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Running Gratitude: We Are So Lucky

Running gratitude

We are so lucky.

My dear running pal Jodi and I said this as we hugged each other good luck and went to our separate corrals for the start of last week's New York City Marathon.

I met Jodi 25 ((!) years ago in our local running club, and since that time we have traveled many miles (literally, figuratively) over many roads near and far, mostly around the local Great Swamp National Refuge, in New Jersey (prettier than it sounds), but also in marathons in Nashville, Bordeaux, France, and Cape Town, South Africa--how's that for a trio of far-flung destinations?

Thank you, legs.

A few weeks earlier, Jodi had completed the Hawaii Ironman, also known as the World Championship, which we all know is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run. Jodi got in as one of 100 athletes in the Legacy Lottery, which means she had to complete 12 (!) Ironmans in other states, including two in the past two years. The cutoff for the Hawaii Ironman is 17 hours; Jodi got into the shape of her life over the spring/summer only to tear a hamstring a couple of months before race day. Dang! Still, she finished in 16:30-something.

 

Running gratitude
Dear pal Jodi was one of 100 "Legacy" athletes at the 2018 Hawaii Ironman, her 16th Ironman finish--wow!

Oh, by the way, Jodi is 63.

Thank you, lungs.

My dear running pal Susan, a k a Fast Teacher Friend, started the NYC marathon in an earlier wave than Jodi and me. About four weeks prior, Susan had run a 50K called Run with the Navajo, across Canyon de Chelly, in Arizona. Before the start, 200-ish lucky runners face the east to watch the sun rise over the canyon. In the paraphrased words of the website: "Runners experience the traditional values of Navajo distance running by running as a celebration of life, running as a form of prayer and running as a way to better ourselves."

Wow! I am so lucky to have such cool friends!

Canyon de Chelly had experienced an unusually wet fall. The out-and-back course crossed 33 ice-cold streams—yes, that adds up to 66 ice baths over the course of 35-ish miles. Yikes!

Thank you, feet.

Running gratitude

Now I'm not going to suggest that life is all perfect crisp cool running weather and post-run espresso chip scones without weight gain. That positivity is Olympian Deena Kastor's job.

Not all of us can run. You might have plantar fasciitis or a bad back that limits your miles. Many of us are slowed by the stress of dealing with some health issue in our immediate families, from inexplicable chronic hives to terminal illness. Some of us face economic uncertainty in a changing job market while staring down impending college tuition. (Eeek!) Even as we recognize how lucky we are to keep a roof over our kids' heads and sneakers on their feet and Thanksgiving dinner on the table. Life happens to everyone.

This is why I am so grateful for the run: Because it suspends me from the daily noise, even if for just a half hour. Maybe it's a trick of forward motion, but somehow, even if I am ruminating on the mean thing that person said, when I run, I feel like I am moving through it.

Thank you, mind.

I get slower every year, but really truly that is okay. Because in the end, the only thing that really matters is that running just makes me feel better. And for that, I am grateful.

Presumably, if you've read this far, you know what I mean. We are so lucky to have this. Thank you, Dimity and Sarah, for letting me write here! Thank you, readers, for reading.

Running gratitude
Jodi, Tish, Susan and young friend Fraser, who serves in the Army and has two small children, at the start of the New York City Marathon

IN THIS THANKSGIVING WEEK, WHAT ARE YOU MOST GRATEFUL FOR ABOUT RUNNING?

12 responses to “Running Gratitude: We Are So Lucky

  1. What a beautiful post. Touches many emotions of the heart. I appreciate your “I get slower every year, but that’s okay.” I have never been “fast” and that has been okay for me. I am thankful that I am alive. The breath of being alive is a privilege that all have. I have run almost every run I do thinking of my sweet son who died at age 13. The gift of life is good no matter what your speed is. I am thankful for my breath!!!! A true blessing.

  2. I am SO infinitely grateful for every single run that I am able to do. My Dad loved to run, but bad feet and arthritis have made it so that he can’t run at all. I think about that often, as I worry that genetics may hand me that same fate, so I get out whenever I can, set big goals, and try to love every single run I do. I’m also grateful to BOB for making such awesome jogging strollers that have allowed me to be so active with my two little guys in tow!

  3. I am so very thankful for 14 years of running and a husband and family who support me! I am thankful for every mile I’ve run, for every race I’ve entered and for all the great people I’ve met while running! Some of my most favorite parts of raves are the people who you meet and talk to for even 30 seconds. They motivate me through the longer races! Thankful for AMR and the stories that have helped me become a better runner and to help me feel like I’m not alone when something happens (injury or a major bonk!). It’s nice to have such a great community of women runners out there! You go girls!!

  4. So grateful for 35 plus years of relatively injury-free running, and all the amazing friends I’ve met through the sport. Grateful for my BRFs, who have made running through the many seasons of my life a pure joy. Grateful that my son has started running, and has found a cool running community at his high school. Grateful for AMR, who has put a name to so many of my feelings about running.

  5. In general, that I physically can run! Specifically, this year, I am so very thankful the my BRD Dolly is here to run with me. 2018 was a scary year for my furriest best friend and I am glad that I can still enjoy her infectious joy of running!

  6. Thankful for a body and a mind that allow me to run when and where I want, when so many don’t have that luxury. Thankful for a family that supports my early mornings, stinky hugs, and cranky until I get my food days. And thankful for finding the first AMR book on the library shelf six years ago when I started running and I didn’t know what I was doing so of course I went to find books and there it was…and it led me to this community and to training plans and Strava, and HRT, and for that I am so, so, so thankful! To many, many more happy miles for everyone!

  7. I am thankful for Sarah and Dimity, or is it Dimity and Sarah? I met them at the Zooma Cape Cod half marathon( my first half marathon). I listened intently during the talk, bought the book, and had a really fun run with snippets of their talk going through my head. Since then I’ve run “many happy miles”.

  8. This speaks to me right now! So thankful to be healthy enough to run in the midst of caring for my mom who is battling the end of pancreatic cancer. And also maintaining my home front with a 5 year old and my husband who works long hours. The run is my freedom from all the stress of that and I am most definitely thankful!

  9. I’m grateful for Another Mother Runner. It’s the AMR tribe who encourages me to get out the door every day to go for a run. It’s the AMR tribe who encourages me every step of the way, who helps me problem solve with my eating, training, or any other question I throw at them. I wouldn’t be this healthy without you!

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