Thankful for Running

12-Jaclyn451As the tagline of RunPD suggests, I’ve been running for about as long as I can remember. My sister, Jaclyn, got the family started by joining the Simi Valley Running Rebels (then it was part of the Simi Valley Vikings, actually). This motivated my mom to take it up as an adult despite never running growing up. It took just a couple of years following Jaclyn and my mom around track meets and cross country courses before my brother, Andrew, and I decided to join in on the??fun.

Many years, practices, races, and careers have past since then.??To say running has shaped our lives is an understatement. Many of our closest friends and fondest memories came from the sport. Both Jaclyn and I would have attended different universities had it not been for our high school running, and it’s crazy to think how different our lives would be now. Heck, running is 1/3rd of my current profession!

I am thankful for a lot of things, but it seems fitting to highlight running during this time of year for my family. For quite a while now, Thanksgiving and running have gone hand-in-hand.

Today, my mom and I raced in a local turkey trot here in Simi.**


A couple years ago, I raced in one of the biggest and oldest turkey trots in Cincinnati when I was in Northern Kentucky visiting some of Mo’s family for the holiday.

I spent four of the six years I was at NAU in Terre Haute, IN on the Monday before Thanksgiving at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. In 2009, the Lumberjacks finished??4th.


Before that, my family made a trip nearly every year between 1997-2005 to Fresno, CA for the CIF State Cross Country Championships. Jaclyn??was Royal High School’s first ever individual qualifier. In 2001, Andrew was apart of the school’s first team qualification — that team finished as a very surprising??runner-up. In 2003, my team backed that up with another 2nd, and then went onto winning Royal’s first state titles in any sport in 2004 and 2005.

2005 Royal Cross Country

Finally, as I joked on Facebook earlier this week, Hillside Middle School’s Turkey Trot was dominated by kids named “Pedersen” and “Ramirez”– our closest family friends — in the ’90’s and up until 2001. Back then I wasn’t racing for money, but only for glory in the form of t-shirts that didn’t actually fit until four years later.10620829_10203981574832348_1002107068959833302_n

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for running, all the people and memories it has brought me, and to be able to still find joy in it everyday.

Tom the Turkey says, "Happy Thanksgiving!"
Tom the Turkey says, “Happy Thanksgiving!”

**I finished 2nd at Simi Valley’s “Thanksgiving Day 5k” today to former high school teammate, Jun Reichl. It was a fun race running in front with him. I don’t think either of us wanted to push it especially hard, and opted to leave it down to a sprint finish, and he won! My mom also raced, finishing 3rd in her age group! What’s more impressive is that she was preparing our turkey at 5:30 am before the race, and she hasn’t stopped cooking since! Strava file of the race (15:56) and some photos on Facebook??from my dad.

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