Much of what we know about the original Thanksgiving has been lost in time. But we know what really happened. We found the original running logs of some of the first Thanksgiving participants, and we’ve transcribed as best we could the events of that first week. So here is what really happened.
The first Thanksgiving was not focused on the meal. Originally, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag met not to eat, but to race. Seriously. The Turkey Trot came first. The Pilgrims fancied themselves competent distance runners, and when they came upon the locals, whom they noticed ran everywhere and never seemed to go anaerobic, a challenge was made. The first Turkey Trot was only a 3K, which is about 10K in current measurements, mostly due to inflation.
History doesn’t tell us who won, but we believe that immediately after the last runner crossed the timing mat (there were 140 finishers of the 143 runners that morning. It was believed that 3 of the Pilgrims were under 6 and the Kids K hadn’t been invented yet), it was then that the Pilgrims were introduced to the concept of post-run recovery foods. So that the first meal, actually. The centerpiece of the First Thanksgiving was actually the run; and the meal, as we know it today, was really just to aid in recovery. It is unknown what the ratio of carbs to protein was, though historical documents suggest that it went heavy on the proteins. There were no lab studies at the time to have suggested anything else might be of benefit.
After sleeping off the tryptophan, it is said that the first runners all went for a short shake-out walk. Some journals make mention of one of the Indians suggesting to the group that a walk would help flush lactate from the tired muscles, aid in digestion, and bring a range of motion to tight joints without pounding the body too much. Whatever the reason for the walk, it is clear–corroborated by several sources–that the runners came across a small Indian market, selling everything from pretty sea shells, to corn shucking tools, to running shoes. Not having had that many customers all at once before, the shop owners got so excited they marked everything down 10-70%.
And that was, actually, the first Black Friday.
We will commemorate the first Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving and Black Friday with a huge sale on Friday, November 29! Eat your recovery food first!