If you’re a runner, have you ever asked yourself “Why do I put myself through this??”
I had that very thought on a recent 8 mile run. It was hot, I was tired, my knees ached, I was almost out of water and I was hungry.
Just for a moment I didn’t want to run.
I had forgotten that running is a gift.
You see, just three months ago I hadn’t been able to run. At all.
It was not for lack of trying. I had done everything possible to come back to running after a knee surgery over two years ago. But running hurt. A lot. And my knees got worse – to the point where walking more than 30 minutes was difficult. And the stairs? Killer.
So this particular day, as I was plodding through my run, my momentary resentment caught me by surprise. So much so that I immediately turned it around in my head.
I am grateful for the ability to run.
And I really am, despite my mini pity-party.
I popped the last Gu chomp in my mouth, took a swig of warm water, and started to think about gratitude and how it applied to running. Being thankful is fantastic, but is there a way I can make a tangible statement about my gratitude?
Tatooing “I am grateful for the ability to run” on my thigh benefits no one but me. And I shouldn’t need a visible reminder.
What if I donate $1 for every race mile to my favorite charity?
My donation means someone else will benefit from my running. If that’s what you call my limping/hopping/slowly moving in a forward direction.
I got excited and whipped out my phone to jot “in gratitude for the ability to move I will donate my race miles to charity” on my notes app. Except I was tired, my fingers were sweaty, and the damn auto-correct mangled my words.
Race mile donations start TODAY.
This morning I ran a 10k. The Labor Day Dash is the first race I’ve been able to run (not walk) since May 2012.
(I’m not counting the Christmas 5k I ran two years ago, with a huge knee brace, totally untrained, just because I was pissed that little kids and grandmas with walkers were passing me up. I’m competitive that way.)
In gratitude for the ability to run those 6.2 miles, I decided to donate to the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, one of my favorite charities.
And, miracle of miracles, I placed 3rd in my age group. My unexpected victory led to a new rule:
If I place in a race I will double the donation.
So the Soul Foundation gets $12.40 instead. The JBJ Soul Foundation will get my money, but I am the one feeling incredibly blessed.
Crossing fingers for a bigger donation next time.
In four weeks I will (God willing) run my 20th half marathon, which is my first half marathon in over two years. I think I will donate those race miles to the Arthritis Foundation. Maybe my $13.10 will help future runners with bad knees have a solution other than a knee replacement.
And then another $13.10 for the Cleveland Rock & Roll Half Marathon on October 11.
Hopefully there will be many race miles in my future, and many dollars to donate.
I am feeling very grateful indeed.