Defending the turkey trot

For years, I would always wake up on Thanksgiving Day and see friends, couples, and family on Instagram lacing up their running shoes and finishing their 5K at some ungodly hour in the dark before I started running. . My first sip of coffee. For years I’ve laughed at the virtuosity of it all: just show off, I guess. How expressive.

And I happen to love running! I've run four marathons in a decade or so and consider myself a "runner," although I'm far from a professional - any coach would be shocked at my lax approach to training (I believe it's official The term is "improvisation"). Instead of trying out the latest gear and gadgets, I tend to wear whatever beat-up sneakers I have in my closet; I typically don't fuel up on long runs and drink almost no water.

I’m not even opposed to running on Thanksgiving. I often go for a jog on the beach in the early afternoon before carving the turkey, just like I would do on any other weekend at home, other rigorous activities include eating chips, napping on the couch, playing on my phone, As well as eating my weight in Sunday gravy. Still, I've stuck with organized turkey trots over the years, if not out of sheer principle: after all, why on God's green earth would anyone want to get up early? On vacation? Exercise?

I'll go have a beer.

But last year, while on a routine jog by a lake near my in-laws' house, I saw the Florida Turkey Trot sign displayed by Publix. I pause—Publix is ​​my favorite grocery store (not sponsored, I swear, but @me, Publix). This was fun for a few reasons: Great location – almost in my backyard and easy to get to. There’s a vague but tantalizing promise of “dessert” at the finish line. There will be beer. In the spirit of trying new things, and because I love sweets and beer, I signed up.

It soon became clear to me why 750,000 people participated in the Turkey Trot last year and why the race is so popular. I’m a convert, and you should be too—and here’s why.

have a sense of accomplishment

I'm sad to report: (But it's true - go for a run (or walk! Walking is good for you!) on Thanksgiving or any day, and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment. During my morning race, the humidity At about 92%, I was sweating and out of breath, but I finally finished. The feeling had nothing to do with the "turkey burn" of exhaustion since a foot injury derailed me two years ago, it just felt good.

You can drink beer at 8:30 in the morning

Most mornings, I answer emails at home while drinking a cold beer, quickly tidying up my apartment, getting dressed, and trying in vain to look like a normal person before hitting the gym or walking to work. The turkey trot is that one time of year that I can unapologetically take back to my college tailgating days (JK, I never did) and enjoy spending it with a free beer before noon The novelty of living my sweet 5K time.

everyone is happy

With the exception of the New York City Marathon, I often find the "race day energy" to be serious and exciting to the point of eye-rolling. (Call me Scrooge, I've probably been called worse.) But simply put, nearly everyone at the Turkey Trot was in a good mood — how could you not be, really?

You'll see parents accompanying their children on their first games and giving them words of encouragement. The friends, clearly hungover from the pre-Thanksgiving festivities the night before (IYKYK), cheered each other on. Many times, matchday fees benefit a charity or provide you with an opportunity to raise funds. Someone's wearing a stupid felt turkey hat! You can't hate a stupid turkey hat.

In short, the stakes couldn't be lower—no one qualified for the Boston Marathon—and the feeling of running with zero stress was utterly liberating.

You can enjoy snacks on snacks

By the time I finished the race, the aforementioned "dessert" was in abundance. There are muffins. There are cookies! There were so many other snacks I can’t remember. Am I going to bake two dozen pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to take to Thanksgiving dinner later that day? certainly. Do I still have to eat lots and lots of stuffing and pie? you bet. But in the meantime, I need to refuel, and it’s a well-known fact: muffins > sad, chalky protein bars.