Note: Thank you to all of my heroes of the day, you guys have helped me to raise $1,408 for the American Medical Athletic Association already! I still need 90 heroes to help me reach my goal, so if you haven’t donated yet, you could still be my hero of the day!
In honor of Thanksgiving (and the Baton Rouge Turkey Trot I plan on running tomorrow), I’m sharing a journal entry of mine from a while back.
I have this theory that sometimes the biggest things we decide to do in our lives aren’t really big decisions at all. What I mean is, the things that end up having a lasting impact are sometimes the result of trivial choices that we normally wouldn’t think twice about.
For those of you who think I am an intense runner – I’m not. I have never run competitively. I didn’t run track or cross-country. This upcoming marathon will probably be my first and last one.
But for some reason, running is a pretty big part of my life. That’s not to say that I run 365 days of the year or anything. It doesn’t mean that unless I do my 6.5 miles every day, I’ll freak out. It’s just that, some days, running is like a religion to me. It keeps me sane. It’s like a good friend I can go to if I’m ever feeling a little anxious or nervous about something.
But here’s the funny thing. I didn’t have some monumental Rocky-esque realization that I was going to start running routinely. I didn’t swear it up and down and dramatically write it in ink so I could release it on a hot air balloon to solidify my commitment. On the contrary, it started with a casual conversation that my friend (and later my running buddy) Rachel and I had at half past midnight at the bonfire that followed our graduation from high school and marked our entry into that magical summer following senior year.
“Hey Ang, want to start running Thursday?” (That day was a Tuesday, if I remember correctly).
“Sure,” I replied, “Hudson Springs?”
And that Thursday, we ran a little over a mile at the world’s slowest pace. Afterwards, as we were about to say our goodbyes, I looked at Rachel and said the words that we’d exchange every morning that summer (minus the 6 days I went on a road trip to Yellowstone with my family and the 4 days Rachel went to St. Louis to see her extended family).
I turned to her and casually asked,” Tomorrow? Same time?”
It took us a week and half to start running two loops around the park, which was a bit over 3 miles. It took us a month before we attempted three loops. It took us the entire summer to convert our pace from a getting-passed-by-the-elderly-who-are-on-a-power-walk pace to a respectable 5K jogger pace.
Slowly, gradually, as a result of a quiet day-to-day determination not to be late meeting Rachel at the park, running became part of my life. That morning routine carried into college, which is a time of big changes, erratic sleep schedules, and an even more erratic eating/exercise schedule. Going into my freshman year of college, I still woke up early most days to run, exploring the city and making new friends along the way. It’s been something that has stayed with me and allowed me to stay mostly stress-free (thank you, endorphins).
So tomorrow, on Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for many things. I’ll be thankful that we have watermelon in the dining halls every Tuesday. I’ll be thankful that my biggest problem is that I’m too busy because I’m doing too many things that I love. I’ll be thankful that my roommates and I have established that Monday night is TV night. I’ll be thankful that my parents are the same laid-back understanding people they have been my entire life. I’ll be thankful for the wonderful friends in my life, new and old, who are like silver and gold to me. And I’ll be thankful for running, because not only does it take my breath away (literally), but because there’s nothing like a good run to give me the good sense to count my blessings.
As always, let’s hope I can keep counting my blessings for 26.2 miles!