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SALT LAKE CITY — Thanksgiving has transformed into my most favorite holiday of the year. There are no gifts to give. No cards to send. No over-the-top light displays blinking holiday cheer into the wee hours of the night. Don’t get me wrong. I love the busyness and flashiness of Christmas, but the simplicity of Thanksgiving simply can’t be beat.
Gathering around a table of food with family and friends has got to be the best idea mankind has dreamt up in a long time. Start it all off with a morning race or a blistering workout at the gym and I’ll take Thanksgiving over Christmas any day.
Of course, the purpose of the day is to give thanks. Allow me to throw in a few items I am particularly grateful for this year.
1. I am grateful for the young men and women ranging in
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ages from 20-70 who attend my cycle classes and are always ready to belt out “I’m Sexy and I Know It” at a moment’s notice. It never ceases to make me smile, even days after.
2. I am grateful to live in a country where women can pursue their academic and athletic dreams. It wasn’t long ago that women weren’t allowed to enter marathons in this country. I’m grateful those days are over.
3. I am grateful to the Ogden Marathon for selecting my husband through the lottery to run his first marathon in May. He is now financially invested in this goal and that’s motivation enough to finish!
4. I am grateful for the bounty of wide shoulders and running paths in my neck of the woods. No longer do I fear being plowed down by vehicles, bikes or large trucks. Deer, fox and geese, however, are another story.
- I am grateful that it gets dark earlier in the evening. As many runners do, I go to bed at a ridiculously early hour and it is much easier to get the kids to bed, too, when the sun has already said goodnight.
6. I am grateful for days when I can run in the snow and finish it off with a hot shower and a good meal. Pure bliss.
7. I am grateful for a break in the race season. While I am happy to live in a state where runners can find a full or half marathon on almost any given weekend, my wallet and muscles are happy for the chance to recover in the winter months.
8. I am grateful for the Olympic Oval track where I can run in a climate-controlled environment when the roads are slick. The fact that there is an available bathroom every quarter mile is a plus.
9. I am grateful for like-minded friends who are willing to embark on crazy running adventures with me at a moment’s notice.
10. I’m grateful for daughters who believe they are awesome just as they are — and they’re right. They aren’t old enough to be aware of the worldly criticisms they will eventually have to deal with. For now, I’m thankful they love their squishy cheeks.
11. Finally, I am grateful for the opportunity to run with the Huntsman Hometown Hero team this year and to have the chance to add meaning to my running. Cancer has made a very personal visit to our home this past year. It’s a scary word that can bring your whole world to a screeching halt in an instant. The health we have can be very fleeting, so while I have mine I want to use this gift to help others. I will be running the Ogden Marathon this year for all those who can’t. Running a few miles in our gorgeous canyons is so easy compared to the fight that others are waging.
Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper under the surface, but there is always much to be grateful for. Let’s give thanks in any way we can. Go for a run. Take a walk with your loved ones. Call your friends and thank them for what they add to your life. Squeeze your little ones’ hands and let them know they light up the room. Then dig in and enjoy the pie. Life’s joys really are simple.
Kim Cowart is a wife, mother, 24-Hour Fitness instructor, marathoner and proud member of the Huntsman Hometown Heroes. You can donate directly to the Huntsman Cancer Institute by going to www.ogden.kintera.org/kimcowart.