Friday Five: 2013 gratitude edition

I know, Thanksgiving was last month. But still, as 2013 winds down, I want to write about things I’ve been grateful for this year. Kind of a gratitude-meets-year-in-review post. So at the risk of sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech, here goes.

  1. 2004


    My dog lived to see her 17th Christmas with us. When B was born, Shadow was already seven or eight years old; we figured he wouldn’t really get to know his dog or remember her when he got older. After all, the vet said she had some problem with her kidneys and wouldn’t live to be very old. But she has defied all expectations (including having major surgery at age 16) and is still with us. She’s unsteady on her feet and is a bit senile, but we’re grateful for every day she wakes up.

  2. The Texas Capitol and 17,000 of my closest friends

    The Texas Capitol and 17,000 of my closest friends

    I live in a running-friendly city. There are dozens of trails and parks that are well-maintained and safe. It’s also not uncommon to see runners (and walkers, and cyclists) passing through neighborhoods as well. While I’ve written about the occasional perils of running in my neighborhood, in general Austin is a safe place to get your feet on the street. Also, the city hosts a number of established, well-organized races, many at a time when other cities pause their distance racing calendars for the winter. Yeah, it’s hot during the summer (definition of summer: May through October) but training in those conditions pays off when the aforementioned winter races roll around.

  3. Travel. My job is challenging in a zillion different ways, but every summer I get to take a break and recharge so that I can go back and do it all again for another year. My summer vacations have given me a chance to run in different cities, which is a great way to explore somewhere new. In the summer of 2013 I ran through a park in Monroe, Louisiana, on the campus of Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, through Nashville, Tennessee. I ran at Lake LBJ, and then we ran a beach race in Galveston.
    Apparently it's not usually this crowded out front.

    Apparently it’s not usually this crowded out front.

    I’m also fortunate to have saved up quite a bit of personal leave, so I can get away a few long weekends each year. Returning to Cleveland for the first time in more than two decades was an amazing walk run down memory lane. I also ran with J around Arlington, Virginia when I visited with my NJHS students, and I came back to D.C. for the Army Ten-Miler in October. I’m tentatively planning on doing both of those things again in 2014, and I have my fingers crossed that I’ll get to visit the second weekend in June as well. Later in June, the family is planning a trip to the Florida Keys–it is a requirement to go for a run on Marathon Key, yes?

  4. They see me rollin'

    They see me rollin’

    I’m (relatively) healthy. Growing up, I was an active kid, but as a teen and young adult, I got lazy. After B was born, I lost the pregnancy weight but seesawed over the next couple of years. I’m 43 now and am about to begin my fourth year of running–I can confidently say I’m in the best shape of my adult life. Yes, I’ve had a stubborn hip flexor issue and my left calf is a bit funky, both of which caused allllll kinds of problems this past spring, but at the moment both appendages are working properly and I’m hopeful that with proper care and feeding (AKA foam rolling and periodic visits to my sports chiro), they will stay that way. And like I said in a previous post, my finishing times are dropping, I ran a 10-miler only slowing through the water stops, I’ve lost 15+ pounds, and I had to buy running capris in a smaller size yesterday. To offset that boost of confidence, however, I just got back from the eye doctor–I hadn’t had my eyes checked since college, and it turns out I need glasses. So yeah, there’s that. But overall, I’m in good health.

  5. The family that runs together...

    The family that runs together…

    Support of family and friends. My training and racing schedule over the last year and a half has required some juggling on the homefront, but my family has taken it all in stride. They run with me, they cheer from the sidelines, and they don’t bat an eye at race fees or the cost of new shoes. And thanks to the wonders of modern technology, my running friends cheer me on from near and far. For Cleveland, K and I trained together via text and had a blast. On the morning of the Army Ten-Miler, I got texts and Facebook messages from a dozen people wishing me a good race. Special shout-out to JE, KS, JM, GE, KP, and CS–you know why! I even got to meet a running blogger–hi Suzan! And training with Rogue has brought me a whole new set of friends–I’m no elite runner, but I don’t have to be. Rogues are the most encouraging group of people I’ve ever met. #JFR indeed.

Thank you for spending another year with me and my blog, and best wishes for a happy and fulfilling 2014!


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