Giving Thanks October 29 2015

Stick with me for a day and you’ll hear me say, “Thank you” quite a bit.  I thank the bus driver who gets me safely to New York City, the random person who holds the door open for me at the store, and Chris for making sure I am well fed. 
I am appreciative of the little things, and try to recognize them as often as my busy brain remembers.  This hit home for me when, on October 25th, I had the honor of running the 40th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC and was reminded of many of the reasons I am grateful.
Giving Thanks For…
The night before the race, a group of my college friends-turned-family hosted a pasta dinner to celebrate.  When we all met 25 years earlier at Syracuse University, we were a bunch of youngsters whose biggest responsibility was getting to class on-time.  Now, for the majority, the biggest concern was the new, littlest members of our gang – their kiddos!  Seeing my friends with their families and watching the kids bond over stickers, the “Frozen” princesses and chocolate cake made the night unbelievably special. 
Throughout the months and many many miles leading up to race day, I had the privilege of training with wonderful friends, Greg and Kandi to name a few.  We arrived at the start – still in the pre-dawn darkness – and were already giddy with anticipation at what the day would bring.  Running into another friend and Kilted Warrior, David, made the morning even more special.  I am grateful for their friendship and the chance to share in these spectacular moments.
I feel we are beyond blessed to have the ability to feel safe running with 30,000 people throughout our nation’s capital.  And after running the 2013 Boston Marathon and being stopped a mile short of the finish, I think I appreciate that feeling of security even more.  But, I don’t have to think about that every day, mainly because our servicemen and women – military, police, and fire – think about it for us.
One shirt I ran behind for a mile or two read “Freedom is not FREE”, and I was especially reminded of that when we came along what is known as “The Blue Mile”.  The stretch between miles 12 and 13 honored the fallen – photographs of Marines as young as 19, fathers smiling with their children, people in their prime of their lives lined the sides.  Kandi and I ran silently, hearing the occasional sigh or “So young, so brave” from the crowd.
After the photos, flag bearers stood – family members of the fallen standing in respect for their loved ones.  Children, parents, spouses and friends – we thanked each for their loved ones service and were given a “Thank you for running” in return.  A lot of tears were shed that mile.
Physical Fitness
Completing 26.2 miles – whether you are running, walking, skipping or, as my friend Laura likes to say, frolicking – is no small feat.  I am grateful to have health that allows me to do what others may not be physically able to, and the mental fortitude to even attempt it in the first place.