How many miles will it take to burn off Thanksgiving dinner?
Most of my days follow the same routine: I wake up, run, and spend the rest of the day in stretchy pants, making bad jokes and eating whatever I can get my hands on. But on Thanksgiving, that glorious holiday, I get to do all of those things without the judgment of my family, because they’re watching the Macy’s parade, watching football, or drunk.
Still, the holidays can be tricky, especially if you’re the only runner in your family. Though your family likely loves and supports your turkey-trotting behind, your marathon habit might leave them wondering if you hit a few branches on your way down the family tree.
That doesn’t mean your Thanksgiving is doomed! After all, there’s no reason why different opinions on running should interfere with something we can all agree upon: Pie. That stuff is good, y’all.
Make this turkey day your best with The Runner’s Survival Guide to Thanksgiving:
If you’re a guy participating in Movember, as many endurance athletes are, be prepared to answer a lot of questions about your lip scarf. Grandma doesn’t care if you’re doing it to raise awareness of men’s health issues — how is she going to explain that thing in the family photo to her church group?
RELATED: The Dos And Don’ts Of Holiday Eating
To Aunt Sheryl, a half marathon is a marathon. A 10K is also a marathon, as is a 5K, a mile, and a lap around the track at the high school. She once walked three marathons in a week. She was gonna walk a fourth, but her Keds gave her blisters. Do you have that problem in your marathons, too? (Just say yes and make a mental note to give her a running store gift card for Christmas).
Runners tend to be a little out of the loop when it comes to pop culture. Chances are, dinner conversation will be about things they watched on TV while you were out on the trails. If they ask for your opinion, just squint your eyes, nod knowingly, and chuckle: Miley Cyrus, amiright?
I don’t care if Cousin Donny is smug about his Crossfit — it’s no reason for you to let him goad you into a wrestling match on Thanksgiving. That’s just ridiculous. Wait until Christmas, when he’s injured and you can be really smug.
Consider your audience. Does anyone at the table really want to hear about your GI issues while you’re ladling out the gravy?
Great-Aunt Edith is 93. This could be your last Thanksgiving with her. Now is not the time to try to convince her of the virtues of your vegan/gluten-free/Paleo diet. Let the woman enjoy her damn pie.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American consumes 4,500 calories at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Under no circumstance should you announce, post-dinner, how many miles it will take to run that off. It’s too much. TOO MUCH, I SAY!
If your brother drunkenly gloats he could probably beat you in a race if he trained for it, get that statement on video and post it to Facebook immediately. Life-changing things can happen after a few glasses of Two-Buck Chuck and some peer pressure.
No matter how odd, annoying, or offensive you think your relatives might be, remember you’re the one who’s getting up at 5 a.m. tomorrow to gallivant through the snow in tights, blowing snot rockets on yourself. Now go hug Grandma and tell her you’re sorry.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, friends!
About The Author:
Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke