27 November 2012

Thanksgiving in the Desert

The weather here in the mid-Atlantic is full-blown fall.  Summer is a distant memory; the sun is rising later, mornings are chilly, and evenings are dark.  Some of the days are filled with a cold, wet rain and more often then not, I find myself wearing boots and tights with heavy knit skirts to stay warm.  I know, I make it sound like I live in the northern tundra of Siberia with all this talk of wool and tights, when in reality I've simply been wussified by these mild mid-Atlantic winters.  My early-20s self, hardened up by four winters spent in northern Vermont (the big field on campus that separated my townhouse from the academic buildings was not-so-fondly known as the Frozen Tundra and it often lived up to its name) would be wearing flip flops when the temps hit 40 degrees.  Now I put on another sweater.

So what does all this talk of cold weather have to do with my Thanksgiving?  Absolutely nothing - one of the advantages of having family that live in warm parts of the country is the excuse to visit them (and enjoy warm weather) during the holidays.  The weather in Phoenix last week was just what I needed to forget the chilly weather back East - no humidity, temperatures in the low 80s, and endless sun.  It was enough to make me find my running shoes and take them out for my longest run in months (a whopping 7 miles) on my first day out there.

Palm trees and blue skies chase away all cold-weather blues
  On Thanksgiving morning we did a turkey trot at the local country club our aunt and uncle belong to (Thanks for signing us up, Aunt Sue!).  It was super casual and small - a choice of either a 5k or 10k, no bibs, no chips, and timing done by a stopwatch for the handful of competitors.  Allie and I wore mis-matched matching knee-high socks (hooray for holiday themes!) and I wore a running skirt and tank top (last year in NH I was bundled up to the max for the local turkey trot; this year I discovered that there are fewer things greater in life than not freezing your buns off on Thanksgiving day).

Me and my seeester, ready to run!
Everyone in the race congregated at the bottom of the hill on one of the main roads.  The 10k would start first, followed shortly thereafter by the 5k.  Both would follow the same route until the 5k veered off early to head back to the clubhouse and the 10k continued out a bit longer.  Mr. Sweetie and Allie were running the 5k and I lined up for the 10k, ready to race my fellow competitors for the ultimate glory of being mentioned in the next month's issue of the country club's magazine.  The race started and I settled into a pretty comfortable pace (no idea what that pace was because my Garmin crapped out on me that morning and refused to turn on) and slowly reeled in the group of 10 year-olds who shot away from the start line in a dead sprint, like they were doing a 100m dash.  Youth.  My main goal was to be the first girl to cross the finish line, but by mile 1 when I found myself in front of everyone, I thought it might be neat if I was the first one overall across the finish line.  There was a group of three - two guys and a girl - that I was mainly concerned with.  They looked like they were either in high school or their freshman year of college and they had been running at a relatively quick pace while still holding a conversation when I passed by them at mile 1.  As I ran the next few miles (hoping I was going in the right direction and not missing any turns because that would be embarrassing), I would hear their voices grow louder and softer and they alternately closed in/fell back.  At the turnaround I saw that the two guys were starting to catch up to me, but the girl was falling further and further back.  Within less than half a mile from the turnaround, the two high school guys blew by me like I was standing still.  Oh well.  Fortunately, the girl was nowhere in sight.  As I started to near the hill we had to run up to reach the finish line, I could tell that another guy was gaining on me.  And even though this was a casual race and it really wasn't going to matter if another guy passed me, I found another gear and did my best to sprint and hold him off, eeking across the finish line just before he did.  Mr. Sweetie looked at me like I was nuts for practically killing myself to get across the line in 3rd overall - this was supposed to be a "fun run."

Turkey Trotters - Ready to Eat!
The rest of our mini-break to Phoenix and the Thanksgiving holiday was fantastic.  We had about 20 people at Thanksgiving dinner, between extended family and family friends so close that they ARE family - it was so, so nice to catch up with everyone.  I got to spend quality time with Mr. Sweetie's grandma, whom I haven't seen in far too long.  There were three (THREE!) turkeys for dinner - fried, roasted, smoked.  There were scallops wrapped in bacon.  There was stuffing - LOTS of stuffing.  There was pie, there was baked brie, there was wine, there were mimosas.  I'm proud to say that I paced myself pretty well and managed to sample just about everything.  The weather was perfect and I spent just about as much time outdoors as I did indoors.  A rousing game of "hoe shoes" was played (it's kind of like cornhole, except you try to throw women's high heels into buckets - you get the most points if you get the heels to dangle from the side of the bucket); and three of the youngest kids (6, 3, and 2) got into a water gun fight.  It was a fun trip and I'm already looking forward to the next big family get-together!

Greatest sisters ever!


Dawn said...

You got all dressed up! Wonderful pictures, looks like a great time....and congrats on 3rd overall, way to race to the finish :)

Katie said...

that pic of you and your seeeesters is just gorgeous.