Tuesday, January 7, 2014

To run. To see. To thank ...

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

~William Arthur Ward

It's now a few days till my first marathon....again after being rescheduled.  This is the list of those who I wanted to thank for helping me along my journey. These are in no particular order.  In all honesty, there are days I need some of these more than others so it's not about the number.  It's the fact that so many people have helped me get to this point.  Every single one of them is in my heart and I am forever grateful.

#23 My Patients. You are without a doubt the most inspiring people I have ever met. It's not just the runners either...it's the ones that have such a strong desire to get better and make their lives more fulfilling by doing the things they love. You truly inspire me: Every. Single. Day.

#22 Fleet Feet Sports Schererville Oh Fleet Feet....where would I be without you? I wouldn't be running a trail marathon in December in Bloomington, that is for certain. You have brought me into contact with so many people that have touched my life, given me confidence, taught me more about running than I ever though possible, and gave me life long friends. I run the risk of leaving people out, so I will not specifically name anyone. The Fleet Feet family is one that has changed NWI running forever and I am honored to be a part of it.
 #21 Dr. VanMeter - If he hadn't told me I would never run again, I wouldn't have tried so darn hard. I have finished a lot of tough runs by just thinking about not being able to run. It immediately makes me smile when I think of how I've rebelled.

#20 MWUR. The most amazing, insanely talented group of athletes I've ever known. You've welcomed me with open crazy arms and I will forever be grateful. Now it's time to do 3 ridges in a thunderstorm....thanks.

#19 G-Dawg - You are a daily reminder of not taking life too seriously, fighting for what you believe in, and enjoying the beauty of life in general. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate the beauty and the life of the Indiana Dunes. It has made me appreciate every training run even more out there. Thank you for teaching me to express my creative side and thank you for being the most unconventional grandma I know.
 #18 - 5 years ago, I walked into a running store and had a great conversation with one of the employees. It took 3 years for her to convince me to drink the Kool Aid, and 2 more to have me inject it in my veins. Thank you Misty Walker Chandos for being one of the greatest inspirations for this marathon. You have always been an encouraging voice telling me "I can" when majority of the voices are saying, "not a good idea". From the bottom of my running heart, thank you for believing in me.

#17 - My "other" sister, Tanja. From 1,047 miles away, you have the ability to inspire me every day. You've taught me to get up every morning, be thankful for what I have, and do what I can to change what I don't like. Wish you lived closer, but grateful we are still "close".

 #16 - My dad. No matter what I choose to do, I always know you will be there to cheer me on or pick me up. Wouldn't trade you for the world.

#15 - Nikki Crawford. It meant more than you will ever know when you signed up for the Indy Mini with me for my first race. Having you there to run with and sharing that experience with you made it even more enjoyable. You are truly a daily dose of sunshine in my life. Love you little sister.
#14 - Grandpa Ray. You taught me everything I needed to know about working hard and determination. You were always my biggest cheerleader. You may no longer be here physically but you are always in my heart.
#13 - Jen Briggs Ryman. Thank you for coming out to the dunes for every single long run we did out there. A HUGE thank you for getting me through that 18 miler. You are awesome.

#12 - I never imagined I would be lucky enough to have a sister in law that was as close as an actual sister. Kristine, you have always encouraged me and cheered me on and been one of my biggest supporters. It has meant the world to me.

#11 - Having an amazing massage therapist at work has been a huge perk during this training. A huge thank you to Ebony for keeping my upper shoulders, back and calves nice and relaxed!

#10 - You have a natural athletic talent that I only wish I could have. You have a fearless nature about you that inspires me to get over any set backs I might create in my mind. Rachel, I wouldn't change you for a second and am so glad you are my little sister. Love you!

#9 - My mom. No matter what happens, you are always there with a smile on your face and way too much bounce in your step. Thank you for always supporting me in every crazy decision I make.
8 - My mother in law, Diane. One of the sweetest people I know. You always make me feel like I'm doing a great job...even when I'm not. Thank you for all of your support.

#7 - Justine Helminiak - I'm pretty sure you are the energizer bunny and such an inspiration. Thank you for all of your encouragement. It has helped more than you know.

#6 - Trying to remember this week and enjoy it as "My Marathon Week". Things get so hectic, that I rarely take time to really enjoy what is going on around me. Thank you Kim White for being that amazing friend that always finds a way to remember the little things that mean so much and to remind me to take a moment to enjoy them. Wish I could take you with me this weekend.
#5 - Juli - You are my oldest friend. You know me like no one else. You are one of those people that make others love life because you make it more fun! Your energy is contagious and you are one of the most beautiful people, inside and out, that I know. Love you.

#4 - Bob Bing Craig - There is no possible way I would have made it through this training without you. Having someone crazy enough to get up at 4am 3-4 mornings a week to run with me has been amazing. You give me encouragement when I want to quit, understanding when I want to cry, and congratulations when I meet my goals. Probably the best running partner. EVER. Thank you!

#3 - Lyla. The purest joy I've ever known.

#2 - Tom - You have helped me become the person I am today. Where I am weak, you are strong. You give me a different perspective and help me understand when I feel lost. The support you give me is immeasurable. I love you with all of my heart.

  #1 - I don't talk about religion or my beliefs openly with many people.  However, I will say that I believe in a higher power that is unexplainable.  Whatever or whoever that power is, I am grateful for this beautiful, magical, amazing world we live in.  I'm grateful for the ability to become who I am and for the ability to continue this training much longer than I anticipated.  I'm grateful for the beauty I encounter on every single run outdoors.  We don't have to live in exotic places to find those views which take your breath away.  We have them, right here in NWI.  Open your eyes, open your heart, and take in all that you have been given.  It's all a gift that can be taken from you at any moment.  I'm grateful for the ability to be able to do this.  To run.  To see.  To thank those that have given me the gift of a life I love.

*These are all photographs I have taken while either running or hiking at the Indiana Dunes State Park.