The Year of Gratitude: Running in a Beautiful World

The pathway to Wonderland Lake was snowy, but peaceful.

During my Sunday long runs, I usually think through my weekly post and how I want to best present it. This past Sunday was no different, and I came up with a great list of topics and things I want to share in the upcoming year.  My dilemma this week was which one to focus on?  With so many thoughts swirling about in my head, I decided to step back and just reflect on my Christmas Day run of eight miles.  After all, the end of a new year signifies a time of reflection and new goals, and this run inspired me to make 2013 the year of gratitude.

We were blessed in Boulder with a beautiful white Christmas this year.  I’m usually not one to get excited for snow, and I don’t like cold weather, but seeing snow in the mountains with the sun reflecting off them is an amazing sight. In my opinion, snow belongs in the mountains.  When I heard the weather forecast called for six inches of snow by Christmas morning with sunny skies, I knew it would be such a pretty morning for a run.  I had planned for an easy eight miles, and I made sure to head out to one of my favorite running spots:  Wonderland Lake, which sits at the base of the mountains.

It was only nine (that’s right, nine) degrees when I headed out around 7:30.  The sun had just risen, and the snow was still fresh.  The sun was bright, and the reflection off the snow caused it to look crystalized.  The roads weren’t plowed, and although there is a city ordinance requiring residents to shovel their sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of the snowfall, not many people had done that yet.  There was a lot of slipping and sliding as I made my way up towards the lake, and it was very slow going, but I didn’t care.  It was so peaceful and crisp.   The mountains looked just as I thought they would…absolutely majestic!

I stopped here for a few minutes to reflect and enjoy the scenery.

Wonderland Lake sits at the base of the mountains, and the main dirt trail around the lake is about a mile and a half.  There are some paths leading from the lake going up into the mountains for those who want more of a challenge.  I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sunrises in my life over the lake.  On most of my runs, I usually see deer or other wildlife which make it look even more peaceful.

White Christmas in Boulder! The Flatirons were covered with snow (seen in the distance).

I was gone for over 90 minutes on my eight mile run, mainly because it was slick and snowy, but also because I stopped several times to just look at the scenery.  I also took a lot of pictures.  As I stared at the mountains, I was overcome with gratitude and peace knowing that such beauty does really exist in the world.  Lately, it seems like we are surrounded only by sadness, tragedy, hatred and greed, and it’s easy to think that such peace and simplicity don’t exist anymore. It was truly a beautiful experience for me.

As 2012 comes to a close and we all set our goals for 2013, let’s remember to take time on our runs to find the beauty in our surroundings and feel gracious for every day we get to run.  Let’s all make 2013 the year of gratitude.



Native Ohioan now living in Boulder, Colorado. I love to run, tri, train, eat good chocolate, drink good rum, and laugh (a lot). I am a CPA by trade and work for Newton Running.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Happy New Year, Amanda! Thanks for your comment and for reading. I’m glad that you are enjoying your surroundings as much as I am enjoying mine!

  2. This is a wonderful reminder. I agree that the news has been filled with sadness, tragedy, anger, disagreement and discontent. Yet, we all have beautiful things in our lives to be thankful and grateful for. So I am with you on taking a moment and noticing that.

    BTW – I love the mountains too, but won’t get to see them until June. So in the meantime, please enjoy them for me too. 🙂

    1. Thanks, MInt! I know, I was really in a zone on Christmas Day just thinking about how fortunate I really am. I couldn’t help but think of all of those parents in CT who wouldn’t get to experience that Christmas Day excitement with their kids. My heart aced and still does. I wish you well in 2013! June will be here before you know it!

  3. I loved this mantra, and it’s really stuck with me for this first half of the year. Especially after coming back from an injury and now feeling strong and ready for my return to racing, I feel so lucky to be strong and healthy, and so glad when I run through ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn or over the bridges toward the skyline of Manhattan or on the urban oasis of trails in Prospect Park. The Year of Gratitude is almost halfway over, but I’m still getting more and more thankful every day! Thank you for keeping me mindful this year!