Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

In our family, Thanksgiving isn't just about the bird.  For three years now we have run the local turkey trot 5K, the Holden Road Race, befitting the local food pantry.  The first year was before we started OPC Cakes, and was the first and last race the Jedi and I have ever done together.  We dressed up our bike trailer/jogger like a giant red turkey and made the front page of the local paper, even though the attempt at running 3 miles nearly killed us (me - Jedi was fine in the way that guys can not run a step and then jog three miles like it' ain't no thang...).

Circa 2011

Then last year, we signed on as sponsors of the Holden Road Race, and paid our sponsorship fee with a thousand mini cupcakes handed out to the runners at the finish line.  I was still not to be confused with someone who could run.  Our daughter, however, surprised us by hopping out of the trailer (which was getting too small for both even then) at the half-mile mark, and running the rest of the race without stopping, laughing and yelling GOBBLE GOBBLE!! at everyone along the way.  Not bad for a four-year old, and when we realized we had a mini-marathoner on our hands, so we'd better learn to keep up.

Circa 2012 - first sponsorship year
We also learned last year just how hard it is to bake and frost 1,000 cupcakes in a single day, plus host Thanksgiving dinner.  My hand was cramped from frosting for weeks afterwards, to say nothing about my still non-runners legs.  So going into this year, I had a serious amount of nervousness.  For the time to bake (multiplied by Jedi's usual refusal to stress about anything, forcing me to stress enough for both of us), to the weather (projected to be sub freezing with gusty winds, unlike last year which was warm), to my horrible cold, to my ability to run that far, as I still hadn't cleared 2.5 miles walk/jogging since my injury.

What 800 cupcakes looks
 like packed and ready to go
Gingerbread... my favorite....
Modeling this year's race shirt the night before

I needn't have worried about it at all.  The day couldn't have gone better.  Granted, we were very prepared. Jedi whipped out 800 cupcakes from the oven and I frosted them with time to spare.  We couldn't decorate the stroller this year (we ran out of white and yellow duct tape), but I loaded it with hand warmers, hot apple cider, Hershey kisses, and enough mittens, hats, gators, and warm clothing to keep the kids comfy for all 3 miles.  I even made them a special playlist on my IPhone to play on the run.  (What was on it you ask?  Sara Bareilles Brave (their favorite), I'm a Believer from Shrek, and I Like to Move It Move It from Madagascar, along with a few other of my favorite workout songs).  With the wind and the uncertainty of volunteers, Jedi decided that he hates running that it was better to stay with our cupcake tables, and I'd try to hook up with some of my many friends at the race if I needed help along the way.

O Dark Thirty.....
... and ready to run!

We even sprung for a race bib for our little girl, since she was so darn excited to run!  We bumped into Gypsy and a favorite trainer from our gym first thing.  Then while lined up for the start, we bumped into a triathlon buddy that I did Title 9 with.  Whoot!

Turkey Triathletes?
The race itself went great.  My little girl started out with me and did a great job of staying close in the crowd.  After it had thinned a bit, but little guy hopped out of the trailer as well and took off.  He is a quick little sucker!  Luckily the roads were closed and my yelling made some kindly parents return him to me.  Rascal.  The kiddos took turns hopping in the stroller to stay warm and rest and popping out to jog along with Mom.  Despite pushing a 35 lb. stroller loaded with 70 lbs of kids, I felt pretty good the whole way, and was happy to accept props from others for being a Mom with Stroller, and to thankfully decline offers from some well-meaning dads to spell me pushing it.  We hooked in with another family in matching Minion hats (Despicable Me) for a while - they had a little girl in kindergarten as well.  Listening to the two girls yammer back and forth while running was adorable.

Ready now!!!
My gang finished strong with one of my best friends who was out there with her son, having been cheered up the last big hill by Gypsy (who had finished and was in her car going home at that point).  Our final time was 42:50.  Not a record-breaker, but considering that my kids ran between one and two miles of the course spread out over about ten stops to get in and out of the giant beast of a stroller, a time I am really really happy with. More importantly, I had warm, happy kids the whole way (so much that Little Dude fell asleep at one point), who were overjoyed and proud of themselves at the finish line, when I gave them the medals I'd made them this morning.

Homemade medals and cupcakes.  Congrats kids!

We went over and checked in with the Jedi, who was passing out the last of our cupcakes to the dwindling crowd.  It was great to be recognized by so many of our fans and be told that they were so happy we were back a second year.  Made all the previous day's baking worth it.  That, and being told by my friend,

"Girl, you make Martha Stewart look like a lazy b*tch!!!"

Going, going, GONE!!!!

Then it was home for hot baths, a second breakfast of pumpkin muffins and scrambled eggs, and the Thanksgiving meal with my parents (who very kindly brought half of it).  I feel so very lucky for my wonderful family, my health, my strong body that carried me through the miles, my patient and steady husband, supportive parents, and all the great things I have in my life.  I truly hope that everyone else had as memorable and joyful a holiday as I did.  

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Armfuls of love

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