Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Am Thankful

"The bone is not the reward - digging for the bone is the reward."

Today I ran the 36th annual Manitoba Marathon in the company of thousands. Like others, I trained many, many miles in trying conditions.  I ran when my mind screamed no.  I ran when my body ached from head to toe. I ran when my spirit slagged and I wanted to curl up in a corner... 

But I run, and I run, and I run... and I ran, and I ran, and I ran.  I ran until I was ready, and then I ran some more.

And what did I learn through these 650 training miles for this single event?

"I wish I didn't do that run" said no one. Ever.  

I learned we can do more than we believe. I learned we can be courageous on the outside when we cower on the inside. I learned life is better when we push our minds, spirits and bodies to uncomfortable extremes. 

That's what I learned.

My time was respectable for an old sea-dog such as myself: 4:14:57, placing 20/40 in my age category (55-59), and 217/391 in my gender placement. What do these numbers mean? Not much really, but for number geeks it means...

If you take 100 male marathoners of all ages and line them up from slowest to fastest I would be number 56 in that line. Forty-four would be faster than me and fifty-five would be slower.

The numbers are interesting and add a layer to my performance, but they are clinical, as if dissecting a frog in grade 11 biology. The marathon is a unique experience for it's about more human matters than mere numbers.  The marathon is about grace and humility. It's about pain and joy.  It's about tears and it's about laughter. It's about all this and more, but truly, it's not about numbers.

So I give thanks...

I am thankful for my health.

I am thankful for my strength.

I am thankful for my heart, my lungs, my bones.

I am thankful for my wife Jennifer for the warmth of her embrace.

I am thankful for my son Max (he makes me glow warm with pride and love)

I am thankful for my deceased father, Charles aka Charlie, aka dad, aka Poppa.

I am thankful for my deceased mother, Dorothy, aka Dixie, aka mom, aka Nan.

I am thankful for my my running friends, so many and so pure of heart and full of joy.

I am thankful for Laura and her daughters, Zara and Lucy  who stood steadfast in the cold rain waiting patiently for a glimpse of me.

I am thankful for my sister Judith, our family matriarch, for hugging me and cheering me.

I am thankful for Ainsley for her kind note waiting for me at 4AM wake-up, go mike go!

I am thankful for the readers of this tired old running blog, you mean so much to me.

Thank you and remember always, it is a good day to be alive, even when it feels as though the walls are crashing down all around.