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What I Am Thankful For: Of Turkey Trots and My Two Legs

It's Thanksgiving morning, the perfect time for a 5K run and life-improving decisions.

It's Thanksgiving morning, and I'm up early. 

No, I'm not in the kitchen dressing the turkey in preparation for an early afternoon holiday meal.

Actually, I'm in my room dressing myself in preparation for a morning run — it's a bit chilly out this morning so should I pick the baseball cap or the winter hat?

It's an important functional fashion choice. Because today I will be one of the hundreds of people taking part in Branford Rotary Y Run & Walk. (Yes, East Haven will be in the house!)

This morning's 5K run, however, will mean more than just burning a few hundred calories to justify those extra helpings later this afternoon in Astoria Queens, as I enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving meal carefully crafted and cooked by my good friends Sarah and Ben.

No, actually, today's jog in the sun and brisk Long Island Sound air will represent the first official strides along the training path toward participating in my first half-marathon in the spring.

And I'm ready.

I have been a runner for most of my adult life. I love to run: the repetitive, methodical pounding of feet on pavement is, to me, like a meditative mantra. 

I've done some of my best thinking while on a run, and I've also frequently used a run as an necessary refuge to clear my head of any and all thought (if only temporarily).

But two years ago I hit a major road block for my health and my running. I became ill and required major surgery. This lead to weight gain and the inability to, well, run.

Since then, however, I've fully recovered. And although I've lost some of the weight I put on then, much of it still finds a home on these bones. And my running regimen has been on again, off again, then on again and off again. 

But I've had enough of the inconsistency and excuses. 

And so: I'm making a run for it. 

I'm making a run for better health. I'm making a run for charity (I will be a Team in Training participant). I'm making a run for self improvement. I'm making a run (and writing about it) to inspire others to do the same. And I'm making a run for the finish line — just to say I did it. 

This space will be a place for me to share my experiences, as well as for YOU to share YOURS. Are you a runner? Or walker? Or biker? Or elliptical machine-er Or zumba-er? Or weight lifter-er? Or just someone who's on their personal path of self-improvement? Well, this will be a space to get that discussion going and moving forward — let's just do it!

And you know, when I cross today's finish line in Branford, I will have much to be thankful for: family and friends, a career and a job I enjoy, a passion for life and two dogs at home who would appreciate it if I would stop daudling and get back home soon so I can take them out for an extended holiday hike.

But perhaps I'm most thankful for Thanksgiving Turkey Trots and my two feet. Because, afterall, they took me to the finish line of what promises to be the start of something good. 

(By the way, if you read this early enough, it might not be too late to come and join me at the starting line in Branford. I've included the run application in the gallery that accompanies this article. Hey, you never know!)

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