Turkey Trots and more to ease the guilt of a Thanksgiving meal

This year's ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Long Center in downtown Austin. ALBERTO MARTINEZ/American Statesman
This year’s ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Long Center in downtown Austin. ALBERTO MARTINEZ/American Statesman

 

I always kick off Thanksgiving with a run through downtown Austin alongside 20,000 of my fellow turkeys at the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot.

Many runners dress up for the annual Turkey Trot. ALBERTO MARTINEZ/American-Statesman
Many runners dress up for the annual Turkey Trot. ALBERTO MARTINEZ/American-Statesman

The Turkey Trot keeps Thanksgiving from turning into an all-day sloth-fest, and I love to see so people costumed as turkeys, pilgrims, Native Americans and more. Plus, there’s less guilt later in the day, when I sit down to eat.

The starting line for this year’s Turkey Trot is the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 West Riverside Drive. The Stepping Stone School Kids K starts at 8:45 a.m., followed by the timed 5-miler at 9:30 a.m., then the untimed 5-miler and 1-mile walk.

Runners can compete in age group, team, maternity, baby jogger, wheelchair, Longhorn, TCU Horned Frog and fund-raising categories. Entry fee is $25 for the untimed 5-mile run, $30 for the timed 5-mile run, $20 for the 1-mile walk, and $8 for the Kids K. Proceeds benefit Caritas of Austin, which helps Austin residents living in poverty. Register online at http://www.thundercloud.com.

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Live in the northern ‘burbs and don’t want to make the trek to Austin? Head to Pflugerville instead.

Participating in a Turkey Trot eases the guilt of downing a big holiday meal.
Participating in a Turkey Trot eases the guilt of downing a big holiday meal.

The Pflugerville Pfun Run Kids K, 5K and 10K will take place at Lake Pflugerville starting at 8 a.m. Nov. 27. Entry fee is $25 for the Kids K and $40 for the 5K and 10K. Start and finish will be at the North Beach Pavilion.

The event supports local food pantries, and participants are urged to donate canned or dried goods for those in need.

Register at http://www.PfunRun.com.

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Want to skip the run entirely and spend Black Friday at the gym instead?

Gold’s Gym is turning Black Friday into Trim the Fat Friday – opening up all their Austin gyms free to the public. Trainers will be available to offer tips and advice to avoid gaining weight during the holidays.

Participating locations are Austin Downtown at 101 West 6th Street; Austin South Central at 1701 West Ben White Boulevard; Austin Highland at 6001 Middle Fiskville Road; Austin Westlake at 701 South Capital of Texas Highway; Austin Southeast at 801 East William Cannon Drive; Austin South at 4404 West William Cannon Drive; Austin North at 9101 Research Boulevard; Austin Tech Ridge at 235 Canyon Ridge Drive; Austin Bee Caves at 12480 Bee Caves Road, and Austin Anderson Arbor at 13435 U.S. Highway South 183.

IFly hosts World Cup of Indoor Skydiving starting Friday

Athletes will compete for World Cup titles at an indoor skydiving competition in Austin this week.
Athletes will compete for World Cup titles at an indoor skydiving competition in Austin this week.

 

Some of the top skydivers in the world are headed to Austin, and you won’t have to squint your eyes skyward to watch them compete.

IFly Indoor Skydiving, 13265 North Highway 183, will host the first-ever Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Cup of Indoor Skydiving. Teams from Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Mexico, Monaco, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the United States will compete for World Cup titles in team, duo and individual events.

In formation events, athletes will get 35 seconds to perform pre-determined formations, chosen at random by the judges. They’ll be scored based on how many sequences they execute accurately. Artistic events work more like figure skating or gymnastics. The more difficult and perfectly executed the maneuver, the more points it earns.The top three teams with the most points at the end of all rounds get medals.

Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Renaissance Austin Hotel, 9721 Arboretum Boulevard. The competition runs Friday through Sunday, and it’s free to watch. (Viewing area is limited.)

For a complete schedule and live streaming of the event, go here.

Awards and closing ceremonies starting at 4 p.m. Sunday, followed by dinner at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Fans and spectators can buy a banquet ticket for $110 online or at the event.

Registration down for Sunday’s Race for the Cure

Participants run the 2013 Susan G. Komen Austin Race for the Cure. This year's run is Sunday. ERIKA RICH / AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN
Participants run the 2013 Susan G. Komen Austin Race for the Cure. This year’s run is Sunday. ERIKA RICH / AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN

 

For the first time last year, I hopped that giant pink train known as the Susan G. Komen Austin Race for the Cure as it chugged its way through downtown Austin.

I’m heading back this Sunday, because I really hate cancer (my dad recently died of non-smoker’s lung cancer) and I figure I can channel that hate into a good workout. It’s inspiring to see cancer survivors out walking or running. Also, it’s going to be nippy, and that makes me run faster.

