You knew this one was coming!
Happy Thanksgiving, Salty community! Salty and I and the rest of the bloggers are so thankful every day that you are with us, helping us build the foundation of a long future for this community of women runners and our male buddies. Thank you for sharing your stories and insights. Thank you for reading our work. Thank you for your feedback, for training along with us, for your critical eyes and listening ears, for your understanding, your support and your sisterhood. You are the foundation of us, and we are so appreciative.
Below, we will answer the question ourselves, but more than anything we want to hear from you. Dear readers, please answer in the comments: How Has Running Made You Thankful?
Salty: Running makes me incredibly thankful for my health and strength, both physical and mental, all the wonderful friends I’ve made and that I can give the gift of running to my children. The fact that I am capable of running during my 9th month of pregnancy, or when not pregnant, bounding out my door for a hard 20 miler makes me feel incredibly grateful. The mental strength I have built up has allowed me to better weather life’s up and downs. I’ve also been so lucky to share my passion for running with my husband, my sister and so many wonderful friends! Running friends are the best friends!
Cinnamon: Running makes me thankful for my life. The incredible gift of athleticism has taught me that I am so much more than I ever knew. It has taught me control over myself where I once thought I had none, and freedom where I once thought I had to hold back. It has strengthened my relationships with my family, brought me a whole community of friends and brought me to a place of peace within myself that I might never have otherwise found.
Ginger: The scene in Avatar when Jake Sully first awakes in the field and discovers he has working legs says it all. When he took off running, it made me realize how blessed one can be to have two legs that can move in a forward, fast motion.
Pepper: When I am not injured running is usually the time I spend realizing everything I am thankful for. My social runs remind me to be thankful for my wonderful running buddies (and my gift of gab on the run!). And my solo runs provide me time to think things through and remember how blessed I am. Those runs recently with no pain remind me to be thankful for everything my body does for me despite my sometimes questionable choices.
[pullquote]When I ranked common answers among us by frequency, Mint’s answer pretty much sums us all up![/pullquote]
Mint: Ah, let me count the ways! I am thankful for running because: (1) it makes me strong; (2) it helps me clear my mind; (3) it has lead me to wonderful friendships; (4) I can share it with my family; (5) it leads me to push myself and to set goals; (6) it makes me proud; (7) it humbles me; (8) it is my quiet time; (9) it makes me confident; and (10) it makes me always want to be better.
Rosemary: This year, more than any other, has helped me remember why I am so thankful for running. Since I spent 3 months unable to run, I am thankful for every day that I am able to run. It can be 90 degrees and humid or 20 degrees and snowing, but I’m still thankful that I can be out there running. I am also overwhelmingly thankful for my friends, teammates and husband who are all fabulous motivators and training partners. Despite what my paranoid, injured-runner brain thought, these people didn’t stop caring about me when I stopped running. They encouraged me along and welcomed me back. I am thankful not only for running but for all the incredible people I’ve connected with through running.
Nutmeg: Running makes me thankful because I can. Since my surgery, I’ve not been able to run and, unfortunately, have had too much time alone with my head. During this time, I’ve been going down that dark tunnel of “I can’t.” My husband and I were having problems getting pregnant. Nothing could be found that explained the problem, really. It was frustrating to hear that everything looked normal and still not be able to get pregnant. My recent surgery revealed I have endometriosis. I hadn’t had any of the typical symptoms, so it was a surprise to my doctor as well as me. Anyway, I’ve been focused on the news of what my body can’t do, on its own, the natural way. Now, though, I’m getting close to being off the DL list and moving forward. Running is something my body CAN do and for that, I’m grateful.
Sassafras: Running makes me thankful for my body (that it can run) and for my mind (which thinks through the world’s problems during my solo runs). It makes me thankful for my family and friends, some of whom I would have never met were it not for running, and others who have never run a step in their lives, but listen to all my run-talk. Running makes me thankful for nature, for the ability to challenge myself and for each new day.
Mace: When I haven’t run for a few days, everyone around me notices. I’m grumpier, creakier, lazier, more prone to perform random acts of violence. Call it Not-Enough-Time-on-the-Road Rage. Therefore, while I am personally thankful that running makes me intermittently sane – as opposed to perpetually crazy, which is what I would be if I didn’t run – it’s my family that is the most thankful for my running. They sing hosannas to Nike every day.
Besides that, I am thankful that running keeps my weight in three digits, and has given me a resting pulse rate that is the envy of all my sedentary friends. Plus, I can eat extra ice cream.
Licorice: Each time I head out for a run, I’m thankful that I’m able to do so. Good or bad, I’m healthy and able to be out there on my own two feet. It also makes me thankful for the gorgeous area that I live in and that I get to be outside with the trees and hills and views of the mountains and lake, or that I’m just a short drive away from awesome trails.
Cilantro: Running makes me thankful that I am healthy. It reminds me that I couldn’t run five years, and was so sick a year ago that I wondered if I would ever be able to race again. Running reminds me that I am alive, strong, and able to accomplish anything.
Thyme: I am grateful that I can run – there are so many people who can’t due to illness, injury, whatever. I am thankful that my limits are completely self-inflicted (and thus surmountable!).
Ginkgo: The simple act of running makes me thankful. I often take it for granted that not everyone can run. I have two functioning legs, lungs and a strong heart. Even on the days when running doesn’t feel so great, I can remind myself that I am blessed to have a body that is capable of running and a life that allows me to work this into my daily routine.
Coriander: Running has done a lot for me. It’s helped me lose weight, taken me places I wouldn’t normally go and showed me things I would have never seen. It’s made me a better person, inside and out, and without a doubt has absolutely changed my life. But what I’m most thankful for from running is the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. If I had never met my friend Erin at Second Sole, I would have never been introduced to trails and ultra running. On the trails and during ultras, I have met some of the greatest and most motivational people. I am so thankful to belong to such a strong and inspiring community.
Finally, readers, I want to leave you with the words of Clove:
Clove: I have spent more than a week trying to get this into words. George Sheehan once said that sweat is the ultimate cleanser; it comes from within and reaches places a shower can’t. I’ve said before that running teaches me lessons that I can’t seem to learn anywhere else. Running is cathartic and cleansing; it offers relief as well as a place to wallow. Some find that in prayer; some in other hobbies. Then again, I often find that I do my best praying while running.
Much as running and I are inextricable, I’ve been so afraid for so long to be defined as a runner; to have that be the sum total of my being. Then I struggle to write an answer to a simple question, and I realize this: running has indeed made me a better person. A more thoughtful person; a person more considerate, compassionate and accepting. It has forced me to face my worst characteristics head on, and reminded me of my best traits when I was on my knees with grief. It brought me to my husband, rebuilt my self-esteem, and continues to offer a refuge from the pain of infertility. It is not running that I am thankful for. It is that running has taught me gratitude. That I am alive, healthy and loved, and that these things alone make me rich beyond compare. Who knew that mere footsteps could teach so much?
Now it’s your turn. We ask you, our beloved readers, for whom we thank our lucky stars every day, How Has Running Made You Thankful?