A run to reflect

I took vacation from work on Friday to run (why else would I take vacation?) and planned a trail run with my dog, Audrey and Barb at Hensley Lake. Although it was a “group” run I only spent a half-mile in sight of anyone else. Then Buster and I took off. I got to spend that time reflecting on how thankful I am.

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Sure, I’m a little bummed that my speed and endurance isn’t what it used to be. After taking 6 weeks off to heal an injury, I came back slow and out-of-breath. But I’m running!

As I ran I thought about kids who are in the local children’s hospital. They’re in there hooked up to IVs and other machines, maybe getting chemotherapy, maybe unable to even walk from their bed to the bathroom. I’m sure they would LOVE to tear those tubes and machines away to run out on the trail for even 20 minutes. And I bet they wouldn’t give a shit if they were running fast or slow. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to run, and a lot of us take it for granted. We should be thankful for every step that we take outdoors.

I’m truly thankful to have the employer and type of career that allows me to have a flexible schedule, sick leave and paid vacation. This is my first “big girl job” and it’s wonderful to have the work-life balance I asked for. At my interview I said that family comes first and I need the flexibility to be a good mom and attend my kids’ school functions, etc. My boss didn’t even blink an eye. Of course that is what I’d have! And I do. And although my coworkers look at me like I’m crazy when they ask how I’ll spend my vacation and I say “14 miles!” everyone is supportive and just says, “more power to ya!”

I’m able to work, run, and be a mom — I feel so utterly WHOLE, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

As Buster loped along ahead of me I was thankful that he got to enjoy the outdoors. He’s usually cooped up at home while I work. He’s had occasional seizures for the past few years and I really don’t know how much longer he has with us. But at least I got to treat him to an 8-mile trail run with myriad “new smells.” He probably put in more than 8 miles because he was constantly going off course and then coming back to me.

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The greenery made me feel thankful as well. Thanks to El Niño, the California drought doesn’t seem as apparent. There were acres of thick green grass lining the trail, the water line of the lake was a bit higher than usual and everything just felt so wet and fresh! The ground had been so thirsty and recent storms finally seemed to quench it.

I felt equally thankful today during my quick 5-miler while the kids were in the church nursery. My grandmother works in the church nursery, so I often drop my two off in there. Instead of heading to the morning’s service, I run down the street and fit as many miles as I can into the 40 to 60 minutes I’m allowed to leave them there. I hold my own church service in my head 😉

Today it was pouring rain during much of my run. It slowed to a sprinkle for about the last five minutes, but water never ceased to fall from the sky. It was glorious! I smiled as I hopped over puddles and snorted when I wasn’t paying attention and went ankle-deep into a puddle. Serves ya right! How incredibly blessed am I to have the opportunity to run and splash in the rain?

I have air in my lungs, two strong legs, a beating heart and a mind for adventure. I can’t be more grateful for how my life has turned out to be ❤

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