Thanksgiving: Who are we fooling?

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Thanksgiving is upon us and with it comes an abundance of things for which to be thankful. Family and friends, health, gainful employment, a roof over our heads, and – who could forget – a scrumptious holiday feast. Just thinking about turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and whipped cream sends my salivary glands into overdrive, even though the big day is still a week away. I do try my best to eat well for the other 364 days of the year, but this day is special. No holds barred. Gluttony at its finest.

Fortunately the Thanksgiving holiday offers more than just the opportunity to be grateful and to pig out. In addition to the traditional spectator activities that the day brings (the Macy’s parade and Lions football), the annual Turkey Trot has become a ritual for many runners across the country. Our region alone offers at least ten of them, with enticing names such as the Drumstick Dash and the Giblet Jog. What a way to begin the holiday festivities – get your workout done early in the morning, leaving plenty of time for guilt-free gorging.

Only one problem – the average 160 lb. Turkey Trotter burns just under four hundred calories in a 5k race. And the average Thanksgiving dinner? Anywhere from 3000 to 4500 calories, depending on how many extra helpings of stuffing you pile on your plate. Another slice of pumpkin pie? Better lace up your shoes – you’ve got 2 ½ more miles to run.

Just for fun, I went online to calculate the approximate number of calories I’ll consume this Thanksgiving. By conservative estimates (the calculator didn’t allow for the inevitable seconds of sweet potatoes, stuffing and gravy), I’ll take in 2395 calories. Yikes! I’ll need to run twenty-five miles to burn off that meal.

Which brings a dilemma. Forego the seconds? Not a chance. This year, I’m proposing that we ditch the turkey trot 5k’s. Who are we fooling? Those runs don’t even put a dent in our holiday calorie consumption. What we really need are some Thanksgiving ultras. Who’s in for the Fat Turkey 50 Mile? Or maybe the Hungry Pilgrim 100k? Whatever your distance, just get out there – and be thankful for the ability to do so.

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