Turkey Turkey

As I had mentioned on Sunday, I started my Thanksgiving dinner preparations a bit earlier in the week, with pumpkin pie.  But, those two pies didn’t exactly last very long around these parts – and certainly not until Thursday.

IMG_4663 IMG_4665

So I ate made two more.

Wednesday afternoon/night brought a flurry of activity related to the Big Day.  Around lunch time Wednesday I prepared the 20 pound Turkey in the brine for it’s 20 hour bath.  And then I and The Girl spent the rest of the day either grocery shopping, cleaning, or cooking.  Each of us individually hit up 5 grocery stores for various things.  Of course, no massive cooking day would be complete without some serious Excel action.

imageThough, the kitchen ended up being a massive game of chess that night, finding spots to move stuff around and still get most of the place settings out there while allowing The Girl enough room to create her creations.

IMG_4714I also setup two spare side tables – one with all the dishware to be used, and another for all the raw non-refrigerated ingredients.  Here’s the food table..

IMG_4706I started cooking and made a wide assortment of things, and the Girl worked on the beginnings of her Turkey Cupcakes (as well as the soup).  I also got the list of recipes and timings all sorted out as well, though without quite the amount of precision as last year.  Last year I had nailed out the exact in/out points for all the dishes into the oven.

IMG_4720IMG_4710IMG_4725Fast forward less than a handful of hours later to Thursday morning, and I find myself at the start line of the Alexandria Turkey Trot.  This is a local 5-mile flat course affair that attracts some fairly fast runners…and Turkey’s.

IMGP8198 IMGP8199 IMGP8201(Some of you may be new to the blog since last year – but that be my Turkey Costume, which I’ve worn now on a few occasions.  And of course, it will be worn every year for Thanksgiving Turkey Trots.)

Anyway, I got to the business of the day – which was helping to pace The Girl.  Though, she ditched me the first quarter of a mile or so and I had to play catch-up, but then we settled into a rather nice mid-6’s pace.  Clearly the ‘Leave no Turkey Behind’ act wasn’t in effect.

IMGP8203Of course, it probably would have been nicer had I followed any normal pre-race methodology – as just going through my little checklist I see the following:

1)    Nutrition Pre-Race: None
2)    Hydration Pre-Race: None
3)    Nutrition During Race: None
4)    Nutrition Post Race: None
5)    Sleep the night before: Very little
6)    Warm-up pre-race: 2×25 seconds
7)    On feet from 12PM-2AM the day prior (cooking, etc…): Check

So…this race turned out to be a bit of a comedy from a well run race standpoint – but then again, that might have been the case no matter what when you’re wearing a turkey costume.

Like last year – everyone loved the costume out on the course, especially the kids.  Lots of fun!

Around the 3.3 mile marker I was challenged to throw-down a bit…so I did.  And it hurt.  See the below – that red line – that’s my HR, note the massive spike at mile 3.3isH?

image (The other massive spike at mile .5ish is just from my HR strap not being wet because I had no warm-up, so i just licked it and the problem went away)

So I threw down…and my HR flew up.  Pretty impressive actually.  The funny thing here really is noting how high my HR was even for the entire race – once again proving how critical the 7 items I noted above are in a good race.  Normally a mid-low 6’s pace would put me in the 160-165bpm category – not the 175-180 category.  And the 192bpm that I hit?  Well I never do that…really ever.  I found the little ‘top paces’ chart on Training Peaks kinda fun.  It shows you your top pace for each chunk of time (1 minute, 5 minute, etc…).

imageMy total time was a 32:03 – which ain’t too bad at all for a Turkey.  Average of 6:22/mile.

Post race I caught up with Lindsay and Carl (a local who also follows the blog). IMGP8207And then I picked up some free chocolate milk.  Woohoo!  (no, not like the drink, but rather as expressing excitement).

IMGP8211And then I drove home to work on the Turkey.  The Girl thought this was entertaining and snapped a few pictures.

IMGP8213Once I got home it was time to swing into gear and get all sorts of cooking done.  Thankfully, though a bunch of friends were coming over – they were also helpers to preparation.

