scene: midnight in a mediocre-to-cheesy chain restaurant a few nights prior to Thanksgiving, sitting beside my brother and across from friends, discussing the probability of their willingness to attempt running the Troy Turkey Trot with me on Thanksgiving morning. i’ve registered for the 10K but attempt to finagle them into running the 5, fast-talking them into it with assurances that it will be an incredibly fun way to start off such a thanks-riddled, food-laden afternoon.

“i’ll run it,” my brother concedes, “but not because i want to. i’m only doing it because it’s a community event.”

i bite my tongue against sentiments such as, “i’m sure the comet-chasing community felt the same way about KoolAid” and smile, glad to be sharing the pavement pounding and thankful morning with part of my actual heart community and not just the other 7,000+ strangers and not-so-strangers thronging the streets of Troy beside me. how i’ve been looking forward to this day, still remembering the thrill of participating in the riverside run the year prior, with a bum hip and a friend who wouldn’t let me disappoint myself by stopping. a year has gone by since my first 10K (and first registered race) and this season, i’ve more than enough to be thankful for — starting with the joke-cracking only sibling of mine sitting beside me, who has lately become even more of a best friend than he’s ever been before.

our conversation switches to the intricacies of words (English and non) and soon, this highly intellectual, unforgetable conversation between my brother and i ensues:

“that hangy thing beneath the turkey’s chin — you know what i mean — it’s called the gobble, right?” – me
Ryan looks at me, half bemused, half “that seriously didn’t just come out of your mouth,” and says,
“the gobble? as in, the sound that a cartoon turkey makes? no, it definitely isn’t called the gobble. i think it’s a gizzard.” -Ry
“no, i’m pretty sure it’s a gobble. a gizzard is like the turkey’s insides or something.” – me
“well, whatever. it’s not a gobble.”

neither of us were right. as it turns out, the turkey’s hangy thing is actually called a “wattle.” if you ask me, that sounds like something a penguin should have instead: wattle=waddle=penguin. waddle waddle. turkey=gobble gobble.

but back to the Turkey Trot…a better day couldn’t have been pre-ordered, and Thanksgiving morning brought sunny skies and the potential of a climb toward 60 degrees. i slept far less than i’d have liked and then overslept my alarm, arriving juuuust on time to start the 5K. running with a group of friends really makes any race worthwhile, and i didn’t even mind sacrificing my initial 10K plans for a shorter group run instead. i was thankful for the warm day (nearly uncanny for the end of November!) and the throbbing pulse of smiling excitement radiating off the thousands of heads bobbing alongside me in the street. three miles have never seemed such a lovely distance to cover…

so i stuck to my turkey-day plans, disciplining my sneakered-self into tackling the the 10K as well, this time with an iPod rather than an entourage and a silent prayer that i wasn’t overdoing myself in thinking i should take on 9.3 miles. and the whole way through my second race, when i wasn’t thinking of how much pumpkin pie i could allow myself to eat now that i’d run my morning into the ground or how i probably could have taken at least a couple minutes off my time if i hadn’t run the prior race (although i was SO glad i did), i counted my blessings and made a mental list of everything for which i’m thankful.

and when a friend came to find me on the last leg of my race and hopped in to help me finish strong, i had yet another nugget to add to my list. family…friends…health…stability…my very life, and how i love it so…

in a world where nobody knows what drops of happiness might befall them amidst the pressures and storms of all that is life, i can honestly say, my cup runneth over.

i’m among the very blessed.