As Thanksgiving approaches, we should remember the day’s not just about splurging and eating a ton of turkey, stuffing, and pie (although that’s something my stomach definitely looks forward to)! The true meaning of the holiday is learning to remember and appreciate all the things we are thankful for. As a runner, I’ve learned to be thankful for everything the sport gives me and all the opportunities it’s brought into my life. And all athletes probably feel this way—being part of an athletic community is something truly special and means that no matter where you go you’ll have friends who understand you. You’re never alone as a runner, triathlete, swimmer, cyclist, etc.—there are always people as passionate as you out there!
This holiday season, I decided to look back at my running and athletic career to share with all of you what makes me thankful about being a runner. And because I’m a runner, 26.2 just seemed like the perfect number. I am thankful for…
- The opportunity to inspire others and be inspired by amazing people.
- Being able to push my body to new limits I never thought possible.
- Being that person who gets to spend time outside in the winter because I run, even if every non-runner thinks I’m crazy.
- Having a closet full of running shoes for every type of run—speed-work, long run, short easy runs, tempo runs, etc.
- The ability dress in bright, neon running clothes without shame.
- Having a closet filled with more fitness gear than is necessary because “I need all this for running in different types of weather.”
- Having more running/fitness watches than regular watches.
- Having other like-minded people to talk about “weird” runner things like toilet-use strategies, eating while running, chafing (ow!), blisters, and our very specific preferences for what we wear while running.
- Having something to help get me up early on the weekends and get my day started, especially in the summer when I’m up at 6am to beat the heat! It may not be fun waking up but it’s always worth it to enjoy a full day.
- Being able to eat lots of guilt-free carbs on long-run day.
- Being more aware of my body and ways to keep it strong and healthy. Crosstraining has become so important to me, and helped me achieve of level of fitness I never could get to through running alone.
- Running healthy and injury-free… most of the time.
- The chance to travel to races and see different parts of the world.
- Being able to travel to a new place and explore it through running. I’ve found so many side streets, beautiful nature, and unique parts of cities and towns because I took the time to log some miles while exploring them.
- Days when I have a run planned, and often can’t wait for work to end so I can hit the pavement.
- Running which helps me live a well-balanced life.
- Running which allows me to be free and to become more in tune with my mind and body. Running’s often my chance to be in my own thoughts and relax.
- The time I spend with friends running, talking, laughing, and having a great time.
- The life-long friends I’ve made by just chatting with fellow runners during races.
- Being able to care about my body and what goes in it. For example, I am always making sure to take a daily multivitamin, a packet of Cal-EZ per day, and eating real, clean, and unprocessed foods.
- Gaining a positive, hard-working frame of mind that extends into all parts of my life.
- Being part of a community that cares so much for each other. Time and time again, I’ve seen runners help one another, cheer for each other through training, and even carrying each other across the finish line of a marathon.
- For the good days and bad days, and the ability to appreciate both for what they give you.
- For being able to set goals, and have the mental willpower to do everything possible to achieve them.
- Being a marathoner and having achieved this lifelong goal.
- The fact that running is a passion I can keep with me for the rest of my life. As I get older I may have to run shorter distances or slower, but I hope to be able to run for all my years!
- 0.2 … I’m thankful for all of you who inspire me to continue on year after year!
Disclosure: Cal-EZ has compensated me for this post, but all opinions are my own and always will be my own. I use Cal-EZ daily not because I was asked to or have to, but because I love it. I am happy to be able to share it with you!