Turkey Trot Race Report: On the Art of Returning

Steve won the Turkey Trot 5K we did on Thursday, which surprised everyone — including him. Since he hadn’t run in years until I made him do that Turkey Trot last year (at which he would like you to know he beat me) and now he runs just a couple times a week casually, I don’t think he thought it would go great. But, maybe none of us should have been that surprised that it did. After all, he is a very, very good athlete and that is always in there somewhere.

I won the women’s race too, but it was hard. (Here’s a video of me crossing the finish line, if you really want to see what I look like getting outsprinted by a 14-year-old boy.) It was a classic cross-country-style course. We ran across a field, over a hill, on a path, through a parking lot, down a trail, up another steep hill, and around a soccer field. I ran pretty fast at the start, but it felt easy. Then, it felt really hard. When Ilyce went by me around halfway, I was sure I was done. Mentally, I threw it in and figured this seemed like a good enough pace. Only, then I came back.

Having done three 5Ks in three weeks, among other races too, I think it’s probably time to stop now. But, one thing I have learned in this spate of racing off very little fitness is that it’s always in there somewhere. I’ve learned that I have more capacity to come back than I even realized.

After being a huge bum for August and some of September and then being sick for a month, I wasn’t sure how long it’d take me to come back or how out of shape I was. The answer is: not as much as I was worried.

It turns out the base I built training for Ironman this summer, the years of working out and getting just a little bit better at a time (and then a little worse and then nothing), the miles and miles are all in there. And, then, Friday, Steve and I went for a long bike ride to Marshall. It’s a ride that’s a Marin classic and litmus test — one of the first ones you do when you move here. For me, it used to be epic and take all day. I still think of it that way and so I wasn’t sure if I was in any shape to do it with Steve. But, we did and it was hard, but not that hard. The Marshall Wall didn’t even seem like a wall. It seemed easier and smaller. The Return was scarcely a return. It was just another day to add to the stores.

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