Deadlines at the office and the never-shrinking list of errands combine to make those trips to the gym and the increasingly shorter runs as guilty a pleasure as fine chocolate. Alas, amidst the seasonal hustle and bustle, today I was finally able to set aside a few moments for some long overdue reflection. I had been meaning to since receiving a pleasant note from the health insurer Oscar. Despite this being the open enrollment period for the exchanges, surprisingly I was not being solicited to change providers. Instead I found a request to consider marking the holiday season with a gratitude-themed post.
In considering the suggestion, I realized I don’t spend nearly as much time taking stock of my blessings as I should. So this afternoon I’ve turned off the television, turned on some seasonal music and decided to take a thoughtful moment and express my thankfulness:
I am most thankful I was able to achieve my most important goal of 2014: to become a marathoner by finishing the New York City Marathon. Not a day has gone by since that I haven’t smiled in satisfaction.
I am truly thankful I’ve become so passionate about running. I’ve always struggled to find an appropriate work-life balance. Running has given me an outlet for addressing life’s daily frustrations in a positive way and helped me realize genuine fulfillment.
I am sincerely thankful I’m leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, and have finally been able to completely kick the cigarette habit.
I am genuinely thankful my family was able to see me run during my annual Thanksgiving trip. I not only survived the 10-degree subzero windchill elements, but was able to bring home a prized pumpkin pie to complement my Mom’s turkey. This made for one the best Thanksgiving holidays I’ve ever experienced.
I am surely thankful to be a runner in New York City, where on any given weekend I get to be a part of something special alongside thousands who enjoy spending their weekend mornings running for life.
I am positively thankful to be a member of the running community. I feel so connected when reading about other’s experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly – through blog and social media posts. It is a nice reminder that though each individual’s journey is unique, the shared bonds are inspiring.
As fitness enthusiasts, we experience first-hand the science linking endorphins to that incomparable post-exercise feeling. But with more research showing that expressions of gratitude can also have a powerful impact on our well being, perhaps making a conscious effort to more regularly acknowledge our thanks might amplify that high we crave?
After completing my final race of 2014 yesterday morning, today’s reflections provided a perfectly-timed opportunity to relive my year of running. While I have much to be thankful for, I’ve realized I shouldn’t wait until one of the final Sunday’s in December to acknowledge my appreciation. In 2015, I know I’ll be making an ongoing effort to adopt gratitude as a key element of my training plan.