Since graduating college, I’ve established a holiday tradition of taking long runs or bike rides on Thanksgiving and Christmas. From a practical standpoint, I chose holiday mornings to ply the roads for mile after mile because the traffic was far lighter than on normal days. When I lived in San Francisco, for instance, I cycled up to Muir Woods and back via Highway 1, a narrow thoroughfare I steered clear of on weekends. I also went extra-long on holidays for a reason I suspect a lot of women do—to try to offset the calorie-overload a holiday meal packs.
And, I’ll admit it, I head out to be alone. While I love my parents in Connecticut, my in-laws in New York, and my own little clan here in Portland, I get antsy when I’m around large groups of celebrating people. I love clearing my head and expelling any agita I might be feeling. My run or ride allows me to feel restful, not restless, as I celebrate the day with family.
I know I’m not the only one who likes to do a super-charged workout on holidays—I got two invites from friends to join them on long runs. So on Turkey Day, in a break with solo-gal tradition, I’m meeting up with several of my Hood to Coast teammates for a 10-mile run on a gorgeous trail I rarely take the time to drive to. The plan is for Jack and the kids to drop me off, and then they’ll go on a free-for-all walk on a nearby fireroad. Sure, some moms would choose to amble with their families instead of running, but not me. And I know I’ll be a happier holiday reveler because of it.