Thanks-4-Giving

What an excellent week this was.  Thanksgiving has always been my second favorite holiday of the year, behind only Christmas, and let me tell you it did not disappoint.  This was the first Thanksgiving that I didn’t spend with my family.  I spent it with Cassie’s family.  I am thankful that they continually welcome me into their homes with open arms.  Those are some truly wonderful people, and I’m glad I got to experience Thanksgiving with them.  There was much laughter, football, and delicious food to be had.  I think I ate 4-5 plates of food in the few hours I had.  It was all just so good that I was not ashamed of overeating that day.

Anyway, I digress.  I started working off the Thanksgiving meals with a 4 mile run on Friday.  I had planned to run this at 7:30 am, but when my alarm went off at 6:30 am I just said, “No.” and went back to bed.  I ended up running it around noon.  I still had no shame in my decision to start late.  Today (Saturday) was a doosey.  I woke up at 6:30 am to start the day with a scheduled training run of 7 miles at 7:30 am.  This run felt really good.  I ended up having a (sort of) companion for about 1.5 miles.  Neither one of us said a word to each other that entire distance.  We just stayed focused on the trail ahead and the music in our ears (both of us wearing headphones).  He started ahead of me and I eventually caught up because he was gradually slowing down.  When we finally met up, I passed him momentarily before he came up alongside me.  At first, I though he wanted to race so I sped up a little.  I soon realized he only wanted to keep pace with me, maybe to redeem his positive splits.  We parted ways when I hit my halfway point and turned around to go back home.

After finishing my 7 miles, I immediately got into my car and drove the Edgely Clubhouse Fields in Center City (roughly) Philadelphia.  Today was the day of the annual Thanks-4-Giving ultimate hat tournament.  It was a charity event meant to raise money for leukemia research.  The concept of a “hat tournament,” for those who don’t know is that everyone has a certain amount of time in the morning to register to play.  All those names are then thrown into a hat for teams to be chosen at random.  It’s a great way to meet new people in the ultimate community, because you don’t go to these tournaments with just a group of friends.  You literally have no idea who you’ll be playing with until the day’s games start.  We played three games with our random rosters.  My team went 1-2 on the day.  We had a severe case of the dropsies in the first half of our first game, but got it together in the second half as everyone’s hands warmed up.  This was definitely the most memorable game of the day for me, because we came back to lose 13-11 after going down 7-1 at the half.

I had a thought throughout the day’s games that I kind of like cutting a little bit better than handling.  I’ve always been a handler all throughout my high school and college playing, but I feel like there’s less pressure when you’re cutting as opposed to handling.  There’s less thinking involved, too.  As handler you need to worry about things like “Where am I going to go?” “How am I going to shake this defender?” “Who’s open?” “What’s the best throw to use in this situation?” “How will the wind effect my throw?” “Where are all the defenders?”  “What’s the stall count?” “Where’s my dump?”  The list goes on and on.  As a cutter, you really only need to worry about finding the open spaces on the field.  Once you figure that out, all you need to do is run and catch.  Then you can throw a little 2-3 dump pass back to handler, and then repeat the almost thoughtless cycle of running and catching.  Just a thought.  Any ultimate players out there have any input?  I’m definitely more used to handling, but I’m glad I can now add more skills to my repertoire.

Anyway, I think a 7 mile run and 3 games of ultimate has earned me some much-needed R&R.  Until next time…

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