To think, I once turned up my nose at the pronouncement on a variety of Saturday mornings when the group was going to hit the trails. I sulked...I hung my head low...I turned my back and found my own lonely stretch of Towpath or road and headed out alone. The others went the opposite direction and disappeared into the woods and I was happy, or so I thought. Looking back at this, I'm ashamed. How could I be so close-minded? Today, there are not many places on this earth that I'd rather be. Of course, to be home with family is always good but for destinations...for retreats...for places to just escape from the "normal grind" that every day brings, the trails are right up there at the top of the list. Talk about a complete turnaround in the last two years! I guess it's even worse to accept the fact that until a few years ago, I didn't acknowledge the fact that I lived almost right on top of an incredible natural resource right here in northeast Ohio. Such beauty...so many, many miles of it, too...all right here where so very many don't even realize it is here. I smile every time I hear that another person has realized what I realized a few short years ago.
It didn't take long to get hooked. Once I realized what existed off the normal asphalt or crushed limestone path, there was no turning back. It is this beauty and majesty that has created in me and continues to grow the desire and "need" to get out there and focus my time and energy at being out there. Running...a clear passion of mine...has got to stay fresh, attractive, and consistently challenging to me or unfortunately, I'll get bored with it. If you follow me at all, you know that one 100-miler in 2009 wasn't enough nor was the first one's difficulty. I wanted another...and another. The last one took the cake in terms of difficulty so "logically," I now seek to step it up once again. That'll be in May of next year. If the trails and His creation weren't as magnificent as they are and every new trail tread upon didn't present yet another example of perfection, then this path I'm on would simply not continue. This answers the question of "why" perhaps a little bit more that I've gotten so much this year.
As we sit here in the U.S. on Turkey Eve, I'm thankful for God's beautiful trails that I and so many of my friends and family get to appreciate. It is truly His thumb-print here on earth. I am also thankful for the freedom I have to run on them when I want, where I want, and with whom I want. I try to never take that for granted as freedom is certainly not free. A patriot, a fellow countryman or woman stands watch in the desert, at an outpost, on a ship, or right here on our borders to keep us all safe here in our land of freedom and we should not forget them. While we play, the watch is constant 24/7 to guarantee this freedom. Let us not ever forget them or their families on this Thanksgiving holiday!
To you and yours, a very Happy Thanksgiving and a day filled being thankful for ALL that you and I may not normally acknowledge. There is so much more outside of the material that we see first person on a daily basis. Be thankful for what provides the things you FIRST are thankful for. Make sense? Yes, I know....deep thoughts...but good ones, nonetheless.
See you on the trails....