I love the idea of a Turkey Trot -- a short race on Thanksgiving weekend, ideally on the morning of or the morning after.
In my imagination, it would offer so many benefits; a bit of vigorous exercise on the day of gorging, a possible family event (if there are other runners in the clan), and a spirited break from the general lethargy of the holiday.
Sadly, I've never run one. They exist here in NY, but I'm usually out of town. When I visit the parents, it is in a town that folks leave for the holidays, so the races are at other times of the year.
Still, running has really changed the holiday vibe for me. If I get up early, and get in a good run, it is much easier to relax and enjoy just hanging out and chatting with the family. I don't feel stuffed all the time, partly because I've exercised, and partly because at the end of dinner, I'm starting to think about the next day's run instead of whether to have whipped cream, or ice cream AND whipped cream on my mince, pumpkin and pecan pies.
This past Tuesday started at home in NY with speed work with the 6AM group. We ran short (~100 meter) intervals. I've never run intervals this short (fast) before, and I found myself feeling sore toward the end. I actually jogged the last (10th) interval out of concern that I might be overdoing it.
That afternoon, we loaded the family into the car and headed out to grandma and grandpa's. The next morning, I ran an easy 5 miler, but my quads and hamstrings were sore in both legs. Whenever I hit a hill, I had to shorten my stride to avoid freaking out the hamstrings.
It was hard to believe that this level of soreness was set off by a few short sprints, but maybe it was a bigger deal than I realized. I immediately began to fantasize about destroying all my PRs by doing more short intervals. Clearly, my soreness was a sign that a could make huge improvements by doing more sort intervals. Or the soreness was a sign that I guy my age shouldn't be sprinting at all (nah, couldn't be that).
I took the next day off. Unfortunately, that was Thursday, the one day I wanted to make sure to get some exercise. I took it easy in the feast though, and did an 11 mile run on Friday afternoon. I still felt some traces of soreness, so I skipped Saturday. Thankfully, I felt great on the Sunday morning 9 mile run.
Then we piled back in the car and headed home. There was no Turkey Trot, but I did log 25 miles while I was at grandma's house, and I got over the soreness from Tuesday (what soreness?), so all in all, I can't complain.
Next Sunday is the Joe Kleinerman 10K, which I have declared as my next target race. The goal is to beat my current PR of 7:01/mile pace. I'm pretty confident that I should be able to make it, depending of course, on what abuse I suffer this Tuesday during speed work...