Thanksgiving 5K Leaves Mom Counting Blessings

kelly & gretchen

Column by k.m. white

Author k.m. white (right) enjoyed bumping into old friends like Gretchen Greer at the Sayre Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. The event, which benefited the Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital and Sayre Theater, also provide a rallying point for white and her family for a first-time holiday venture and another step toward a healthy life plan for white’s family.

Since we moved back to Pennsylvania, we try to plan Thanksgiving with my family. It seems to rotate as to whose home we go, and I am certain that the person inviting us is weighing how much crazier it will be with the four of us in attendance. Our girls can get a bit excited while visiting, and my family is not a quiet bunch. But, this year we opted to keep it simple and stay home – because I had entered my first 5K which would take place Thanksgiving morning.

It was pretty random that I decided to even do this, because I am quite vocal about how much I hate running or even the thought of doing so. I suppose I figured, since I have been on this weight loss journey, why not throw in a little challenge? It also helped that a friend told me she did the Turkey Trot in Sayre last year as her first 5k and she ended up not eating a big Thanksgiving dinner because she didn’t feel up to it. Well, that was the selling point for me. If I would come out of this trot without feeling as hungry sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, sign me up.

My daughters seemed slightly disappointed that we weren’t going to enjoy dinner with the family, but they quickly rallied around the idea that they would get to watch me run – or jog/walk – in this race. I was also feeling a little excited for them to see me do this, as I have included them in why I am working out and why we are making healthy food choices. I admit that I was also feeling a bit relieved from having to attend a family dinner and knowing that we could just hang out at our house and go along at our own pace.

The night before Thanksgiving, I was actually getting nervous. I was so concerned that I would be the last one finishing the trot the next day. And what if I couldn’t keep the pace I was hoping to? – the one I knew I could do in the gym on the treadmill. This was a big moment for me, and I was really doubting that I could handle it. There were two things that kept me on task; knowing the girls were getting excited to watch me to do this and that I told my friend I would be there.

Thanksgiving morning my stomach was a wreck from my nerves. I am usually pretty confident about what I set out to do, but this was outside my comfort zone. I shared with my husband what I was going through, and he kept telling me that I had this. I just shook my head up and down to affirm I could do this but, inside, I was telling myself otherwise. The girls were so fired up that when I woke Katherine, the first words out of her mouth were “let’s get ready to run.” And so I did.

While most people were basting turkeys and prepping for a family feast, I was nervously standing among almost 1,000 people waiting to start a 3.1 mile journey. I noticed that there is a camaraderie with those who compete in these events. Everyone was talking and sharing what they were doing afterward. I was doing the same, but I also was wondering to myself how would I start off. Jogging or walk? What if I fell on a slippery spot? What if I got half way through and couldn’t make it any further? And, of course, what if I still hadn’t crossed the finish line when they were presenting awards?

And then we started. And I was jogging alongside everyone else. And I saw my husband and my daughters as I was crossing the starting line and I told myself I had it. I was going to show them that I could do this and, at that point, I knew I was going to come back around and cross that line again. The doubt I had earlier was gone.

I am so glad that I did that trot with a friend and we kept each other moving. It was also nice that, as we passed the park, my girls were there to see me jog by and wave and shout in encouragement. I was also thrilled to see a college friend and her husband there for the race, whom I hadn’t seen since 1999.

As we neared the finish line, I was scanning the sidelines for the girls and Nathan. I really didn’t want to miss them. They hung out for two hours; from the time we arrived so I could grab my race packet to the point when we got in the car to head home. They were troopers for doing that – for me. And when I saw them, I had to work hard at not crying because I was so proud to have them there to see me do something I said I would never do. They were so excited for me.

Then we were heading home to get our Thanksgiving dinner together. Sophie wore my racing bib that afternoon, and Katherine started making plans to run in next year’s Turkey Trot. And then we were sitting down to dinner and I was thinking. “What an awesome day it had been,” and one I hoped to recreate next year. And I thought, “How great it was that the girls saw so many different types of people do that race.” They were in awe that someone did it that was in a wheelchair and they saw that you could run, jog, and walk that event. You could make it what you wanted.

I am very thankful that my friend Caryn stuck with me, because it kept me motivated and it helped me have a great first 5K. I am thankful for the kind and encouraging words and ‘likes’ I received on Facebook when I posted I was doing this. It was one of the best moments for me. But mostly, I am thankful that my husband and daughters were there to support me.

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