Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

The topic for today is thanks.  And days.  85 days.  But really it is about thanks.  If you’re tired of reading about running stuff, skip the next few paragraphs.  Somewhere about 1/3 of the way through this post I get to the good stuff. The thankful stuff. The “I love who I am and this is why” stuff.

There are 85 days between now and the Outlaw 100, which is going to be my first attempt at a 100-mile race.

15 days after Outlaw, I’ll be doing the Little Rock Marathon. I’m doing it because they have an amazingly huge finisher medal. Last year it was a dragon or a castle or something cool and I signed up because I wanted one. This year the theme is aliens and UFOs, so I am not nearly as excited as I was when I registered, except that there are several (8-10) Run the Year members who are attending, meeting up, etc., which is going to be a total blast, AND I will get to see me awesome Cowtown Marathon BB Dawn, again!  Dawn was one of my two roomies for Cowtown 2017 (my first marathon, ever) and is also a fellow Jacksonville Jaguars fan!

13 days after Cowtown is the Pistol 100 in Alcoa, Tennessee. This WAS going to be my first attempt at a 100-mile race.  I was going to use it as a training race for the Leadville 100, which is probably the most challenging run I will ever do, and it is in August.

But, as fate would have it, after I decided to make Pistol my training ground, and after Tracie and Brandi agreed to come there, run races of their own, and then watch me finish the 100 miler so they would know what to expect when I flip out during the later miles at Leadville… after all of that happened, the Outlaw 100 was created and it became my first “new” 100 mile race.

The Outlaw 100 is an inaugural event. The Race Directors, Jeremy and Alicia, are experienced ultramarathoners and know what they are doing, and the running “family” in Oklahoma are an amazing and awesome group of people. As soon as the race was “born” I knew I had to support it and I had to be there… and like the awesome friends that they are, Tracie and Brandi started planning it before I even knew (or admitted) I would be going!!

Still, I am looking forward to the Pistol race.  There are currently close to 20 of us from the Run the Year 2018 group who are attending the Pistol races and running one of the several events.  Living in SE Wyoming means I run alone. Corey runs a little, too.  He is a firefighter, here, and so he runs to stay in shape for that.  But he doesn’t want to do the longer races like I do. There are no “club runs” or group training sessions.  A race like Pistol, where 15-20 of us will be running and supporting each other, is something to look forward to!

So here we are… 85 days out from my first attempt at the 100-mile distance, but also knowing that I have a marathon 2 weeks after Outlaw and then a second 100 mile run 2 weeks after the marathon.

Seriouslyt?  OMG!  What the fuck was I thinking?!?!

In all honesty, had I known Outlaw would be coming along, I might not have registered for the Pistol 100.

Maybe.

But their finisher award is a buckle with a gun and bullets and the revolver section of the gun actually spins!!!

Who am I kidding? I want that buckle.

And the Outlaw buckle looks to be amazing – a bandit, 2 guns and bullet holes in the buckle.  They’re also offering an option to double-up (add a 5K distance) and get a badge that looks like an old-time sheriff’s badge!  This is exciting stuff!

So, if all goes well, after the Pistol in March, I will be an Outlaw, with a sheriff’s badge and a gun!

How fucking cool is that?!?!?!?

But back to being thankful. 

I am 2 1/2 weeks into my training for Outlaw, I am pondering the year ahead in every painful detail, and I realize that I am so very, very, very thankful.

– I am thankful that I am healthy.  I am thankful that I can actually train for, and plan to run, 100 miles.

– I am thankful for a husband that supports me in all of my craziness.  He supports my crazy goals, does not complain about me traveling for races, or my Ink ‘n Burn addiction (I really need to curb that), and has not complained about the fact that pretty much every item on my Christmas “wish” list this year is related to running.

– I am thankful for my awesome running friends and all of the incredible support that they provide each and every day.  They cheer me on, they provide moral support and they actually plan to come and pace me and crew me and make MY running efforts a success.  I would name names, here, but I would forget someone, so I will just say that if you are a runner and you are reading this, I AM talking about you!!

– I am thankful for my kids, who support my crazy goals, and thankful for my beautiful/ handsome grandchildren, who I hope will be proud of their grandma and will use my own accomplishments to fuel their own goals and dreams.

But those are the easy parts.  I am also thankful for some of the things that have not been so obviously good. 

 – In a weird way, I am thankful for my previous employer, who laid me off.  I am thankful that they offered a small severance package, so that I have a little bit of time before I need to worry about working, again, so I get to enjoy the holiday, train hard, and then look for a job early next year.

– I am thankful for my kids’ dad, because even though things did not work out for us, we still ended up with 4 amazing and awesome children. I am thankful we went our separate ways, because it has enabled us both to become better people and to pursue our own dreams.

– I am thankful for my ex-husband, because he was a supportive step-dad for my kids.  He is a part of the reason that they were able to grow into the awesome humans that they have become.  And because he was honest enough to admit that we could not be happy together, even before I really realized that, myself.  If not for him, I would not have met Corey, and Corey is, by far, the best thing that has ever happened for my heart, my self-esteem, and my unconditional love of life.

 – I am thankful for my parents, even though there were years that Mom and I did not get along, and even though my time with my dad during his final years was not what it could have (and should have) been.  I am thankful that he was there to raise me and love me as his own, even though I was not.  I am thankful that my mom has survived TWO bouts with cancer and is still here. I am thankful that she and I are now the friends that every mother and daughter should be. And I am thankful that I AM friends with my own daughters and son.

 – Finally, I am thankful for the person that I am, today. 

There are things in my past that I cannot ever say I am thankful for, and I cannot even write about, really.

\At least not here.

But if not for those things, I would not be the person that I am, today.  If not for the pain, I might not appreciate the joy. If not for the trials I might not appreciate the triumphs.  If not for the failed personal relationships, I would not appreciate the strength and depth of the love that I have now found.  And if not for that love, I might not have the strength and desire and ambition to tackle such crazy goals as running 100-mile races.

If not for the past – if not for all of the good AND all of the bad – I would not be here.  I would not be the person that I have become. And that would be sad.

I like the person I have become.

I love my life.

I believe in myself and my goals and my crazy dreams.

I believe in ME.

And for that, on this Thanksgiving Day, and every day, I am so very, very grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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