November 26 brought another Thanksgiving, when we pause from our daily lives, focus on all the things we are thankful for, over indulge at the dinner table, then spend the rest of the day napping, watching football and planning for potential shopping craziness the next day. Hopefully, if things work out, you were able to spend the day with those people closest to you.
As a runner, there is one more thing that fights to be included in the schedule; a Thanksgiving day race. In Indianapolis the race is the Drumstick Dash. Proceeds from the race go to the Wheeler Mission, a local social services organization, which provides critically needed goods and services to the homeless, poor, and needy of central Indiana. In six years, the race has grown from a few hundred runners to around 9,000 this year! My family has included the race in our tradition for the past two years. We take the race as an opportunity to forget about results and run together. The race is an odd distance at 4.5 miles, but that helps with not thinking about the results, and just focusing on spending time together as a family and as part of the local running community.

To help the household relations, we let the kids sleep a little longer. The goal was achieved, but we overlooked the increase in participants and had a little trouble finding parking with adequate time before the race started. That led to us hearing the race start while we were still 3 blocks away. Thankfully, the large
number stretched out the the start and kept us from starting from the back. We were able to sneak up to about the 10 minute pace area before jumping into a gap in the crowd. We had also forgotten that this race is different. A lot of families do this event, including grandparents, small children, and infants in walking strollers. So just like a most races, there are people who start closer to the front than they should, but I was continually amazed at the walkers (in jeans, with coffee in hand) walking 4-6 wide on narrow streets leaving virtually no room to pass. We were consistently passing people the whole race, including walkers, through to the finish. It's hard to guess what pace area those people were lined up in at the start. I'm happy that all those people are out and participating, both for their health and for the cause, but we (the running community) need to figure out how we can educate them on race etiquette, so everyone can still participate and the runners can run.
The family stayed together pretty well for the first 3.5 miles. The general pattern went something like this:Will would skate and skitter around the walkers. I would move (more deliberately) to keep him in sight. Anna would keep me close and try to mediate between Mom's and Dad's paces. Jil ran comfortably, keeping us all in view and enjoying the scene. Between 3 and 4 miles, Will finally decided he wanted to run, so he and I bid adieu to the girls and picked up the pace. In the last 1/4 to 1/3 mile he and I actually raced in. I hope we didn't annoy anyone by running in so fast, but it was just so fun to share the moment with him and maybe to be 11 again, if just for a couple of minutes.

We all finished, had our post race snack and headed for home. But not so fast! In our rush to get to the race start, we had neglected to note which street we had parked on, and all of those neighborhood streets looked the same! Luckily our guess was only off by a block and the turkey fest wasn't delayed by more than a few minutes.

My running has been a little rough recently. The spark hasn't been there and it's been more of a labor than a Labor of Love. But today was different. I had fun. As I have thought about running today, it's been a pleasant thought with anticipation of the next one. Maybe today's run helped me get out of the rut and back into the grove.

I enjoyed Thanksgiving 2009 tremendously. For our household, it was a day of togetherness and memories. We ran together, cooked together, ate together, cleaned up together, and, well, I think you get the theme. We were just together.

It's a shame that it takes a named holiday to make us pause and truly reflect on all that we are thankful for. It would be nice if we could collectively

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Artist for Song in Title: Poi Dog Pondering

I would like to thank WTTS for pointing out this song to me. I've owned the CD since the early 90s, but don't think I ever knew the particular song title existed.


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