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Sara Foss's Thinking It Through
by Sara Foss

Thinking It Through

A Daily Gazette life blog
Her column and blog rolled into one

Running my first 5K

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I ran my first 5K, a turkey trot in York, Maine.

Running a turkey trot isn’t something I’ve ever really wanted to do. But when my sister Lesley invited me to join her on the run in York, I said, “Sure, why not?” I figured it would be a good warm-up for the 5K I’m doing next week, the Last Run in Albany.

Lesley is an experienced runner who ran cross-country in high school and college. But I am not an experienced runner, which might explain why my sister Rebecca tried to convince me to dress up for the run.

“You have to wear a turkey costume,” she said.

“That’s not true,” I said.

The York turkey trot is a small, laid-back event. I don’t know how many runners the typical turkey trot attracts, but I estimated that there were maybe 200 runners at this one. After checking in, my sister and I headed toward the rear of the throng and waited for the race to start. I realized, as I stood there, that I had two fears: Hurting myself and being unable to complete the race, and finishing dead last.

“What happens if you come in last?” I asked.

“Nothing,” Lesley said.

When the air horn sounded, I set off at a slow to moderate pace. I couldn’t keep up with Lesley, who zipped away almost immediately. But I quickly discovered that I was not the slowest person out there. During the first half of the race, I passed a number of people, and I felt a twinge of satisfaction whenever I passed a clearly gassed runner whose pace had slowed to a walk. I wasn’t the fastest person out there — far from it — but I seemed capable of maintaining a steady pace.

The run was chilly, but not super-chilly, and I felt pretty comfortable. There were some hills, but nothing too difficult, and the run took us past the ocean and through York’s charming downtown. At a certain point, I began to yearn for the whole thing to be over, and since it was only three miles, I knew that it soon would be. Eventually I rounded a corner and saw the finish line, and my family. I happily crossed the line, grabbing a bottle of water from a volunteer as I did so. My time: just over 31 minutes. Which I felt pretty good about.

Sure, it would be nice to run a 5K in under 30 minutes, as Lesley did. But I’d never run one before, and just finishing felt like an achievement. We stopped for lunch at a brewery afterward, and I ordered the Taste of Victory beer that was on tap. It appeared to have been brewed in honor of the Red Sox, but it felt like it had been brewed in honor of me.

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