I ran my first running race about eight years ago, a Thanksgiving “turkey trot” through the streets of Somerville, MA. That November morning long ago was rainy, cool, and early.
Wednesday night, Ray and I drive through an unexpected snowstorm to Kim and Kyle’s house in Watertown to spend the night. Surveying the falling sleet, we declare that we don’t have to run tomorrow’s turkey trot even if we registered for the race.
We wake at 7:30am on Thanksgiving Day at Kim and Kyle’s for a quick coffee and cereal. Morning sun has cleared some of the roads. We will run. We put on running shoes and meet brother John at the race registration in a Davis Square parking garage. Wearing just a long-sleeved shirt, I am cold and nervous. As this Thanksgiving race will be my only timed run of 2014, I want to do well, perhaps faster than a 7:30 mile for the four-mile course.
I walk my way towards the front of the waiting racers while my brothers hang out towards the rear. With no ceremony, the runners surge over the start line and onto the cold streets of Somerville. I jackrabbit too quickly and suck in cold air.
At the halfway point, I’m already wheezing. I race through Ball Square and up a few short hills. When did Somerville get all these hills? I’m surrounded by marathoners and college types that stride so quickly. I think about poor dead Will who would chide me for my slowness. I may suffer during this cold race but he will never run again.
The finish comes soon than expected. I’m over the line at 27:36 for a 6:54 mile pace to finish a happy 128 out of 2405 racers. I ran as fast as I could.