Fort Mill Times

Column: Shaping up for Thanksgiving

My house is about to be inundated with almost 30 people for the Thanksgiving holiday. You might think that would kill a man. In my case, it might just save my life.

All, right, I might be just a tad melodramatic here, but I’ve been in a prolonged state of inertia. My once finely chiseled body has turned to mush. Now, this transformation is like a fine scotch as it has taken a quarter century of declining fitness levels to reach this point, but here I stand, the best a blob can, I guess.

Blobs sort of just expand without support. But my support has come via my sister, though unbeknownst to her. She’s seven years younger but 20 years more fit than I am and she’s taking a novel approach to Thanksgiving morning.

Here’s what I do: roll out of bed at some reasonably late hour, read the newspaper while a bunch of minions are prepping food for the afternoon feast, check on the smoker where the turkey’s been cooking low and slow since the night before, then shower, maybe shave and start my day by lounging around watching the Macy’s parade. Her Thanksgiving morning is to get up at the crack of dawn, don athletic clothes and go on a turkey trot.

She’s thrown the gauntlet down! Or is it the ladle?

Even blobs have pride, so I’m not going to literally roll out of the bed into the road and run. That would result in me panting like a dog on a 100 degree day and transported to the nearest medical facility for IV fluids while the rest of the family is tearing into turkey.

My kids are participating, too. I have had a month to prep. I thought about going the old school Rocky Balboa route and starting my day off guzzling down six raw eggs, but with salmonella and the high cholesterol of yolks breathing down my neck, I can’t waste precious days sidelined with food poisoning or suffering a heart attack. I’ve had to just suck it up and sweat and toil my way to the point where I’ll be able to trot without being a complete embarrassment.

By the time Thanksgiving Day arrives, my expectations are reasonable. While I’ll probably still be on the lookout to take a Rosie Ruiz shortcut so that I magically appear at the finish line, I’m aiming for mediocrity. I’ve spent nearly 50 years of life not being mistaken for a gazelle, and I fully expect that to continue. I’m just in it to spend time with family and get some much needed cardio.

I give thanks I’m able to get back in shape while I still can and that the blob hasn’t taken over to the point that I’m dead or worse yet, Jillian Michaels is screaming in my ear. Plus, when I fall asleep during dinner from exhaustion, I’m going to blame it on the tryptophan.