Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. These three things are paramount, year-round, but especially this time of year.
This has been quite a year, for us all. So many changes, and still so many unknowns. Yet, so much to be thankful for.
I've written previous Thankful posts (in 2020, 2019, 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 going to 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 awesome family. 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!
|10-year photo challenge 2009 and 2019|
*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 runners 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.
|2018 Chicago Rock'N Roll|
|2019 Credit Union Cherry Blossom in DC|
*Maxton McArthur. We adopted Max from a nearby animal shelter almost seven 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 to run 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 answer to 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, Instagram, 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 people with my athletic prowess. Instead, I hope to inspire others to violate their own comfort zones. I now have nine marathons under my belt (two of which are ultras!), 43 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 year after a rally-back. Being side-lined from running for three months in 2017 (following an emergency surgery) was tough. I rallied back, though, and ran the 2018 Cannonball Marathon (Greensboro, NC). A year later, I ran a longtime bucket list race, the Marine Corps Marathon (Washington DC) under dreadfully rainy conditions, and I have been smiling ever since. A year ago, I experienced my first-ever stress fracture. I had rallied back before, and I knew I could do it again...and I did. I am ever grateful for the journey running has taken me on, 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.
Anyways, those are just a few things I have been reflecting on this week. I think of these things often, but with Thanksgiving on deck, all the gratefulness has been front and center. Honestly, gratitude is a pretty simple gift to give oneself. It's yours for the taking...enjoy!
How about you? What are some things you're grateful for?
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