I left off with the Turkey Trot of 2001 after my first big NCAA cross country season.. technically that was my senior year at JMU but I stayed around for a fifth year because I still had eligibility for cross country and indoor track.. so:
2002- 17:14 Open 5k 1st place. I remember thinking that this race felt really tough. I had run at NCAAs in Terre Haute, the first year they were held there. NCAAs used to be held at a different location every year but it’s been there every single year except for one since 2002. I finished 30th that year and was really disappointed because I was shooting for top 10-15. I ran slower than I had at pre-NCAAs and Regionals, which was due to a really bad start. Anyone who has run at NCAAs know that once you get stuck in the middle of the field it can be tough to get out, and I had to literally run over spectators to try to move up.. and I guess that took a lot out of me. My family drove from NY to meet us in Terre Haute and I hitched a ride with them back home. Then we got stuck in a snowstorm somewhere (that drive home deserves its own blog post, as my youngest sister was begging to go to 8 Mile Rd after seeing the Eminem movie, then got scared when she got out the car and saw bars on the windows at McDonalds #whitegirlproblems). Eventually we made it back, but it was not optimum pre-race travels.
2003- The only Thanksgiving I have ever missed. I was living in California and running for the Nike Farm Team. I couldn’t afford to fly home for Thanksgiving and Christmas so I stuck around Palo Alto and missed out on the Turkey Trot experience. This was not the best year for me as it turned out to be the end of my professional running career, but it was a good learning experience. I remember driving through Sacramento where the Olympic Trials were being held, after I had found out I had a stress fracture in my foot, and there was this billboard that read something like.. “Are you headed to Athens.. or are you headed home?” That was a pretty rough exit.
2004- My fourth victory in the open 5k, 18:31. I was severely out of shape after taking a lot of time off to heal my foot and get healthy (i.e. get back to a normal weight which was what led to my stress fractures and piss poor performance the previous year). When I got back to JMU where I had moved to train with my coach from college, he said “Are you sure that was a certified course?” Good old Coach Rinker, he always tells it like it is. It was true, I was running on residual fitness.. and that race hurt.
2005- Not sure about this time, but it was the first time my (eventual) husband Pete ran the Turkey Trot. I guess I forgot to tell him about it so he didn’t have anything to wear. He ended up with light blue workout pants, my pink sweatshirt, a puffy vest and my brother-in-law Brandon’s running shoes which were a full size too large. It snowed that year. I had officially “retired” from running and was attending grad school at JMU. This was the beginning of the “Dark Years”.
2006- We ran the open 5k and Pete was ready this year.. but we missed the start! We were upstairs in the bathroom line because we thought the race was supposed to go off 15 minutes later. My sister, Brandon, Pete and I all ran together but they didn’t record our chip time (only gun time) so I think we ran over 30 minutes in the results. This was another one of my “Dark Years”. I was sort of anti-running and more into hanging out, staying up late, and skateboarding with my boyfriend.. along with all of the other things I felt I had missed out on. I did “run” a marathon with one of my friends from grad school, but other than that the Turkey Trot was the only race I ran for the past two years.
2007- Open 5k 19:45… I was living in Boston and working at Harvard with my fancy Exercise Physiology Masters degree. I wasn’t running much but somehow mustered a quasi-respectable time. Towards the end of the race one of my high school teammates, Amanda, passed me. I remember I said “I feel like I’m going to throw up” and she said “Me too” as she passed me, and I had a moment of high school deja vu. This was the only race I ran that year.
I think this is going to go into three parts-the Turkey Trot demands a trilogy. I think I’ll post some pictures for the third installment.