The forecast all week: rain.  Rain.  And more rain.

Wednesday night as I was thinking about leaving work, this sunset graced our skyline.

I had forgotten how amazingly awesome the sunset can be in the Pacific Northwest in winter.  A little prayer to keep this same weather throughout Thursday morning for regional Turkey Trots was sent.  Then it could rain through Black Friday in hopes it would finally let up Sunday morning for the half & full marathons in Seattle.

What I woke up to Thursday morning:

I have been a bit worried about this Turkey Trot, well, running in general.  I have somehow injured my knee during crossfit (stupid dead lifts) and it seemed to get worse throughout the week.  I ran five miles the past weekend to see how it would hold up & instead of hobbling along, I improved my pace by about 20 seconds.  Throughout this race, my mind traveled between walking and running the half on Sunday.  And then I questioned the state of my guts.  (It wasn’t until the end of the race I moved from the coward end of the spectrum.)

I struggled the first mile of the race & I owe a HUGE apology to the crossfit coach because I said there are no hills along the harbor.  Landscape looks dramatically different depending on your mode of transportation – a huge difference between walking & running.  Jokes on me.  Because there are hills and apparently some pretty big ones on the 10k course.  My first mile, I felt like I was running in molasses.  I believed there was no way I could beat last year’s race time.  I didn’t hear the GPS app in my headset clear me of mile one and didn’t hear it at the halfway point (frustrating).  I was getting no where.  I did stop for this photo op (Mt Rainier to the left):

I made it to the halfway mark and turned around to retrace my steps to the finish line.  As we all know, I run with mental baggage.  And on the way back, there were two things I could not let happen.  The first was that I had to look strong when I passed my mom & sister.  And the second was not being passed by any of my TNT teammates or my crossfit coach.  The last mile seemed easy and upon sight of the finish line, I picked up my pace.  (My friend LJ said I looked really strong.  I counter that with “no matter what the beginning or the middle of a race will do to you, you have to cross the finish line strong.”)

I didn’t PR (personal record) but had I not stopped to take several photos, I would have.  {Note to self: don’t take photos if you want to set a PR.}  However, when compared to last year’s Turkey Trot (and first race ever), I shaved 5 1/2 minutes from my time.  I can also officially say I’ve been running for a year.

Last year, as soon as I crossed the finish line, I hightailed it back to my car, drove home and begun peeling potatoes.  This year was totally different (plus I didn’t have to peel potatoes).  It made my favorite holiday that much better to have seen my friends (runner or not) at the finish line.  It was also infinitely cooler to have my mom & sister participate (their first Turkey Trot!) and I will keep pushing to make this a new Thanksgiving tradition.