Monthly archives: November, 2015

Thankful Thursday 11/25/2015

brownie cake cut and frosted to look like a cartoon turkey

turkey brownie cake

The big day (in America) of Thanksgiving is here!

I like to make every day a thanksgiving – that’s part of what these lists are about. I’m keeping today’s short and sweet, big stuff in fairly random order:

  • running – my ability to run, that running is a passion for me, for the joy running brings me (whether moving my own body, or everything and everyone else related to running that enriches my life), along with the opportunities running brings for me to grow and develop as a runner and a person
  • the abundance in and of my life, in tangibles and non-tangibles, gained through the happy accident of my birth circumstances and all the good fortune and advantages I’ve had since, through people who’ve helped me, and through my own efforts…and the ability to help others this abundance provides
  • DH
  • my sister (and brother-in-law)
  • my friends, wherever they are
  • my health
  • my job and the friends I have there
  • my support team
  • everyone who shares their experiences, knowledge, and resources to help others – not just me, anyone – there are so many good, kind, generous people in the world
  • the beauty that exists in the world

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog posts, and for any and all comments. I am grateful.

quote - find your tribe

celebrate your tribe

I hope you are spending this day in a way that lets you reflect on and celebrate all you are grateful and thankful for, whether that’s at home or away, alone or with loved ones – biological family or chosen, relaxing or playing or working or in service to others. Whatever your way of feeling and being thankful is…..

May you be healthy,

may you love and be loved,

may you have hope,

may you laugh easily and often,

may you find beauty in every day,

may you have dreams and goals and find reward in your journey and efforts to reach them,

may your needs be few and well met,

may you be of help and comfort to others,

may you be safe,

may you be at peace,

may you know joy and happiness,

may you live in the gift of the present moment.

Mutts comic - thank you

one of my favorite Mutts


Thankful Thursday 11/18/2015

Mid-November: the leaves are almost gone, darkness falls early, and you can feel the pre-holiday pace quickening. While it’s easy to get distracted by the busy-ness (squirrel!) and chaos of daily life, it only takes a moment, a breath, to give thanks. It’s time for this week’s list!



  • Finding and reading books by people who are doing or have done amazing things, despite some tremendous challenges, pain and difficulty
  • Kabocha at Trader Joe’s!
  • My treadmill, and that I CAN run
  • The gas line repair happened safely and on time
  • The return of the internet (cable, phone, TV) to the house after an ill-timed, unexplained outage
  • Finding even more ways for me to improve my running (I have so much room for improvement), smart people sharing info for free! Examples include Sally McRae‘s quick strength exercises on her IG account (look for the “play” button and #betterathleteseries) Also heard tips on training for downhill running/fast feet from the great Ian Sharman – who sounds like a terrific coach – on this ep of TrailRunnerNation, and these tips on getting faster from David Roche in TrailRunner’s newsletter – his articles are practical and laced with humor. Now, to “find” the time….it’s “just” a matter of choices in how I spend my time. Is what I’m doing RIGHT NOW moving me toward one of my goals? If not, why am I doing it?
  • Inspiration in podcasts – like this concept from Alexi Pappas (I’m a fan) in an old podcast ep “I learned I could contribute to the team with a positive attitude even if/when I couldn’t contribute with my legs.”
  • I think I got my music moved from one computer to another in iTunes, podcasts and files still to come
  • Caffeine in my tea (now it’s time to wean off again)
  • Friends at work
  • Having ideas about things I want to do in the future – whether races or projects – and being reminded of past ideas for things I wanted to do (that I hadn’t thought about in years) – so many possibilities!
  • A tweet from Action for Happiness reminds me of a Buddhist principle about whether what you are about to say “improves upon silence”. A good approach all the time, but perhaps especially handy for any stressful holiday get-togethers. Before, you speak, THINK:
    • T – is it true?
    • H – is it helpful?
    • I – is it inspiring?
    • N – is it necessary?
    • K – is it kind?

(The Buddhist version asks if what you are about to say is true, kind, or necessary.)

