.. of Thanksgivings past..
The Troy Turkey Trot is a serious tradition in our household and has been since I started running way back in 1995. I can remember a lot of weird details from each year, and the results from each Turkey Trot are basically a snap shot of my physical condition each year. It’s strangely represntative of what was going on in my life at the time. So here goes…
1995: 21:00 First ever Turkey Trot! I had no idea what I was getting myself into… this was the culmination of my first season of cross country after we had won the NY State Class B State Championship and finished 4th in the NY Federation meet. I think I was just starting to get hooked on running at this point. I was really into dance since age 4 and my dance teacher made me choose between dance and running soon after. I chose running obviously.
1996: 20:30 The end of another long season of cross country and another state championship. The high school 5k and open 5k used to be separate, and the high school race was really early in the morning. I have no idea what my place was, but most of the kids on my cross country team ran this race along with teams from other area high schools so it was a lot of fun.
1997: My senior year of high school. I have no recollection of this race, and I’m actually not sure if I ran it because I had a season-ending stress fracture in my tibia
1998: Freshman year at JMU, another stress fracture in my tibia, this time on the other leg. I ran the race with one of my former cross country teammates who ran at SUNY Cortland and was coached by the legendary Jack Daniels. I remember being jealous of their black and hot pink uniforms. Not sure of our time, but it was probably around 24 or 25 minutes, and this was the first year we ran the “open” division.
1999: Open 10k.. I won the “high school” division which they deemed to be anyone under 19. I explained that I was a sophomore in college, but they didn’t seem to care. My time was around 38 or 39 minutes. I also was running on my own at this point because I had quit the team at JMU.. once I found out Coach Henner was leaving for Georgetown I stupidly decided I had had enough of running in college. I was still running for an hour every day, and my roommate Michelle convinced me to ask our new coach to let me back on. Eventually after a probationary period and a little begging I was allowed to re-join the team. I still can’t beleive that happened.
2000: Open 5k 17:37, my first Turkey Trot win! I was really pumped about this race. The NCAA had switched to running a 6k and I had only run one 5k in 17:58 at VCP, so my time was very encouraging. I had a crappy indoor track season after that, but I turned it around by outdoor track season the NCAA finally added the 3k steeplechase. Lots of changes in the NCAA during 2000-01.
2001: Open 5k 16:59, second win. This was a few days after I had competed in my first NCAA Cross Country Championships at Furman University in SC where I finished 59th. I was pretty happy with my cross country season and wasn’t planning on pushing this race too hard, but they had eliminated the high school 5k division by now and Nicole Blood (who was probably only in the 8th grade) was coming to get me so I had run a little faster. I remember I was tired from NCAAs since the race is on a Monday. I was not sad at all when the NCAA stopped allowing Regionals and Nationals from being held at Furman due to South Carolinas’s insistence on flying the Confederate Flag (or at least that was the rumor I heard.. never checked that one out). Either way, I did not care for that 6k course with it’s sneaky hills and really tough last 1k. That was also the year that Shalane Flanagan lead for most of the race and then famously stopped to walk. And the only appearance of Alan Webb at the NCAA Championships, who I talked to after his race because he worked with my friend Claire at Footsteps in Northern Virginia.
I’m going to continue this post later because it’s time to hang out with my adorable niece who just woke up from her nap. Stay tuned for Part 2… which includes “The Dark Years” and my late resurgence. It gets interesting, I promise.