365 Days of Gratitude

12 Nov

November is in full swing and that also means social media feeds are chock full of posts professing daily thanks for the length of the month. This is a great practice, but to this I say:

Why not 365 days of thanks?

Any day is a good day to practice gratitude. We don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving creeps up on us to start acknowledging blessings big or small. Here is a post I wrote a little while back about running with gratitude that I thought would be great to recycle.

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Often, we talk about the stress relieving benefits of running. A long run or an intense workout can be just what we need to work through frustration, anxiety, or grief. It’s true that running is a (cheaper) form of therapy, but it’s not all about the endorphins or distraction. Sometimes that therapy comes in the powerful form of positive affirmation that the act of running can magnify. Acknowledgement of life’s simple pleasures and abundant gifts can lift the spirits and make our hearts (and legs) feel lighter.

(Source)

Without question, running has helped me release many burdens. Even more so, it has encouraged me to count my blessings, appreciate my body, and lift my spirit. When I run with a grateful heart, my whole experience changes. On days where blessings seems to multiply, I hold my head up higher, feel lighter on my feet, and seem to move through the miles with greater ease.

There doesn’t need to be a major celebration or event to be able to acknowledge the things we are thankful for. If I asked you to list 3 things you are grateful for in this moment, what would you say? Go ahead, do it. I’ll wait.

It can come in the form of a sunny day, a snuggle from a pet, hitting all of the green lights on the way to work, a kind gesture, coming home to your family, being in good health. It could even be a smile from another runner on the road, tip you learned from a pro athlete, a new personal record, a congratulatory handshake from a competitor at the finish line. Or maybe it’s the first run back from an injury, your feet tapping beneath you, your legs carrying you forward, the gift of mobility.

Gratitude can transform the way we run, much in the same way that it transforms our lives. When we run with gratitude, there is no such thing as a bad run. We are no longer held back by negativity or weighed down with burdens. We are light, fast, free. We become one with the road or trail, our footsteps drumming a steady beat as the miles fall away. Run with a heart of gratitude and you’ll travel further than you ever thought you could.

runwithgratitude

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Now, I challenge you to consider starting a daily practice of gratitude where you name at least one thing you are grateful for in that day. Just one. That’s all it takes.

 

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Race recap: Stockadeathon 15K

10 Nov

Today will go down in personal history as the first time I seriously considered skipping a race I had already registered for but ended up running anyway and setting a personal record.

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It’s no secret that I was underprepared for the Stockadeathon 15K, considering that I’ve only run a few times in the past few weeks. And I didn’t feel especially great on those runs.

When we finally got out the door this morning and headed to the starting line, my only goal was to finish and hopefully give my running battery the jump start it needed.

When the gun went off, I eased into a pace my body felt comfortable with – 8:00/mile. I just told myself to stick with what felt good and I kept moving. The course was pretty, historical, and peppered with spectators so that helped a lot.

I felt surprisingly good until miles 5-6 where I lost a little momentum in the hilly part. (Turns out the second half of this course is harder than the first.) It took a little while but I got back on pace for the most part and worked my way around Central Park to finally hit the finish line at 1:14:34 (unofficial Garmin time) – a 3 minute PR!

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As soon as I finished, the runner’s high kicked in and I was ready to immediately register for 105 more races get back on track.

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We headed to the post-race refreshment pavilion and couldn’t believe the amount of goodies! Cider donuts, hot cocoa, chocolate milk, oranges, cookies, candy, juice, soda, water, pizza, bagels, bananas, granola bars and more. There was also a big fireplace. Post-run heaven!

Now, I’m feeling motivated, refreshed and ready to get running again. In the wise words of my brother, you’ll be surprised what you can do after a little time off!

My body is still on vacation

4 Nov

Hello again, friends! We’ve been back from Italy for several days now and it’s starting to feel like life is getting back to normal (AKA: We are finally able to keep ourselves awake past 8:30 PM). The trip was incredible and there is SO much to tell everyone, so I will be writing about it in parts. For now, here’s a little teaser:

Hanging out on the Island of Capri

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fit my running shoes into my little suitcase. That means I went a solid two weeks without running at all. We certainly walked several miles or more a day, but the only running involved was to catch a train or avoid being hit by a scooter.

My first run back was an easy 3 miles to loosen up my legs and get back into the swing of things. Since this went well, I was hoping to get back on track pretty quickly.

Nope.

I had decided I to go for 5 miles on Sunday for my November entry for the Fall 5 or 10 Virtual Race Series. After so much time off, 10 miles just didn’t seem realistic.

Late in the afternoon, I geared up. Yeah, that’s right. The weather went and got all cold while we were enjoying the 75 degree (F) sunshine in Italy. With temps below 40 (F), I had to pull out the compression tights and thermal jacket!

The cold weather is coming…

This run was no fun at all. I felt sluggish and uncomfortable the whole time. My legs just wouldn’t go any faster than a 10:00/mile pace (which is not typical for me) and my body seemed to still be on vacation. I really struggled to stick with it and if it wasn’t for the Fall 5 or 10, I probably would’ve just given up.

I finished in 50:40, much slower than my previous 5 mile entry of 39:17. What a difference a vacay makes?

At least I got to see the beautiful colors of the pond at sunset…

Autumn twilight

I’m registered for the Stockadeathon 15K on Sunday and if this run is any indication, I’ll be taking that one easy.

Question: How do you get back into running after vacation?