11/27/2009 6:00 AM
By now, most
readers have finished their Thanksgiving meals. After all, the holiday was yesterday. Today, Nov. 27 is Black Friday. Traditionally, that means the men watch football while the women shop the entire day.
It’s called Black Friday because it is supposed to be the day when businesses finally move from operating in the red to operating in the black. Of course, that means they have to have great sale prices and lots of customers.
This season there’s even more pressure to have good sales. WalMart jumped the gun this year by having what must have been the first Black Friday sale of the year on Nov. 6. One hot sale item was a Nintendo Wii for net $99. I missed the sale because I was 650ft below ground, touring an underground salt mine. But that’s a story for another time.
Run off the calories
I looked up what the typical Thanksgiving dinner equals in calories. While you don’t want to know, I’m going to tell you: 7100 calories. That’s more than twice a normal day ‘s caloric intake.
Did you do anything special to burn up those calories? Men often don’t. The women, by shopping, do a better job of getting rid of what they ate on Thursday.
I try to burn up the calories before I consume them by running in a Thanksgiving day race. Here in the Midwest, Thanksgiving day weather is usually okay, temps in the 40s or higher. No snow or rain, perfect for a 10K run.
The most memorable Thanksgiving race I ever did was called the Baldwin Slog. It was exactly that. A 6.2-mile grind through farmers’ fields, cattle pastures, forests and a recently-cut soybean field. What made this particular race memorable was the pre-race weather.
We’d had rain for several days prior to the run, so the ground was wet and muddy. And it was cold — 27 degrees. Cold, but not cold enough to freeze the ground. The result was mud up to your eyeballs.
I ran the race with my 12-year-old son, David, and my running buddy, Gary.
In these kind of races, you just have to go with the flow. There’s not going to be a new “personal best” time. You go to these races for the ambiance and camaraderie, not because you expect to set a new record.
The gun sounded at 7 a.m., and the crowd of about 100 runners began their 45 to 90-minute tramp through the beautiful nature-filled fields of Eastern Kansas. Well, it might have been beautiful if it wasn’t so muddy and cold.
I was feeling good about myself, running fast (considering) and still within sight of the 17-year-old blazingly fast sprinters from the local high school. At the first turn, which was downhill, I misjudged the slippery grade and quickly found myself butt-side down in the mud. Runners had to scramble to avoid colliding with me and creating an even bigger mess.
Once I was back on the trail, if you could call it that, I regained my stride and was gaining ground on some of the runners who had passed me while I was on my backside. Now I was only in the first third of the pack.
The rest of the race was pretty much unremarkable. In fact, it was a rerun of the first two miles. Mud, more mud, puddles, cold, fall. Repeat.
Finish line ahead
By the time I could see the finish line about one-half mile ahead, I looked more like a moving mud pile than a runner. I was wearing mud from head to toe. My shoes, caked with pounds of mud, felt like concrete blocks. My hands didn’t feel at all because they were too cold, but the finish line was ahead.
It was then that David came up from behind me. “Hey dad, I thought you’d be finished by now,” he joked. Yeah, well on a good day, I would have been finished, I thought. I slogged on toward the finish line.
Although I was covered in mud. Frozen from head to toe, I still remember the Baldwin Slog as one of my best races. You know why? Because my son and I finished together — a team. Now that’s the way to spend Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to your family.