There's a kid in my neighborhood who my family calls the Runner. For at least a decade I can remember seeing him running along the side of the road, fast efficient strides, no music. It's 100 degrees out? Oh look, it's the Runner. It's snowing ice pellets? Oh look, it's the Runner. You saw drove down 25A and saw him at 11 AM and now you're on your way home at 3 PM? Oh look, it's the Runner. My dad once called the police about him because he was concerned and apparently the local station got calls at the time. He's an athlete in training, he doesn't have a problem, and thank you for his concern.
The Runner is also very cute so my sister and I would keep our eyes pealed in the car. One day my sister was walking and saw the Runner. She put her hand out and said, "Stop. I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to know your name." His name is Vince.
So the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I'm three bottles of wine deep into a date with a 60-year-old club promoter who may have been responsible for my dad breaking his leg at a Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After, Jeff Beck concert nearly forty years ago. I get a text message from my sister asking if I am running a turkey trot on Thanksgiving. I tell her that I am and she says that she wants to do it too. I never thought I'd hear those words. I gave her the info and told her that since it's a small race, she can probably still register and that she should contact the race director. Guess who the race director turns out to be? None other than Vince the Runner.
Neeni and I showed up early and got prime parking next to the finish line. It was extremely cold and I was thankful that we wouldn't have to walk far after we were done. I got us situated at the front the pack for the starting line and when we took off I told her not to let anyone push her around and to stay safe and then I took off.
I really had no idea how quickly I could run a 5K after two years of being out of the 5K game. I wore capris and my racing flats with no socks and my feet were so cold that they hurt every time they hit the pavement. People were passing me at mile 1 and since I didn't know their abilities, I didn't know if they were maintaining a great pace or just going balls to the wall and burning themselves out. I just made myself keep going. We ran along the water and it was so windy that I felt like I was being pushed backwards. This path followed my standard running in Oyster Bay route so I knew exactly when to push.
As I came back up South Main Street towards the entrance of the high school, I encountered what might have been the most silent crowd ever. Like crickets chirping quiet. So I did the only logical thing - I started cheering for myself.
I crossed the finish line and went back to cheer on my sister. She finished much faster than she told me she would so I missed taking a finish line photo. I am so proud of her.
And it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without green bean casserole.