Saturday, November 26, 2011

Much to be Thankful for...

I've known for about the last two months that the two weeks preceding Thanksgiving were going to be a huge cluster--- as far as my work life was concerned. My prediction was spot on accurate. Thus the two week hiatus on blogging.  But that's mostly over now, so I can get back to the things that truly matter in my life, and in this post, those important things included:
  1. Thanksgiving Day's Run for the Hungry 5K
  2. Thanksgiving Day's Feast
Run for the Hungry
I haven't done an organized Turkey Trot in a few years, but I always want to, partially because they raise awareness and/or money to feed those who have little (which is a VERY good thing to think incredibly blessed I am...) AND because The Run for the Hungry was the VERY FIRST organized running event I ever participated in. Six years ago, my FIL signed up the family and I up for this particular event, and I walked it...well, strolled would be a more accurate word...and finished in 1:02:38 (I swear, I am not making that up). 

For some reason, the energy of the event struck a chord with me. I don't know why. I was about the laziest couch potato of a woman at that point. I was fat, out of shape, felt bad about my body and myself, but after walking that morning, I decided I wanted to RUN a 5K. Maybe it was because there were people actually RUNNING who looked like me. Maybe because my hour finish time was sort of humiliating. Maybe it was because the people who ran looked like they were having fun, and I'd never considered running to be a fun thing to do. 

So I started running.

This year, I convinced Walter and DramaGirl to get up early on Thanksgiving morning to run with me. There are two Thanksgiving morning 5Ks in San Diego, the Father Joe's run in Balboa Park, for which about 12,000 people show up, and the Run for the Hungry which is downtown. There's both a 5K and a 10K and about 4000 people show up. 

I'm not going to lie. I'd been looking forward to doing a 5K for a few weeks. I hadn't run a 5K since Shelter Island last November. I've been running pretty well. I've been getting faster. My old PR was just a hair under 30 minutes and I thought I could really beat A LOT.
Me, DG, and Walter...that's Petco Park in the background. Nice cloudy morning.
I did a quick warmup around the parking lot while DG complained about being too cold. We decided to walk over to the start and the leaders of the 10K were just crossing over (the 10K started at 7am...I briefly thought about running the 10K and I felt a little like a slacker for running ONLY a 5K as they passed). We passed by a couple of porta potties, but there was no TP and someone had left their pants in there. Walter wondered why someone would need to leave their pants behind. Ah...the joys of running downtown.

Actually, there was a whole row of porta potties set up for the runners. Later on we realized that the two we passed by initially were probably the "permanent" ones left for tailgaters (Keith...I promise to explain tailgating in a future post). In any event, since we still had about 40 minutes to the start of the race, we decided to walk across the street to a Hilton and use the restrooms there.
Much nicer and warmer than a porta potty
Once we got back to the race area, we lined up...trying to get ahead of the dogs and strollers (not easy).* 

My goal was just to keep up with DramaGirl for the first mile or so. She's not a runner, but she plays field hockey and soccer, is in really good shape, has long legs, and is much faster than I am. I figured if I could keep her in my sights for the first mile or so, I'd be on a really good pace to come in around 29 minutes.

As the race started, she took off, and we spent about the first 1/2 mile dodging in and out of walkers with dogs and/or strollers (GAH!), but I kept up with her. After about a 1/2 mile, she motioned that she wanted to pass a few slower runners, and I told her to go ahead...I'd hit my pace (I was running about a 9 minute mile...which is pretty much about as fast as I thought I could go), so she bounced ahead.

I loved watching her run.She runs effortlessly. I mean. I KNOW I look like I'm working hard when I am running. She doesn't ever look like she's working that hard. She swears she's not a runner, but I know she could be.

At about 1.5 miles, I could see that she had slowed to a walk. She told me later that she didn't see a reason not to. When I caught up with her, she started running again. I asked her how she was, and she said she was good. We smiled at a cute dog in a turkey costume or something like that and she pulled ahead of me again...I wondered where Walter was.

At two miles, I looked at my Garmin. It said 17:xx and I swear I did a double take as I realized, I'd been running sub-9 minute miles... (it must have said 17:56 because miles 1 and 2 were both 8:58 according to my Garmin...but all I saw was the 17). I thought...OMG...I could run a 11 minute mile at this point and still get a PR...amazing.

With about 1/2 mile to go, Walter pulled up beside me, so we ran the last mile together. DG had decided to sprint it in. At one point, I think he tried to pull ahead of me, but I was having none of that and I kept up

DG - 28:05
Walter - 28:23
Alice 28:25**

I came in 4th in my age division...Imagine that! 

No I don't have any post-race photos...Imagine me being red-faced and sweaty. That should do it. It was a really awesome way to spend the morning...but we had to hurry home because I still had a dinner to cook!

My side of the family all came to our house for Thanksgiving this year. I love cooking, and after how much I'd been workingthe last three weeks, I was really looking forward to doing one of the things I really love to do best, cooking good food. I'd been working on fixing as many of the dishes as I could ahead of time so that the day wouldn't be a complete blur so that I could enjoy it. Gotta say that I planned it out pretty well.
Earlier in the week, I made a cranberry relish
DramaGirl baked A LOT of desserts
DG's pumpkin & berry (my favorite) pies...I don't bake much. This is very much her forte!
This is an apple spice bread pudding with a merengue topping (also...YUM)
Turbo and Papa...peeling potatoes (or what I call man's work)
Filling up - I should have taken a photo of the turkey before it was was beautiful!
The aftermath - watching the 49ers lose (the reason that Papa is a  bit glum...or he's full)
Sisters, my nephew, and Turbo
Me and nana
The girls - chillin' and watching African Cats on the Discovery Network (yes...I was surprised by this as well)
Mandatory end of the evening family shot
Clearly, I have so much to be thankful for. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
* I will never understand why...despite reminders and kind requests made by the race starter that walkers with dogs/strollers start toward the back...some insist on starting at the front anyway. Yes, this was a smallish field, but REALLY?  We were about 20 feet from the start line and at leasts 1/2 the people in front of me had absolutely no intention of running...AT ALL... I don't even have a problem with RUNNERS with dogs/strollers who want to start somewhere near their pace group, but if someone has absolutely NO INTENTION of running...why start at the front where someone who IS going to be running is likely to just run up your ass? 

** My previous 5K best was 29:53 


  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! Nice PR! Great way to start the day-food looked great.
    I was stuck at work taking care of some very "unthankful" patients...ugh, what has happened to people lately?
    What a great feeling though to have done the same race which was your first and absolutely killing the time....from over an hour to under 1/2 hour!
    Happy "late" Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  2. Does that ever all look good! And when did DG get to be taller than you? Congrats on the PR, it's always nice to have happen. Probably good that dinner was AFTER the race. Less guilt that way. Less of other things too.

  3. Alice - I'm so proud of you! Keeping up with Drama Girl was a great plan and you are well on your way to many top finishes!

    This race was one of my firsts also - the 5K is a nice race - the 10K isn't as picturesque - good choice on doing the 5K.

  4. What a great way to start [and end] the holiday. Congratulations on the big PR!

  5. Congratulations on the 4th place in your AG! Mannn, I have a lot of catching up to do so that you're not that little dot of day-glow green in the distance WAY ahead of me. I'm super happy for you!

    I keep looking back at those desserts...

  6. I'm a little late with this, but .... Nice work!

    My family has never liked cranberries/cranberry sauce. So my grandmother would melt red hot candies in plain applesauce for cinnamon applesauce. It has continued to be the staple in our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas!