I am a thankful runner.

I’m thankful for my two feet, which propel me forward, stride after stride.  And for my legs which continue to build in strength to carry me up hills and through miles of trail.

I’m thankful for my head, and my heart.  Combined they get me off the couch or out of bed, and out on the road day after day.  And together they push me through tough miles and difficult runs.

I’m thankful for the tears.  Because yes, runs do bring me to tears.  Both the good tears and the bad tears.  Both have taught me humility.  Humility towards the distance, the time, and the pain.

I’m thankful for the running community, which we’ve always known comes together in times of triumph, but we now know thrives during tragedy.  A community that supports me when I set big goals, rejoices when I succeed, and stands by me when I fail.

I’m thankful for the toenails I still have, and the ones that fell off.  They’re a constant reminder of both strength and weakness.

I’m thankful for family and friends, who come out to almost every race.  They ring cow bells and stand in the cold.  They’re supportive when I leave for hours at a time to go train, and helpful when I finish a race and struggle to walk.

I’m thankful that even though every race wasn’t a PR, they all taught me something.  Something about myself, about my abilities, and about pushing on.

I’m thankful for the PRs that were achieved, which have shown me the value in hard work, and how it will pay off.

I’m thankful for that blistering hot summer run, that toughened me up.  And that wicked cold winter evening, because I was able to go out anyway.

I’m thankful for every fall.  For every twisted ankle.  And for every bruise the trail threw upon me.  The trail offers peace and quiet, but it’s also a constant reminder of mother nature’s strength and how vulnerable I am to its greatness.

Expressing Gratitude

This Thanksgiving, as we take time throughout the day to express gratitude, I’m reminded of everything running provides me on a daily basis.

Mrs. RCR does something called a daily gratitude practice, where she writes down and meditates on something she is thankful for every single day.  This hasn’t been a ritual I’ve picked up on, but it should be.  And maybe you will find it useful as well.

Let’s start together.  What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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