Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanks-running day

Last Friday, I wrote to my running group:
As a warm up for all those turkey and butter-filled gatherings that are soon coming our way, I hereby declare that this Saturday to be our own special
Thanks-Running Day!

Because I'm grateful for my health, and for my friends (that's YOU), and for my awesome pink running shoes, and for crisp-but-sunny autumn days . . . and for so much more!

The celebration begins at 7:00 a.m. at the [usual place].  See you there?

This amazing group of Running Friends just constantly fills me with gratitude, for so many reasons.  It's not just about getting exercise; there's so much more.  So much more, in fact that I've just given in to the urge to say to my BRFs (best running friends):

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

  1. Running keeps us humble.  We've all had the days when we're the worst runner in the group, and we make other people walk with us.
  2. Running makes us proud.  Dang, we've done some truly astounding long runs together through blizzards and ice.  We're so tough.
  3. We inspire each other.  We've all done those mid-week "I'd better get back in shape" runs, just so we can keep up on Saturday morning.
  4. We accept each other as we are.  Because if we don't actually keep up, the rest of us slow down and don't resent it at all.
  5. When someone shoots out an email asking "who's up for an easy 3-mile run?", there are always takers.
  6. When someone shoots out an email asking, "who wants to help me do part of my 12-mile training run?" there are still takers.
  7. A 12.5-mile, Tell-the-Story-of-Your-Life run makes an awesome birthday present.  Thanks, B, for sharing a story per year for every half-mile of that run!  
  8. We share the sunrise.  Which, this time of year, let me tell you, is gorgeous.
  9. We share the early-morning full moon.  Which this time of the month, let me tell you, is breathtaking.
  10. Running introduces us to our city.  We know people and places we never would have known, and we know them up-close.
  11. Running makes distances shorter.  There are all sorts of places we now walk to, because we're more comfortable doing things on foot.
  12. Running gets us out of bed and starts our day off on the right "foot", so to speak.
  13. Horrible hills are their own reward.  Duke Street and County Park, I'm talking to you!
  14. Downhill runs are an even better reward!  Zzzzzzoooom!
  15. We've got our own language. (Everyone in our little group knows where "The Goat Run" goes, even though the goats are long gone).
  16. We've consecrated the cement with our own blood.  That little sidewalk just at the top of Chesapeake Street is a tribute to TL's toughness.
  17. Running gives us appetites.  It's so much fun to come home and just . . . eat.  Yummy food
  18. Running keeps us healthy.  And strong.  And good-looking.  Hurrah for being in shape.
  19. Hot showers after cold runs . . . total pleasure.
  20. We keep track of each other's lives.  It's good to know what's going on behind the scenes.
  21. We are sounding boards for each other. How to raise kids.  How to can applesauce.  How to deal with that annoying person at work.  Y'know.
  22. Cheaper than therapy when we're angry or frustrated or just plain down.  There's nothing like a run that has all the "passion put to use in my old griefs", as E Browning wrote.
  23. Mood enhancer because we always feel amazing at the end of a tough run
  24. We know each other's quirks.  For example, L. and her husband can't run at the same time, because they have one pair of running shoes, which they share.  How cool is that!?!
  25. TL cuts my hair.  
  26. Leah hosts amazing canning parties.
  27. Kim gives blood with me.
  28. Kathryn trades adoption stories with me.
  29. June loans me . . . well, everything.
  30. Margaret fills everyone around her with encouragement.
  31. Becca talks math with me.
  32. Because when someone tells your running friend, "well, I'm glad you got that marathon out of your system and that's all behind you now," you just know that means your group is going to have to start training together for a marathon right away.  Because it's not out of our system.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
[Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861]


    1. I really admire you for running in the winter. I don't even like to walk much on the slick sidewalks. Falling down is painful. How do you do it? Or are the walks and roads there in PA not slick like here in IA?

    2. Good question: if we get a freezing rain (sheets of ice), we don't go out until it starts to melt. But with snow, which can get packed down to be a bit slippery, we deal with it by doing this:
      - run/walk during daytime, if at all possible
      - walk on the north or west sides of the street, which get more sun (so more melting);
      - walk/run in the road, which gets plowed so is less slippery, if the sidewalks are really bad;
      - shoes with good treads. Seriously helpful.
      - and the big one: don't sit back on your heels; walk so that you're leaning forward (on your toes).

      Why this last one? Most people walk with their weight on their heels. If your foot slips, then your leg goes forward, and you fall backwards -- you can't catch yourself. But if you lean forward, almost like you're walking tip-toe, then if your foot slips, it goes backward, and you can step forward quickly to catch yourself.

    3. Thanks for the good advice--I'll try to get out more this winter.