The winter marathon has been run. Daylight savings time has arrived to make it more difficult to get out for that evening run. And the holidays are upon us.
November is a tough time for me to take running seriously. It’s when I recover from that 26.2 trek for which I trained all summer and fall. I’ve started going for a few longish runs, but nothing consistent yet. That will come soon enough, when I start gearing up for next year’s 26.2 with Donna on February 23rd with my Charm City Run training group. For now, I enjoy easing out into the cold air for an easy run through the neighborhood, leaving the watch behind.
Thanksgiving is usually my last hurrah. There’s food and travel and food and family — and did I say food? Let’s just say, I haven’t generally put Thanksgiving together with healthy diet and serious running. I don’t think I’m the only one to whom that applies.
This year was different. I ran two different races – a Turkey Trot for the Y of Central Maryland on Thanksgiving morning and a 10-mile Turkey Burnoff sponsored by the Montgomery County Road Runners Club on the Saturday after. Both runs were timed, but I can’t tell you how fast I actually ran. I wasn’t running alone, and time wasn’t why we were running. We ran because we wanted to run, and we ran because we wanted to run together. Both women were getting back into running after taking time off. Both were women I love to be with. And we all met our goal of finishing together.
Where and how fast we finished didn’t matter. We had a goal of finishing and we met it. Worrying about net time this weekend was suspended. There will be future races for that.
There is something fundamentally human about running a race with someone else. I somehow become aware of everything around me, from the other runners to the volunteers to the scenery. I smile more. I give away my gloves to the young volunteer holding the 1-mile sign in the freezing cold bare-handed. I cheer the leaders who lap me. I am present to the woman next to me as well as all those running around us.
So this year wasn’t about time goals and pacing and negative splits. But it was still all about time. Time to be thankful for so many things, but most of all for the time I spent with the beautiful women who allowed me to run with them this Thanksgiving.