Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the USA. Having grown up in England and living here since 2001 I never grew up with family traditions but since I’ve been here, married and started a family we are making our own traditions which we hope to carry on for many years.
Our day started with the Bucks County Road Runners 24th Annual Thanksgiving 5 Miler. Back in 2010 this was my first ‘real’ race as I had only just started running a couple of months earlier. It was the first race I ran with ‘proper’ running shoes from an actual running store. I was joined in 2011 by my wife and we have run this event every year since. Typically it is only a few days after the Phialdelphia Marathon although last year I felt fresh legged enough to post a 5 mile PR of 40:33. This year with the Marathon being a week earlier and training for the Dopey Challenge in a few weeks I wanted to take it a little easier.
Other than the run itself it was a special day for me as my parents had flown in from the UK for the holiday and they were taking part in the 1 mile fun run with our two boys. We were also joined by my father-in-law who has run this race many times and my sister-in-law and her fiance.
Other than the company, a big difference this year was the temperature. In 2011 I remember running this race in a t-shirt and shorts. Last year I wore a long sleeve t-shirt and running tights. This year was frigid. I was wearing 3 layers on top, cold gear socks, mittens and a beanie and I was barely warm enough. We arrived around 8:30am for the 9:00am start (a nice late start for me) and I left everyone in the car to stay warm while I headed for bib and t-shirt pickup. It was crowded at the sign in tables even though we had pre-registered. I was standing in line for over 10 minutes and by the time I had picked everything up I was shivering so bad my hands were shaking and I couldn’t pin the bib to my sons jacket without hurting myself on the safety pins. I had originally been wearing a pair of thick Brooks running gloves but pulled out the double layered mittens. In addition, the ground was icy underfoot in the parking area (luckily not an issue on the course).
With waiting so long to get our bibs and then heading back to meet everyone we didn’t really have much waiting around at the start line (thankfully as we all looked a bit miserable in the cold). My wife and I hurried to the start line and my parents waited back for their start time about 5 minutes later. It was a big crowd and we started near the back of the line so even though the race was chip timed, the timing mat was only in use at the end so our time was a minute off from the gun time as it took us that long to get across the line at the begining of the race.
My wife was cold and she wasn’t hanging around…she took off like ‘Little Red Rocket Hood’ from the start and held a good pace as we weaved our way around the runners at the start to where the race began to open up. We managed a good time and some pretty good splits. Here is the Garmin activity and below are the stats.
This is always a very popular race and people are out to have fun. There are the serious racers…other than being the fastest you can always tell a serious racer, they are the ones running in a singlet and shorts when the temparatures are below freezing. Not for me.
Being a social race there are many members out as support on the course as volunteers which is always appreciated. My only complaint about yesterday was the water station (one station which served mile 2 and 3) which used plastic cups (not paper) and that although this was a social run the volunteers at the aid station stopped to speak to runners in front of them causing a collision for me and someone else spilling water on someones back just in front of me. Not a big deal for such a small race but in temperatures below freezing you don’t want a lot of spilt water around an aid station.
My wife and I kept up our pace and ran a respectible 43.58 race for the 5 mile course. We ran fast to stay warm but then stood in the cold chatting with friends for 20 minutes after (yes, I know….). My parents had long since gone into the nearest coffee shop with our boys to stay warm rather than wait at the finish for us. I can’t say I blamed them 🙂
We then went back home for what has been our own Thanksgiving tradition since before the boys were born. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and eating Mickey Mouse waffles. My Mickey waffle maker comes out only twice a year, Thanksgiving and snow days. The tradition continues but I may need to invest in a double Mickey waffle maker as we had additional guests this year with my parents, my father-in-law, my sister-in-law and her fiance all heading back to our house after the race.
After we had our fill of waffles it was time to get ready to head out to visit our family and join in their Thanksgiving celebrations. I have lots to be thankful for.