Remembering to be Grateful

Today I ran two miles and did strength training. This doesn’t seem like a huge, life-changing accomplishment in isolation, but this caps off five straight days of working out. I set a goal with my mom this week of working out 6 days a week to hopefully prep for a half marathon in the Spring, and today, I’m feeling really good about this.

On Sunday, I ran 5 miles, which is farther than I’ve ever run in my life. On Monday, I got to reap the benefits of having a personal trainer for a Mom and got a free training session where in my mom showed me what I can do to strengthen the muscles that may keep me from getting injured running and just generally make me more of an in-shape bad-ass. Tuesday, it was back to running three miles.

Yesterday, I triumphantly pushed myself out of bed to get to 7AM yoga, which was incredible both because it only cost $5 (Hooray for student discounts!) and because the teacher opened class by talking about a documentary she watched about being happy (on Netflix!), which she said boils down not to having the most things or living in the most exciting or desirable place, but to seeing the good in your life and being grateful for what you have. She encouraged us to pick someone we were grateful for in our lives and to dedicate our practice that day to that person. After spending the weekend setting fitness goals and having some fun hang-out time with my parents, I picked them, and not just because of our awesome weekend, but because they both made huge changes in their lives after I went to college that in a way mirror the changes I would like to be making.

My dad had already made it a goal to get in shape, had started losing weight and completed a half marathon during my senior year. His finishing the half and my uncle running the Boston Marathon inspired my mom to start running. When she started, she could barely run out of our neighborhood. Seven years later, my parents have run four (I think…it might be more. I’m sure they’ll correct me if I’m wrong) marathons, countless half marathons, and on my dad’s 50th birthday (well, 2 months after) he ran a 50K! (That’s 31 miles, in case you were wondering, but because of issues on the course, it ended up being more like 32, which my dad likes to remind me when we talk about it.)

I’ve written extensively on my blog about my parents’ running and their inspiring me to run, but during yoga yesterday, I thought about how their running, and them as people, have inspired me in my life in general. Both my parents realized they needed a change in their lives, gave themselves goals and then they pretty radically altered their lives in pursuit of those goals. My mom worked at a furniture store when they started running, and now, she teaches group fitness and is a personal trainer and running coach to many. My dad is more in shape now than he has ever been, including when he was a Marine. And they made these changes in their forties. They didn’t accept that who they were was static or immobile. They realized they could change, and they did, and that is an idea I try to carry with me daily

They are also just insanely great people who provide me with endless support and examples of what it means to be fun, compassionate and giving people. If I am made up of them, I thought during what felt like minute 10 of chair pose in yoga yesterday, I could most definitely make changes too. I could make myself into a more fit person. I could make myself into a better person. I could create a job for myself that more accurately reflects my strengths and my passions. And for their inspiration, help, mentorship, and love (and the new running shoes they bought me for my birthday), I am the most grateful.

So that was what I focused on during yoga yesterday and this morning as I went to the gym for running and strength training. It is also what I will use to push me to get to yoga tomorrow at 7:30 and to compete my last long run this weekend before heading to DC to run my first 10K with two of my favorite people and the people who help me keep pushing forward, knowing change is possible, in these sometimes ridiculously hard and frustrating endeavors.

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