As I write this, I can’t believe that another Thanksgiving has come and gone. It feels like yesterday I was sitting at the “kids table” with my brother at my grandmother’s house celebrating, and now here I am with a family of my own. Where does the time go? As the years have passed, some traditions remain and others have changed. But it’s always nice to celebrate old traditions and create new ones, as life is about creating ourselves, evolving and making wonderful memories along the way.
A tradition my husband and I started five years ago was running a road race together on Thanksgiving morning. Although, I have to admit it’s been a sporadic tradition as some years we’ve run and others we haven’t for one reason or another. This was my daughters second Thanksgiving and our second time running the Feaster Five. Last year her and I set out on Thanksgiving morning to run our first race together, but my husband stayed behind to prepare for the 20-something family members we had coming over to feast. The race experience last year was amazing, and I wrote about how meaningful the race was in a post called Back at the Starting Line. I knew from crossing the finish line last year that I wanted to make this race a tradition. But this year was a bit different, and as memorable and wonderful as last year was, this year was certainly one for the books.
Earlier this year I joined two running groups, and one of them is the group that hosts the race. When they found out I’m a singer and heard me, they asked if I’d sing the National Anthem for the Feaster Five. Now I’ve sung our country’s National Anthem many times before, but each and every time it’s an honor to be asked. Honored and excited, I accepted without hesitation and started dusting off my vocal chords and practicing. Then as the holiday got closer, and my husband and I found out our in-laws wanted to take the reins back of hosting turkey day this year, my husband immediately started talking about running the race as a family and really making it a family affair.
The Feaster Five is huge, and the night before the race it really hit me, “Holy Cow! I have to sing for a solid 10k people tomorrow!” I can honestly say that in all the years I’ve been singing and performing, I had never sung in front of that large of a crowd. But when my nerves set in, because I assure I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t nervous, I gently reminded myself that singing is what has always come naturally to me. I was a singer loooong before I was runner. I have to work really hard at being a good runner, but singing… that was a natural gift from birth. So remembering that put me at ease, and there was truly nothing better like being able to marry my two greatest passions together on one of my favorite holidays.
What holds so much value to this event is that it was the first race I did postpartum. It was truly a privilege and an honor to stand on the podium one year later and sing for the race that gave me the boost I needed to really get behind the starting line and start racing again. And having my husband and daughter front and center cheering while I sang, and by my side and run as a family made it that much more special. It was a Thanksgiving to sing, run and feast! It was by far the most memorable and exciting start to any Thanksgiving Day yet. The Feaster Five holds so much meaning in my heart, and it’s without a doubt a new and wonderful family tradition we plan to continue every Thanksgiving.