I hope you decide to run, too. Numbers are down. As of this morning, only 7,343 people had registered for the event, which includes both a 5K run, either timed or untimed, and a 1-mile family fun walk. Last year about 14,000 people ran. This year’s goal is to raise $1 million locally, but so far only $258,316 has been raised.

If you’re thinking about running, register now. If you sign up before 9 a.m. Wednesday, you’ll get $5 off registration for the Nov. 16 race.

The timed race starts at 7:15 a.m., but if you don’t care about speed, you can register as an untimed runner and begin your run (or walk) anytime between 7:30 and 9 a.m. The start line is located between 17th and 18th streets on Congress Avenue. and there’s a special tent where survivors can enjoy a free breakfast buffet and camaraderie.

To avoid congestion, I plan to ride my bike down. I did that last year, and was able to lock it safely in a parking garage just a few blocks from the start.

Entry fee is $50 for timed adults for either distance; $45 for untimed adults, $40 for timed children and $35 for untimed child. (Prices go up $5 at 10 p.m. Friday). Don’t want to run? You can still participate. Register to “sleep in,” and it’ll set you back $50. Runners are encouraged to raise money, too.

Komen Austin operates as its own 501c3 non-profit organization, and 75 percent of the funds it raises stay in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. The money funds screenings, diagnosis, treatment and care of uninsured individuals. The other 25 percent funds national research.

I made fire – and whittled down my New Year’s Resolution list

I've conquered six of the eight items on this year's New Year's resolution list. PAM LeBLANC/American-Statesman
I’ve conquered six of the eight items on this year’s New Year’s resolution list. PAM LeBLANC/American-Statesman

 

I’m not going to lie. It’s been a rough year.

I lost my father to non-smokers’ lung cancer two weeks ago, and feel like I’ve been run over by a dump truck. Staying active and getting outdoors have become even more important than ever.

Yesterday, I headed to Earth Native Wilderness Survival School near Bastrop, where I checked off one of my 2014 New Year’s resolutions – I made fire using the friction method.

That was the top item on my list, actually. I like the idea of being self sufficient, and fire making seems like a useful skill for someone like me who loves to backpack. Plus, it’ll make good cocktail party fodder, don’t you think?

I’ve conquered six of the eight resolutions I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Besides making fire, I set a personal record in a race (the Big Bend Ultra 25K in January, where I shaved 20 minutes off my time) and swam a 100-yard butterfly set at swim practice.I think I’ve done pretty well with the whole “be a duck” motto, letting unimportant things slide off me like water off a duck’s back. And I’ve continued my “run with scissors” philosophy of trying new things and taking small risks – I stood astride two trotting Belgian horses, gave a Nerd Night talk and ran a trail race up a mountain in Montana.The very last item on my list was “Above all, enjoy life, family and friends. You never know when they’ll be gone.” I have no regrets there. I spent every evening but two of the last six weeks of my dad’s life with him. We had some remarkable conversations, and I got to know my step mom’s family a lot better during that time. I’m grateful for it.I didn’t do so well at two items – more yoga and worry less/relax more. Places to improve!

How have you done with your list?

Test driving a high-tech electric bike

Rocket Electrics had one of eight new Stromer ST2 bikes on hand last week. I checked it out. CHRIS LEBLANC/Contributed
Rocket Electrics had one of eight new Stromer ST2 bikes on hand last week. I checked it out. CHRIS LEBLANC/Contributed

 

I stopped by Rocket Electrics a few days ago to check out a fancy new electric bike called the Stromer ST2.

You may or may not know that my husband converted one of my bikes to an electric bike a few weeks ago. It used to be called the Cheeto, because it’s orange. Now we call it the eCheat-Oh because it gives me a free boost going up hills when I want it.The Stromer’s a Mercedes to my Ford Fiesta – it’s big, heavy and luxurious. It’s also loaded with fancy features, including high-tech sensors that enable the bike to understand what you’re doing and adjust accordingly. You can track it via a desktop computer or smart phone, and even disable it from afar if needed (like if someone steals it.) There’s an onboard USB port and the bike’s performance and diagnostics are stored in the owner’s profile in the cloud.

I’ve noticed more and more e-bikes as I commute to and from work. I’m not the only one who sees the advantages – since I can’t go faster than about 15 mph I’m legal on bike paths, which means I avoid getting stuck in street traffic. I save gas and get a little exercise, too. (More than driving, anyway.)

The Stromer had advantages and disadvantages, though. It felt powerful, like it could gallop up anything in its path. But it was super heavy – about 60 pounds. Which means it would be hard to transport in the back of a pickup truck, which is something I do pretty regularly with the eCheat-Oh. And I’m not sure I’d use all the tech features, like pre-programming it for different routes.

Another disadvantage? It costs about $7,000, which is out of my price range. That compared to the $800 my husband sent converting my bike.

But I can dream, can’t I?