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A very special race. The Marquette Turkey Trot.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

-They had so many runners at this years event that they resorted to making additional race bibs out of copier paper! - I look at it this way, my race was so special that my bib was hand crafted! a true keepsake.

- Marquette Turkey Trot finishers ribbons - 3 years pun intended...
The beat up ribbon on the left was my very first race ever (10K-2009). I carried that ribbon when I ran my first full marathon. That worn ribbon has become a symbol to me of personal courage.

The Marquette, MI Turkey Trot is run every Thanksgiving to benefit a local high school band and has been a tradition in my life to participate in this event. This is the race where my running journey began. The event where I found, for the first time, what it means to have the courage to begin and the will to finish.

This years event was HUGE. Normally the event is sparse, usually 300 or less ( sort of like the 300 Spartans) due to miserable weather, only the really crazy or true die-hard's need apply. The weather this time was unseasonably warm and made for a perfect run. Rough estimates would put the participants at around 700 or so runners but that is not official. For this race, that is amazing.

They ran out of entry forms so the copier machine was smoking to keep up. They ran out of bib numbers so they resorted to making bibs by hand. This was a record turnout to my knowledge.

There were only around 300 finishers ribbons...uh oh.

They announced at the beginning that only the first 300 would get ribbons. I automatically dismissed the idea that I was going to get one this year since I am not fast when I am routinely running and since I havent really been running since October 15th, I knew I was going to be in it for the cookie and apple juice at the end... lol.... There were ALOT of very fit looking people there and I knew I was sunk.

I sold myself short

Long story short, I PR'd my 5K time 38:45. I have never turned anything faster than 43 min during my marathon training.

I felt fantastic, knees didnt hurt, felt energized etc...

The best part of all is that in my mind, I WON that ribbon. I am not a competitor by nature. I automatically dismissed the idea of getting a ribbon since it would require being in the top 50% or better of the runners there to get one. Im not fast, I'm a big, clunky, klutz that slogs along but loves it anyway.

I have basically lived my whole life never really measuring up, which is what I feel has been the driving force behind my distance running. I needed to prove to myself that I have what it takes, that I am not the man I used to be but I have changed. That I am no longer the fat kid in gym class that is picked last, laughed at when it was time to play "shirts and skins", I used to pray that I was on the shirts team. I even played football outside of school but even though I did the training, got bruised up and sore like the rest, spent 99% of my time sitting on the bench because I didnt make weigh in before the game started.

I finished out that season and never put on a jersey again.

I feel that it is this past is what makes me so soft hearted and compassionate. I have been there so much that when I see someone struggling, it is almost like I can read back to them how they are feeling, what they are thinking, and try to help them. That is what drives me. I will never, cant ever, get away from reaching back to someone and giving them a hand up.

Not like I want to be a hero, but there is a driving force that compels me to be to someone else what I never had myself. In a way, it soothes a gnawing feeling of emptiness that i feel sometimes. Back when I was struggling, I longed for someone to lift me up and help me to believe in myself because back then, I didnt have any evidence to support any faith that I could do it.

The best part of the race though was an opportunity to give back to someone else. When I ran my first race in 2009, I was dead last and they had run out of ribbons. The only reason i got that ribbon was that someone had dropped or discarded it and my wife found it and gave it to me. That ribbon may as well had been a 1st place award in my book.

Fast forward to today. After I crossed the line and got mine, there was a woman that was running her second race ever and had beaten her time by 4 minutes. She was a very new runner and I noticed that they had run out of ribbons. She didnt get one.

I found a ribbon when I went to the snack table.

I managed to find that woman in the crowd and gave it to her. I told her congratulations on a race well run, for taking 4 minutes off her time.

What a great feeling. This was a special race indeed.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What a very special day! emoticon
    1702 days ago
    Love your blog today!! Isn't it amazing how good things happen when you just sit back and let them happen!? You just ran the race to do it..and came out with 2 things you didn't expect...PR and a ribbon!!! You inspire me keep doing my matter how slow I may feel I am...but knowing I am doing the best I can FOR ME!!!

