This afternoon Mother Nature has decided to (again) give winter a go. Big, fat, beautiful snowflakes are falling outside my window as I write this — a big change from this morning when I headed out for an easy run on the trails near my house with our two dogs. With the exception of a few dicey spots — iced-over clumps of brown leaves — the path was clear of the white stuff, the sky simply overcast. I dodged those icy patches fine, thinking how nice it was to be out in the woods, for a run on dirt trails, the second week of December.

A cold rain greeted me as I climbed a steep hill midway through the run. Before long it turned to hail. And by the time I’d reached the trailhead, the paved road ahead of me was slick with thin ice. I carefully trotted home, thankful I’d headed out early enough to avoid running long in what was quickly becoming slippery conditions, particularly without any traction on my shoes.

Still, I marvel at our ever-changing and not-so-predictable weather. No wonder we love to talk about weather. There’s always something to say about it.

Coming off a short-yet-miserable bout of the flu this past weekend, I am all the more thankful for the energy to get out the door this morning for a run — I’d have gone no matter the weather, I was so thrilled to be feeling like myself again. I hadn’t had the flu in I don’t know how long, and man, was it ever awful. The chills, aches, fever…just feeling blah. I’m convinced that getting sick is one sure-fire way to make you realize how utterly wonderful it is to be healthy as you go about your day, doing your work, running errands, taking care of your family, living your life, experiencing even the most mundane and routine parts…to simply feel good while doing all of these things is a gift, for sure.

Along these lines, it seems a good time to pause and give thanks for a few things in my life right now that are making me a happy and grateful runner.

A mug of coffee next to my laptop. The view of snow falling softly outside adds a nice touch, too, I have to say.

A stack of great books to read, especially during this busy and full month. Next to running, getting lost in a deliciously good book is my way to relax and unwind at the end of each day. Like running, I make time for this simple pleasure, even when baskets of clean laundry are piling up around me. (Chores always get done eventually, right?)

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Three books I plan to read this month. I’m starting with Us by David Nicholls.

Discovering new podcasts to listen to during my runs. I have a bunch of new podcasts downloaded and ready to go after Joe recently asked me to help him find shows to listen to during his workday (he’s on the road a fair amount). One I’m really digging: the TED Radio Hour, which offers episodes on just about any topic you can imagine. Two I recently listened to and enjoyed: How We Love and Simply Happy. What’s so engaging about this podcast is it’s based on talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage.

Strong and supportive running friends. This Saturday afternoon Joe, Andrew, my brother-in-law Jason and me all ran the Farmland 5K, a December tradition for our family. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but well enough to take it nice and easy at this hilly trail race. Andrew and I ran alongside each other while Joe and Jason stuck together. At the finish we ate delicious chili and sipped on hot cocoa while standing beside a bonfire. Not only was this a great time with family, I also was able to spend time with a group of wonderful running friends. This race is one of my favorites for this very reason. The wind was whipping something fierce, but the sun came out and seeing old friends (and meeting new ones) was just so much fun.

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So fun meeting fellow Michigan Runner Girls at this weekend’s Farmland 5K in Traverse City. (Left to right) Liz, Courtney, me, and Donna. The friends traveled to the race from Muskegon. Great meeting you all!

Picking out our Christmas tree. Tonight is the night, and we’re again planning to go to our local farmer’s place not far from our house. Bonus: it actually looks like Christmas with all this fresh snow.

A holiday season + a BIG birthday ahead. I’m not one to go over-the-top with holiday celebrations — neither Joe or I like that overwhelming, too-busy feeling that can creep up on you this time of year and as a result have gotten better at not saying “yes” to every holiday party/gathering invite we may receive — but this year I am excited about a few holiday happenings: Joe’s birthday this Friday (weekend b-days are always extra fun), a cookie-exchange party one of my dear friends is throwing, and my 40th birthday next week. I’m actually really excited about turning 40. Is that weird?

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Marathon training is just around the corner! One week from today marks the start of my training for the 2015 Boston Marathon. EEK! I’m excited as ever to start a routine of running these next few months — I’ve learned over the years that I like winter training best — and I’m also nervous about the plan I’ll be following. “That’s a tough one!” I’ve heard more than once from friends when I share I’m following the advanced plan outlined in the book Hansons Marathon Method. Challenging, yes. But I’m up for it. Why not? I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes, and also sharing the journey with you all.

 

What are your grateful for?  

 

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One Response to “A Grateful Runner”

  1. I’m grateful for the chance to look forward to running again after so many injuries. the worst news would be that i’m not even given that opportunity so i look forward to the day i can put on my shoes and just run free (even if for just a little while). happy holidays!

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