This year it was decided that instead of staying home for Thanksgiving, we would head south to our family's ranch in San Diego county. So, being the kind of person that I am, I immediately got online and started searching for near-by turkey trots. I found the Oceanside Turkey Trot and contacted my cousin (who I've run 2 1/2 marathons with) and asked her if she'd be interested in getting up really early on Thanksgiving morning, driving over an hour on dark, windy roads to the ocean, run 20-30 minutes, drive back to the ranch and then eat everything we wanted to without feeling guilty. She immediately said yes.
It wasn't long before her 8 year old son said he wanted to run it too (it would be his second 5K, not bad) so I asked my hubby if he wanted to run. Just like that, we were a group of 4, ready to have a very fun adventure together.
Pat and I and the girls left home at noon on Tuesday headed for my parents' place on the central coast. Caitlyn had her first performance of kindergarten that morning, a Friendship Feast, where the kids sang 2 songs on the stage then re-enacted the first Thanksgiving meal. I was the typical parent taking lots of video while Pat took the pictures.
Caitlyn (middle) enjoying the feast with friends
After spending the night with my parents we hit the road early and made our way down to So Cal. Traffic wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be on the day before turkey day and we made good time. Hung out with the family and even visited and paid our respects to those who couldn't be with us.
My parents and I paying respect to my grandparents in our family cemetary on the ranch
It was still dark and quiet on the ranch Thursday morning as the 4 of us got ready to make the drive to the ocean for our turkey trot. The time passed quickly as we all gabbed non-stop. I had feelings of guilty about dragging everyone out so early but it seemed like everyone was happy to be there. (Race started at 7am).
After a short unplanned detour (driver error) we found a parking spot halfway between the start and finish lines. We picked up our race packets and I helped Pat figure out how to attach the timing chip. It was fun to realize that this is still pretty new to him. The day before had been incredibly windy on the ranch but things seemed calmer today. Beautiful blue skies and moderate temperatures greeted us.
We had agreed earlier that we would all run our own race. Pat was dealing with some calf pain that flares up during running so he would go his own pace. Joey wanted to run with PJ (her son) so he would dictate their pace. I wanted to run fast. As fast as I possibly could. I wanted to suffer and see how long I could hold that pace without giving in to the pain. And then push it some more.
Pat and I lined up in the first wave of starters and Joey and PJ lined up in the second. I didn't get much of a warm up and that had me worried. I'm notoriously a slow starter and I was afraid I'd red-line early and never recover. The gun sounded and we were off. After about 3/4 mi I started seeing runners coming back and knew the first turn-around was close. I saw Pat as we passed each other going opposite directions but he didn't see me. He looked very focused and I just hoped his calves were doing ok.
I broke the race down like this: mile 1- get into a good, fast rhythm. Mile 2- maintain speed. Mile 3- push hard to the finish. I was a little worried when the first mile was clocked in 7:11. That's pretty fast but I felt ok. However, turns out it was a little fast when my second mile came in at 7:30. This is a fast course and I knew I'd be able to really push the last mile as there's some downhill and then a fun homestretch right next to the ocean.
I used the people right in front of me as motivation to keep pushing just a little harder. 2 ladies who had passed me earlier were right there and I was determined to finish ahead of them (no, I'm not competitive at all). I did pass them and set my sites further ahead. The finish banner was in sight so I hit it hard. Turns out I started my finishing sprint just a tad early, had to back off just a smidge and then hit it again across the line.
So it turns out my pacing needs just a bit of work but I felt really good about this race. I finished in 22:39 (5K PR) and 7th in my age group. I got my medal, some water and goodies and waited for Pat to come across the line. Only a few minutes later I saw him coming. His calves gave him some problems which slowed him down but he still did a great job. I'm so proud of him for getting out there. We hung out a bit longer and then there was Joey and PJ with big smiles on their faces. PJ said this was a 5K PR for him too. We grabbed our goodie bags and shirts and then made our way back to the truck. Time to get back to the ranch and some serious calorie ingesting.
On the drive back I treated everyone to Starbucks as a thank you for joining me on the run. It was nice to see all the big smiles and hear about how much they enjoyed this little adventure.
Back at the ranch showing off our Turkey Trot shirts
Pat, me, Joey, and PJ (front)
The rest of the day was spenting visiting and playing. The ranch is very special because there's 4 generations living there and it really takes you back in time.
Cousins hanging out together
Nothing like a man and his daughter. This is my cousin's husband and little girl.
Caitlyn wanted to visit her special place on the ranch with me so we headed to the horse barn. She loves to just watch the horses and this time she got to feed a couple. I think her older cousins will have her riding one on our next visit.
This is the only picture I got that actually had Sara smiling. Lately she doesn't like her picture taken very often (must be a 3 year old thing). She has her daddy's finishing medal around her neck.
It wasn't soon enough and we had lots of food appearing from various kitchens. Cousin Jim (the almost patriarch of the family, got the honors of carving the turkey. (My dad is now the patriarch but I don't think he's a big fan of the position).
Early Friday morning Pat and I and the girls started the long trip back home. The best part is the beautiful drive up Hwy 395. We always enjoy this drive and we got really lucky with traffic. I think everyone was staying put where they were for the weekend so we had an easy drive. That is until we hit snow in Truckee which made for a slow trip over the summit. But over-all, not a bad trip. And we're so lucky that our girls are such good travellers. 12 hours in a vehicle is tough on anyone but they're real troopers.It was a real enjoyable trip and always nice to spend time with loved ones. Next up, Christmas!