Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Running Thanksgiving

Since it’s nearly Thanksgiving and the trend seems to be to blog about what we are thankful for, I’ll skip right to it.

You already know I’m thankful for my family:  my silly pumpkin son and my loving, supportive wife, my parents who’ve been there for everything, my bro, and I’m glad I have easy-going in-laws.  Hopefully most people feel the same about their families.

And there’s the basics:  food, water, shelter, transportation, a career that provides income, etc.  I know not everyone in this world is so fortunate, so I am thankful.

And the extended basic plan:  TV, a short commute, nice weather (when it’s here), dining out once in a while and a beer now and then.  May as well keep it simple, right?  I am thankful for all of these.

And, since I really don’t think I risk being identified solely as just a runner, I don’t mind talking about it all the time…  :)

But honestly, I’m quite very, truly thankful that I’m able to run.  I’m grateful that I’m able to run far and long along one of the best features of Chicago, it’s 20 miles (give or take) of beautiful lakefront.  I’m appreciative of being able to run on generally healthy legs and feet (hoping to not jinx myself too much here).  I’m glad that running has given me something productive and healthy to do with time that might otherwise have just been wasted.  And in those minutes and hours I’m running, I’m thankful that I’ve found a peaceful place to take my mind where I can breathe and relax (even if I’m running hard), and not worry or stress over details that in the grand scheme usually don’t amount to much.  There are many things in this world to get bogged down in:  issues at work, traffic, waiting in line.  Running is an escape, but it’s also a return.  If you listen, look, be patient, and feel the world around you as you run through it (and not simply past it), for some people, at least, it brings calm, solves a problem; it aligns them.  Running brings me closer to and more in tune with something bigger – whatever ‘bigger’ is (that’s up to you - Mother Nature, God, the cosmos) – it can fill your soul and bring peace. 

Running also brings people together:  at races, in training, in passing, at a fountain.  Runners easily meet and quickly dive into good and honest conversation.  Most of the time I’m not running so fast that others on the path are unable to say, “Good morning,” or “Hello,” regardless of age, sex, race.  I always like to say, "hi," or "hello," in return.  It's social; it's community.  We seem to just get along (except the one or two that refuse to run on the right side of the path).  I don’t think I’ve really encountered a runner who didn’t seem like a pretty good person overall.  There are hardly bitter feelings or malicious intentions.  I like that.  It makes me think I’m in the right sport.

Despite the number of races or miles or hours we may run, running puts life back in balance.  You can celebrate a run just as you can run to celebrate.  All of this above still has me convinced that we are born to run.  So, yes, I’m thankful for running.

And why not on Thanksgiving, show thanks for Running by going for a run.  :)

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