Running family and real family…

Today is Thanksgiving.

For me, that means beginning the day early with ~3,000 other runners for the Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K (5 miles). In 2010, I was training for a half marathon, and someone suggested I do the turkey trot. I was planning to do a 5-6 mile training that day, so I signed up.

And something about running through the old neighborhoods off Ridge Road. It feels like home. Running through all the piles and piles of orange and brown leaves. The crisp, cold air. The calm, that doesn’t generally accompany races. It’s like we are all there for one reason- to cancel out the food we plan to eat later to give thanks for our ability to run.

So, my first time at this Turkey Trot, I had no idea what to expect, but thought I ran 8’s, so would finish in ~40 minutes. I went out really strong. At Mile 1, I had done a sub-8. Woo! Then, I started hitting the hills of Raleigh. And then, I hit the last hill. Basically Ridge Road is a slow, steady up-hill for the last 2 miles. And I just had gassed it way too early, so I (sadly) walked for about a mile. And managed to finish in 44:30-something. And was devastated.

After doing a few more 8K’s, I realized 45:00 is about my average, and not to expect any faster.

Today was different.

Last night, I met Dan and Dave at packet pick-up and we enjoyed some beer out on the patio. And some great conversation, and good laughs. Then, I spent the night at Dan’s. I just relaxed. It was such a nice night.

And he woke up at 6am, I woke up closer to 630. And got coffee, and slowly made out way to the cold winter air outside. I wore a tank top (with my Brooks arm sleeves), and simple capri tights (not fleece lined). Everyone we met was decked out in major winter gear. I was thinking Guys, c’mon! It’s ~40 degrees, the sun is shining, and it’s only 5-miles. And hugging Dan for body warmth.

We headed over to the start to find our pace groups. And Dan and Dave convinced me to start in the 7:00-9:00 pace group. Dan had been thinking 7-something, Dave was thinking sub-40. I was thinking my blisters hurt this morning in bed… And I just ran a marathon 12-days ago. Where is Steve (first timer), and Oh! Sondra said she was running an 11:00… But I hung with the boys until the start, and fell back quickly.

My hands were freezing (as in hard to move them, and they didn’t hurt), so I pulled my arm sleeves down over them. And wished I’d brought gloves. Once I warmed up, I started taking charge on the hills. Tearing off toward the sidewalk, and running on the outside during turns, in order to pass people, and find some “space”. At halfway, I wondered what idiot was blaring their music, and realized it was coming from my butt. So, I reached back to turn it off, and saw the dreaded time. Why did I start this app? I thought to myself, and saw the time- 23:00 (2.58 miles in)… Okay, not bad, I want 45-minutes. That works fine. You ran a marathon 12 freaking days ago. Just finish.

Except, I also used to run this way back for every tempo run for a good 10-12 weeks. It’s like my body just knew that, and kept pushing more and more up the hill. Until I saw the Steeples (a church that’s about a mile away from finish), and tried to give it as much as I could. And then I saw the parking lot. Which always tricks us into thinking the finish line is there (it’s not! You have to run a small zig-zag of about 200 meters in), but I always kick it too early. And as I approached the final turn, I heard Dan yelling my name, saw the time was in the 42’s, and noticed everyone was blazing past me.

I stopped my watch- 42:50. I’ll take it (chip time was actually 42:34, but I always start it early/ end it late). So, I PR’ed by 2 minutes. I looked for Dan and Dave. Found Dave, who finished in 39:50-something, and then we wandered for Dan… who finished in ~36 minutes (woo! woo! That’s fast to me. The winners are usually like 30 minutes).

So, I started off the day with some people who always inspire me, and make me feel like I can accomplish anything. My running family. And starting the day with Dan. Well, that was nice. It’s been a long time since I wanted to see someone I dated on a holiday.

So, then family time. And oh my gosh. I am so. freaking. stuffed. Like, laying in my bed. Thinking, I will have to run a good bit tomorrow to try and get rid of it all. …And looking forward to our first official date on Saturday.

HAPPY GOBBLE! GOBBLE! I hope you all have something in your life to be thankful for.

Me- my health and happiness. They both take work to get to, but are always worth fighting for 🙂

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My brother’s wedding weekend

This weekend was filled with wedding events. My aunt/ god-mother came into town Thursday night, and stayed with my Dad, near me. Also, on Thursday night, my aunt and cousin on my mom’s side(and some random friend of theirs) and stayed at my mom’s house- about an hour east of me. My brother lives about an hour west of me, and the wedding was there.

Since I knew Saturday’s long run was not going to work out (I had to be at the church at 12pm for the wedding). So, no long run Saturday morning. And with Tuna coming up, I thought I could do a couple mid-distance runs Friday and then Saturday morning (if I felt like it). So, go me- planning for runs.

