· Living in a city where so many people of every age, ability, size and shape head outside to be active on a Sunday afternoon
· A trail system that allows me to put in lots of miles without worrying about traffic or plotting my own route
· Legs and feet that can carry me for that many miles, and a mind and spirit that can keep propelling me onward
· Friends who will take care of my kids for the afternoon, despite battling a sinus infection, for the small price of a batch of cookies
· A daughter who remembered and reminded me to take care of my arms where they are still chafed from last week’s long run (FYI for runners who are parents of small children – diaper cream is a very effective remedy!)
· Couples out together who are older than me, showing me how sweet life will be when my husband and I both have grey hair and still like to hold hands when we walk
· Families out together riding their bikes who encourage their littlest family members with every pedal, building strong happy little people
· Bikers who remember to warn me before they pass!
· Breath-taking views of Cook Inlet and the mudflats, snowy mountains in the distance, sandhill cranes and a riot of green leaves and flowers
· A dinner of freshly caught, wild Alaskan king salmon grilled by my husband with lots of “help” from the kids
· The support of an amazing network of friends helping me meet my training goals and inspiring me to keep going – from 13 miles onward tonight, a slideshow of inspirational women in my life kept playing in my head
· Ice baths, even though 15 minutes feels longer than all the miles that make them necessary
· Making it up the big hills
· 2.5 hours of time to myself
· The unfailing support of my own dear family.
A couple weeks ago, trying to get motivated and out the door in the morning for a training run, I asked my husband to remind me why I wanted to train for a marathon. He gave me some great answers, but the one that really stayed with me (and got me out the door) was this: I am doing this because of how proud my kids and my husband will be, and how proud I will be of myself, when I cross that finish line. I have had several friends sidelined by injuries and illness in the past month, and I know that there are no guarantees – but I also know that I am giving 100% to reach a goal, and I love that feeling.