Monday, November 21, 2022

Blessed and ever so Grateful

It's that time of the year, again and already.

While I reflect, almost daily, on all the good that's come my way, I especially try to draw on all that gratitude this time of year. After all, the holiday season is a busy time. It's easy to let one's focus veer towards all the chaos, rather than all the blessings, if we're not careful.

Anyways, I've written previous Thankful posts (in 20212020201920182017,  20162015 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 tweaking some of it to make it more current.

Here goes...things for which I'm thankful for:

*** 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 husband has joined me on occasion), but they put up with me and my (almost nonstop) running talk. 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, from 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 10-mile in DC

***Maxton McArthur. We adopted Max from a nearby animal shelter almost eight 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 do things "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.

I also don't have to take my post-indoor-run selfies inside

***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.

Holiday fun 2021

***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.

Dam to Dam 2013

***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!), 45 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 another successful 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. In 2020, I experienced my first-ever stress fracture. I had rallied back before, and I knew I could do it again...and I did. Currently, I'm just about back to 100%, following several weeks of PT for a cranky hamstring. 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. 

I don't take bright colors for granted, either

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?

I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up

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  1. Yes! So many things to be grateful for!
    I like that you mention that you think of these things often. Thanksgiving is a nice tradition, but I fully agree with you that it's important to remind ourselves of being appreciative and thankful all year round.
    Especially the lows (injuries, illness and more) remind us of how precious the good things in life are.
    Enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving, Kim!

    1. Thank you, Catrina ;-) Yes, keeping the gratitude front & center keeps our focus away from the negative stuff.

  2. we have a lot to be grateful for... and if you can't run for whatever the reason, we realize it even more.

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    We do need to meet up again... Vegas was too long ago and too short.

  3. It may have been said before but it can never be said too often! Happy Thanksgiving Kim!!!

    1. I hope you have a grand day of thanks and gratitude, too ;-)

  4. So very thankful to have you as a friend! It's been great getting to know you better the last few years. Hope we have a chance to run together again soon. Happy Thanksgiving

    1. YES!!!!!! We need to get another race or a meet-up (or a few, LOL) on the calendar ;-)

  5. So much goodness! I can't believe it's been 4 years since I last saw you - we need to change that! Happy Thanksgiving Kim!

    1. I agree, we need to swing another meet-up!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Michelle ;-)

  6. Every time I see a photo of Max I instantly get a smile on my face - he's the cutest! Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks, there's a reason I call him my little pretty boy ;-) Best wishes to you, and your family, for a great Thanksgiving <3

  7. So many things to be grateful for, especially when it comes to running! Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Love this, Kim! We are lucky to have so much. It is the little things that make us smile. I know what you mean about Max, Lola and Mateo are my babies and they always make me smile too.