The giving of thanks

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Thanksgiving has always been a weird holiday to me. Growing up, we didn’t live near a big extended family so it was pretty much like a normal day except we were having turkey for dinner and eating it in the dining room. Over the years, T & I have made the traditional thanksgiving dinner so many times (somewhere around 10 or 11, by my rough count.) So, it’s not terribly stressful, and in fact, I quite enjoy it. This isn’t to say it’s not without it’s mishaps. I apparently haven’t gotten the hang of pumpkin pie baking in this apartments oven, as I’ve produced my second ugly pumpkin pie in it. (Both times, the bottom crust of the pie bubbled up, creating a caldera in the middle that pushes the filling up onto the sides of the crust.) Luckily, I was vindicated by a very pretty apple pie. I call them “Beauty and The Beast.”

We were also experimenting with a new turkey technique, where you stuff the cavity of the turkey with coffee beans. (Courtesy of Seattle celebrity chef Tom Douglas.) My before picture was a little gross, so here’s T posing with the end result:

The coffee beans lent the turkey a smokey quality. The bacon grease smeared at the bottom of the pan plus the onions and turkey drippings made an amazing gravy. J & M came over in the afternoon to hang out and play a little pre-dinner Rock Band. I even set a pretty table for us, complete with fancy cloth napkin folding (a hold-over from T’s days of working in restaurants.) I also busted out my parents wedding “silver” (actually pewter), which I inherited when they upgraded to new stuff several years ago.

We ended the evening with a viewing of a bootleg Twilight movie accompanied by lots of wine and yelling at the tv. (Those movies are so terrible! But so fun to mock while drinking wine on the couch.) We were up way too late considering that we had to hit the road early tomorrow morning for a drive down to Portland, but it was worth it.

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Screw trotting, these turkeys are sprinting!

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*** Apologies to my tens of readers for neglecting this blog so shamelessly. But trust me, there would have been a lot of boring blog posts about running and things seen on the bus ride to/from work. And does the Blogosphere really need more of that? I think not… ***

Today marked M’s and my fourth Turkey Trot race and the very first time that all four of us (J, T, M & myself) all raced together ever. So, it was a pretty momentous occasion. T’s & my marathon plan has us doing weekly track workouts and some pretty taxing tempo workouts, so my plan for the race was to see how fast I could go and really push myself. M & T were also looking for Personal Bests and J claimed to not make a distinction between running and racing. (We love J. He’s so special!)

I think this race has gotten bigger each year we’ve run it, but it’s still retained it’s wide range of participants. You’ll see everything from the guys in shorts and singlets who will do it in 15 minutes to the runners in silly costumes to the whole family (grandparents & dog included) running with their stroller. Combined with the low-key style of the race, it makes for a very festive experience. We lined up near the front to minimize the dogs and strollers that we’d have to pass. Here’s T’s game face:

The race director got up on a ladder to address the crowd and then we were off! Everyone set off at their own pace and I was pleasantly surprised to find M next to me. Then J caught up to us. At some point M had to drop back and I ended up dropping J on a nice section of downhill. T of course was up ahead of us, but surprisingly I kept him in sight. I pushed really hard on the downhills, trying to get as much “free speed” as possible, but I deliberately didn’t look at my watch to see how fast I was actually running. J passed me again on the final downhill section, which wasn’t terribly surprising.

The final mile is flat and I knew it was going to be a struggle and it didn’t disappoint! I was hurting big time, then M pulled up next to me. I tried to stay with her, but she was looking strong and had paced herself well (unlike yours truly!) I was feeling very disappointed in myself because I just couldn’t keep pushing at the end and actually had to walk across a street less than a quarter of a mile from the finish to get my heart rate under control. But then I crossed the line and looked at my finish time: 26:27. That’s a 5K personal best for me by a lot. Like over 2 and a half minutes, which is pretty amazing in such a short race. M beat me by 20 seconds, proving she’s speedier than she thinks she is. And both boys also sported respectable times.

Here’s the obligatory post race picture:

Now, let’s eat! M & J made bagels at their place, but first T had a little chore to attend to:

If I knew the words to “roll out the barrel” that would totally be stuck in my head right now…