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A Runner’s Thanks

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – a time to give thanks to those that have blessed you over the course of the past year.

I give thanks first and foremost to my family – my wife, who doesn’t get my running at all, but knows that it is important to me, and therefore not only puts up with it, but even takes the time to read this blog on a regular basis (talk about love); my girls, who cheer me on unconditionally, even if they don’t quite get my passion either.

I give thanks to my running friends – Mike, who has always been somewhat of a running GUIDE to me; to Pete, who was the first runner in the Twitterverse to reach out to me and introduce me to a WORLD of RUNNERS; to Brendan, whose bright spirit and kind words always encouraged.

I give thanks to Doug and Adam, who showed me what DETERMINATION looked like; to Alain, who showed me what TEAM looked like; to Steve and Caleb, who showed me what ASPIRATION looked liked; to TK and Michelle, who showed me what FRIENDSHIP looked like; to Lam and Kirsten, who showed me what HEART looked like; to Mary, who showed what GRACE looked like; to Chris and Chaz, who showed me what WISDOM looked like; to David, who showed me what friendly COMPETITION looked like; to Sarah and Brian, who showed what INSPIRATION looked like; to Sheila, who show me what MOTIVATION looked like; to Alett, who showed me what CAMARADERIE looked like; to Jennifer and Erin who showed me what STRENGTH looked like; to Josh, who showed me what KARMA looked like; to Paula, Judith, Jenn, and Alysia, who showed me what COMMUNITY looked like; to Rhonda, Sandra, and Gaby, who showed me what SHARING looked like; to Linda, Barb, Rachel, Sandra, Eva, Teresa, Bekah, Lauren, Melissa, Ryan and Magda who showed me what SUPPORT looked like. The list could go on and on. I know I’ve forgotten many, but please know that if we have crossed paths through running, I am thankful for it.

I give thanks to Vibram and Saucony, who protected my feet and carried me this past year to 7 minute improvements in both the 10K and Half-Marathon distances, a 35 minute improvement at the marathon distance and a BQ.

I finally give thanks to RUNNING, which has been my outlet and therapy. Would I be alive without running. Sure. Would I be happy without running. Undoubtedly, I’m a generally happy guy. But I do know that I would be neither AS happy nor nearly as healthy. Because of running, I am in better shape than I was 20 years ago, physically AND mentally. I am lighter, I am stronger, I am faster – I am better. Without running, I would not have met most of you! I am thankful that running has introduced me to a group of people that I firmly believe are the nicest, friendliest, least judgmental group of human beings in the world.

Tall or short; big or small; fast or slow; it doesn’t seem to matter to runners – as long as you run, you are one of us – and for that, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

If you are traveling this weekend, be safe and don’t forget your running shoes!

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Why do you run?

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Oink

– My wife’s Facebook status on Wednesday afternoon

I spent the majority of Thanksgiving Week running from the pigs.

They came for my younger daughter Saturday night, then for my wife on Monday night and finally for my older daughter on Wednesday night. No, I wasn’t being chased by the police. I haven’t called a cop a ‘pig’ since high school. OK, maybe since college, but I digress.

I was running from the swine flu. Wednesday night we had three girls down.  I was the last family member standing.  Our Thanksgiving plans to visit family had been laid to waste.  I scrambled last minute to find a Turkey and all the trimmings. All week I was thinking one thing – with the rest of the family out of commission, I could NOT get sick. My wife had been hit especially hard and was pretty much bedridden.  My older daughter (too young to take care of the household anyway) was just entering the worst of it. I had to make sure that the piggies couldn’t get me.

I firmly believe that breaking a major sweat goes a long way toward boosting your immune system. So starting last Monday, I ran.  Not away from my family – they needed me to take care of them. No, I ran away from the flu.  Every day, I ran. Whether it was my quick 5K sprint on Thanksgiving Day morning or my slower but longer 10 mile runs on the dreadmill – er treadmill – I was determined to break a major sweat every day.  I was going to make my body an inhospitable place for any little pigs who might want to take up residence.

I ran more miles this week than I have in any of the weeks in the past several months.

My legs…are…tired.

But you know what? It worked. At this point, as I write, the girls have all come out of the depths of swine and we are pretty much back to normal. Knock on wood, I am swine-free.

Is running the cure to the H1N1 virus? No, absolutely not. But I do think that it helped reduce the effects it had on my body. There is no way that I wasn’t exposed to it. I will admit now that I woke up both Wednesday and Thursday mornings with pounding headaches and I went to bed both of those nights with a very, very slight case of the sniffles, but it never got worse than that. The sniffles were gone each morning and the headaches went away with breakfast and coffee.

So if you feel a chill coming on or your nose is starting to drip, this is my prescription: Run once a day – either hard for 30 minutes or at an easier pace for 60 – 90 minutes. Either way, break a sweat – a real sweat.

You’ll thank yourself for it later.

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