Thursday, November 28, 2013

Where I live

Today's the big day. The one we set aside for sharing food with people we love, running "turkey trots" to raise funds for our hungry neighbors, and resting up in preparation for the holidays. And somewhere between the football games, the turkey naps, and the serving of the pumpkin pie, most of us take a few minutes to reflect and share with one another our thoughts of gratitude. Every year, Thanksgiving makes me feel like maybe - just maybe - humanity is not doomed after all.
How cute is this?
Turkey trotters are super cool.

It's not hard for me to tick off a list of things for which I'm thankful. This blog is really my version of a gratitude journal, an outlet for lots of yammering on about how wonderful life is, cloaked in stories about running. So as any good marathoner would, I decided to turn this year's gratitude exercise into something a little more challenging, and force myself to think thankful thoughts about something I'm feeling not-so-positively about.

My next marathon is now ten days away, and I've struggled all year with some really poor training. Nothing is physically wrong with me; my body simply does not feel good, and I'm sick of it. I'm not injured, but I ache. I'm sleeping well, but I fatigue quickly. And I'm doing my yoga and stretching, but I still can't touch my #@&%ing toes! So, looks like it's time to turn those warm, fuzzy feelings of gratitude toward this old, creaky runner's body, and show it some head-to-toe love. It may not be perfect, but it's where I live. And there's no place like home.

Thanks to my head. It's full of crazy thoughts, but also lots of good ideas. This year I got to see some beautiful sights running on the Big Island of Hawaii. I get to smell the fragrance of my neighbors' roses and trumpet flowers every day as I pass by. I get to hear the quiet sounds of my own breath on those long solo runs. I get to taste the delicious "run cookies" baked with love for me by a friend. And I get to feel the happy, sticky mess of a good sweat.

Thanks to my arms. I try to keep them strong, and they help me up those monster hills when I need it. This year they've also let me hug dear friends and family in celebration of new marriages, and of course they helped me hold on tight to my pack burro's lead up and down that Colorado mountain trail.

Thanks to my heart. Sometimes it hurts. I miss my family, mourn the loss of an old friendship, and it broke this spring for the city of Boston. But it's strong. It works hard for me for hours on end during those marathon runs, and it's frequently so full of love it renders me speechless.

Thanks to my liver. Beer is, hands down, my favorite recovery food, and I've spent many a happy afternoon with friends over some delicious brew. So thanks to my liver for all the hard work.

Thanks to my legs. They bear the brunt of my passion for running, and I love them for it. In February, I got to race again for the first time after a seven month layoff due to a freak swimming-related calf injury, from which these legs made a full recovery. They took me all over San Diego County during this year's 39-mile 39th birthday running, swimming, biking, and hiking adventure. And after a good run later today, these legs will carry me to the homes of friends and family to celebrate this day of thanks.
"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so let us be thankful." - from Leo Buscaglia's Born for Love

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