­čŹéTis’ the Season to be Thankful­čŹü­čŹé­čŹü

thanksgiving

“I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike. ┬á. ┬á.” ┬á~Maya Angelou

The truth is I’ve had a pretty amazing year and have so many reasons to be thankful. I think of thanksgiving as a time to count our blessings, for though they are many, sometimes we can get mired down in the nitty-gritty stuff that insidiously plants itself in our psyche, and causes us to forget the tremendous miracle that is life. For this reason this day is important; a day for us to consciously remember and actively express our gratitude to a God who is unmatched in His favor toward us.

My gratitude extends beyond being thankful for the amazing runs this year. Though I am indeed thankful for those, I am even more enamored with my journey via running: my travels, the people I’ve met, new friends I made, the development of my body – strength and endurance, how I was able to redefine my boundaries and limits, the ability to use running as a platform to impact lives and channel growth, change and inspiration and learning to see God everywhere. These are by far the more valuable things I am exceedingly grateful for this Thanksgiving and beyond.

I’d like to think that many of us who share a passion for the same sport have some of these things in common as well. And so, as we sit before our table today surrounded by loved ones, I pray that our hearts are as bountiful and overflowing as the spread before us and that we give thought and prayers to those who may not have the same opportunity to give thanks. We are blessed always to be a blessing my friends.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thankfullness in Action

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eclectic-homeschool.com

Wow! November. Thanksgiving. We are here again. It’s become my ┬átradition, since last year, to focus ┬áduring the week of thanksgiving on making mention and giving thanks for the many blessings that running has been to and given me. Not that I’m not thankful everyday, I really do try to ┬áembrace thankfulness and wear as a bit of a second skin – if you will – but it behooves us to take advantage of the holiday to get in-touch with our inner self and really reflect on how we and our lives are better because of ┬áthis gift called running.

One of the easiest ways to tap in to the idea of being thankful is to take a look at how far you’ve come in one year. I’d be first up to tell you it hasn’t always gone the way I foresaw, nor have I always gotten what I wanted or worked hard for, which brings to mind my goals for this year; there are still some on there unaccounted for. Should I then consider myself a failure, put it all behind me as a lost cause, see it all as a waste? Most adamantly not. For each time I slipped up or missed the mark there were lessons learnt and many other successes gained. I’ve always maintained that living a healthy and happy life depends on choice and perspective. You can always choose to take the positive out of a situation or circumstance. The alternative is often not pretty.

imageRunning has been a game changer of sorts for me. It has given me focus and direction and allowed me to be a force for good. As a result, I am physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually stronger. I have formed some deep and lasting connections and friendships and travelled a bit in my pursuit of various running adventures. But maybe most important is my discovery of running as a platform for causes I care deeply about. Through running I can support and advocate the issues that inform and bring meaning and purpose to my ideas, words and actions. Through running, I, simple, very not rich nor famous me, can touch and transform lives.  There is great power and purpose in that knowledge, which I do not take lightly.

Additionally, none of us have very far to look to in order to be able to give thanks today, if we’ve made it this far into the year healthy, strong and running, then that should be enough of a reason to be thankful. ┬áIn case you’re lacking in any one of those areas then there’s always having a job, having the opportunity to be passionate about something that matters, being a blessing, having family and friends to share ┬áthanksgiving with, having a thanksgiving meal – period, beautiful Fall, sunshine and nice weather, having a roof over our heads and warm clothes, being safe and protected ( we can certainly identify after the Paris attacks & subsequent threats to the US) and a host of others. There is no lack of things each and every day to live in thankfulness of. We are all on this wonderful earth making the most of our time here, while some of us may choose to do so one step at a time, all of us should be thankful for the opportunity each moment presents to leave this world a better place than we met it. That is thankfulness in action.

image

This Thankful Running Heart

Photo Credit: Jim McWilliams / The Philadelphia Marathon

To think that it’s Thanksgiving already, that we’re already so close to the year’s end..sometimes I feel as though we’re in this race against time, only we’re getting left despite our best efforts to up the ante and increase our speed. In spite of this, and time’s steady progression, it is important that we take a moment to reflect on what we have been able to achieve thus far and in so doing be better able to continue in our pursuit of excellence and fulfillment.

Thanksgiving provides us the perfect opportunity to look both within and around us to account for our blessings and/or areas in our lives that we are thankful for. For my part, I’m particularly full of running thankfulness, thankful that:

– thus far this year I’ve had very minor running injuries
– I’ve been able to run four marathons within a 12-month period with a faster time each time
– I feel healthy and strong
– I qualified for Boston again
– my knowledge of running grows more and more each day
– I have a running group to train with
– I live and run in beautiful New York
– I’m able to share my running thoughts and dreams with you here on this blog
– I can now appreciate that there are no limits to what I can achieve if I want it badly enough
– through running I have met the most inspirational and dedicated people
– I know and love my body

Of course I’m thankful for a lot more than running; like family, friends, the gym, my job, my faith and yes, completing Philly in 3:34:33! I. Did. It. Last Sunday, I ran the Gore-Tex Philadelphia marathon. Here’s a short recap; downtown Philadelphia is a beautiful and historic city with pretty architecture and happening restaurants. The scenic route of the marathon was pretty cool and saw approximately 30,000 runners take off from center city around 7am. Save for the seemingly endless miles around a reservoir on the course, what can I say – I enjoy variety – this became the most challenging aspect of what was basically a flat and fast course, it would have been a phenomenal sub 3:30 run. Reflecting on my performance, I feel I need to particularly work on my pace in the latter half of a marathon if I’m to really maximize the negative-split concept, which is basically running the second half of the race faster than the first. Around mile 19 the forefront/ underside of my feet began complaining, I am convinced there is an issue there either with my shoes or feet, and I found myself struggling to increase and even keep pace. This led to some challenging moments from which I eventually emerged on top. Still, it was touch and go for a while there and though I’m always up for a challenge, a masochist I am not, so given this is my second time dealing with the same issue, I think this warrants looking into. All in all though, it was a great experience and my fastest marathon thus far, which makes me feel pretty confident moving forward; for this, I am extremely thankful.

Setting goals are great as it provides initiative, momentum and accountability. Realizing your goals are greater still for providing satisfaction, self-confidence, inspiration and a sense of achievement. There’s just over a month left in the year and more than enough time to express our thanks for life’s many blessings while yet keeping our eyes on the goal.

philadelphia-marathon-manayunk-680uw

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