Day516 Thanksgiving

At Mile 19 Aid Station, the Frederick Steeple Chasers

Happy thanksgiving! I know Canadians had it last month and other countries probably have it on a different date or some don’t have it at all.

This day always slips by me so fast and that I am not quite ready to answer. The question is of course, what are we thankful for this year. It might be different for you.

So much have happened! I have done a few looking back year end entries already such as my blog aniversary not long ago (link if I remember or not too lazy).

Truly, it should be a day to pause and be grateful to our Creator — first of, a reason for being alive. Also it should be a time look at the meaning or purpose for our life. Further, we should be appreciative of life and the bountiful harvest of the year. I do acknowledge our pluralistic society. One can show appreciation toward life in other ways.

While running the JFK the past weekend, it occured to me, I was able to run it and I should not take it for granted. It was so simple. I was able to enjoy my run and that was a blessing.

The purpose of the race was not to see how fast we could do a 50 mile – I think the first place finished it in 5 and half hours. It took me almost twice as long. Time is important, but simply to be able to run it was an honor. I know a friend who ran this 8 times but this time did not finish under the time constraint, still it was an achievement for her to finish it regardless if it is under 13 hours or not.

The reason I was able to run it was a testament of being healthy. I wish I could run even faster, but they were saying how many people out there can run a 50 mile in one go! I did two 50 mile races on a back to back weekend. And I hope to do more this weekend and the next! I’ve reached a level a few years ago I would only dream of. I know I won’t be here at this peak for long.

Yes I am being thankful for good Health. Also during the run and it was such a long run. It brought to mind, like I wish I could get to heaven where everything is well and not more problems and such. Then I quickly came to realize that it is impossible. We can’t rush the divine time table. Like with my race, I know I would eventually get to the end. All I got to do is run my race.

Of course, we should be thankful for being able to breath, and do the things we enjoy. Things we can only do when we are alive!

Also, I had few friends who came out to support me! The first year, they were spectators and this year they ran along side of me. It was such a joy when they could come along and got the full taste of the ultra running experience!

There were a few other people I know on the course. Caroline, Trevor, Billy, Gretchen and so forth.

I was not trying to be mr. popular, but having people recognized me gives that validation, that I exist and I mean something to them. Caroline is a great friend who always reaches out to me and sharing with me her life story! There were a few others from the MMT community who are also very personal and endearing!

Similarly during the race, when I saw a runner in a funk, I told them, I see them and I am running with them through their lows.

I know someone who one said to me “I appreciate you!” and it just made my day. I can’t make a worldwide impact at once, but I if I can make a person cheer up, that will be enough! I told the runner, I see you! I don’t care if the runner then suddenly catch a second wind from my encouragements and then beat me to the finish. I have been in the lows too.

The year was not without troubles. I had setbacks, setbacks in my relationship with others, with my career, with my finance, and with my running. Especially with my running! I DNF’d three times (Devil Dog, MMT, and Iron Mountain). They left a hole in my heart. Oh, I am being dramatic! But it is true, sorrow does leave it marks. I compared myself to others. Why did that person is able to do it and I couldn’t? I can tell myself I will get stronger next time, but what if I can and won’t? Oh big woof, and too bad, some people tell me to get over it. I am thankful for the harsh critics too.

I guess, I have to be thankful for setbacks too. It humbled me. I am not always strong. I couldn’t always win. When I do and when I finish the race, it made it all so satisfying.

Because it means qualitative growth! I sometimes ask myself, have I improved at all? I could speak of running! I am getting slower and slower each year and it is heartbreaking to ask have I improved? JFK50 shown how my experience in my ultra running helps me finish the race. I was lucky to get a PR, but what more satisfying was realizing the experiences I gained from my previous failures.

There will be many more reasons to be thankful of and I will ponder them as I spend time with my family over the holiday. Yes, some will ask, why I am always talking about running even with the thanksgiving! it is because…well let leave it at that.

Enjoy your thanksgiving!

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