Happy Monday! A retro post as we head into Thanksgiving week.
On Monday, Dimity listed her top 10 (I suspect we both have far more than 10!); here's mine.
It gets me outside and interacting with nature. I am happiest outdoors—marveling over vivid fall leaves, a slant of sunlight piercing through the clouds, and squirrels chasing each other up trees—and running allows me be a part of the great outdoors on a nearly daily basis.
It gives me a built-in social outlet. My friendship with my running buddies—currently Molly, Ellison, and Sheila, but in the past it’s been Heidi, Dorothy, and others—wouldn’t be nearly as rich and deep if we'd fostered our relationships over occasional coffee dates or a rare dinner out.
It gives me an “excuse” to get out of the house. While I have free will, I don’t leave my family for two or three hours on a weekend morning to have brunch with a friend or get a facial. (Well, okay, this Sunday I am going to a Korean spa with Ellison…) Yet I don’t think twice about locking the door behind me when I have 14 miles on tap.
It gives me a reason to travel. I’ve explored some wondrous places by foot, especially during marathons. The Twin Cities. “Tracktown USA.” Big Sur. Vancouver, B.C. New York’s five boroughs. The roads from Hopkinton, MA, to Boston.
It’s a point of pride. I’m not winning any races—or even my age group—but I’m crossing finish lines. And racking up miles in training to get there.
It allows me to interact with women across the country (and globe!). Whether in my AMR role at parties or expos or simply socially on Facebook, I adore chatting with women from all walks (runs?) of life. Often the talk turns to things other than our sport (today it was the craft of felting with Denise in Colorado), and that’s just fine by me: Running gives us a common conversational starting point.
It lets me eat a Milky Way Midnight after dinner or Noosa full-fat Australian-style yoghurt (my current addiction). I don’t keep a tally of calories in/calories out, but I certainly know I’d eat a more Spartan diet if I was incinerating 100 calories/mile.
It gets me away from my computer. Sometimes I feel like my iPhone is a third upper-body appendage. Yes, I snap an Instagram photo every so often on the road or send the occasional tweet, but usually a run is time away from Internet-based distractions.
It tamps down worries and releases frustrations. We all have children or other dependent family members, as well as bills to pay: I don’t need to elaborate.
It makes me feel alive. With sweat coursing down my face, air heaving in and out of my lungs, and blood pumping vigorously, every minute of pavement-pounding reminds me I have a body that works. And, that, at the start of every day, is what I’m most thankful for.
What aspects of running make you feel thankful?