Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Rambles

I've collected a lot of thoughts recently. You've been warned, here is my hodge podge of brain lately:

Today starts the beginning of the Holiday season. And whether you like it or not, Mr. Gobbles is ready to be eaten and in 1 short month, Santa will be finding his way down your chimney. There are so many ways to approach the Holiday Season. Some dread the financial aspect of the holidays. Others do not enjoy fighting holiday crowds. I've met a few that actually do not enjoy all of the food associated with the holidays.. Odd, I can't imagine this. Others simply can not handle the consistency of overly cheerful holiday commercials that seem to be on repeat during the next 30 days. Me? I practically turn into Buddy the Elf. I will waste more gas in the winter just so that I can drive around town and look at the Christmas lights. I spend all of my spare moments thinking of the perfect gift for everyone on my list. I will cook and bake for days (another small passion of mine) if it means that I get to be around the ones I love during my favorite time of year. 

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being able to close out the 2015 racing season with a 10k Turkey Trot in Lincolnwood with some of my dear friends. We got up on Sunday morning and braved the 15 degree temps and trotted with the best of 'em. I made my way across the finish line with a 1 minute PR, taking 4th in my age group. Afterwards, we splurged on some amazing brunch at Over Easy Cafe. Highly recommended if you're in the brunch market. A weekend of good laughs, great company, and my final race of the season! 

Post Turkey Trot 
Pre Brunch 

Definitely a win in my book

On Tuesday this week I was out for a run. As I'm moving along, I saw a women sitting at an intersection, halfway hanging out of her car waving her arms at me. With each step I begin to recognize the crazy lady as my high school track coach. I immediately jump mid-stride and start flailing my arms. I dashed to her car and hugged her. We smiled and promised to catch up soon. Our embrace was short but beyond meaningful. We can dive into details later, just know that she is one of the biggest running influences in my life. And for that I am forever grateful. Our short rendezvous during the week of Thanksgiving reminds me of just how lucky I am to have the great influences in my life that I do. 

This morning I woke up and made my way to the nearest Turkey Trot in town. A friend of mine asked if I would run with his 10 year old son since it's only his 2nd race. Of course I agreed. This specific Trot is one of my favorites because it is: 1. On Thanksgiving morning, 2. Only requires that you bring a donation to the local food pantry as your entry fee, 3. No swag, JUST RUN. We get so wrapped up in the gear and "stuff" that these events offer that we forget to just run. And that's why I love this race, all you do is RUN. 

Anthony did AWESOME! 

Anthony's race included a wipe out on the messy trails so I was happy that he mustered up a smile for me at the end :)

Thanksgiving this year isn't exactly the norm. Today, I'm headed out to feast with my other half and his family. A dinner with his immediate family usually consists of about 35 people. He's 1 of 10 kids and we often end up eating at the kids table. No complaints here. They think I'm the coolest of the big kids :)

Rob and I around Thanksgiving last year
Josiee must make an appearance in all photos :)

While I'm out feasting, my Omaha cheering section will be driving out to the Chicagoland area. It's not often that we get to spend time together, so these rare moments are cherished. They'll arrive mid-afternoon and hang out with my parents and tomorrow Rob and I will join the crew for our own feast of all things turkey and dressing. Gram will be here with us for dinner, but solo this year. This will be our first Thanksgiving without Gramps and it definitely won't be the same. 

Gram and Josiee are ready for YumYumz

These crazy kids are Chicago-bound as we speak!

Moms and pops - only moments ago, awaiting the Omaha crew!

Some of you might be thinking.. WHERE IS MARK!? Don't worry, he's not lost. Or he might be, we don't know for sure. Mark is enjoying Mr. Gobbles in San Francisco this year with one of his baseball friends, Will. Will has lived with our family in past summers while he played baseball in the Chicagoland area. He is an amazing young man and fits into our family like a glove. I love that I can call him a brother. And on Saturday, Mark will stand next to Will's side while he marries the woman of his dreams. So, we let the Munro/Beach family borrow Mark for one of our favorite holidays so that he can create some amazing memories with lifelong friends. 

Mark and the beautiful bride!
**Not to be confused as 'his' bride. Mark doesn't have a bride**

Will's "I'm about to marry Lisa and I'm uber excited!" face!

There are so many things I'm grateful for this holiday season. I could bore you with a long list. But it all comes down to the basics. 

1. My health is present and allows me to chase my deepest passion.
2. I wake up every day and am able to go to a job that allows me to live a life I'm very proud of.
3. The relationships I have formed and worked to sustain with my closest family and friends have shaped me into the person I am today.

These are the things I find myself most grateful for. I hope you can all sit down and truly count your blessings today. Me? I'm starting my diet today.

Gobble Gobble.

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