I got my Friday morning run in just fine (6 miles, 61 minutes, with good negative splitting and 2 miles to warmup). Then Friday afternoon’s went a little slower than planned (6 miles, 67 minutes), and I hit traffic. I had planned to leave my house at 4:30pm. Instead I left Sarah’s at 4:10, and got home at 4:27. I hopped in the shower, turned on my straightening iron, and quickly washed the sweat off my body (making sure not to get my hair wet). I then straightened the top pieces of my hair and pulled it back into a neat little bun. I made it out the door at 4:35. Not bad at all. And I could tell my dad was annoyed that I would be late for the rehearsal. I hit a little bit of traffic- to be expected- and managed to get to the church at 6:05pm. Go me! And no crazy speed demon driving either!

All that for a wedding I wasn’t even involved in. Once the bridesmaids starting lining up, I started to feel the insult. She had NINE bridesmaids. Three of which were actually junior bridesmaids. I wasn’t even asked if I wanted to be a part of the bridal party. And I had just presumed she had 5-6 of her closest friends. But I mean, most of her family had no idea the groom had a sister. Thanks, Brian.

I was completely forgotten about when they discussed “immediate family” sitting in the front row. Mind you- I wouldn’t care about this, except for the fact that every single cousin and aunt and uncle on the bride’s side were involved in the wedding. Just not me. The bride’s aunt who was organizing the wedding said to my family (as we sat and watched, and watched, and watched) “only immediate family in the first row”… And I said “I’m his SISTER” She looked shocked. And I’m not sure if it was because he had a sister or that she was insulted by the tone in my voice. Either way, I started noticing how little I was a part of all of this.

And it hit me how little I am going to be a part of my nephew’s life. My brother couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make a stand for me; so how was he going to make a stand for a child?

So then Saturday. I was the greeter at the door, which was nice, because I got to meet everyone as I was coming in. We got a quick picture of me with my brother in his tux. The colors were purple, black and white. So I wore a black dress with a white lace trim and my purple velvet 5 inch heels. I’m sure in every picture, you can’t see the heels, but whatever! Not the point.

The actual wedding was a typical church wedding. I had to keep it together when the minister started talking about how God made man and woman to become one flesh in marriage (and I was thinking they’ve already done that. And will soon have a baby to show for it). And then had to bite my tongue when he quoted the scripture stating marriage is made for everyone- all those made in His eyes (with a tone of except the gays). But it made me laugh because that’s the scripture people use to condemn gay marriage? It actually says every human being is capable of love and deserving of love and the commitment of marriage. Gay people are people. Therefore, gay marriage is not an abomination. But that’s my stint. And I silently decided no church wedding for me. And I will certainly be doing the red sash, as if to say “Yes, I have had sex. I am still one of God’s children!”

Then, after the wedding, were all the pictures. Two hours worth.

A couple things- to say my mom and I’s relationship is strained is understatement. My mom and dad got divorced 15 years ago. My dad has been in three significant relationships since. My dad brought his wife to the wedding, and her two children. And even though they just got married, I truly think he’s found his soul mate and she deserves to be in the pictures. My mom, does not share my opinion on that subject. My brother has we’ll just say a shady past. It seems like as soon as his past cleared up, he proposed to his now-wife. Her mom passed away when she was 16, and her mom’s birthday was Oct 13. So, they decided to rush the wedding and get married Oct 13, 2012, since it was a Saturday. Then, in May, she got pregnant. However, they haven’t told most of her side of the family; they’re conservative. As soon as my brother was engaged, and with a child, my accomplishments were forgotten. My brother was going to yield my mom a grand-baby, and apparently, that’s more important. (I love babies, and I think raising a family is hard, but I just don’t think it’s the only thing in life)

My mom jumped at the chance to take a picture with her successful child son. She then invited her sister and my cousin up there. Completely forgetting about me. Classic. Later, my mom and dad were on each side of the bridge and groom, and my brother suggested getting me in the shot. And then the photographer said “pick a side”… and I went, “That’s a loaded statement” with a hearty laugh, as my mom pulled me to her side. Story of my life.

I played the happy sister. I was pulled aside by my aunt and mom for spending time with my dad’s side of the family. In front of all the guests. I explained that they fight too much and it gives me a headache. My aunt explained this morning was out of the ordinary (it wasn’t), and my mom rationalized it was my aunt’s fault (it takes two to tango, dear). I told them both to “Shut it down” which soon became a choice phrase of mine for the day. Being pulled in multiple directions makes me want to run for the door. It didn’t help that I hadn’t eaten since 12pm, and it was now 430pm.

I eventually just needed some air, and went outside. And decided I would talk to who I wanted to. My night got better from that moment on. I bonded with my stepsisters (one is 11 and one is 16). We played pool, and I taught them how to decorate a car properly for the bride and groom. The youngest one kept giggling, because she never does anything bad or sneaky, and the 16-year old tried desperately to pretend like it was an everyday occurrence in front of the bride’s cousins who were helping me with the dirty work (getting under the car to tie on the stringed cans). I eventually said my bit to the bride and groom, and left around 10, as they were getting in their car.

All in all, pretty successful. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera most of the night, and every time I sat down, someone else wanted my attention. Oh, another great moment- Cole (the bride) roasting marshmallows over the fire pit in her wedding dress. I truly loved that. And will have to include s’mores at my wedding reception 🙂