Gratitude

Tuesday: I’m not getting sick.  I’m not getting sick
Wednesday:  Dammit!

It wasn’t a big sick; you should hear the convoluted way I blamed it on the chicken silo.   But, it was a sick that jepordized my ability to make it to the Beast starting line.  I didn’t know if I’d be up to running, but promised myself that if I did, I would embrace the opportunity to do what I truly love. 

By Friday, all signs pointed to me making it to the starting line.  But, as fate goes, I made it...15 minutes after everyone else had already started.  DFL, but grateful to be there.

Locking my keys in the car and the dash to get going threw me a bit off balance.  My friend Denise saw my discombobulation and hugged me.  Sometimes all I need is a hug to get back on track.  Okay…game on.

I was grateful to be running.  I promised myself not to dwell on the obstacles put in front of me.  I would “embrace the suck”.  It would happen, and I would respond.  Bitching about it wouldn’t stop it and would only make it harder to deal with.  Ultra-running has taught me that I will be required to dig deep.  I’m constantly in awe that when I dig, there’s something there. 

I started thinking about the people in my life.  I've learned so much from watching others cultivate their strengths.  People who have made me a better person, just for knowing them.  These are the people I "let in".  People who know me so well…know just what to say to make me smile…provide just the right warm thought…. distract me….remind me that I think this is fun…love me.  I am beyond blessed and grateful for the impact others have made on my life.

I began to focus on the four people I have known from the start: my siblings.  Each was “with” me during this race, and I borrowed from each of them their character strengths, to help get me through.

Jeannie.  I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating.  NO person has affected who I am more than this woman.  She provided both examples and non-examples of who I want to be.  I needed her drive, her focus, and mostly her ‘screw it, this is what I’m doing’ attitude.  RIP Jeannie.

Rick.  My brother who is fifteen months older than I and affectionately referred to as ‘Rickapedia'.  This guy knows something about everything.  I can sit and talk to Rick for hours.  He’s very analytical and detail oriented.    We are from Massachusetts, so he’s “wicked smaaaart”.  Rick is the family "go-to" guy.  I needed him to help me think through the technical aspects of the race—my footfalls on the never-ending ice, managing my nutrition, assuring I had the right gear for the weather.  The weather, by the way, ran the gamut:  sun, cold, wind, snow, freezing rain. 

Mark.  My younger brother.  Mark wants the world to think he’s a curmudgeon.  He comes off gruff, but he has the most endearing soul.  He may not do the small kindnesses---I don’t think he would ever open a door for me, but he’s the first one to stand up and help with the big stuff.   No questions asked, I know Mark has my back.  He has a sarcastic wit and I would think of him when I would wipe out on the ice, and then see where someone had written “bad ice” in the snow.   He would appreciate the irony and make an appropriate comment.  I needed him to remind me to laugh at myself and to not take any of this too seriously. 

Danielle.  The youngest.  Danielle makes an lasting impression.  She is effervescent…spontaneous…compassionate…loving.  She sees the world with such beauty.  She lives passionately and uniquely.  She throws herself into adventures with reckless abandonment.  I needed her so much during this race.  During the night when it was cold, because of Danielle, I would keep looking through the clouds…knowing there would be a star eventually.  I appreciated the sunrise because Danielle notices such things.    I made a conscious effort to capture the beauty around me in my memory.  The world is beautiful, even when things are hard.


The race was challenging.  I really was not 100% physically ready to run it.  I hurt.  I hallucinated golf courses.  I froze.  

I keep a sign by my desk that says, “There will come I day when I can not do this.  Today is not that day”.  For that, and for everyone who has been with me on this crazy journey, I am truly grateful.

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