Living Your Best Life

Trotting My Way to Enlightenment

Over Thanksgiving, I took part in what’s become quite the American ritual – the Turkey Trot. It seems like there is a turkey trot in every town these days. We all go out there to run, jog or walk 3 miles, in the hopes of absolving ourselves of the overeating we’ll do a few hours later. Here’s a tip for you – don’t Google how many calories a Turkey Trot actually burns. Suffice to say, not enough!

I love the fun, family nature of these races, and the mixture of small and large, young and old, fit and, well, not-so-fit. Anyone can do it, and you don’t see those hardcore racers that are common at longer races. Considering I live in one of the fittest places on the planet – Sun Valley, Idaho – it’s nice not to feel like you’re going to get dusted by the national champions all around you.

But here’s the thing – as soon as that starting gun went off this year, I transformed into my high school self, sprinting out fast and reeling in the racers ahead of me. I always tell myself that I’m just going to take it easy, it’s just a fun race, it doesn’t mean anything. And yet, there I was, winning my age group and finishing in the top 100 of the 800 racers.

Am I writing this to brag to you about my accomplishment in a Turkey Trot that means nothing? Not at all – it just fascinates me that certain features of our personalities never seem to change. It’s been a long time since high school and any races that actually mattered for me. Yet my competitive nature, at least when it comes to running, hasn’t changed one bit. Do we really evolve and change as we get older, or do we just bury things under the complexities of grown-up life? Will my 7-year-old’s essential characteristics change as he gets older? Or will he insist on blowing away the competition in a meaningless race when he’s in his 40s too?

I suppose the answer on my son remains to be seen. But in next year’s Turkey Trot, I’m going to slow down and enjoy the fun people around me, not try to leave them in the dust. Well, at least until that starting gun goes off . . . .