Thanksgiving Break

Man, I love a 5-day weekend.  Of course, no matter how long you're off it's never long enough, but I managed to fit a lot of fun into my Thanksgiving break.

Wednesday: Grocery store (not particularly fun), pie making, and backyard soccer (I lost, 10-6) with Jacob.
I don't usually think he looks like me, but I can see a definite resemblance in this picture.
 Thursday: The 5K Turkey Trot, which we already covered, and family football at my mother-in-law's house.

Our team: me, Jeff, my nephew, Daniel, and my niece
Action shot

Friday: While Jeff did some early Black Friday shopping, slipping in neatly between the midnight and midday crowds, I piggybacked on someone else's group ride.  Mickey and I started early because I wanted to be finished by noon, so we rode a short stretch of singletrack and then headed east on the Katy Trail. Wow, was it cold.  I'd only ridden this section once, during Patrick's Cycle 100+, on a very hot day. Friday, by contrast, was around 25 degrees when we started.  

Summer 2010 vs feels-like-winter 2013
The low point of the Katy Trail is in this stretch, and the picture was a pretty funny contrast with my picture from the high point (taken during my second Katy Trail tour).

We met up with a few of the Momentum guys, and though I had some concerns about keeping up, they were nice enough to ride at a pace I could maintain.  We rode a couple laps through Bangert Island, which was fun, and then headed down the Katy towards Weldon Springs.  One of the guys used to do adventure races, so of course I talked his ear off about those.  

It was almost 11 when we hit the turnoff, so I decided to turn around.  I've ridden the Katy plenty on my own, so I told Mickey he should just stay and finish out the ride with the guys.  When he didn't go along with that plan, I suggested he ride the new-to-him stretch of trail (which I'd ridden during the Graveyard Gravel Grinder back in March) and then catch up to me.  Since he's way faster than I am, I figured he could do that no problem.  

I hadn't figured in the fact that he'd be riding 6 miles out of his way first, though, so I ended up beating him back to the parking lot by about 2 minutes (but hey, I was right that I could ride back on my own just fine and he got in a nice hour of riding fast).  47 miles of riding and a reminder that below freezing temps don't have to keep you off the bike.

After getting back, I made another pie, this one for my mom's Thanksgiving get-together on Saturday, then got ready for dinner.  After being blog friends for what seems like forever, I finally got the chance to meet Kovas and Laima in person.  Mike and I met them in St. Louis at Bailey's Range and had a great time visiting with them and their lovely family.


Saturday: I hadn't been thrilled that my mom planned Thanksgiving on Saturday because it conflicted with my orienteering plans, but she's always understanding if our schedules don't exactly mesh.  I was planning on racing solo at the St. Louis Orienteering Club's 3-hour Turkey-O at Hawn Park.  Navigation is a huge weak spot in my adventure racing arsenal, and while I have no desire to actually be the navigator I'd like to at least be able to give useful input.

Mickey was going to get his first orienteering experience with my Virtus teammate Bob, so we met up in St. Louis and he drove to Hawn.  We (and by "we", I mean "he" because I just showed up when I was told to :D) overestimated how long it would take us to get there, so we showed up an hour before registration started.  Luckily, it was a gorgeous morning and a beautiful place to hang out (and help the organizers carry stuff) while we waited.
The next best thing to training with another blogger is training with a blog reader who understands my obsession with having pictures to put on the blog. 

We got our maps, marked them, and sat at a picnic table looking at them.  Struggling to orient myself on the map I started to consider that maybe this wasn't the race to do solo.  Two years ago I did most of the navigation at the Meramec Turkey-O with Jeff and Jacob, but since Jeff is a surveyor and way better with maps, he can help me out when I get stuck.  Despite my growing sense of navigational doom, I did enjoy getting to say hi to our Alpine Shop friends Jeff and David and my friends Scott and Melissa as well as visiting with the friendly people at our table (which was in high demand since it was in the sun).  By the time the race started, I had decided I'd run the first couple of controls with Bob and Mickey and then go my own way after that.

That fleece jacket got a lot of use this weekend!
Hawn is a gorgeous park, and the weather was fantastic (high 40's? Maybe the 50's? Warm enough that as soon as we started I knew the jacket was a mistake), so we were in for a great day no matter what.

Early in the race
Mickey, whose sole map/compass navigation experience as far as I know consists of reading the book I loaned him last week, was a natural.  So he rides faster than me, runs faster than me, and navigates better than me. Whatever...I can fold a map better.  And give birth.  I'm pretty sure I can at least stay ahead in one of those areas.