    Keep it up!! emoticon emoticon
    1703 days ago
    Congrats on the PR!! How exciting! And what a wonderful and giving person you are!! Happy to hear it was such a great race and experience! emoticon emoticon
    1705 days ago
    You are such a wonderful person and I'm sure that woman appreciates what you did for her. Congratulations on the great time and thanks for such an inspiring blog post.
    1705 days ago
    Well done, in every sense!
    1705 days ago
  • v PIXIEMOM13
    What a beautiful blog! And I love how you found a ribbon to give to the woman. (And if by chance I already commented -- sometimes I do and didn't see it well, it was so good I had to comment twice!)
    1705 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/25/2011 11:07:23 AM
  • v DRB13_1
    emoticon on the PR & the new lifestyle!
    I love how you pay it forward.
    Your encouragung and compassionate spirit shines,
    and that woman who got the ribbon will remember that forever.
    Next year - more runners, more ribbons, less copier paper. emoticon
    1705 days ago
  • v LIV2RIDE
    That's AWESOME!! What a great race. It's awesome that you were able to find that woman and give her the ribbon. I'm sure you made her day. Congratulations on a GREAT race!! emoticon
    1705 days ago
    That's awesome!!! Way to go, congrats on the PR and the ribbon!
    1705 days ago
  • v BILL60
    You may not feel like a hero, but you're my hero. A super congrats to a super human being. Dude, you're amazing!!
    1705 days ago
    Loved your blog and almost felt like I was trottin along with you lol. We don't have a Turkey Trot in our area so I was going to run a virtual one myself... at least I could guarantee I'd come in 1st! ... then the storm hit with high winds and horizontal rain. Gave up that idea... oh well... will hit the gym tomorrow. Best to you and congrats on that PR.
    1705 days ago
  • v APIRLRAIN888
    1705 days ago
    Way to go Robert; both on your PR and on your compassion and caring for others. My DIL enjoyed the race too. Wish I would have been there to cheer you across the finish line, but scrambling to find a turkey to cook on Thanksgiving morning became a priority. lol All ended well and we had a wonderful dinner. Hope the rest of your day was great.
    1705 days ago
  • v TRILLIUM22
    Great job on your run today. It must be great for you to experience such personal improvement in your running. PR's really make you feel special. Enjoy your ribbon, you earned it.
    1705 days ago
    Awesome! You have a huge heart!! She will cherish the ribbon I am certain!
    Way to go!!
    1706 days ago
    Congratulations on winning that ribbon today...both for your race time and for your personal time in finding that woman to giver her a ribbon for achievement. That is the true achievement on this of all days.
    1706 days ago
    Congrats on that ribbon and all it means to you!
    1706 days ago
    Great job!! you are really something!!!
    1706 days ago
  • v DAGNY99
    That is so great!! How you remembered how much the first ribbon met to you and then you found one for the woman who didn't get one but deserved one for improving.
    There are no turkey trots or races in my area. I just do my own walks/jogs at a nearby park. With the nice weather today, I went for a walk (with light jogging when I can) I am so happy I got this ipod because I figured out how to make it log my steps and it even logs my time & distance. I did 3.40 mile in 59 minutes!! I don't know if that is "good" but I figure that is less than 20 minutes per mile and since when I first started working out I could barely do a mile in 20-30 it is improvement for me!
    Keep up the good work!
    1706 days ago
  • v BLACKROSE_222
    Wow, that is fantastic! Thanks for sharing, and congrats!
    1706 days ago
  • v LINDAKAY228
    Awesome job!!! I'm so happy for you! I did a 5k Turkey Trot today too and got a PR for me of 36:30 so I am ecstatic as my time is usually around 40 minutes. We aren't far off and are definitely not competing with the skinny 20 year old athletes but we can be so proud of accomplishing what we are with the things we battle to do it. Hope the rest of your day is awesome too!
    1706 days ago
    Great blog! I was also a little emotional over this one too! Congrats on all that you have achieved!
    1706 days ago
  • v EDWINA172
    Holy Moley! You just brought tears to my eyes! What an awesome story. What an angel you are! Happy Thanksgiving. Today, I am happy to know there are people like you on this earth.
    1706 days ago
  • v MIQUEY73
    Way to go! Keep doing what you are doing. We need people in this world with your compassion. Happy thanksgiving!
    1706 days ago
  • v _JODI404
    Congrats on your PR!! That's awesome.
    I love your random act of kindness today!! The world needs a whole lot more kindness!

    I think it's time for a lot less self doubt, and more self confidence! You've got the results to BELIEVE in yourself now!! You are an amazing person! I am thankful to be your SparkFriend.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1706 days ago
  • v CHIFANG130
    Thank you for being YOU and most importantly to take the time to post this heart warming blog!!! You are so inspirational. Really, you may have no ideas how your little gesture of kindness will affect the people you come across. I am so touched. Awesome job for getting your best PR on the 5K race. Thank you for being a true Sparker!
    1706 days ago
    I must be in a sentimental mood today cause your sweet gesture for that woman has me in tears. You're so wonderful Robert. You truly care about everyone and the feeling is mutual. I wish you all the best today. Happy Thanksgiving. And wear that finisher's ribbon proudly - you won it fair and square!
    1706 days ago
    1706 days ago
    i hope the organizers will think to mae more ribbons and send them by post to the people who didnīt get theirs on the day.sound lie you had a great time.did you get photos?i bet after that you had no guilt about eating a turkey dinner .happy thanks giving you and your family emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1706 days ago
    This wonderful blog brought tears to my eyes. I wish you'd promote it on the Turkey Trot thread today. Beautiful!

    (I trained in Marquette back in 1987 for my airline Flight Attendant job. I was an F/A with Simmons Airlines for some years. Marquette is beautiful, but it is COLD there! If it was "nice" today, it was probably still freezing!)
    1706 days ago
  • v CIVIAV
    Happy Turkey Day!
    1706 days ago
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