Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is city editor of the Napa Valley Register.

J.L. Sousa, Register

Runners are always breaking down. Last winter was my worst malfunction ever. I lost three months of jogging because of a sore knee that refused to heal.

This coincided with three of the wettest months on record, so my incapacitation wasn’t a total negative. I like dry feet as much as the next person.

By March I’d had enough sitting around. I sought out what medical science could do for me.

It could do a lot. After one shot of cortisone to the knee, I was restored to coltish friskiness.

My doc did voice a note of caution. As long as I insist on recreational running, this would likely be the first of many more injections.

And why am I telling you this? Because the culmination of a year’s worth of running — the piece de resistance — is upon me. I speak of the Davis Turkey Trot held the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

How committed am I to Turkey Trots? Extremely. Irrationally. Blissfully.

I have a drawer of T-shirts from past Turkey Trots. In a fire evacuation, they would fill my go bag.

I’m a late bloomer. In my youth I was suspicious of anything jock-like. Who wants to be reminded of gym class?

Only in full adulthood was I willing to engage the world athletically. At Turkey Trot I run as hard as I can without nausea and when I cross the finish line I look like death. Yet I stagger off with a high that lasts for days.

Every year my time in the 10K erodes. My body tells me I’ve never run harder, but the clock says I’ve never run slower.

I have a way of dealing with this. I don’t care what the other 700 or 800 runners do. I focus on the half-dozen gents in my 70-74 age group. My inner jock wants to crush them.

Things didn’t turn out so great last year. I was not a medalist. Three super-septuagenarians crushed me. A couple of weeks later I developed the knee problem that sidelined me for months.

But that’s ancient history. My cortisone-infused knee (the original shot is still working) seems capable of powering me to a comeback this year. And maybe some of those super-jocks who beat me in 2016 will be sidelined this time around with shingles.

One can only hope.

So, who’s with me at this weekend’s Turkey Trot? How about you, Cheryl?

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She was slow to commit. She had stopped her own morning jogs when I became injured. When I resumed running, she continued to sleep in.

I was non-pressuring. If she wanted to end our shared pre-Thanksgiving tradition — the beautiful thing that cements our marriage — so be it.

Only in mid-summer did she come around and lace up with me. Count me in, she said.

And what about you, Jonathan, total fitness guy? He committed in September. He intends to support his mom in the 5K and beat his personal best.

I had no hope for Jenny. My daughter ran for a string of years, then decided she wasn’t the running type. When she joined us last year in Davis, it was for post-race pancakes.

In October Jenny texted her change of heart. It’s better to participate than to not participate, she said.

Such understated eloquence. My dad heart swelled with happiness.

The prospect of so many Courtney and near-Courtneys running through the leafy streets of Davis on a crisp autumn morning thrills me.

When the starting gun sounds, I will put my body in motion, anticipating I will run the best race of my life. I want one of those cute turkey medals they’re awarding this year. I want to obliterate the geezers who would deny me.

Kevin can be reached at 707-256-2217 or Napa Valley Register, 1615 Soscol Ave., Napa, 94559, or kcourtney@napanews.com.

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