Anyone that runs knows that breathing plays a big role. As I run, I try to imagine inhaling a thought of gratitude and exhaling the word “thank you”. It probably sounds silly, but it works! It takes my focus off the external mechanics of running and refocuses my energy internally, creating a more profound mind-body connection. I enjoy my run more and it becomes a more fulfilling experience.
So during the half marathon, I chose to run with gratitude. I ran with gratitude for…
The opportunity to participate in the race. I am blessed to have the time, support, and resources to train and race.
My health. Although I am not perfect, I am strong and healthy. I am thankful for this body that carries me through 13.1 miles.
The world around me. I drink in the fresh air, embrace the wind on my face, and admire in awe the beauty of fall in the Northeast.
My community. All around me are examples of my community coming together for common cause. From the race personnel and course volunteers working hard to keep me safe and hydrated, to the thousands of spectators on route cheering and waving signs, I am grateful for each and every one.
My running partners. As I run, I acknowledge that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my running partners (both human and canine). They were with me through months of training. From early morning runs before the sun came up, to finishing the last few miles of a long run in the dark, they were with me every step of the way. They pushed me forward, encouraged me onward, and kept me laughing the whole time.
My family and friends. Most of all I am profoundly grateful for my family and friends. Their support means the world to me.
“Gratitude also opens your eyes to the limitless potential of the universe, while dissatisfaction closes your eyes to it.”
– Stephen Richards
This attitude of gratitude powered me through the first 9 miles, but when I hit “the wall” and the overwhelming fatigue set in, it became harder and harder to focus on being grateful. By mile 10, all I could think about was the pain in my foot, the leaden sensation in my legs, and my escalating anxiety and self-doubt. My physical and emotional discomfort distracted me until the only thing that I was grateful for was that it would be over soon.
When finally crossed the finish line, my feelings of gratitude had evaporated. I was exhausted, frustrated, and disappointed.
This race taught me that I had more to be grateful for than I imagined. I made it. I struggled through the pain, the fatigue, and the panic. It was awful, but I made it. I finished safely and at the finish line, despite my feelings of failure, I was rewarded with nothing but love and support.
Finally finished, surrounded by family and friends, I took a long, deep breath. I inhaled in the power of gratitude.
Lesson 3: The Power of Acceptance