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A Runner’s Diary: My First 10K Turkey Trot

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When I woke up this morning, I heard the weatherman on the radio say that it was 40 degrees outside. “Wow, that’s cold,” I thought. Now, how should I dress for the Turkey Trot Race in Long Beach, NY?

I decided to wear a short sleeve dri-fit, a long sleeve dri-fit, a light dri-fit jacket and a windbreaker. I knew I would be hot but I wanted to stay warm until the last possible moment.

Since Marti, my running partner was feeling ill, I decided to do the race anyway. My husband, Brian, who just took up running, asked if he could join me. Personally, I didn’t think he would be able to keep up but I told him sure. He was injured last year after he broke his knee cap in nine places. He had to have two surgeries to repair it and was out of commission for a long time. I was impressed with the progress he has made but was still skeptical. Most people in his situation would have just sat back, watched TV and gotten fat. He was determined to get better.

When we got to the start of the race, we sat in the car. It was freezing outside. “Let me go to the bathroom before the race starts,” I said to him. I got on the back of a long line into the ladies room. We started to see people taking their places. “Hmmm, should I go or hold it in until after the end of the race,” I thought. I decided to go. When I came out, Brian told me that the race already started. “Oh no,” I said, and we both took off.

We ran faster than normal trying to catch up to the pack, but we were unable to. We ended up running practically alone.

I’ve been averaging a 14-minute mile but today I did my first mile in 11 minutes. Although I set a fast pace, Brian kept up with me. I was pleasantly surprised.

The air was cold and at first it hurt my lungs to breathe. I also realized that I was breathing heavier than normal. I remembered what Marti told me about breathing. “Just breathe in and out in the count of two. One, two, breathe in. One, two, breathe out. …”

After the second mile, my breathing adjusted and I started to feel very light on my feet. I didn’t feel the pain in my legs or my feet. I felt as if I could run forever.

From Riverside Boulevard, we ran to the Lido Beach border. Then we went west on Broadway to Magnolia, at which point we headed north to the bay. We ran all the way to the bay. Right before we got to the end of the block, we saw our friend Rob Robertson, who is an auxiliary police officer.

“Why aren’t you running?” he asked.

“We decided to have a GU break,” I said. I squeezed the vanilla bean Gu out of the wrapper and sucked it in! It gave me a little more energy.

We ran on West Bay Drive and saw the boats going by. We kept on running. I noticed that I felt amazing. I didn’t even feel my body. All I focused on were the songs on my MP3 player. I realized that when I sing along with the song, I get more focused.

Brian tried to talk to me but I was totally focused on what I was doing. We headed south toward the ocean. The police were on every block stopping traffic. They did a great job making sure the runners stayed safe and encouraged us to keep going.

We kept on running. When we got to Broadway, we continued heading west to New York Avenue. I noticed that there was a church on the corner and they were having a holiday bazaar today. We kept running.

When we got to the end, we went on the Boardwalk to finish the race. From New York Avenue to Riverside Boulevard we ran. We kept a steady pace. There was no one around us.

I could see the finish line. I started to sprint. It felt incredible. Brian sprinted too. We crossed the finish line in one hour and 17 minutes. I was so proud of him for coming such a long way, and he said he was proud of me for being a “road warrior.”

I laughed. It’s amazing what your body can do. I’m the person who “cut” gym and almost failed in that subject, and here I am today in my 40s running a 10K. Pretty cool, huh?

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About Hilary Topper

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