Thanksgiving is over. Friday Thanksgiving, a holiday we spent with friends, is over. The cooking is done. The Christmas tree is already up. The food is… well, there’s still a lot in the refrigerator. And I’m still full of gratitude.
I’m grateful for my kind and hard working husband. I’m grateful I’m married to a man who has always accepted me exactly as I am and reminds me that he loves me not in spite of my flaws, but because of them.
I’m grateful for my sensitive and creative big girl, who is still a little girl at four years old. I’m grateful for all the ways in which I have grown into a better person only because she demanded it from me. Because she deserved it.
I’m grateful for my baby girl. I’m grateful that she’s still more sweet than sassy. I’m grateful I get to spend as much time as I do with her, watching her turn into a little person that walks and talks… even when she beats my chest and yells, “Boobie! Boobie! Boobie! Boobie!”
I’m grateful we just happened to buy a house on a court off a dead end street where the kids can play all day. I’m grateful for all our amazing neighbors and the real and meaningful friendships we’ve already formed.
I’m grateful for this journey I am on, for finally mustering up the guts to start this business. I’m grateful for all the friends and family supporting and encouraging me. I’m grateful that the two Personal Coaching slots I opened up last week sold (instead of lingering out there forever and ever like I feared).
I’m grateful for my good friend and running partner that passed away this January. I’m grateful for all the laughs and love we shared pushing our toddlers in our matching, yellow BOBs.
Two years ago Thanksgiving began with a Turkey Trot 5K organized to help fund her cancer treatment. This year my friends back in California trotted once again in her honor. I’m sad I wasn’t able to join them, but I’m grateful I was able to start the day with a Turkey Trot here in Colorado. For awhile there it didn’t look like that was going to happen.
About three months ago, while at a wedding, my high heel slipped off the edge of a wooden walkway. I didn’t fall, but I lost my balance and my knee buckled, straining my MCL. The injury came as all injuries come, right when everything was clicking into place.
A year ago running took a back burner to our move from California to Colorado and all that entailed. Selling a house, buying a house, unpacking, registering cars, finding a preschool, canceling services and starting anew. Eight months ago, after deciding to enter a Yoga Teacher Training program, running took a back burner to re-establishing a regular yoga practice. I never stopped running entirely, but I cut way back. I began building my base back up in early summer and by mid-August I was hitting my stride (pun intended).
The day before that fateful slip I went for a 9 mile long run. I remember looking down at my legs, contracting and lengthening, carrying me forward and feeling like the runner was back. I made a last minute decision to run a 5K the next day, the morning of the wedding. Some friends of mine were running it and it was only a mile from my house. I ran faster than I would normally, but didn’t go all out and won my age group.
I felt strong and confident, powerful even. I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to run an ultra marathon and placed a training book on hold at the library. I had just ordered a new hydration vest and made plans to break it in on some trails the following week. Of course, that never happened.
The acute pain was gone within a day or two, but I couldn’t run pain-free for 3 months. I felt my muscles softening. I desperately missed the release, the meditation, the therapy that running has become for me. I felt discouraged, but also so much more than that. I felt terrified. I was on the cusp of launching this business, getting ready to promote myself as a running coach and I couldn’t even run. As more and more time passed the uncertainty became overwhelming and a tiny voice in the back of my head started asking that dreadful question, “Will I ever run again?”
So starting Thanksgiving with a Turkey Trot 5K this year was truly a gift. I was slow and it felt hard. I was passed multiple times by runners chatting away like they had plenty of air in their lungs to spare. That annoying voice in my head started challenging me with questions like, “Who are you to coach others? You can barely run yourself.” I told it to chill out. This is just a beginning. I’ve been here before. At least I’m running again pain-free. I’m so grateful for that.
And I’m oddly grateful for the timeliness of this injury. I think it will help me better relate to my community. To the frustration my injured friends feel when they can’t do this thing they love. And to those of you just getting started, those who feel slow and inadequate, who wonder if you’ll ever be able to do it: Yes, you will.
It takes time. More time than you want it to take, but it will come. And like I hope my story demonstrates, it’s not always a linear trajectory. You get a little better, you get a little worse and then you get better again. I know I’ll get there. You will too.
But most of all, I’m grateful I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my mom. Last year she felt too sick to eat, full of cancer just waiting to be diagnosed. I’m grateful we now live so close to her, that we’re able to spend what time she has left together. I’m grateful that right now she feels good. I’m grateful her last MRI only revealed one “suspicious” spot, too small to treat with radiation. I’m grateful for the tears that fill my eyes as I write this because I know they are a reflection of our relationship. I’m bursting with gratitude for my mother, who has always loved me so unconditionally, who I love the same.