Thanksgiving Week means running?

Like everyone else, I love Thanksgiving.  I love the gathering of family and friends to celebrate those things for which we are thankful as we share a joyous meal.  In my family, we always light the baptismal candles for our three children at the dinner table as a visible sign of how thankful we are to God for the gift of each one of them.

Last year, I went through the Thanksgiving Week with a goal of not gaining more than 2lbs.  I was doing Weight Watchers then (I still am), and I wanted to stay 'on plan' while still enjoying the traditional Peete feast.  My plan was to only have ONE plate of food (no seconds), and only one slice of pumpkin pie (without whipped cream).  I was successful as I only gained 1lb over the weekend and by the time I weighed in the following Tuesday, I was down 1lb!

So what will be different this year?  Two things.  First, only Ryan will be home with Christi and me during Thanksgiving this year.  My oldest daughter Suzanne will likely be celebrating with her boyfriend's family this year; and my middle daughter Laura is in San Diego this fall and will be celebrating Thanksgiving with her mother out there.  This is the first Thanksgiving where our family will not be together.  Yet another sign that times, they are a-changin!

The second thing is that I am spending a lot of time this week on my feet, doing my training runs and participating in two races.  And in addition to that, doing several strength training sessions at LifeTime Fitness.  If someone had told me last year that the following year, I would be focusing on physical activity rather than my stomach on Thanksgiving Week, I would have been very skeptical (perhaps rolling on the floor laughing).

I started my week with a Long Run early Sunday morning with my friend Mike Rice.  It was a bit chilly and dark at 6AM on Sunday morning as we met by the path we were going to run.  My training schedule called for a 10-Mile run at a steady, slow pace.  I planned on running at a 11:00/mm pace to keep my heart rate in Zones 1-2 (between 142-160bpm).  This is the best level for training the body to draw upon fat stores for fuel rather than glycogen (sugar).  It is also great for toning the heart muscle for endurance running.

So Mike and I hit the path while we proceeded to catch each other up on all the goings-on in our lives since the Hot Chocolate 15K race.  I was glad I brought my headlamp, because we needed it for the first 2 miles.   It was really awesome spending time with someone on a long run.  The run just flew by as we talked, laughed, and enjoyed the scenery of the run/bike path.

At Mile 5, we took a water and GU Energy break, and then turned around to head back.  The run was really smooth and comfortable -- the legs and body were in the groove that day.  By the time we got back to our starting point, we had already gone over 10 miles.  So we took a cool down 'walk around the block' twice before getting back to the cars, bringing our total mileage to 11 miles for the run. That is the longest run I have completed so far! Nice!

Then we had our only bad luck of the day -- Mike's car had a flat tire!  So I drove him home to get his air compressor, and then headed to my Weight Watchers weigh-in, where I stayed the same weight as last week.  That is a good thing in my book!  :)

On Monday, I went to my TEAM Fitness strength training class where the trainer, Mike, really kicked it up a notch.  We did core work, lots of step-ups with hand weights (bicep curls and shoulder presses), planks, push-ups, supermans, "V" crunches, and various striders.  The legs complained but they made it through.  Man, was I beat after all that!

Today, I did my interval training (in a light drizzle).  Two sets in 56 minutes, where each set was a 1/2 mile fast run (between 9:00-10:00/mm pace) followed by a 5-minute recovery run.  I ran a 5-minute easy run after each set.  Including my warm-up and cool-down time, I put in 4.90 miles this morning.  The legs felt pretty good considering my 11 Miler on Sunday and the Cross Training on Monday.

Tomorrow will be another TEAM Fitness workout.  And then I get to run the first of two 5K races on Thursday -- the North Shore Turkey Trot.  I am going to shoot for a sub-30 minute finish, which would be a new PR for me (and a goal I want to reach before the end of 2011).  I think I can do it this time (I missed it in October by 44 seconds)!

Saturday morning, I run the Schaumburg Turkey Trot 5K race.  This will be my second chance at finishing with a sub-30 minute 5K time.  But if I accomplish that on Thursday, then I will just run this one at an easy pace rather than my race pace.  I don't want to injure myself so close to the Half Marathon!

So this Thanksgiving Week will be memorable in many ways this year:

1) I will celebrate the blessing of family and give thanks
2) I will eat sensibly.
3) I will have run a total of 22 miles for the week!
4) I will run two 5K races and hopefully celebrate a sub-30 minute finish
5) I will miss having Suzanne and Laura at the dinner table :(

So I guess my new lifestyle has redefined Thanksgiving Week to include running as well as feasting.  Who knew?

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