Grateful. Joyful. Blessed. .
There is SO much to be thankful for...and not just this time of season, but year-round.
I've written previous Thankful posts (in 2018, in 2017, in 2016, in 2015 and in 2014), and I honestly don't know if I could say it any better. Bear with me, I'm gonna go with (mainly) what's been said before, but tweak some of it to make it more current.
* My family. I am so absolutely in love with my husband and three amazing kids. They don't usually run with me (though the youngest daughter ran her first 20K in 2018, and the hubby joins me at a few races now and then), but they put up with me and my running. They don't complain too much about the running shoes scattered throughout the house or the occasional icky toenail. And, on occasion, they do ask me about my running...without my having to prompt them. It doesn't get much better than that!
*My faith. I'm not gonna get all high and almighty on you, but my faith is my cornerstone. It's my humbleness, my perseverance, and my strength. It's my everything.
*My running friends. I have an abundance of awesome people in my life. I appreciate all their kind words, messages and hugs. Some of them are just as crazy as me, and have been known to run Ultra's overnight, in the heat (and humidity) of summer...complete with lightning, rain, and Christmas lights. Some of them drive (and fly) crazy distances to run marathons with me. Others have hopped on airplanes and met me in Chicago, Las Vegas and Washington, DC. They make me smile and feel warm & fuzzy.
*Maxton McArthur. We adopted Max from a nearby animal shelter almost five years ago. I didn't grow up with a dog, and our family had never had one. I totally didn't get the "dogs aren't pets, they are family" thing. Well, I totally get it now. This adorable little guy has wormed his way into my heart, and everyone else who has met him. He makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, too.
*Freedom to run "my way." I don't have be fast. I don't have to run every day. I don't have to run excessive weekly mileage. And I don't have to love every experience in my running shoes. Most importantly, I don't have to impress anyone other than myself. Running has liberated me like nothing else. It has shown me just how strong my endurance really is, and it has kept me humble on many occasions as well. It's my reality check.
*My virtual running buddies. There are so many wonderful people who have become dear friends, and most of them came to me via this blog and my running page, Running on the Fly. There have been countless messages, well wishes, (virtual) high-5's, and many laughs shared through our computer screens. And, there have been some tears and sniffles, too. I have met some of these fabulous peeps in person, and look forward to meeting many more.
*The racing community. I don't consider myself a competitive racer, but I love the atmosphere on race day. There's something about an entire bunch of strangers, all running towards the same finish line, that makes me feel at-one with all others on the race course . Nothing is better than the final 100 feet of a race...the finish line fanfare is intoxicating.
*The gift of running. Having spent most of my life believing I was not an athlete, I am so humbled (and proud) to call myself not just a runner, or a marathoner, but an Ultra Marathoner! It's never been my intention to impress others with my athletic prowess. Instead, I hope to inspire them to violate their own comfort zones. I now have nine marathons under my belt (two of which are ultras!), 41 half marathons, several 20K's, a few 10-mile races, and countless races of other distances. If I can be an "athlete" (with my less-than-athletic body), anyone else can be one, too.
*The blessing of a successful rally-back. Being side-lined from running for three months in 2017 (following an emergency surgery) was tough. This time last year, I had recently run my first post-rally-back marathon, the Cannonball Marathon (Greensboro, NC). A month ago, I ran a longtime bucket list race, the Marine Corps Marathon...under dreadfully rainy conditions, but I have been smiling ever since. My rally-back has, indeed, come full-circle, and 2019 has rewarded me with my best year of running yet. I'm ever grateful for the journey, and all the highs and lows, and lessons learned along the way. I don't take any run (short or long) or race (easy or tough) for granted.
Does Thanksgiving make you also feel specially grateful? What are you thankful for?
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