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Almost time to Trot

My wife’s ideas are usually good ones. To my credit, I’ve learned to listen when she voices them.The latest came over the weekend toward the end of what had turned into an almost six-mile trek through Pettigrew State Park near Creswell in Washington County. It was nice to get out of the house and explore a new part of eastern North Carolina on a beautiful day, but I was ready to rest.“I wonder if they are having the Turkey Trot this year,” she said. “You should add that to your (story) list.”I answered as any man who has been married more than five minutes (and wants to stay that way) has learned to do.“Yes,dear,” was my default response, then I realized I needed to check into it sooner rather than later to give myself a chance to prepare.Indeed, the Turkey Trot unofficial 5K run/walk is on as always from 8:30to 9:30a.m.on Thanksgiving Day, which falls this year on the Nov. 26. That doesn’t give us novices much time but given that COVID-19 has forced many events to be canceled, that’s positive news.The participants start at Mac Hodges Festival Park on the Washington waterfront, head east over the bridge, go through Washington Park, then turn around and go back up EastMain Streetto Bonner, then back to the park.There’s no fee and no official times are kept—just show up. However, runners/walkers are encouraged to bring canned food that Fitness Unlimited owner Amy Gerard collects to give to Eagle’s Wings, a local food pantry.“We think it’s a great way to bring people together to improve their health through fresh air and exercise while helping those in need,” Gerard said. Studies have shown that exercise is most effective early in the day,and it also creates extra room for allthe Thanksgiving food you are going to consume on the biggest eating day of the year.Gerard said the event has grown every year, with close to 150 people taking part last year. I was one of them,and it turned into a milestone day.My wife was battling a balky back, so she was disappointed to not be able to walk the course with out-of-town family members who were there for the feast to follow. I knew I was going to run at the beginning, but how far and for how long was questionable.My adult daughter decided to join me for moral support, but based on her experience growing up, I’m sure she wasn’t expecting much. Turkey Day 2019 dawned under a clear sky, a crisp, but not cold temperature and very little breeze—perfect running conditions.A couple of my F3 workout friends promised to stay with me but were specks in the distance almost immediately. My daughter chattered away, and I was crossing Jack’s Creek before I knew it. We were over the bridge and into the middle of Washington Park in decent time,and I was feeling pretty good about things.On the way back over the bridge, I glanced back and didn’t see anybody. “Where did they go?” “Uh, Dad, they are all up there,” my daughter said, gesturing ahead.
I almost gave up at that point, but with absolutely nothing to lose, we pressed on. In what seemed like an eternity later, we finally reached the finish line. My daughter was barely breathing hard, while I could barely breathe. Then it hit me. I had finally run an entire 5k for the first time. I was so proud that I didn’t work out again until March. Hope to see you at the Turkey Trotthis year. Bring your canned food to donate to Eagle’s Wings.