“Thanksgiving must be hell for vegans!” I hear this all the time. To which I coyly reply: ah no, contrare, you are sorely mistaken! In actuality, Thanksgiving happens to be extremely plant-powered—most people just don’t realize it.
Now, I know what you’re thinking—but even so, how could a vegan possibly enjoy a day centered around carving up a poor, helpless hunk of poultry? Again, my rebuttal: everyone knows Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes anyway. Come on, be honest. It’s all about that green bean casserole, those marshmallowed sweet potatoes, and roasted root vegetables galore. Heck, even the carnivorous in my family freely admit that the turkey is just a vehicle for gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. I used to be an omnivore and an avid white meat eater—I know the truth.
Thankfully, all of these side dishes can easily be made without animal products, and without losing a hint of flavor. I’m even more thankful for my kickass mom who, per usual, did most of the Thanksgiving cooking and performed a secret vegan guerrilla attack on all of the desserts and side dishes.
This year, Thanksgiving also happened to coincide with my birthday. This only happens once every 4-11 years, but I love when it does. Thanksgiving is the best birthday party ever, and it really makes me feel like I have a ton of friends (next year’s going to be such a downer…).
As it was my 26th birthday, my plan was to run 26 miles. I figured, heck, I have until 3pm, when guests arrive, so this should be easy-peasy. Hah. Yeah. Right. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything over 20 miles—heck, 18 miles, to be honest—so I knew I’d be in for Epsom salts baths the following day. But—YOLO, right?
I headed out around 9:30a and ran up the street to a large reservoir that abuts the back of our house…successfully churned out a few miles on the trails there, and then ran out and back down toward our house. At that point, I had ticked off about 8 miles, and stopped briefly to pick up Breezy. I love running with my dog. Her companionship is comforting, and at the same time, something about running with a canine feels more primal. I like to imagine I look something like this:
At the point at which I picked up my four-legged friend, I was feeling great—all I had to do was double the distance I’d just done, plus add a couple more victory miles. The pup and I slogged it down toward the other end of town and back, but around mile 16 Breezy started to limp a bit (side note: she had ACL reconstruction about a year ago, and has some definite weakness in one of her hind legs). Seeing as she is the only thing on the earth that I love more than escaping my life on a run or bike ride, of course she took precedence. We were only about 2 miles from home at that point, so we took our victory miles then. Admittedly, I was starting to hit a wall at that point, and the thought of pumping out ten more miles felt daunting. So, in essence, Breezy saved me from embarrassing myself. Thanks, dog, for always teaching me the important lessons in life.
Me being the stubborn, far-reaching dreamer that I am, I almost immediately cooked up a miraculous plan in my head to bust out a quickie 8 miler later that night after our guests left, so that I could hit my 26-mile quota. Bahahaha. What a terrible idea. No one—not even this frenzied endurance junkie—has any desire to leave the house, let alone the couch, after eating a Thanksgiving feast.
Thus, I have relegated my numerical nerdery to my 26.2nd birthday, which is February 9, 2014. Yes, I will hit the streets of Boston and run a marathon by myself on that day. Luckily it’s a Sunday, so I can lollygag as much as I want. I wonder though—if I actually do complete this goal, can I say I ran a Boston Marathon?