Studies show that a gratitude practice can help improve your mood and help you feel happier. Even those who don’t practice gratitude regularly tend to count their blessings this time of year. I’ve received several emails on the topic of gratitude this week alone. What am I grateful for? My health, friends, family and (especially after 2 years of pandemic) the ability to spend time together. One Thanksgiving tradition wraps all of those things together and ties it with a bow on top: the Turkey Trot. Perhaps there was one in your neighborhood. I know of three different ones here in Sonoma County and I suspect there were even more. If you are unfamiliar with the Turkey Trot, it is a “race” usually anywhere from 1 mile to 5 miles that takes place over Thanksgiving weekend. Most often it is a 5K (3.1 mile) run on Thursday morning. If you don’t run, you may not think Turkey Trots are for you, but I am here to dispel you of that misconception. Turkey Trots are for everyone!
First of all, I use the term “race” loosely. Very few people try to run a personal best at a Turkey Trot. On the contrary, Turkey Trots are about getting together with friends, family and neighbors and working up an appetite before the big feast. There is no time limit and no pace is too slow. You can walk leisurely the whole way and I guarantee you won’t be alone. My friends and neighbors Kelly and Kei did just that at the Healdsburg Turkey Trot and they were far from last. I know they weren’t last because after Meg & I finished running the course, we walked back along the course in reverse to find them. People bring babies in strollers, kids barely old enough to walk (there were twin cuties wearing matching sparkly tutus), teenagers and even a few grandmas in wheelchairs. Many dogs participated and my little Lucy had a fabulous time. The Turkey Trot started at our usual walk time of 8am, but Lucy seemed concerned that so many people were “joining us” on our morning walk. She ran as fast as she could (which is much faster than my “comfortable” pace) as if to say “Run, Mommy, thousands of people are chasing us!”
Of course, if you want to run you can. A friend of mine finished first in her age in group in the San Francisco Turkey Trot and won a pie! There were similar edible prizes in Healdsburg, but no one I know was in the running for an award (pun intended). We were out there to have fun. I ran into people I haven’t seen in almost two years since the pandemic closed my crossfit gym and people I used to work with. It was so fun to connect with everyone. I am grateful for Turkey Trots because Turkey Trots are an opportunity for the whole family to get to moving, to connect with friends and neighbors in the community, to have fun, and to work up as much or as little of a sweat as you like before sitting down for all that yummy food. If you’ve never been to a Turkey Trot, I highly recommend it. But unfortunately, you’ll have to wait about 362 days for the next one.
In the meantime, don’t forget about that daily gratitude practice, and be sure to check out the 12 Weeks of Christmas Challenge for activities you can do anywhere, in any type of weather, in 60 seconds or less: