This is a flip on your traditional mom post. Instead of the traditions I share as a mom, it’s about a tradition I share with mine.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and over the years my family has had many traditions, from where we celebrate to who we celebrate with to whether or not there is a kids’ table and if the meal is served family style of buffet style. This year, for the fifth year running, my mom and I will be participating in one of my favorite traditions: the Flippin’ Fun 5K Turkey Run.
I moved from Reading, Pa to Pittsburgh on Black Friday in 2013 and the inaugural Berks Gymnastics Flippin’ Fun Turkey Run was held that Thanksgiving. I convinced my mom and little sister to run it with me because what’s better than a fun 5K before you settle in for a marathon of food? I could think of nothing.
Neither of them were big into running then and we separated pretty quickly after the start, me keeping pace with one of my running buddies, who also signed up for the race. We ran over grass, packed trail, pavement, and through a beautiful grove of pine trees with snowing dripping from their branches and needles lying underfoot. We ran over foot bridges and passed old Pennsylvania fieldstone houses.
We all finished at separate times and I cheered them each to the finish, riding that awesome runner’s high. Afterward we met up with some family friends who we ran into at the starting line, took photos, got interviewed by local television, and snacked on post-race snacks. Then we packed up, bagels and water bottles in hand, shivering from the freezing temperatures, and drove home to get ready for our holiday dinners.
In 2014, my husband and I came home for Thanksgiving and my mom and I ran the race again, in even colder temperatures, scrounging in her car for change to share a hot coffee from the Dunkin Donuts where we parked. I missed the race in 2015 because I was 37 weeks pregnant, but last year (when I was 12 weeks pregnant) we found ourselves running the course side-by-side with change in our pockets for a post-race coffee.
In two days, my mom and I will toe the starting line again. It will be freezing temperatures, though I don’t think there is any snow in the forecast this year. We’ll keep a casual pace, enjoy the beautiful scenery of Berks County, and finish together. We never win any awards there, but that’s not why we run. Over the years and despite a 275-mile distance gap, my mom has become my favorite running buddy and I love running races with her whether we stay together or go our own paces. It’s a bond that I hope one day to share with my own daughter, who already loves watching me on the treadmill and often pretends to “run like mommy.”
After we shiver our way through the awards and door prizes, we’ll cross the busy street, pop into Dunkin for that coffee and head home in her white minivan to warm up, clean up, and head to my aunt’s with our families for a feast and more traditions. I am so excited.
I’d like to give a special shout out to my awesome dad who will be celebrating his birthday on Thursday! Love ya!