Giving Thanks

from Running Joyfully

When I was racing in Finland this summer, I finished a run overlooking a large lake. There was water everywhere – in the big expanse before me, at my feet in the puddles I’d tried to avoid on the run, falling all around me as warm raindrops hit my head. I stepped off the trail to the water’s edge, listening to the thunder in the distance and looking out at the mix of forest, clouds, and sun. In that moment, I felt a surge of gratitude – for the opportunity to be here, for the places running had brought me, for my body’s ability to carry me forward for thousands of miles. It was a wet summer afternoon in Finland, but my heart swelled as if it was Thanksgiving.

This past year of running has been one that I’m immensely grateful for – in 2016, running has brought me to races across the world and to three Olympic Trials events. It’s probably been my best year yet, and many people played a part in that. There are many thank-you’s to go around: to coaches, teammates, and training partners; to the people who keep me in healthy and in one piece; and to my husband, family, and dear friends who’ve been on this long journey with me.

That’s the biggest thing I’m grateful for this year – the shared experience of running. Some people run for solitude – running solo is an escape from the world of deadlines and diaper changes, emails and election stress, meetings and money woes… Sometimes I run to get away from it all, alone on the trail or road. But most of the time I prefer to share it with someone.

That’s one of the things I love most about running – the shared experience. The miles logged together, whether in heat or in snow, whether speedy or a slog – the weather & pace don’t matter, it’s the company that counts. I love sharing the workload – on a tempo, having a friend set the pace for a little while and carry the burden for you, til it’s your turn to step up, help out, do the work. I love the sharing of stories, about life – talking about love, marriage, heartache; new jobs, new houses, new babies; big goals, fears, dreams. For me, so many of life’s big moments happen on the run, with a friend, and I’m deeply grateful for those times.

Thanks for sharing this past year with me, on the road, the track, and here on Running Joyfully. All my best to you and yours today, on Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for this year?

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