Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

EU849016Welp, today’s the day, eh? The day we show our gratitude and shovel pie in our … well … pie holes. Where gluttony and gratitude stand hand in hand while we argue with family and watch crappy football all day. The more we eat the more grateful we become.

Oh, tradition. God bless, tradition.

Okay, so maybe you don’t subscribe to the American definition of Thanksgiving. I don’t. At least anymore. I think sometimes we get caught up in tradition and the food that we miss the whole point for the holiday. FAMILY! FRIENDS! SHARING! CARING! THE DALLAS COWBOYS!

Well, okay, sharing the holiday with family and friends is the main reason for the holiday and that should be the focus. The food just brings us together, it isn’t the reason to get together. Except, if it was my Aunt’s Cranberry Salad. I would come together just for that, even if I absolutely hated my family. That stuff is gooooooooooooood.

Beyond good, but that’s a whole different story.

Thanksgiving is that time of the year to not just show your gratitude, but to reflect upon and gain a deeper appreciation for what you’re grateful for in life. And, this past month I have really tried to focus on that gratitude more so than ever, because I have a lot to be grateful for this year.

Though my health has been up and down with my thyroid and testosterone, I am still generally healthy. I can move, I am pain free and I CAN RUN! Sometimes I take for granted how far I have come in my journey. I am 84 races into my goal and that includes 30 races I’ve done this year.

That is amazing!

Not just because I can do that, but that my body has allowed me to do that. I didn’t intend to run four marathons and two back-to-back half marathons going into this year. I didn’t.

But, that goal changed fairly soon into the new year. My friend Becky signed up to run the Ogden Marathon and while I had no intentions to run a marathon this year … I felt impressed to. So I did. But, I didn’t tell Becky, I trained with her and told her I’d run the 20 miler with her, but that I didn’t want to run another marathon for a while.

It was the perfect deceitful plan.

I surprised her the morning of the race and then had the opportunity to run with across the finish line with her and another friend. It was a great moment to experience and witness. And, we became lifelong friends in the process.

Having that experience really changed my running experience for this year … and life. The focus diverted itself from me and my goals of running a sub-two half marathon and cranking out races … to … running with others and sharing MY passion about running with them.

I had the opportunity to pace a number of races this year as well. I love pacing. But, more than just pacing, I love pacing the people in the back of the race. The first-timers, the one’s who have struggled to get to this point and those that need that encouragement. I know how they feel, because I’ve been there!

I love being able to share my enthusiasm and love for running with them and encouraging them to the end. I’ll always remember pacing Jill in at the Timp Half to a new PR. I’ll remember more than her spew of profanity as she pushed through the last quarter mile. I’ll always remember the determination and grit that she showed doing this not just for her, or her husband, but her daughters. Jill amazes me to no end.

I also promised Jill that I would run with her step by step during her first marathon, the Big Cottonwood Marathon. We trained together, run canyons together, shared stories together and of course laughed together. I cannot run or drive down Emigration or Big Cottonwood canyons without thinking of our runs together.

That moment at the end of her first marathon is something that I will always remember for the rest of my life. Because, I knew how difficult it was for her to get to that point. The marathon might be 26.2 miles long, but she went much further than that (no, we didn’t get lost). Jill’s a fighter and she did it. I am just honored I was a part of that.

Running has afforded me to meet many different people, from many different walks of life. And, really that’s what keeps me going. Whether it’s pushing Elsha or Reese, talking to the stranger running next to me or just running with friends during a race … I feel a slice of heaven. I am where I want and suppose to be.

And, for that, I am EXTREMELY grateful for my experiences, my trials and my running adventures this past year. I didn’t end up going where I thought I was going to go, but I am where I meant to be. You can’t fight with that, right?

I hope you find the time to reflect on what you’re grateful for this year. Whether it’s running, another hobby or something to do with family or friends … take the time to show that gratitude. Happy running! Happy eating!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

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