Thanksgiving is a big race day for runners, walkers and people who are into avoiding cooking, cleaning or setting the table. Runners all know that the local Turkey Trot is a good way to burn calories in advance of the big meal, get some sportz in for the day, and, you know, get out of doing chores. People who are into avoiding cooking, cleaning and setting the table should buy a pair of running shoes and sign up online. (You're welcome.)
Knowing I couldn't miss a chance to head south and see my little niece for the long weekend, I posted on Facebook to figure out what the race situation was in Raleigh. With multiple recommendations to do the Ridgewood Turkey Trot, I was sold. The RTT had the added benefit of three different distance options: 8k for people who wanted to sweat, a 1 mile fun run/walk for people interested in something a little less scary and best of all, a 100 yard dash for people 7 and under.
With her parent's permission, I signed my 1 year old niece up for her very first race. #hugewin
Thursday morning we put on our best running outfits and headed out. The 1 mile event went first, followed by the 8k run and then the kid's run. Not wanting to miss any of the fun, I decided the 1 mile walk would be a warm up for the 8k.
We headed off into the fray with my niece in her stroller, cheering and waving her cowbell at everyone. My sister Nicole mentions to me that she can run one mile at her gym in 10 minutes. Big mistake! I had no idea she was interested in speed!
"You'll never be able to run this in 10 mins if you are pushing a stroller!" I told her.
"You're right," she said. "Kevin, she's all yours."
Her husband took over the stroller, but we were still moving a bit too slow for her 10 minute mile and as we approached the half mile turnaround, I offered to take over the stroller. I really never expected them to run, I just thought it would be fun for the crew to head out and get a bit of exercise...but with the stroller off their hands, and only a half mile to go, neither one had any excuse, so - I took off!
I kept looking back over my shoulder to see how they were doing, and they were running! Side by side, and a bit behind me, so I slowed down a little to let them catch up. Once they were within shouting distance, I picked up the pace again and we ran it in. So. Much. Fun. We crossed the line in a little over 11 minutes.
I told Nicole we can definitely break 10 next year. We should probably shoot for 9!
Next up was the 8k. With some last minute encouragement from my fans, I was off.
|Pre-race high five|
I'm not sure how, but this was the fastest race pace I've ever done. Probably the super fun warm up. To top it off, I was met by screaming fans and a decorated parking lot with a huge chalk GO KAREN! Awesome.
Finally, after the race course cleared, bananas were consumed, trucks were played with, mulch was dug in, and we ran away screaming from some people dressed as turkeys (kind of scary if you are small) it was time for the 100 yard dash.
|Pinning on her first race number|
I had no idea how this would go off, but it was great. Once the kids figured out what was going on, even the really little ones started running. My niece ran with a handful of mulch (good luck charm?) and waved it at all her adoring fans cheering and screaming along the way.
Some little kids would just randomly stop and sit down in the middle of the course. They'd then hop back up and run a bit before sitting back down.
Please note the children behind us in this picture. One is sitting down and another is going the WRONG WAY. They have a lot to learn about racing.
We didn't stop (though we might have paused a few times) and she definitely sprinted to the finish as the crowds got louder and she heard the word RUNNING shouted a lot - she knows what that means! Not to brag, but she did a sub 90 second 100 yard dash. 1:29 and change. AND, she got a medal - which she quickly explained to us was actually a necklace.
|The mulch made it all the way to the finish line.|
So this kid has done her first running race and she got swim lessons at the YMCA from me as her birthday gift this year. Can anyone guess what she might be getting for Christmas?