CP1 (well, the first CP. I don't think it was actually #1)

 I managed to drop my passport after the first control and figured that was my sign that it was time to strike out on my own after I went back and found it, but instead Mickey ran back for it.  My motivation to go solo by this point was pretty negligible, so I decided I'd just stick with the guys for the rest of the day and practice my navigation some other time.  Like...oh, maybe never.

Creek crossing
We hit the first couple controls with no problem, and then we had to decide where to go next.  Looking at the map, the next closest was #26, a 20-pointer.  Bob mentioned that it looked like it would be tough, but I had this great plan of attack.  Like basically every time I've been navigating, it didn't go so well and we ended up wasting probably 45 minutes (or more) looking for the stupid control.  In our defense, we weren't the only ones who struggled with it, but man that was frustrating.  And costly, since it ate up nearly a third of our time.

We should have cut our losses long before we did, but eventually we had to move on or miss the cut-off.  I was actually wearing a watch and was the one to make the call.  We hiked back out of the Bermuda Triangle; it took a lot longer than it seemed like it should have, but eventually we came to the area where I remembered Bob, an hour or so previously, telling me to pay attention to how it looked because he'd gotten all turned around here last year.  Oh, how right he had been.

With time at a minimum and the trail nice and smooth, we knew we'd better do some running if we wanted to make it back before the cutoff.  Running with a pack, even a relatively light pack, is a whole different experience than regular running, so we put some walk breaks in there too.

Total fake run on my part
We did manage to collect two more controls on our way back, and it was nice to end the meet on a brighter note than our struggled with #26.


We had some climbing up from the two last controls, but that left us with a lovely downhill run to the finish.  Alpine Shop's Jeff Sona flew past us as we ran down the trail and another guy was ahead of us too, but since we could see them on the trail we knew where it went and could cut straight downhill instead of following the switchbacks.  This cut out a chunk of our running time and let me jump onto the trail ahead of Mickey (the only way I'll ever pass him in a run) and was a full-on blast.  We should definitely run more in our races.

All in all, even with the navigational hiccups, it was a great day.  The guys got in some practice, and I got to look at a lot of pretty rocks and do some trail running. Everybody wins.

Sunday: After three straight days of early wake-up calls, I slept in til almost 9, and it felt wonderful.  I'd offered to run with Nathan, who needs to be doing plenty of running in preparation for boot camp, but I missed his pre-work window.  It's too bad, because it was a gorgeous morning, temps in the 40's, perfect for running.  Instead, I went to the grocery store, made 2 cakes for Daniel's 21st (?!?!) birthday, cooked brunch, and cleaned the house.

I did get my run in after the part, just a short 2 miles with Nathan, broken up by a stop at the park for some pull-ups (I managed two).  It was actually a great run, getting to talk with him the whole time. With that boy, it's either conversational feast or famine, so you just have to appreciate the times he's talkative.  I'm thankful for the time together, thankful for the great weekend, and trying hard to be thankful to have a job to go back to tomorrow.  That is, I'm definitely thankful for the's the going back to work part where I'm struggling a little with the thankfulness.

How long til Christmas?


  1. I am WAY behind on your blog (again) and didn't read the turkey trot, so will do that tomorrow on my break :). What an action slammed weekend - but I wouldn't expect you sitting on the coach eating those pies for 5 days, nope. Very fun you got to meet some get your butt out to Colorado so we can grab some beers and have some fun!

    Just a few more weeks, hang in there, SK!

  2. You always have the most crazy fun, busy, active weekends. I, meanwhile, high-five myself for getting the tree up and not forgetting to defrost anything. Such a contrast...

  3. Great to finally meet you! I agree with Gracie, you really fill up your weekends.

  4. Jeff went Black Friday shopping and you went biking???
    You packed a ton into the five days. I was busy but not as actively as you. I did enjoy the runs I had but biking isn't happening. How sad is that!
    Your meet up looks like a ton of fun!

  5. Yes. Giving birth totally counts for something! haha.
    You have been a very busy lady! Always turning up fun wherever you go. And I am impressed with the two pull ups. I don't think I can do that many right now O_o.

  6. Yeah, two pull-ups is huge, actually! And Christmas will be here before you know it!

  7. Your week ends are something of special! The words "rest" and "easy" don't exist in your vocabulary!


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