Writing and running in Austin, TX.
On the other side of the Atlantic, it’s the day before Thanksgiving.
On this side of the Atlantic, it’s the day before my company’s IT department kills our work email because they‘ve apparently forgotten that – aside from smaller to-do’s in Canada, Australia, and some random parts of the Netherlands – there’s no such thing as Thanksgiving outside the US.
For me, no Thanksgiving means more than just no turkey and stuffing: No Turkey Trot!
Of course the Turkey Trot isn’t any one single event. It’s a nationwide tradition that has exploded right along with the US “running boom”. According to active.com, 2010 will see more than 300 Trots around the US. (IMPORTANT: The “Turkey Trot” is NOT to be confused with the “runner’s trots”, unless perhaps you eat the turkey before the race.)
These races are usually pretty short, in the 5K to 5 mile range, and are often family-oriented. The idea was simple but inspired: Everyone will be off work anyway, so let’s have a race and feel a little less guilty about that third serving of pumpkin pie! (And, of course, collect all those entry fees.) At many such events, winners even receive turkeys in place of cash. Thank goodness I’m so slow, lest I have to be that hippy vegetarian who conscientiously objects to my prize.
There’s another reason, aside from slowness, that I’m in no danger of winning a turkey. Despite my long-held fascination with the event, I’ve never actually gotten to run a Turkey Trot. Argh! This is beyond frustrating to me! The fact of the matter is, I always eat at least two pieces of pie at Thanksgiving, and I sure would like that extra 500 calories to play with!
And how fun must the atmosphere at such an event be? We’re all off work, out here with our families, doing something other than watching football! And for those of us in Texas, it’s finally cooler than 85 degrees! Can you think of anything more entertaining? (If you’re not a runner, don’t answer that.)
But no, year after year, inevitably, something occurs to keep me from my much-anticipated Gobbler Gambol. This year, due to geographical circumstances outside my control, it’s the absence of a holiday entirely. Last year, it was a foot joint dislocation incurred in the previous weekend’s San Antonio Marathon. The year before that, it was the much-maligned ITB syndrome…
By some odd twist of circumstance, I – the person most-obsessed with the holidays of anyone I know – the person whose Firefox browser theme at work is Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa and driving a sleigh – the person who has invited 7 Germans over this weekend for a Thanksgiving dinner I’m not even confident I can produce – I have never run a Turkey Trot. Or a Jingle Bell Jog. Or a Christmas Caper. Even the Aachen Winterlauf was sold out before I got here!
So I suppose I’ll just do the best I can with what I have. Since it’s a Thursday anyway, I’ll run to work. And when I get there I’ll collect my prize of a liter of sparkling water. It’s no turkey, but it’s veggie-friendly, and I do appreciate the under-publicized German law that requires all companies to provide it free-of-charge to their employees. (Ok, it’s not really a law, but it’s pretty amazing nonetheless.) And then, to celebrate my accomplishment, I’ll sit down to a day free of email demands and pick out the perfect Turkey Trot for next year.