It’s Turkey Day Eve, and I feel overcome with positivity and good fortune. There are so many things, big and small, that I’m thankful for: A loving family, coconut milk lattes, steady employment, bright bike lights, a safe home, my snuggly cat, the list could go on. Counting my abundant blessings would be impossible, so I’ll just give thanks for one simple, constant thing in my life—running.
There’s nothing that makes me feel as free or as fierce as running does. I love testing my endurance and seeing how far my two legs can take me, and how fast they can take me there. It’s amazing that I can run a marathon one day, limp around in excruciating pain the next, then feel completely normal 48 hours later. Our bodies are so resilient, and I’m eternally in awe of all they can do.
But forget races and finish lines. Leisurely sunny runs are the best kind of all. Whenever I’m angry, sad or totally stressed out, running is the cure. And if I’m giddy, confident or super excited about something, running just intensifies those good feelings. Each stride, each breath reminds me how very lucky and how very alive I am.
I took today off work to chill and prepare food to bring to the big Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. Before doing any vegetable chopping or bread baking, I went for a run. The sun was super shiny, and it was warm enough to wear shorts and short sleeves. (To the melted snow from last weekend’s storm, all I have to say is HA!)
I left my apartment with no expectations of pace or distance, looking only to enjoy the good weather. As I listened to the new Grimes album—Kill V. Maim is my jam—I lip-synched and grinned like a crazy person, stopping every so often to snap a photo of some overlooked but beautiful thing in my neighborhood. Like this stone archway, which stands just off my usual trail.
Rather than bumming out about the signs of winter around me, I marveled at the new textures and colors of all the transitioning plants. I may be a summer baby, but I believe in embracing each new season as it comes. Looking at you, winter.
Another reason running is so great? It connects me to my city on a different level. I get to weave through spots I wouldn’t see by car or even bike, that I wouldn’t glimpse on a walk to work or the grocery store. While jogging, I love spotting things that are just so Milwaukee. For instance, this fading brick advertisement for Schlitz beer.
Today’s jaunt ended after about 6 miles, and it was just what I needed. It made me realize how thankful I am to have an activity that simultaneously invigorates me, clears my mind and makes me appreciate my surroundings and just how good I have it. So I guess that’s why I wanted to write this little love letter to running.
Happy Thanksgiving, all!
YOUR TURN: Why are you thankful for running?