So it was, that after the whining and the complaining, after the iPod playlist creation filled with 80’s music, and after more whining and complaining,my Turkey Trot training followed a consistently inconsistent pattern. Some days at the gym were okay and I was actually able to run for 30 minutes or so, while other days were just plain terrible.
Which brings me to my last rhetorical question to you real runners of Long Beach: Why doesn’t running ever get easier?
Now I am adult enough to understand that some things take
time to improve. For instance, I once took a 6 week Pilates class and at the
very beginning, the idea of touching my toes seemed as remote as me landing on
the moon, or not ordering Pigs in a Blanket for breakfast when presented with
the opportunity. But over time, it got easier, and around week 4 I could
actually do it. But running is different. I can run for 4 days in a week, and
yet the 5th day feels like I have never ever run before. Legs feel
stuck in mud, sweat drenching my face, and breathing so heavy that I am surprised the person at the treadmill next to me doesn’t think I am making an obscene phone call.
And after the run, should I always feel like I need hip
As the Trot date approached, I decide that I need to get
off the treadmill and actually run this course once before Thanksgiving. So at
4:41am on Saturday morning, I parked my car outside of Chuck’s restaurant, home of the famous “Weasel” breakfast. (I instantly regretted this parking choice as I now started daydreaming of eggy goodness instead of fitness glory.)
After a few light stretches and an awkward conversation with
a wandering homeless guy, I start on the path through the parking lot. Other
than the parking lot being larger than I thought, this part of the run is
uneventful. All you are trying to do at this point is not to trip, or
accidentally fall into a “Dexter” episode. Then, about 3 minutes in, I make the
turn onto the beach and started heading up the bike path where the majority of
the race is to take place. It is at this point that I have a “Long Beach Moment”.
It is still dark out, but the city looks gorgeous. I hear the “waves” semi-crashing
on the shore, and the cool breeze in my face fills me with warm thoughts of just
how great life is, how fun this Turkey Trot will be and wow that Justin Rudd
must be a swell guy to organize such a thing.
This lasts for 4 minutes.
As I make my way up the path, the suck that is running
begins to rear its ugly head once again. I realize that I am nowhere even near
the halfway mark, and I decide it is time to start digging into my soul and
find what will actually motivate me to finish this thing. Fitness? Nope. Love
of community? Nope. All the turkey and stuffing I can eat afterward? Close. The
thought of embarrassing myself if I don’t finish? Bingo!
I keep running.
As I pass Belmont Brewing Company for the 2nd
time, I know this means I am close to the finish line. I will finish this
thing. It is then that all those warm feelings about my neighborhood start
flooding back. I feel so grateful to live here, so grateful to live near the
water, so grateful for our diversity, so grateful there are 431 places to get a
mani-pedi on 2nd street, so grateful I don’t have to see DeLong or
Lowenthal posters for a while.
It dawns on me that this Turkey Trot is about more than a
5k. It is a community taking a moment to celebrate all it has to be thankful
I am ready for Thursday. I hope.
I better not park by Chucks though, just in case.