Thanksgiving Rewind 2017

November 23, 2017

I had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and I hope you did too! My day began with a great workout – the Louisville (Colorado) 5k Turkey Trot. It was my fifth time doing this race, and my sister Sarah, 9-year-old niece Allison, and friend Lauren joined in too.

The changed the route this year, so there was Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Thankful For My Insanity (Thanksgiving 2015)

November 27, 2015

A couple weeks ago, I shared my Thanksgiving pledge – 4 simple rules that I follow as a way to get through this food-based holiday without gorging myself. I’m happy to share: they worked!

One of the rules was to exercise on Thanksgiving. So I did the Louisville Turkey Trot in Colorado (where I was spending turkey day at my sister’s place). It’s a 5k run. I’ve done 5k runs before – including the Louisville Turkey Trot twice before – but NEVER in 23 degree weather, while it was snowing!


I’m glad that Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving 2014

November 28, 2014

I hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey Day! Mine was spent in Colorado with family, and it was great. And my pledge, that set rules so I could enjoy the day without gratuitous overeating, was a complete success. I actually did more, pledge-wise, than I was planning, because I photographed everything I ate all day, instead of just the big meal. Below are the four rules of the pledge, and how they worked on Thanksgiving Day. Read the rest of this entry »

5K Turkey Trot!

November 26, 2011

On Thanksgiving morning, I ran in the Louisville Colorado Turkey Trot 5K. It was my second race ever (after the 10K I ran at Universal Studios two weekends ago), and my first 5K. It wasn’t, however, my first Turkey Trot…

I used to run in Turkey Trot races each and every year in elementary school, and I hated it. With a passion. They were mandatory school-wide events on the last day before Thanksgiving break, organized by our gym teacher. Each grade competed amongst themselves, with prizes going to the fastest boy and fastest girl in each grade. In first grade, we ran one lap around the playground and baseball diamond (either 1/4 mile or 1/5 mile, I can’t remember), and each year, a lap was added, so by the time we hit 5th grade, were were running a full mile.

Here I am in 1988, nine years old – so probably 4th grade?

I was the chubby kid in my class, and I couldn’t run to save my life, so the Turkey Trot was dreadful. We would train during the month of November by running around the playground during gym class, and I remember praying for it to be over. The only gym class activity I hated more was climbing the rope, because that was a public display of my complete lack of physical abilities, with the rest of my class sitting in a circle, watching me not able to even hoist myself one foot off the ground. At least with running, less people noticed how slow I was, and how much panting was needed for me to move, because they were all running in front of me – figures getting smaller and smaller in the distance as the gap between me and nearly everyone else increased.

I do have good elementary school gym class memories, too – mainly ones involving games with a giant parachute, and the days when we played Pac-Man, a live-action version of the video game, set to what was, at the time, one of my favorite songs: Buckner & Garcia’s (no relation) “Pac-Man Fever.”

I digress. On the day of the Walnut Lake Elementary School Turkey Trot, I would always oscillate between feeling nervous and feeling terrified, with both feelings stemming from knowing that my finish would be downright embarrassing. I don’t recall actually being teased for being fat or slow, but I was mortified that it would happen. When I was in fourth and fifth grade, I used to hope that the fast kids would lap me early on, so the teachers and parent volunteers would lose track of how many laps I had run, and maybe, just maybe, I could squeak by running one less lap than I was supposed to.

Thankfully, the fast kids earned most of the attention after the Turkey Trot, as they should have, and in my grade, the Turkey Trot was dominated, year after year, by the same kids. My friend Bryce won every year for the boys, and my friend Ashlee won every year (except one) for the girls. The best part was their prize: every winner went home with a frozen turkey donated by the little independent grocery story across the street. I talked with my friend Sean (who was my next door neighbor and friend since we were in diapers) and he made a valid point: While a frozen turkey may be helpful for the winner’s family come Thanksgiving Day, couldn’t they have come up with a better prize to encourage 6-10 year olds? Why should an 8-year-old care about a frozen turkey?

Fast-forward more than 2 decades. I’m now 32 years old, and I actually enjoy running (sometimes). It’s been a stellar fall for my running career – At the beginning of October, I reached my own personal goal of running nonstop past all the strip clubs in my neighborhood, and two weeks ago I ran in my first sanctioned race, the 10K through the movie studio backlots. Both of those runs were over 6 miles, so when my sister Sarah asked if I wanted to run in her local Turkey Trot 5K when I came to visit for Thanksgiving, I said sure! 5K? Easy-peasy.

Because the Turkey Trot was happening about a mile from Sarah’s house, in a neighborhood without tons of parking, we decided to ride bikes down to the starting line. There were about 600 runners there, and we arrived nice and early, leaving lots of stretching time, and lots of chit-chat with a few of Sarah’s friends that were also running that morning. Here’s Sarah and I pre-race:

We claimed a spot in the crowd near the front of the pack – here’s everyone awaiting the starter pistol:

The course started on some residential streets, and then entered a big park, where the course narrowed from a full street to a narrow path. It was a beautiful park – lots of open space, and a trail that dodged and weaved alongside a creek, with the Rocky Mountains looming in the distance. At the halfway point, we turned around, and ran back along the same route to the finish line.

