I love this time of year. Thursday morning I enjoyed a local Turkey Trot event where many, many people feel compelled to dress in various outlandish costumes. Oh, there are a few dressed in traditional pilgrim garb, but I am always amazed at the number of people sporting all manner of turkey headgear. And mind you, these are people who probably dress and behave perfectly normally, even coservatively the rest of the year. I just love it. I love that they don't care how ridiculous they look, in fact, they relish it.
But the costumes are just part of the story. Thanksgiving races bring out whole families, and for many, it is a longstanding tradition. They race in a 5k or 10k first thing Thanksgiving morning, creating a calorie debt that will be more than paid later in the day.
The extended family groups are easy to spot. They usually all dress alike, and they always take a group photo. Now, that's a tradition that deserves attention. These families are teaching the kids that fitness is important, but equally important, they're teaching the kids that fitness is fun. Imagine that. Now, all these families can easily have found an excuse not to participate. For one thing, there's a turkey to cook, sweet potato casserole to bake, green beans to snap, and pies to prepare, but these families clearly have their priorities in order. It's not just about the running, just like it's not just about the eating; it's about doing those things together, appreciating that everyone is here on this day, giving thanks for each other.
Well, sometimes everyone is not here, as is the case with my family. My son couldn't get home this year, and there are still two empty chairs where my brother and sister would be if they were still alive. They are always missed, but never more than at this time of year. So, we give thanks for the health that we have, and we remember those who should be around the table.
In the next few weeks, the scene described above will be repeated at many holiday themed races. Tomorrow I'll be at the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run. There are sure to be many people in reindeer ears and santa hats, all wearing jingle bells and smiles.
Eveyone's life seems extra hectic at this time of year, but make sure to schedule at least one holiday race. Don't worry about your time or whether you've trained enough to do a PR. Just remember, it's about being fit and enjoying the fellowship of likeminded individuals. And, one more thing, take the kids. Even if they don't, won't, or can't run, they need to see you do it. The example you set by making running a daily ritual is the most valuable gift you will give them this holiday season.