Sunday, November 30, 2014

The WIN of Not Racing a Race

On Thanksgiving morning, Grant and I did the Drumstick Dash 5K in Roanoke, VA. It was our first year at home in Virginia for the holiday, so this was a new race for us. I was surprised when my 12-year-old Grant (yes, I am aware he is tall) agreed to go with me and I was further surprised that it was no problem to wake him up at 7 am on a non-school day!

This event drew 13,000 participants and raised money for the Roanoke Rescue Mission. It amazes me that this race in our small neighboring city is bigger than the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot that I've raced the last few years. Incidentally, in 2013, 870,000 people joined in Thanksgiving Day races, running 3.4 million miles (source: Turkey Trots by the Numbers, Competitor Running)!

Grant and I contributed 6.2 miles to the 2014 tally.

Grant was looking a little less enthusiastic at the race start.

I got a little choked up at the start of the race as I thought about sharing this beautiful morning with my son, thinking about the 300+ families that spent the night at the Rescue Mission, and feeling thankful for so much.

We lined up in the middle of the crowded pack. Grant was ready to sprint with his soccer goalie fast reflexes, then at the sound of the starter's pistol we took off at a...walk! He said "well that was rather anticlimactic!"

The pack thinned a bit and we could finally run, and as we did we fell into conversation about race strategy, the buildings around us, and life. We were not racing. I let him set the pace. We ran some, walked some, and stopped for photo ops like the giant inflatable turkey:

While I would love for this to be a seed that grows into a future love of running for him, there were no expectations, just the moment we were in.

Confession time. I had to work to control my hard-wired competitive and need-for-speed tendencies.
  • We got passed. I do not enjoy being passed at any speed. (My mind would be yelling, "Just so you know, I am NOT racing you!")
  • It is hard to resist pouring it all out and sprinting through the finish. But resist, I did, and we finished side-by-side.

My self restraint paid off. After the race, Grant said, "I'm not ruling out doing another one."


With plenty of energy remaining, I went home and ran another 7.5 miles around town in my turkey suit.

I got a lot of thumbs-up from motorists, I passed some guy on the sidewalk who laughed his head off, and the customers in Waffle House waved. I had a good time!

I made USAT's Thanksgiving photo this year. That's me in the bottom left in my Solar Connexion kit!

And in other off-season training news:

I continue to enjoy unstructured training. With several trips on the calendar for November/December, some extra family things going on, weather uncertainties, and the holidays, it's been really nice to have flexibility there.

I took most of November off of swimming but got back on the Vasa Swim Ergometer. I'm back at the gym, and doing essentially one training-type thing per day with one day off per week. Nothing too notable aside from a random 15-mile run I did yesterday, just to know I could do it.

That's all from here!