Running Through the Palisades


I’ve been running in the annual Palisades Fourth of July 5K for seven years, and it’s definitely become an Independence Day tradition in my family. It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without that race, so every year I sign up and every year I’m glad I did. But every year, I also forget how sore and tired I feel at the end.

Do I get a feeling of accomplishment? Absolutely. Maybe a little bit of pride? For sure. Although along with those great feelings I get when I cross the finish line, comes the feeling that my legs might just fall off.

I know, I know; it’s just a 5K, and I’m sure there are some of you out there chuckling to yourself at my exhaustion from a measly 5K when the 10K is much more arduous. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent a large part of my first month of summer vacation relaxing, or maybe I just didn’t anticipate it being all that difficult.

For example, as I walked from my house to the starting line in the morning, I barely even stretched or warmed up. Yet as I crossed the finish line, breathing and sweating heavily, I knew not to underestimate the annual neighborhood run again. Or, at least, that’s what I tell myself, until I make the same mistake the next year.

During the actual race, when I wasn’t solely focused on the ache in my legs, I was able to look around and appreciate how lucky I am to have such a spirited town. People of all different ages were out there running, most for fun, some for competition, all for the Fourth of July. Men, women, toddlers, seniors, teenagers; it felt like the whole town was running.

It’s something I’ve taken for granted, growing up in the Palisades and not knowing anything else on the Fourth of July. The race kicks off the whole day of amazing festivities, like the parade and the fireworks, and I know, for me at least, the day wouldn’t have the same joy and pep without the run.