I completed the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, and have now been bitten by the running bug. I enjoyed the five mile run so much that I was inspired to do another identical one three days later, and I'd like to work my way up to 10k sometime.
For someone who was never a runner, the news that you can break through that pain barrier and feel fantastic after a five mile run is a real revelation. (Although I can't imagine ever doing a marathon. I just don't fancy that kind of pain). As a child, I routinely came last in sports day races (prompting annoying comments from people that they just couldn't understand it, as I had long skinny legs that looked perfect for running. Yes, clearly I was JUST SLOW).
Not only was the race great fun, it was also fabulous for people watching. Having failed to meet up with the people I was planning to run with among the 2000 odd runners, I found myself on my own - something I didn't mind at all once the race got going. I didn't have to speak (probably a good thing) and I didn't have to keep pace with anyone. I just went at my own pace, took in the crowds of runners, and listened to snippets of conversation from around me.
There was the competitive Dad, who told his seven or eight year old son: "Just remember to keep a steady pace at the beginning. Save yourself. Then when we get to Sandy Lane (a gentle stretch of downhill road), we're going to BURN it."
There was the teenage girl who told her friends half way through: "I'm going to take a break now. I'm having iPhone issues." (Clearly much more important than completing the race).
There was the teenage boy standing one the sidelines who held up a placard and shouted 'Occupy Turkey Trot!" as we came through. (It made me laugh, anyway).
I loved how families, old and young, turned out to watch the race, calling out 'Happy Thanksgiving' as well we came through. (I think Christmas day runs should become a tradition in the UK - it's such a great idea). There was a real community spirit and American tradition on display - a nice antidote to the relentless slew of ads about Black Friday and 'Doorbuster Deals' on US TV that gives the impression that Thankgiving is all about spend, spend, spend.
But the best thing about the run? Seeing The Doctor and The Littleboys cheering me on, and finding them coming to meet me as I wended my way back from the finish line towards home. Oh, and the fact that I could eat an enormous Thanksgiving dinner, washed down with plenty of sparkling wine, afterwards - and not feel guilty.