The weather was perfect, and despite not having run since the 10K two weeks ago (thanks, in part, to being sick for the past week), my running felt strong. The best part of the race was running it with Sarah. She’s so funny, smart and supportive, and it was really wonderful to be able to do something physical like this with her – the first non-swimming physical activity we’ve done together since… well, I don’t know when.

The worst part about the race was that it was crowded. We were on a narrow path for most of the run, and the path was divided down the center, to accommodate runners going in both directions, so passing other runners was very difficult. Sarah and I, as it turns out, are pretty well-matched in regards to our pace, and we stayed within a few yards of each other for most of the race, until I broke out in the lead at the very end.

Here we are a few minutes after completing the 5K:

Which brings me to…

David’s Official Results From the 1st Annual Louisville Turkey Trot 5K, 11/24/11:

  • Total Time: 26:57
  • Pace (my average time for each kilometer): 5.23
  • Pace (my average time for each mile): 8:39
  • Place: 147th out of 593 runners/walkers.
  • Place in my Age Group (Men 30-39): 40th out of 101 runners/walkers.
  • Number of other runners with the last name Garcia in the 5K, all of whom are unrelated to me: 3 (Sarah’s no longer a Garcia – her married name is Van Houten).

Some thoughts:

  • I’m getting faster! When I compare these results to my 10K results, my per-mile-pace dropped drastically, from 9:32 to 8:39. I know it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison, since I paced myself differently for the 10K, and the 10K was on a much hillier course, but I’m still proud.
  • I finished in the top quarter of all the participants!

Keep it up, David!

MY NEXT POST: How I fared during Thanksgiving dinner.

10K Follow-Up AND My Next Race!

November 15, 2011

It’s Monday evening as I write this and my legs are still sore from Sunday’s 10K race. I love feeling sore – it means I did something right – and I’m still on a high from the race, so I don’t mind being reminded of it with literally every step.

The soreness didn’t stop me from hitting the gym – I’m not exactly sure what laurels are (some sort of tree/leaf?) but I’ll be damned if I’m going to rest on them. There was 5 minutes of warming-up on the treadmill, then a half-hour of weightlifting (emphasis on upper body, because I didn’t want my legs to collapse under me). I would have gone another 10 minutes on a few other machines, but I bonked my head nice and hard on a pull-down bar, cursed a little, got annoyed, and decided to move on. So I finished with 17  strong, but not excruciating minutes on a stationary bike while I flipped through an issue of Time magazine that had a great article on the new Muppets Movie, which I can’t wait to see.

There’s some follow-up information on the 10K that I’m excited to share. We all ran with microchips attached to our shoes, and today, the data from those chips were uploaded to the internet, so I have my official race results. And it’s one of the reasons I’m still on this high.  So, without further ado:

David’s Official Results From the weSPARK 3rd Annual 10K Run & 5K Run/Walk, 11/13/11:

  • Total Time: 59:06.5
  • First 5K: 28.29
  • Second 5K: 30:36
  • Pace (my average time for each mile): 9:32
  • Place: 129th out of 432 runners.
  • Place in my Age Group (Men 30-34): 18th out of 28 runners.
  • Number of other runners with the last name Garcia in the 5K and 10K races, all of whom are unrelated to me: 8.

Two thoughts:

  1. My pace only slowed by about two minutes between the first lap and the second, which I’m very proud of. The second lap seemed, at the time, to go much slower for me, because I was tired and the runners were more spread out, but I kept up my pace pretty well!
  2. 129th out of 432 runners? HOLY CRAP, I finished in the top third!


I was also hoping to share more pictures on today’s post. The race organizers peppered the course with photographers who were snapping away with their high-powered zoom lenses like paparazzi, and the pictures were supposed to be uploaded today, but it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know if they got any good ones of me (thankfully there were no photographers around during my ugly cry at kilometer 6), but my fingers are crossed for a decent action shot or two. Stay tuned.

One of the questions that’s been tossed my way a ton of times in person, in blog comments, in tweets and in Facebook posts has been: “What are you going to do next? You should do a half-marathon!” or “You should do a marathon!” My answer has been some variation on “I don’t know yet. I’ve been busy focusing on this 10K.” Time to come clean – that’s a lie. 

I do know what race I’m doing next, and it’s coming up quickly. I’m going to my sister Sarah’s place in Colorado next week for Thanksgiving, as I’ve done for the past 7 or 8 years, and last week, Sarah signed me, herself, and our other sister Laura up for a race: the Louisville, Colorado Turkey Trot 5K.

It’s the morning of Thanksgiving Day, and it’s pretty close to Sarah’s house. I don’t know the route (yet), but it shouldn’t be nearly as hilly as the Universal Studios route, as, generally speaking, that part of the world is pretty flat. I’m looking forward to running it with family, and having a good workout on Thanksgiving is a great idea. I hope all of you find a way to move before tucking into the turkey!

As for longer races, whether they’re half-marathons or full marathons… well, I don’t know what my next running goal will be. Even with a successful 10K under my belt, the thought of running more than twice that distance seems terribly daunting, and that’s just a half-marathon! A race like that would require some very dedicated training, and right now, I can’t commit to running more than once or twice a week (even that can seem excessive sometimes), because variety in exercise plays a huge role is helping me not get bored or lazy.

I’m not going to flat-out say I’ll never run a longer race, but at the moment, I’m not actively searching for my next challenge. I’ll keep my eye on upcoming races, and I’ll keep an open mind, and we’ll see what happens.

Keep it up, David!