fingers that I wouldn't pass out. We grabbed waters, and then I felt panicky as I realized that we were being corralled up a large hill into a parking lot where the sponsers were set up. I was fairly confident I wouldn't make it through the crowds and asked Ed to find me a way out.
There was no solution but over the metal fences set up to keep us heading upwards. At first glance I didn't think I would be able to hoist myself over, but seeing no other option I gave it a try and made it over. As soon as we were free from the crowds, I felt better and Ed and I headed to the group meeting spot. Within a few minutes I felt fine, and proud that I had done my best.
The rest of my family trickled in over the next 30 minutes, with my brother in law, James, coming in next with his crazy fast walking (in converse no less) followed by my dad and sister, who stuck together, then Sabine, Ed's mom, and finally Pat, James' mom. We all felt happy and content with our performances, and were ready to enjoy the rest of the Thanksgiving day, starting and ending with wonderful meals.
The next day, I discovered that I ran the race in 29:53, a 9:38 pace!!! Pretty good for a girl recovering from an injury :D
I have lots more to share about the other great experiences we shared, but as this post is plenty lengthy as it is, I'll leave these stories for another day.