I have to take a minute to go back in time – back to Thanksgiving Day, November 2011 to be exact – when Matt and I were in Dallas celebrating Thanksgiving and his brother’s wedding. Well, even a few months earlier while chatting with my sister online, she talked me into running the YMCA 5k Turkey Trot in Dallas on Thanksgiving morning. “It’ll be fun!” she insisted. “We’ll feel so much better about gorging on all of that Thanksgiving food if we run that morning,” she continued. So I agreed, signed up and immediately started training. I love running, but I’d never run in an official event before. Well, I just stumbled across the pictures from that day and I just have to share how Melissa’s brilliant idea actually turned out!
The night before Thanksgiving I crawled into my warm and comfortable bed at a reasonable time. I watched as my sister put the finishing touches to her makeup and promised that she’d be home at a reasonable hour. It was her brilliant idea to run in the Turkey Trot, so I reminded her that there was no way in hell I was doing it on my own! Fast forward to 6:00 the next morning – I’m in the kitchen cooking a couple of eggs, my favorite choice of protein before an early morning run. Melissa comes down looking, well, like she was regretting her decision to do this thing. She informed me that she had such a great time with her friends the previous night that she may not have gotten in until, oh, 2 or 3 in the morning. But she was still committed to completing this run with me, and so we made our way down to Dallas.
We met Matt, his brother, and his brother’s wife at the start line about 20 minutes before the race. Matt wouldn’t be running – he had hip surgery over the summer and he’d been strictly instructed to avoid any impact sports. So, I passed my camera off and the rest of us got ready to go. Anna, his brother’s wife, was running the 8 mile race, because running is in her bones. She does miles and miles every single day. His brother, Michael, had their dog Foster with him and he would be doing the 5k like us. But Melissa and I had no illusions that we would be running with him. The two of us made our way into the pack and huddled against each other to avoid the cold.
Now, I hadn’t been the smartest of travelers when I packed for the trip home. I saw warm temperatures and sunny skies in the forecast during our stay, and I included Thanksgiving Day in the weather predictions. Therefore, I didn’t exactly have the right garb for our run. In the spirit of being truly spiteful, the weather took a turn for just that one day, and all I had was a pair of shorts and the long-sleeved shirt given to us. Needless to say, I was not dressed for the weather!
However, 5 minutes into the run I was warming up and feeling great! Those months of preparation and anticipation were working in my favor. I wish I could say the same for my counterpart. God love her, but Melissa’s festivities from the previous night were not working in her favor. She looked like she wanted to either kill me or one of the overzealous runners in turkey suits. Luckily, she is incredibly athletic and the two of us decided to give it everything we had. We were cold, we were tired, but by golly, we were having fun! When the finish line made it into our sight, we found Matt ready with camera and picked up our pace. If I remember correctly, I’m pretty sure we finished the race fist-pumping the air.
Melissa had been right; running the Turkey Trot was the best Thanksgiving Day idea. Immediately following the race, we went to Matt’s family’s house for traditional Louisiana gumbo. Talk about the perfect food to warm your bones. Later that evening, we had the best Thanksgiving dinner. Not only is my Mom an amazing cook, but like Melissa said, running that morning kept me from feeling so guilty about the amount of food I consumed! It’s also great to know that your money and effort benefits a good cause, the YMCA. Thanksgiving is easily my favorite holiday, and this one will go down in the record books as one of the most memorable.