Preparing for a marathon involves a whole lot more than the mileage put in by the person wearing a race bib. I’m constantly thanking my family for being so incredibly supportive in my running habit, but was recently reminded it extends a lot further than just my family when I’m preparing for an endurance event. I’m running a spring marathon and after a friend referred to me as a nun on the run, it got me thinking and there are definitely hours of thinking as you put in the mileage. I’m pretty boring to begin with, but particularly dull when I’m living by a training plan. I wish I had the character qualities of a nun, instead I have the lifestyle of one during marathon training. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I know not everyone in my life feels the same way, and, for this reason, I have a seriously long thank you list. I would be willing to bet that I’m not alone. I would guess that many of us have a long list of people to be grateful for, some of them more than others, but all of them helping us reach for our goals.
~Spouses and Significant Others. There’s a reason this group comes first, they put up with a whole lot. Long runs limit the date nights and chafing might limit other things. Though your Sweetie might not be doing the mileage with you, they are supporting you in other ways and deserve some kudos. They pick up the slack when we’re gone, understand when we morph into a running hermit and they have an endurance event of their own trying to find us at races.
~Family. I have three boys and a large extended family and without their support, I would not be running a marathon this month. My house isn’t as clean as I’d like it, my kids have learned they can’t spring stuff on me last-minute because I require planning and it was decided we needed a ‘FAMILY GOOGLE CALENDAR’ because of me. Since I was more focused on my Hal Higdon plan than letting my own mother know when my kids had a soccer game, they had to intervene. I’m grateful for the intervention but sad to admit it got to this point.
~ Co-Workers. They listen to the stories and some. They get to hear about your 20 mile run last weekend, whether they want to or not. I’m not saying we brag to our co-workers, but when your weekend pretty much consists of running, that’s what we talk about. They get to hear about the hail, the car that almost hit us, the deer we saw, the dead possum on the side of the road, stuff that leaves them on the edge of their seats, I’m sure. I teach group exercise, so I have a ‘captive audience’ all the time and I need to thank them, probably one at a time. So far, no one has rolled their eyes when the long run is discussed and, for that, I am grateful.
~Running Friends. Without them I might sleep in for that long run, stay out too late the night before or skip the run all together. They listen to me complain, stay attentive when I grumble and at least act interested with my super dull stories that barely hold my interest. They text me just when I need it, sense when I could use a pep talk and lace up to run with me, rain or shine. I’m grateful for my running girls and don’t express that nearly enough.
~Everyone else I run into. The guy at the gas station, the checker at the grocery store, anyone standing in line with me, my Facebook friends, the girl at the yogurt shop……. Pretty much everyone I come across deserves a THANK YOU. My Facebook friends get bombarded with running stuff, I always feel like I have to talk to the guy at the gas station as I empty out the gel packs, banana peels and empty water bottles and the lady standing in line at the grocery store doesn’t need me to explain to her WHY I need a shower as I apologize for the smell. While it’s more that I’m feeling self –conscious and need to explain my behavior, attire or odor, I still appreciate that everyone has been so incredibly understanding and should probably just send a big thank you out into the universe.
Preparing for a marathon takes hours and hours of training and when I cross that finish line I have the satisfaction of another race completed. While I get a medal for the race, no one else gets a thing. My friends and family don’t’ get a sticker, t-shirt, post-race goodies or any sort of acknowledgment and I think that needs to change. I appreciate everyone who has supported me in my running endeavors, everyone who has been patient with me as I skip Happy Hours and might appear more like I belong in a fitness monastery. I know they don’t’ want medals or anything for their support, but I hope that each and every one of them realizes how much I appreciate them for helping me reach for my goals. I’ve added to those goals: I will aim to run harder, go farther and thank the people who encourage me to do so, because without them I couldn’t do it.