IMG_4730 IMG_4732 IMG_4733 IMG_4735 IMG_4750B

Above is Lindsay and Sonia, they got relegated to the BBQ side burner to do the Jack Daniels Carrots.  Unfortunately at this point all four burners inside the house were taken up – so they got kicked outside onto the deck. Sonia runs the Pacers Fun Runs – which I partake in.  You should too, because that’s where all the cool kids are.

Pat’s working on the Stuffing, while others get down to the business of cleaning and cooking.  Meanwhile, the kitchen looks as though it’s exploded.


Meanwhile, in the midst of all sorts of crazy cooking – The Bird –decides it’s done and out it onto the cutting board it goes.  It would rest a while before finally becoming dinner.


Speaking of Birds – The Girl knocked out some damn impressive turkey cupcakes – one for each guest.


The cupcakes were used as name/place settings on the table. You can see Lindsay’s below.


Though, somehow Lindsay’s head kept on falling off…

IMG_4768B Poor Turkey…

Anyway, soon it was time to eat!


In case your curious – here’s the rundown of the Dinner Menu – well, at least the main/dessert courses anyway:

Main Courses:

Parsley-Root Soup with ‘Truffled’ Chestnuts
Mushrooms Stuffed with Brie
Caramelized Whiskey Carrots
Sweet-Roasted Rosemary Acorn Squash Wedges
Cranberry Quince Compote
Herbed Roast Turkey
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Cornbread Stuffing
Freshly Baked Dinner Rolls
Homemade Turkey Gravy
Roasted Sage Sweet Potatoes

Homemade Pumpkin Pie
Upside down Blueberry Cake with Lemon Sauce
Turkey Cupcakes

So with that, another awesome dinner with friends…and a lot of very very full belly’s.



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  1. dan

    Everything looks great. Your thanks giving alsways looks better than mine…

  2. WOW, 6.22 pace and having fun? that’s bananas, hey I replied that email that you sent me, did you got it?

  3. Yowza! What a meal you two prepared. I should sit in the naughty corner for making my family go and eat Thanksgiving lunch at Luby’s cafeteria.

    Hey, I had to finish my packing and El Esposo was leaving for the Texas A&M vs. UT football game at 3:30 pm. Is that a viable excuse???

  4. What camera do you use? Your pictures are AMAZING!

    Your turkey day looked great. I’ve noticed I get weird heart rate spikes in the first half mile of almost every workout I do. Similar to what you had with your 190+. Today’s run, it got up to 230 – i think that’s got to be machine error. do you get that all the time or was this an anomaly?

    Happy holidays!

  5. i may have to throw this out there…but i do believe you just gave us a Hint about THE GIRL….

    im so jealous of that meal right there

  6. Hi Adam,

    Re: Camera

    Most of the indoor/”pretty” pictures are taken with either a Canon 7D DSLR or Canon XTi DSLR, I almost always use a 50m 1.8 lens when doing food shots. The depth of field is awesome (where it’s sharp and then blurs). And the lens is super cheap at just under a $100 on Amazon. For outdoor/running shots I use an Optio W60 – which is waterproof as well to 15ft, ideal for any triathlete.

    Re: HR jumps. Yup, the jump at the begining is due to no moisture. In the winter when it’s cold and dry I use a HR gel that I got at a local running shop. It helps ensure the HR picks up without issue. Works perfectly. You’ll easily be able to find it at any running shop. Usually a couple bucks for a small container that lasts forever. Above, when you see it normalize, it’s when I licked the strap. I forgot to do that in the begining.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. That’s quite a costume and QUITE a menu! Out of all of those dishes, excluding the bird and the girl’s magnificent dessert creations, what were the crowd favorites?

  8. Looks great! A 6.22 pace for no pre race ritual is not too shabby! How many races is this with the turkey now?

  9. Reading about all the food now is making me crave yet another Thanksgiving meal.

    Rebecca and I were out at the Turkey Trot and spotted The Girl, but somehow missed you and your turkey outfit. Not quite sure how that’s possible given what you were wearing ;)

  10. What an impressive spread!

  11. funny how something so simple can make such a difference in heart rate. i’ll try the heart rate gel or licking method – im sure that will help in that first mile!

    and thanks for the camera tips! will check it out! great job documenting the stuff you post! seeing the visuals makes it very interesting to read your posts!