In this month of thanksgiving and gratitude, let us remember to be thankful for the big things, the little things, the running things, and everything in between. Running has blessed my life in many ways, here is why I am so thankful for this sport.
1. Therapy-Running is therapy. It is a release from stress and responsibilities and a timeout from problems and challenges. When faced with difficult decisions, painful moments, reluctant changes, and pressing issues; life is much more manageable with running. The stress has been sweated out and the tension has been pounded away. It might not solve all of life’s problems, but it definitely helps me come up with solutions or be in a better mind frame to handle the challenges that come my way.
2. Community and Connections-In a word, friends. There are quiet, reflective runs where we strengthen each other, there are even somber runs where we comfort each other, and then there are loud, ruckus runs where we laugh until we cry and threaten to wake to the neighborhood. The miles bond us together as women, mothers, sisters and friends. Social media is another way to connect through our common love of running. It can be a positive place for us to cheer for one another and be inspired by each other even though we are separated by states, time zones, and even oceans.
3. Running helps me to be healthy-Every time I have my blood pressure checked, it’s my gold star for running. I love when the nurse checks it twice and says “Wow, that’s really low.” Then I get to say, “I’m a runner.” The nurse always nods approvingly. Knowing that I’m fueling and training my body reminds me to take care of it by nourishing it with clean, whole foods. I ask a lot of my body and I want it to be able to perform at it’s best.
4. The endorphines-I’m just not myself without a run. Sometimes my poor husband will gingerly probe, “Hey Babe, did you run today?” The daily natural high combined with fresh air and sunshine always puts me in the right mind frame to take on the day.
5. Running gives me a sense of accomplishment-Most mornings by 6 am, I’ve logged miles and done a strength workout. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived a whole fit life before my family is even awake. Giving myself that “me” time helps me be able to better meet their needs. Plus, I like celebrating with a second breakfast after my workout.
6. Running doesn’t close-Running doesn’t have business hours, it adjusts to your schedule. I love that I can squeeze in a run anytime, anywhere. Additionally, I’m not limited when I travel, it even allows me the freedom to explore new places off the beaten path. I love the axiom that life is better seen on a run.
7. Running helps me appreciate the beauty of the world-I sweat through the ninety degree summer mornings and I shiver through the sub-freezing winters, but the reward comes every spring and fall. Being exposed to the elements makes you so much more in tune with the world around you. The frosted pink cheeks of winter and the sweat drenched shirts of summer are all part of feeling alive.
8. New gear-Even at 35, I’m positive that new shoes make you faster. Two words: Lulu. Oiselle.
9. Running has given me new opportunities-There have been big things like when I got to be part of a Subaru commercial as a “runner” (Subarus are runner approved). Or when I traveled to Boston in April 2015 and met Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan (and yes, I was a super-fan and no, I was not cool). Then there are the little things like sunrises that stop me in my tracks and make me grateful for life and breath. There are moon-lit track workouts where I watch for shooting stars and make wishes for dreams and for loved ones. Then there is the beauty of getting to be the first person to make tracks on fresh snow and wonder at the quiet of a white, downy world. These experiences, big and small, would not have happened without running.
10. Running helps me live a goal oriented life-Running is the perfect metaphor for life. The same drive that keeps me chasing after a sub three hour marathon also helps chase success in other areas. The formula doesn’t change, we seek for positive progress in all areas of life, running has taught me do that in a more purposeful and driven way.