Ah, Thanksgiving. A time to think about all the blessing in your life, the people you hold dear, the food you are going to eat with reckless abandon and for runners, the possibility of getting a personal best at the Turkey Tea 10 km Road Race. Or in my case, the possibility of staying in a warm truck and driving to finish line.
The thought did cross my mind as we waited at the start line. I could get back in my vehicle and drive to Tim Horton's for a hot beverage. I could easily convince Renee to come with me. We could finish our nap.
There was just one thing that prevented me from hopping in the truck and driving away like Mario Andretti in the Batmobile. The person sitting in the back of my vehicle, staring at the start line, looking like she's about to toss her cookies is Paula.
Paula is fairly new to PRC. I knew she would fit right in when she posted after one week of running with us: "Saturdays are my favourite..... And it has nothing to do with the raisin tea bun at coffee matters either". Friend request sent.
The Turkey Tea was Paula's second 10 km race. On her first 10 km race she ran 10 and 1's but this time she was determined to run the whole distance without any walk breaks. She was obviously nervous and there was no way I could leave her to run alone. Puking on the side of the road is bad enough. Doing it without any support is unbearable.
So when the whistle blew to mark the start of the race, I was there, knowing that I was only 10 kilometers away from tea and cinnamon buns.
The first few kilometers went by in relative silence. There were comments on how much hills suck and how we were so cold we couldn't feel our fingers. By the half way point things had improved. The sun was up and we were starting to feel too warm. Gloves came off. We waved like the Queen as we ran through intersections full of cars who had stopped to let us pass. Renee was doing jetés.
I think it was near the 7 km mark when I mentioned that the distance left was roughly the same as a run around Neil's Pond in Paradise. Paula, who had been concentrating fiercely on finishing her run, finally realized how awesome she is and stated "I can do this!"
As each kilometer passed, Renee equated the remaining distance to landmarks along our usual running route. Then the bright orange pylons that indicated which direction we had to go to get cake came in to sight. The PRC cheerleaders were on the corner, drinking coffee.
We started together and crossed the finish line together. Renee and Paula both had a personal best and I had a great run with my running buddies. Paula sent me a very sweet message later that day thanking me for all the help and encouragement I had given her on the run. It made me glad that I didn't leave her alone at the start line.
Our finish line picture is now NL Running's Facebook cover photo. That means we are awesome. I love the look on Paula's face - she's looking up at the clock and fist bumping the air with happiness. I also love that Renee looks like she's about to go back and finish our nap.
We celebrated with tea and various treats provided by NWRC (New World Running Club) and all three of us won a prize. It was a great way to end the racing season and a wonderful reminder of how much better racing is when you don't do it alone. It's just one more thing to be thankful for.