A Thankful Perspective

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday. In today’s blog I’ll share how I completed my training plan while also spending valuable time with family and friends during the Thanksgiving holiday.

As I occasionally reference in my blogs Ultra Endurance Coach and previous professional triathlete, Chris Hauth, he often shares insights on balancing the three legged stool. The three legs consist of training, family & friends and career or other responsibilities. They don’t need to be in constant balance but we should be looking at the three legs from a big picture perspective. At times training may increase and at other times maybe it is our family or other responsibilities that take up more of our time. If we can be thoughtful about this as we plan our schedules it can reduce the stress of managing competing priorities.

I will start this story on Tuesday evening of Thanksgiving week. I finished work and headed to the airport to pick up my girl. Morgan was coming home for the holiday break from Florida Atlantic University (FAU). It was her first flight to/from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa. She came off the tram with her large FAU bag. She was delighted to hand it to me. I was shocked how she was able to maneuver through the airport as it was not light by any means. She said she didn’t want to check the bag as she had treats for me from The Parlour Vegan Bakery (Boca Raton). What a surprise!!! She knew exactly what I get from there. Could be due to the frequency of visits to the bakery when I go to visit her…

Wednesday I woke up early and completed my typical 20 minute run the day prior to a race. Turkey Trot was the next morning. When Morgan woke, we ran an errand and dropped by Karma Juice Bar and Eatery for lunch. We both had Acai Bowls and they were fantastic. Back to the home base we went. Morgan had to complete some homework so this allowed me to go out for my bike ride workout on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. I rarely ride the day before a race but the Turkey Trot was not one of my “A” races and I am increasing my mileage on the bike as I have my first duathlon race in mid-December.

Wednesday evening we made our favorite home Mac & Cheese recipe from Julia Piatt’s cookbook, This Cheese is Nuts! We then got our gear together for the race Thursday morning. We drove separately to the Turkey Trot as I met Coach Celia Dubey to set up our team (Tarpon Total Fitness/RunVie Racing) tent. Temperatures were great (55 degrees) for the race. For a fun race it was fun and productive. It’s always good to test a race day execution plan.

Elia Luti, Morgan, and I started the 5k race together and finished the first mile pretty quickly. The pace was about 10-14 seconds faster than target but we were going downhill for much of the first mile, temperatures felt great, and I was going with how my body felt…experimenting a bit.  We all hung tough through the end. Elia finished his first 5k at 19:06…geez! He’s the male version of Gail Hurn with a PR or amazing time most every race. Not sure what the limits are with this guy but it’s going to be extremely fun to watch. Morgan finished 7th female overall in a very large field and I placed 2nd in the Master’s (40 and over) division. She is getting faster and faster and faster. I can’t wait for the upcoming FAU track season!

After the race we completed a cool down run and I then went to see Brian McManus, Betty Blue, and Michael Rymsza off on the 10k. Brian ran both races (loves the Series!), Betty was closing in on 550 straight days of running a minimum of three miles and she was also using the Turkey Trot as a training run for the Space Coast Marathon that would be three days later. Michael was racing and also training for his second triathlon in mid-December.

Morgan and I cleaned up and met my sister Jamie, nephew Justin, and niece Grace for a Thanksgiving brunch. It was great catching up with them. Grace shared updates for  choosing a college for next year. FAU is in the mix… yay! (I’m not biased…). Morgan and I picked up our Thanksgiving lunch from Whole Foods. They put together a vegan option, Jeremy Fox’s Vegan Dinner for 2, and it was good. We additionally made Vegan Mashed Potatoes via The Minimalist Baker to go with our meal.

At 4:30 we went to Gigglewaters in Safety Harbor. It’s themed after a speak easy and has a movie screening area in the back. You can order a meal or simply watch a movie. We discovered they have plant-based options as well. Being stuffed, we ordered a small appetizer and watched a classic holiday movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Morgan had never seen it before. I may have laughed out loud a bit much but it was so funny!

After the movie we picked up one of Morgan’s best friends and headed to the Tampa Bay Outlets for Black Thursday Night shopping.  I grabbed a few items, of course gear for running and the girls had great luck as well. They had much more endurance shopping in them than I and went hard for four hours while I made it for maybe two hours and headed to the car for a nap until they were done.

Friday morning came around quick. Morgan completed a 10 mile run while I got in a 24 mile bike ride and six mile run. It was a great morning and I was hoping it would continue as we would be attending the UCF football game later in the day at Raymond James Stadium. For lunch on the way to the game Morgan found a restaurant she wanted to try called, The Green Table Restaurant, in Palm Harbor. I had gone previously with The Healthy Giraffe crew earlier in the year when it was called, Consciousness-Blossoms. Our meals were fantastic! They had a large film crew setting up. Morgan overheard them say they were with The Learning Channel to do a segment.

At 4:15 pm the UCF game kicked off. It was great to attend an away game 25 minutes from home. It felt like a home game inside the stadium as the UCF fans showed up and took over the stadium in a 38-10 rout.

Saturday Morgan had brunch with a friend after her run. I ran with The Boys (Elia, Anthony, and Michael) in the morning. Elia invited me to lunch at Lotus Vegan in Pinellas Park. I really needed to complete another bike ride workout but I was wondering how to fit it in. I came up with an idea and it would kill two birds with one stone. So I cycled to Pinellas Park going over the Bayside Bridge for the first time and had lunch with Elia and Eva. I took another route home attempting to find more roads with bike lanes. It was quite limited but I had a nice adventure back and a workout completed.

Morgan and I decorated our Christmas tree while watching one of our favorite Christmas movies, Elf. After we completed that we took a trip to Ozona Pizza where we consumed fabulous garlic knots and pizza.

Then The Boys met at 4:30 am to drive to downtown St. Petersburg for a long run. My run felt incredibly grueling. I was dealing with the impact of a bike fall I had last weekend along with the cycling mileage I put in over the week using a different muscle set. On this day it was more of a mental than physical test. Every run doesn’t feel great but they are all valuable.

After going home and taking care of a few things Morgan and I went back south to The Cider Press Cafe. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. We enjoyed the fabulous weather eating outside.

Later in the afternoon we headed back to the airport for Morgan to return to FAU. Seeing her go is always difficult but in this instance I knew she would be coming back home in a little over two weeks when exams are completed. That made this exit a bit more tolerable. Love my girl!

Thinking back to the three legged stool concept Chris Hauth noted and I believe in completely makes me think I did a pretty good job during this holiday period. Here are a couple of my tips about the three legged stool concept:

  • Think big picture considering when things will ramp up for one of the legs (training, family & friends, career/other)
  • Be OK knowing one of the legs will have a heavier weight than the others from time to time
  • Be flexible – during the week I shared I knew I would complete my rides at some point during a couple day period and flexed to how the days would develop; I also incorporated one of my rides with meeting someone for lunch
  • Anchor around the events that are guaranteed to happen and plan around them; Examples – I knew Turkey Trot was Thursday morning; UCF game was Friday afternoon; Morgan planned a friend outing for Saturday morning
  • Not in this story but I am traveling for work on the upcoming week; Since I won’t be able to ride my bike in Baltimore I prepared all of my bike gear to complete a night ride as soon as I arrive back home.

I am very thankful for the holiday week I had with my family and friends.

– Add Health to Your Life




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