  • Being forgiven when I let my stress get the better of me and say something boneheaded and possibly hurtful – definitely wasn’t an improvement on silence.
  • Finding a 100% gluten-free restaurant to eat at on our road trip (I’m so excited!), and that DH is thoughtful and generous in taking the time to detour out of our shortest path to go there, and that we CAN go there.
  • Being able to do my long run at home instead of on a hotel treadmill
  • People like Maggie Doyne, CNN’s 2015 Hero of the Year, and the others listed here. At 19, Doyne took $5,000 she had saved from babysitting and used it to help women and children in Nepal, including starting a school. Nick Kristof wrote about her in 2010. If you want to read more about “regular” people taking on causes and challenges, you might want to read Kristof’s book, co-authored with Sheryl WuDunn, A Path Appears. They are also the authors of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. I’m so grateful that there are so many people in the world who care about others and want to help, try to help, however they can.
  • A reminder in an IG post from Billy Yang, talented filmmaker and ultrarunner: “Why the obsession with worldly possessions? When it’s your time to go, they have to stay behind…so pack light. Live the story you want to tell.”

What are you thankful for this week?

Who or what is inspiring you or making you think of possibilities?

Thankful Thursday 11/12/2015

How time flies – it’s mid-November already! The leaves here are quite pretty.

tree on my usual walk route

tree on my usual walk route

Much to be thankful for lately, as usual (pretty great when you think about it)…’s a sampling:

  • Just got word that my dear friend – who I mentioned had been diagnosed with a third cancer – had his surgery Tuesday and is already eating soft foods and walking. This is good news!
  • Sleeping
  • Waking up
  • Paying attention suggests more things I should look into doing for my personal growth
  • Hearing/reading people who make me pause and think, or say “yes, I know that, I feel that, it’s not just me!”
  • That I am able to fix my car – last week it was in for a check and service, got some stuff replaced and repaired. There was something not properly done, so I was scheduled to bring the car back on Tuesday anyway, when Monday it started making a scary noise. Thankfully it wasn’t major (not trivial but not horrible) and they were able to fix it. I’m grateful for my 12 year old car, and for the resources to fix it so we can be safe on our upcoming trip.
  • Being able to find alternate places to run while my treadmill was out of commission, like the high school 1/4mi track (free), day passes at the community center with treadmills and a 200m indoor track, as well as the neighborhood and trails.
  • Treadmill repair service! Liked the new service guy a lot, and it was an easy fix.
  • Stepping outside my comfort zone multiple times in the last week and taking a chance or two
  • Meeting new people – who knows, they could be potential running buddies, potential friends, or both
  • Using the challenges lately as opportunities to strengthen various aspects of myself, my equilibrium, my attitude, how I think about, speak about, and approach things….I’m not perfect at how I want to be (and likely won’t ever be, that whole human thing) but I’m trying!
  • “Making excellent lemonade out of lemons” (thanks sis!)
  • Understanding and patience (I’m not easy sometimes) from DH, my sis and friends
  • People honoring me by calling me a friend, or by asking for my opinion or help
  • YouTube – so much cool stuff is available! Lots of running videos, documentaries….I’ve put a lot in a “watch list”, perhaps the hotel or time at the in-laws (with headphones) will be when I can enjoy some of this free content.
  • The BAA sent out this highlight reel from 2015 – fun to watch (wow, that 10k was rainy….and it didn’t seem to be raining much on the elites at Boston)
  • Though I’ve decided not to run the USATF 12k (National Championship) race, I can either go cheer in person as it’s close by, or I can watch live stream on the web as I did last year (info at link). It’s fun to watch, Sunday morning.
  • Kindle – I want a book at 9pm, it magically appears! And I can carry a bunch of them with me in a tiny package – helpful for trips. Our library even has a few books on Kindle (e.g., Running with the Kenyans, The New Rules of Marathon Nutrition). And Kindle Unlimited is kind of fun.
  • Inspiration and motivation – and hints, nudges, whacks from the universe – via podcasts, blog posts, twitter
  • For all those who make it possible, either personally or through an org/school, for someone with physical challenges to participate in and enjoy the sport we love – this and this (h/t Erin) are only a couple of recent examples. Admiration for the athletes and for those helping them go after their dreams.
  • People like Kim Stemple, who chose to lift others up while fighting a terminal disease and continuing to run, founding We Finish Together “share your medals, share your strength”. What an impressive woman.
  • I’m grateful for THIS moment: “Each moment is like the dew on grass, fragile, ready to evaporate, precious“.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thankful Thursday 11/5/2015

