Five Miles of Thanksgiving -- 11/29/02
The Bank of Newport Pie Run 5 Miler -- This is the 17th running of this Thanksgiving morning classic, presented by the Bank of Newport and the Newport Runners Club. In 1985 a few dozen Newport area runners got together for a low key Thanksgiving run. Instead of trophies or other prizes, winners got home baked pies. It is now a more formal race with t-shirts and trophies, but it still features pies. Winners get a pie as well as a trophy (my daughter took second place -- females 14 and under -- in 1995 and took first place in that group the following year, each time collecting a trophy and a pie). All 1500 or so entrants get one of those small individual serving 4 oz. pies.

It was strange going on-line this morning after not having touched a computer since Wednesday afternoon... just imagine, almost 44 hours disconnected from the Internet, no surfing, no journals, no email.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday here; hope yours was equally enjoyable.

My daughter and I did get up early in the morning to run in that five mile race. She went to work an hour early Wednesday night, starting at 10pm instead of 11... and finished early as well, so that she actually got to have an hour or so nap before having to get up for the race. She was a bit sluggish and we left the house a bit later than I had hoped.

Wednesday's snow had given everything a winter wonderland look, snow-covered lawns, snow-covered tree branches, etc. and the temperature was quite brisk. Given our late star in leaving the house, by the time we reached the Newport YMCA we just had time to park, run a couple of blocks to the Y, struggle through the crowd into the gym, locate our names on a list to determine our assigned numbers, go to the pre-registered table to get our pin-on race numbers (and our pies -- see left sidebar), then go to the t-shirt table to get our souvenir t-shirts, fight our way back through the crowds, run back uphill to where we had parked (in my company's parking lot), pin-on our numbers, stow our pies and winter coats in the car, and then dash down to Valley Road in front of the Y for the race start.Earlier in the week I had anticipated that we would be running in temperatures right around the freezing mark, but things had turned a bit colder than that. It was 17 degrees when we left the house (about minus eight for you metric-speaking readers) although by the time we had finished our run the temperature had climbed to a balmy 23 (five below zero centigrade)... I must admit that the run was quite pleasant once we got started, did not really feel cold.

There is a five kilometer walk that is held simultaneously with the five mile run -- our late dash to the start meant that we had to thread our way through about seven million walkers (okay, so I exaggerate a little) but soon caught up with the joggers and runners. The middle mile of the race is on a road that runs along a beach -- most years there is a strong (and chilling) wind coming across Narragansett Bay, but fortunately this year (as with the 1999 race) there was only a light intermitent breeze (else the wind-chill factor would have been truly horrible). We ran together, enjoying each other's company until into the fourth mile of the race when the route went up a hill and I found myself falling behind, but once over the crest of the hill I was able to pick up the pace again, although I was not able to catch up with Jennifer again. She was pleased at being able to run five miles without having done any real training (she's done a few two mile runs and this past weekend we ran three miles together) -- I pointed out to her that there is a big advantage to being twenty years old, plus her supermarket job does keep her in fairly good condition (not to mention the aerobic workout benefits of her Dance Dance Revolution).

We had a great time -- although we used to run together in several races a year when she was younger, I think this is the first race we've been in since she graduated from high school -- and we made plans to run in some future races, definitely plan to try the March Hare Hop (5k race in early March) and we're even thinking that if we actually work at training, we could run the Narragansett Blessing of the Fleet 10 Miler next summer.

When we got home I put a 21 pound turkey in the oven -- Nancy and one of her sisters were already at her church hall where they had two more twenty-plus-pound birds in the ovens there. (Plus, with the aid of additional family members, other food was being prepared -- mashed potatoes, mashed turnips, candied yams, stuffing, gravy, brocolli, corn and peas... oh yeah, and rolls and cranberry sauce and apple sauce and....) [As I'd mentioned a few entries ago, we decided to rent the church hall for the gathering so that Nancy's mom wouldn't have the stress of such a large number of people in her house all day long.] I also made giblet gravy and then gathered up turkey and gravy and son and daughter and we went into town to the family feast. People had been gathered there, munching on veggies and dip, etc. Altogether I think there were thirty-eight of us gathered for Thanksgiving dinner (plus one niece is quite pregnant, but I don't think she's due until the new year).

It was a delicious feast!

The after-dinner clean-up was rapid, with many willing hands setting to washing dishes, packing up leftovers, folding up chairs and tables, sweeping the floor, etc. (I was pleased to see my teenage son, without even being asked, taking off his dress shirt and diving into the dishwashing.)

Then it was off to my mother-in-law's house for dessert. I couldn't even begin to count the number of pies (four or five apple pies, at least three pumpkin pies, etc.) I managed to eat a slice of pumpkin pie and a slice of cherry cheesecake (and a couple of chocolate chip cookies). (By six-thirty I was feeling exhausted and I don't know how my daughter was keeping her eyes open.)

Needless to say, last night was an early night for the entire family.

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