So — five minutes to get her dressed, brush her teeth and her hair, grab something for her to eat, put the running stroller in the car, find a warm blanket, and locate her hat and mittens. And something for her to do while riding in the stroller. Thank goodness my husband was back from his run already and we got out the door by 7:45. We arrived at 8:10; the kid’s race was scheduled for 8:30 and the grown-up races for 9a. I was surprised that there were only a few other cars in the parking lot and we got a parking spot right by the school.
We exchanged two cans of food and two boxes of pasta, plus our cash donation, for two bibs and dropped our raffle tickets in one of the prize bins. Then my daughter saw the playground. The wood chips were frozen solid and the slides were luges, but she insisted she’d rather play than run the kid’s race … until the other kids started to line up. She was really concerned that she wasn’t going to win and I tried to help her not worry about it – but I think she’s got a competitive gene that I just don’t have.
The kid’s race was two laps around the playground “track,” which I think added up to a half mile. When another kid would pass her, she would get downright discouraged and to keep her from whining I had to bribe her with a Transformers Play-Doh set I had secretly put in the car for a post-race surprise. Surprisingly, she never stopped running – and I know plenty of adult runners who can complain a lot but don’t let that get in their way. I even asked her if she wanted to walk for a minute. I think I offended her. Fortunately, she’s easily swayed by anything Transformers, and she finished with a smile. The whole “I’m not winning” drama was forgotten when a volunteer gave her a finisher’s ribbon and she announced to me that she’d won. Kids.
The five-miler started next, with a decent size field. I’d make a guess at how many people there were, but I’d be way off. 200? Anyway, I decided I was in no shape to run the 5-miler with the stroller … er, I decided it was too cold for Eliza to ride for an hour. So I waited for the 2-mile, which was the final event to start. I had my little one bundled up and all set with a Megatron mold and some silver Play-doh. There were at least 100-150 people in the shorter distance, and since I had the stroller I started near the back.
It was a great mix of runners and walkers, so I had to weave through people for at least the first 3/4-mile. At one point, we lost a mitten and I tried to stop and grab it, nearly causing a pile-up in the process, but everyone was extremely gracious (although I felt like a complete doofus). Before long, the field thinned out and I was having a good time chatting with other participants – everyone at this event is in a good mood – and then all of a sudden the leader of the 5-miler came zooming toward us from the opposite direction. Because the two events run in opposite directions, you get to see all of the participants in the other race, which is one of my favorite things about this Turkey Trot.
There is one decent hill on the route, near the halfway point; I decided that was a great time to seek out all the Play-Doh from the nooks and crannies of the stroller and press reset on my daughter’s mood so she wouldn’t get bored. There were many other participants pushing strollers, but more noticeable was the number of parents running with their kids. It’s such a great family activity – you’re getting exercise and fresh air, have opportunities to see each other struggle to do their best, and be really happy for each other when goals are reached. It’s also just so cute to see how proud the littlest runners are of each other (and how bad they are at pacing themselves).
I managed to finish my 2-miler before the first 5-mile runner finished, but not by much. We checked the raffle prize board – no easy task as there were a ton of prizes – but we didn’t win this year. Some banana and a little bit of bagel, a few cheers for people finishing, and we decided to load up and head home. (You know, little kids sometimes just want to do what they want to do.)
I’m a little bummed that I only got in two miles for Thanksgiving, but I’m glad I got to share my Turkey Trot with my little one. And even though I will check out other Trots from time to time, I think Oak Hills will continue to be our family’s tradition. It won’t be long before she can run two miles … and probably not long before she’s faster than me at it!
Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks again to the Oak Hills PTO for putting on a great, family-friendly event!