Welcome to November!

one of my favorite trees

one of my favorite trees

This is a month in which many people start to focus on being thankful and on helping others, but the needs are always there, as are people doing something about those needs. Here are a few things I’ve seen recently about people helping others, and I’m thankful not only for what they are doing, but for their examples that inspire and motivate me. It’s wonderful that we all have the chance to make a difference in our own way!

  • I love that one of RW cover choices is a runner – Bobby Gill – who’s made it his life’s work to help others
  • I am so happy to see the bravery of women runners in places like Afghanistan being supported by organizations like Free to Run (started by ultrarunner, attorney, human rights advocate, and writer Stephanie Case) and that their attempts to run and gain the freedoms they should have are getting more attention. Someday maybe we’ll even get to know Zainab by her own name.
  • I always appreciate reminders like this that there are so many people out there with physical challenges, for whom even everyday tasks are likely a lot of work, still persevering and doing amazing things, helping others and being part of our wonderful running community. Guts, grit and grace. (via Erin – By the way, check out Erin’s Small Change Initiative as a way to do good for your next race….)

-If you’re interested, you can find ways to support Achilles, the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Team with a Vision & other such orgs (or charity orgs you can support via racing like Team Fox) and find your way of supporting whatever cause or group appeals. Donate money or time, run to raise money, be a run guide or coach, whatever moves you and works for you. It’s never too late or too early to start – and nothing you can give is too small to matter.

  • It’s great to see runners helping others get started in our beloved support of running through groups like Girls on the Run or school groups or clubs (as often recently featured in Runner’s World).
  • If you’re a triathlete, you might enjoy helping kids get started in triathlon as Cherie Gruenfeld, 71 year old repeat Ironman age group champion, has done with her Exceeding Expectations organization, which I’d read about and recently heard on this episode of Babbittville Radio, where Cherie also talks about her last trip to Kona. (By the way, Bob Babbitt is one of the people who started the Challenged Athletes Foundation!)
  • You can do virtual races or challenges – benefit yourself while helping others

-Here’s one from Meredith, helping to raise money for the ALS Association, inspired by DC triathlete and runner Drea, who’s been diagnosed with ALS

-And the Another Mother Runner Stride Through the Holidays Challenge in support of HeartStrides – helping moms run when their children are dealing with life-threatening illnesses – what a wonderful idea! The Challenge is a way to support them and keep yourself running through year end (you can also donate cash or send items). Denise, the founder, was on this episode of the AMR podcast.

Opportunities to help are everywhere, in our own house, workplace, community as well as around the world. You can look for the need or look for those helping and join them. I see people and new groups helping others in creative ways almost every day!

Whatever need or cause is dear to you, or whatever you love and want to share, there’s good you can do. Whatever sport or hobby you are passionate about, whatever knowledge, experience, skills or resources you have to share can be used to help others. While I wish there was no need, no pain or suffering, I am thankful that I, through my good fortune, have a chance to be of service to others.

(One note – there may be times in your life where you just can’t spare the time, energy or resources to reach out and help someone else. Sometimes it’s all you can do to manage a smile, send a thought or prayer, open a door for someone, say a “thank you” to someone who doesn’t usually get one. Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can, no matter how small it might seem, or from doing what’s right for you, and don’t feel bad about taking care of yourself. You need to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help someone else.)

What are you thankful for this week?  Care to share a favorite way to help others?