At about 7:45am I wondered if I had done the right thing. We had planned this race for weeks – a fun 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning – just me, Eloise, and her bestie. But then we checked the weather. The forecast was for temps around zero and windchills down to -20. For me – for taking a run on my own – not a big deal. I have the gear and can make it happen and feel safe and warm.
But for the kids….
And hey, we live in Minnesota and these temps are nothing – they don’t stop us from skating or skiing or hiking or sledding ever.
We wear full snow gear and boots when doing those activities – thick socks, snowpants, and the like..
You can’t really run in UGGs and snowpants.
So I asked Eloise is maybe she wanted to not run on Thanksgiving morning. Stay home and safe and warm.
“No, I want to run, Mom. I’ve looked forward to it for weeks!”
So we spent time the night before tearing through my running clothes stash – and found wicking and warmth and wind layers that fit her. We found wool socks that fit in her shoes, and found my extra face mask and then dug out her ski gloves. All together she had about 5-6 layers on, as did it.
We were ready to race.
But what I didn’t anticipate was just how cold we would get standing in the corral for 25 minutes. Thankfully our bodies were warm as we had prepared – but our toes were freezing. Freezing to the point of pain. All of us. And no amount of cuddling and doing the emperor penguin dance with our fellow runners was going to warm up our toes. And I almost told the girls that we were just going to quit. Because I didn’t want anyone to lose a toe over a fun 5K race.
But we did lots of dancing and hopping and running in place and FINALLY the gun(the gobbler) went off and we starting running. And as I predicted and promised them – within a few minutes our toes started to thaw.
We had so much fun running with about 4000 other crazy people on Thanksgiving. And it was so nice not to worry about time or the finish. I just ran behind the girls and watched them chat and have fun. We laughed at and loved the costumes, smiled at the families, and would pet the dogs that ran by and survived the brutal cold too.
This is what I wanted my daughter to enjoy about this race – not worrying about finishing or finishing with a PR – but the joy of the journey.
After the race- we walked about a half mile to a coffee shop to meet Jed. But the coffee shop was closed and Jed wasn’t expected for another 20 minutes. I was worried as we were getting cold again – now our fingers and our toes. My best laid plans foiled. And my phone battery had died in the extreme cold so I could not call Jed to come get us early. We were cold, stuck, and had nowhere to get shelter while we waited. I was getting worried.
So I did the only thing I could do to make sure we could get warm and safe – And I taught my kids that sometimes you have to approach strangers and ask for help. Because we needed help.
There was a gold minivan that just picked up two runners in the block just ahead of us. They had just closed the door and were pulling away when I waved them down. She put down her window and I asked if I could use her phone to call my husband as we couldn’t find shelter, my phone was dead, and my husband wasn’t expected for awhile.
And not knowing us -but seeing that we had obviously just run the race, and not knowing them – but knowing that they just picked up two runners – they invited us to get into their van and they called Jed for me.
And yes, telling my kids to get into a stranger’s van seemed a bit weird – but so right.
So thank you – kind family from Burnsville – for letting us sit in your warm van for 20 minutes – delaying your Thanksgiving day plans – so we could have a safe and warm place to be.
Relying on the kindness of strangers sure made for the perfect Thanksgiving.
Hope everyone had an amazing day.