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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Red Bandana: Thanksgiving and the Common Runner: How to Survive Gorging Yourself

Thanksgiving is coming. Before you will be gluttonous amounts of food fit to feed 20 people. Since only 10 of you will be at the table, each of you must eat double portions. This is your duty. God did not give you two hands to only hold one turkey leg. There are two drumsticks. Grab another and get moving. That big bird isn't going to eat itself. Also, before you think this will be a breeze, remember what happened last year when you slacked: Your cousin's girlfriend showed you who was boss of the dinner table.

Be confident. You have trained for this. All that carbo-loading before long races? Uh huh. That's right. All toward today. That second plate of spaghetti? Exactly. It comes down to the big day. Here you are.

Warm up properly before dining. Properly line your stomach with an array of chips (nachos are fine, but only with a warm cheese dip), celery with peanut butter and those funny looking scone things with the toasted sugar on top. Ease into dinnertime.

Why? A bad case of the yummies, that's why. Do not eat on an empty stomach lest you pull a taste muscle. These things happen, and you can be sure emergency rooms will be packed Friday morning with people who were all set to eat breakfast but could not. Their taste buds get overloaded with flavor, and, not ready for all this pleasure, react with what doctors call, "Yummy Issues." The only known cure is leftovers at every meal for at least a week.

Once warmed up, be sure to toss on your running togs, lace up your shoes, and dash to the table with lightning speed. Oh, and wear a bib. You do not want gravy on your shirt. This is a challenging day, and you should be protected in this competitive environment. If your nephew decides that peas really can fly across the table with the help of a spoon, you might find protective glasses useful as well.

After the prayer of thanksgiving, you want to be first one out of the blocks after someone breathes, "Amen." Use your newly enriched cardiovascular system to wolf down mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole. Eat up.

The flexibility you picked up from post-run stretching will help you wiggle through the candlesticks and wine bottles, and past your Great Uncle Louie before he snags the still-steaming fresh-baked rolls. Come on, the guy is 95. Surely now, you can beat him to the bread?

There are benefits to running regularly. One is that you have every right to eat that extra slice of French Silk Pie. Sure, it has a million calories, but you know you will burn it off. Does this mean it is time to abuse your body?

No way. This is where the men and women are separated from the boys and girls when it comes to fitness. On Thanksgiving Day, through New Year's, are parties and holidays of all sorts, every one of which involves opportunities to fall off the fitness wagon.

Though the food will be delicious, and the reason we are celebrating is important, let wisdom prevail if fitness is your goal. Stayed focused on your long-term goals and find yourself in great shape by Easter.

Start the morning by heading out for a run. Call an old friend and go for a long walk. Or, make a plan to hit the Illinois Prairie Path for a few miles on the Friday after. Whatever you do, don't over eat. Gluttony is not only one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but it is not good for your body either. The yummies just are not worth the extra pounds.

Enjoy yourself. Eat well. Be full, be thankful, and remember there are many of our neighbors struggling with making ends meet in this economy. Think about inviting a neighbor over to enjoy your bounty, and the next week as well.

Quick Tips for a Sensible Thanksgiving Meal
1) Stop at one plateful. Sounds crazy, but you can do it.
2) Watch the appetizers. These sneaky snacks can add a few hundred calories before you have even started dinner.
3) Eat slowly. Let your stomach catch on to the idea you are eating.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" by the Ohio Express. A group of studio musicians released this bubblegum favorite in 1968. What it lacks in depth it makes up in fun. Come on now, everybody sing!

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.
I got love in my tummy,
And I feel like a-lovin you
Ooh love, I won't let you go.

Writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. He looks to running as he battles midlife and his mid-section. Find out more:

For more about my running adventures, see A Runner’s Dilemma (workout details, videos and more):

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