It was another great Thanksgiving morning in Fort Collins (our 6th). My mom and step dad, visiting from California, came out and ran the 4-mile race with us this morning. Ean and I ran a relaxed warm-up through town and met up with Scott, Pete and Celeste. We slid in to the starting line-up where we formed a pack of my favorite local friends and runners including Mike, Rob, Brian, Brian, Shannon, Lisa, Nick, Tim, and about 3000 others. I went out hard but under control and exchanged some laughs and encouragements with others around me. I ran briefly with a couple runners from my cross country team and was glad to see them out staying in shape and running well in the off-season. As we made the right turn on Mulberry, Brian commented that pace felt fast, and it did, but my watch said we were well over 6 min/mile. Mile 1 was 6:09 and felt too hard. I pushed and tried to stay relaxed up Mulberry, but the pace got slower and it kept feeling harder. I was glad to see City Park and the turn on to Bryan. Mile 2 was 6:32 (ugh). My sub 26 minute goal was slipping away, but I decided to just keep pushing to do whatever I could on the final 2 miles. I made the turn on to Mountain pushed on to Shields, gave Mr. Stone (Blevins school counselor and regular race volunteer) a high 5 and then hit mile 3 in 6:24 (a little better). I knew I just needed to hold that pace for one more mile and I'd be there. Cat, Mindy, and Mary were at the turn on to College and their cheers helped me push the final 150 yards to the finish. I really didn't have anything left for much of a kick, but I gave it all I had and watched the finish clock get closer and closer to 26 minuted as I approached and crossed the line in 25:54. This was not my fastest run on this course, but it was faster than last year and I am happy with that. Mike, Scott and Pete were all at the finish line still catching their breath and they had all run great races with PRs of one to two minutes. I jogged back to the corner just in time to see Ean coming in for an amazing finish and a huge PR of 34:24, which was more than a minute and a half better than her goal. We jogged back to find Maddie who had met up with a friend and we ran in to the finish with them.
We walked with Maddie back to the car to grab some warmer clothes and then jogged back on the course one more time to finish with Micah, Ama and Papa. We found them less then a half mile from the finish, having a great time on this beautiful morning. We ran in together one last time and then headed home for the Thanksgiving feast. I am thankful for my family, my friends, my community and wonderful days like today.