Gobble ’til you Wobble

I can't remember the last time the Martins had a "traditional" Thanksgiving. It's always been that holiday that at least one of us is traveling or deployed or working or who knows what else — and we haven't spent a Thanksgiving Day all gathered round a beautiful turkey in our own home in YEARS.

So why start now??

My sister Laura and her husband Leo invited us to celebrate with them in Dallas this year, so the Hoods made plans to make the trip. We would spend a few days with the Martins then a few days with the Hoods. Dallas to Arkadelphia — and back to Fayetteville — isn't too bad for a long weekend. So off we went.

But with my race coming up I wanted to make plans to run that week, too, and I've been thinking it might be fun to do a Turkey Trot. So I found this:

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Only the biggest Turkey Trot in the whole freaking country! Perfect! 40,000+ people at this thing, you guys. And they encourage dogs and families and strollers. It's a whole thing. AND this year they were aiming to break the Guinness World Record for most people dressed as turkeys — 661! (In hindsight, I am wishing we had participated in the world record setting turkey-ness, but there's always next year.)

Somehow during the last few months I convinced my sister Laura, her husband Leo, and my Dad to join me in the Trot. Such good sports, aren't they? And Mom, Jeff and Colt came along as the cheering section. The race took place right downtown so we decided to forego the traffic scene and take the DART. Colt L-O-V-E-D "the train".

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Not quite knowing what to expect, we got to the race really early. It was fairly cold, but the turkey watching made up for it. There were even dogs dressed like turkeys! And oh my gosh, there were SO MANY PEOPLE.

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That is the face that happens when you yell, "CHEESEBURGERS" at the camera.

 

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After goofing around for about an hour trying to stay warm, it was time to head toward the start line absolute mob of people covering the start line.

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That picture reminds me. It was cold — and super foggy. The weather forecast had said it would be a sunny, beautiful day but the fog never lifted and the whole event had a nice, mysterious feeling to it. Runners appearing in and out of fog.

But there we are! Team Hood/Martin/Rangira! Our agreed upon "uniform" was red, white &/or blue — but it appears we all settled on red. This was the last picture our cheering section took before they headed back to the hotel for more clothes. We would see them again at the finish line.

The race was scheduled to start at 9am, but — as you can tell from the photo above — it was a little crowded so the "start" was a process. The gun went off right at 9, but we didn't move an inch. We were shoulder to shoulder with 44,000 of our newest friends. Ten minutes went by and we hadn't moved, so Dad started to investigate. He noticed there were portions of the crowd moving more quickly so we maneuvered over to the side of the street and tried to keep moving. Sloooow progress. It eventually took us a full 30 minutes just to GET TO the start line! And even after that, the crowd didn't thin much. The amount of people was unreal.

I split off from our group at the start line, and deployed my best crowd management strategy to find a way to actually RUN in the midst of all those people. There were actually two races — a 5K and an 8 mile distance. I was doing the 8 mile while Laura, Leo and Dad were trotting the 5K. Both races were together for the first 3 miles so it was like an urban obstacle course — zig-zagging across the street, looking for openings in the crowd, jumping up on curbs, hurdling fire hydrants, avoiding getting tangled in dog leashes, trying not to trample slow-moving baby strollers. It was wild.

It was a beautiful thing when I saw the fork in the road and I got to take the 8 mile route – the road less traveled. The 8 mile race took a detour over the Trinity River. Here I am smiling on the Houston Street Viaduct around mile 5:

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By this time, the cheering section had made it back with warmer clothes and they were ready to cheer us all across the finish.

Jeff captured a few shots of the finishers while they waited for me. A turkey/pilgrim duo, a very sweaty Christmas tree, and a guy who makes me never want to complain about sore feet or legs ever again.

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Wow.

And eventually – I could see the finish line! Hi family!

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Finish Line! My goal was 1:20, an even 10 minutes/mile. But — even with the crazy slow first 2-3 miles — I beat my goal! AND all the zig-zagging through the crowd added over 1/10th of an extra mile, so yay me! Extra running! Ha! My 1:19 made me 164th in my age division (out of 309 females 25-29) and 919th overall female (out of 1779).

I'm so glad I did this race, and it was perfect timing with my half marathon being just over a week away. Doing a longer race meant I had to keep a race pace for a longer distance, and I think it helped to know what that feels like. And doing a really big race was good, too, since the Vegas half will be just about the same number of people.

The unexpected benefit of doing a longer race like this was the soreness in my legs. I could barely walk on Friday. It was good to figure out what to do AFTER a race, too – to recover. I'm much better prepared for what my legs might feel like after this weekend. I hope…

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While we walked around a bit after the race, Colt managed to find something to entertain himself. Ponies!

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One more train ride and we were back at the hotel, ready for a shower and a nap.

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We all crashed. Hard. And then we were ready for Round 2 of Thanksgiving with quick dinner and yummy dessert at Laura and Leo's house.

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And there was a bit of relaxing, of course, iPhone in hand.

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Martins!

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After a few days of foggy, cold togetherness in Dallas we packed up and headed north for a few days of football and food in Arkadelphia. I never take enough pictures of our time there — I need to be better at that, but here are Colt and Pop coming back from a "hike" in the backyard. (You'll notice he's wearing the same outfit. This was not the same day. It was his unofficial Thanksgiving costume…)

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Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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