We awoke to a beautiful Thanksgiving morning in Winston-Salem. The pre-run breakfast/snack slowly settled as the thermometer creeped its way up to 40 degrees. Melissa, my dad and I laced up our shoes, reproached our already aching bodies and jogged a mile warm-up from the house to the starting line.
It was certainly a family affair! At the start/finish area there were 800 people; families, dogs, strollers and the likes in all quarters. I lament to say that I did not realize dogs' participation was permitted until after the race was over, so Luna did not get to join in on the fun.
The course was 5k with a few good climbs and through familiar terrain winding past my alma mater and through the neighborhood of my teenage years. I had the pleasure of running into a couple of friends of old from the lacrosse team at Reynolds as well as a number of other friends and acquaintances. It is always a pleasure to return home.
During high school I had been a member of the Cross-Country team for a season, though I elected to practice(train) only a couple of times a week manifesting a PR of a whopping 22:22 5k. That was the last 5k that I had run, about 6 years ago. Needless to say, my intentions were to wipe that time off the slates and replace it with something, ideally, around 20 minutes.
And we were off! The race poured downhill for the first mile or so before entering a climb-descent-flat combo and a final mile to get us back up to the starting point. I unfortunately do not have a good internal gauge of pace, so I found a rhythm after the initial descent that didn't allow me to get winded but also did not allow anyone to pass me. I maintained this pretty comfortably, working really hard on the climbs and using flat sections or descents to recalibrate my heartrate. After the last climb, a little over a quarter mile from the finish probably, fatigue really began to set in. But great folks out cheering, among who were my mother, my aunt, a cousin, and Luna, made it a painless push to the finish.
As you may expect, we had a recovery meal to remember with about a dozen family members crowded around the table giving thanks for each other and the wonderful communities and endless opportunities life brings our way!