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Thanksgiving: A time to run, a time to feast

I don’t think I’m ever going to eat again ... this being a week after Thanksgiving.

My husband and I spent Thanksgiving with a group of dear friends. In the absence of family members who could not be present, our friends filled the day with warmth of friendship, the glow of delicious food and comfort of fellowship.

On Thanksgiving morning, over 100 people (now, if we counted babies in strollers and dogs on leashes, we had close to 125) started the day off on the right foot at the Turkey Trot. Before the big games, the big meal, Macy’s Parade and the pie(s), these folks got in a little exercise with their neighbors. The Turkey Trot’s popularity lies with the timing and the race format; an event the whole family can enjoy and then continue to share the exercise glow over the food-laden table.

That our local Turkey Trot is a popular event is easy to understand. Turkey Trots take place all over the country, in towns big and small. Some raise funds through event registration fees and sponsorships for organizations and charities; others bring in big money by having registrants collect pledges — in the format of American Cancer Society Relay for Life, for example — which is then turned over to charities. Others use the event to collect a mountain of food for food banks by having participants bring nonperishable and canned edibles. I guess you can say they run so others can eat. An example of one such format is the Dana Point Turkey Trot in California. With more than 10,000 participants, the Food Bank of Orange County receives plenty.

Incidentally, the Dana Point Turkey Trot (California) is touted as the most scenic Turkey Trot — a run on the beach, past majestic coves and cliffs. Your heartbeat is matched by that of the pounding surf. Our own “Trot,” however, is no slouch when it comes to scenery. The San Juan Mountains were gloriously dusted with fresh powder on Thanksgiving morning, and that is a sight to behold. Maybe we should push for being the most scenic Turkey Trot.

Thanksgiving is a traditional celebration. That same mindset has now extended through generations of Turkey Trot participants who traditionally celebrate the holiday by Turkey Trotting with grandparents, relatives, friends and their young children ... who we look forward to seeing with their own families in the years ahead.

The excitement at this year’s Turkey Trot was over the two-mile walk course, which got mistakenly re-routed at the last minute by the lead pack of walkers. To those who walked — your longer walk and your uncomplaining reaction truly reflect your willingness to go the extra mile (even in the cold, cold temperatures). Good going!

Most Turkey Trot historians agree that the Turkey Trot was invented in San Francisco around 1909. Some have reported that it came from Central America. Who really knows and who cares?

Our own Turkey Trot started 12 years ago by the Friends of the Library to benefit our library. After several years, the event was taken over by the Pagosa Lakes Swim Team, which now shares it with the high school cross country team. From its humble beginnings, it has grown into the undisputed way to begin Thanksgiving Day for locals, as well as those who travel to share in the event.

My Thanksgiving dinner was shared with three of the five top finishers — Jurgen Montgomery and Brianne and Peter Marshall. (Individual race times are published in this newspaper in an article by race organizer, Joanne Irons.) They weren’t even a bit tired from the morning’s run. But, they certainly were great dinner companions. Oh, on second thought, I think I’m going to have to eat again as we’ll all be celebrating John Barry’s triumphant finish of his first Ironman triathlon in Tempe, Ariz. You know what’s extra good about hanging out with people who are active? You can eat as much as they do and not feel gluttonous.

Ice conditions

The recent cold temperatures have resulted in a thin layer of ice forming on area lakes.

Early season ice conditions are unstable and unsafe at this time.

While there may appear to be a solid layer of ice in some areas of the lakes, a few feet away ice could be dangerously thin due to currents or thermals.

Please help us keep an eye out on the lakes and if you see anything that looks like it may be unsafe, unattended children for example, notify someone of the situation. You can call the association offices, 731-5635, or the non-emergency sheriff’s dispatch number, 264-2131. Obviously, in an emergency, call 911 immediately.

Do not attempt to make an ice rescue yourself, as more often than not this leads to two people in the water instead of one. The Pagosa Fire Protection District is equipped with the latest cold water rescue gear and equipment; they train regularly in cold water rescue techniques and can respond in minutes.

Let’s all be safe this winter; it won’t be long before ice conditions stabilize. If you plan on an ice fishing excursion in the next few weeks, drill test holes close to the shoreline in shallow water to check ice conditions and make sure there is at least six inches of solid, clear ice before venturing out to deeper waters.

For those of you who have the strong need to get that fishing in now, there are some open water aerator openings near the dams and floating fishing docks at Lake Pagosa, Village Lake and Lake Forest. Additionally, at Hatcher Lake, there is some open water at the floating fishing dock on the west side of the lake, accessible from Hatcher Circle.