It’s the season and plus, all the articles on the internet say that it’s healthy to be grateful, so, in no particular order, here are a few of the things that I’m thankful are in my life:

My Treadmill You know, because I’m no longer that athlete that will bear the brunt of all sorts of weather to get a run in. On Thanksgiving morning, I ran out about a quarter mile from my house, a few drops of rain fell and I immediately turned heel and went back home and onto my treadmill. A soft athlete is better than not an athlete at all, right?

The Internet  Have you seen the videos of all the crazy people out there shopping for Christmas gifts? First of all, I’m not a shopper, so I don’t get the whole obsession to begin with. Secondly, for all the “Put the Christ back in Christmas!” battle cries that you hear, I’m guessing Jesus wouldn’t have cold cocked another dude to get his hands on the must-have PlaySkool toy that his kid just had to have. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

My Mom’s Cooking  She makes the best Thanksgiving dinner around, hands down. Not only am I not responsible for a damn thing other than bringing alcohol to the celebration, but she’s got it down to such a science that it seems like she barely sweats putting it all together. Related Thing To Be Grateful For:  Leftovers!

My Dog Belle  She’s a weirdo, I’ll grant you that, but she’s not all that fond of going outside. Afraid of the noises, the people, the kids screaming (that scares me too), the empty plastic bag that might be skittering by … essentially everything but the squirrels, which she either wants to eat or REALLY wants to play with. Because of this, I don’t feel guilty not walking her much when the weather turns bad. She doesn’t want to be out there anyway, right?

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Cool, right? I look like I could totally be BLAZING FAST with these on. And if I don’t move, you’d never know that might not be true, right? Even Belle is drawn to them.

My Sweet New Capris  I’m not fast anymore. Not even close. Not even in the same country as fast. But these new running capris? They make me feel like a million bucks and like I’m moving at the speed of light. I think they were pretty cheap for the magic that seems to be woven in with the spandex. And I can even put them in the dryer. Score!

My IronAccomplished Friends  Simply being associated with these awesome folks fills my life with inspiration.  Oh, and guilt for sitting on the couch watching TV instead of getting my workout in. Probably not a bad thing.

Old Age  Because it’s a whole lot better than the alternative, am I right?

What are you grateful for?

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Swim start, IMFL, November 7, 2015

(Ironman Race: 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, 26.2 miles of running. 140.6 total miles of hell. Yes, all in one day.)

  • I spent the long weekend down in lovely Panama Beach City, FL watching two great friends complete their first Ironman race. Knowing how difficult and challenging a day it is, both physically and mentally (which is why you’ll never find me signing up for one!), I’m inspired and awed by them.
  • And speaking of which, my friends had the best IronAttitudes around! They were always smiling, always — no matter how tired or hurt or sore — happy to have the opportunity to be out on the race course enjoying this day that they had earned through sweat equity, which is a testament to what awesome people they are.
  • I was a volunteer IronStripper. Well, I suppose the official title is “wetsuit peeler” (I like the sound of stripper better … I’ll never again have such an exotic life). And it was fun! I was a little grumbly about volunteering, but I’m glad I was peer-pressured into it because it was an amazing experience to be a small part of helping the athletes achieve their goals.
  • After seeing athletes of all shapes and sizes out there, a part of my brain thinks, “Well, Laura, you know you could do this too…”. Luckily, the rest of my brain, the sane part, shuts down that thought process before it can get me into too much trouble.
  • Probably the most heart-breaking moment of the race was seeing the athletes who didn’t make the swim cut-off (all athletes had to be out of the water 2 hours and 20 minutes after starting). One woman missed it by less than a minute, probably less than 30 seconds. To be SO CLOSE and then not get to continue on the race that you likely trained almost a year for? I cried my own tears of regret and pain for her.
  • While this doesn’t make me want to do an Ironman (or even any triathlon, really), it does make me want to get back into shape. I’m realizing that my identity as an athlete isn’t just something left over from my younger days, but something that’s a part of me that I’ve really been missing. Like a chunk of my soul has been in hiding, but I’m ready to try and coax it back out into the light.
  • I am SO DAMN PROUD of my friends. They earned that medal and so much more (they got pizza, too!) — they earned the right to feel special knowing that so few accomplish what they did. And I was privileged to be a part of their day.
  • The most difficult part of my day was all the IronMathing I had to do: given occasional split times from the course, I calculated out where they would be at any given time and that really hurt my brain. I might need another day of recovery before I’m back to normal.
  • A funny IronStory: we were sitting in the host hotel lobby for a bit before heading back out to the course, and all of a sudden a very fit, very anxious athlete runs by in his socks, shouting at the man behind the front desk: “Room 541! Room 541! I need my key — I forgot my running shoes in the room!” I felt so bad for him (though not bad enough not to have a laugh at his expense), but he was luckier than most seeing as how he was staying in the same place as the transition area. Any other situation and his race would have been over. Or he would have run a marathon shoeless, I suppose.
  • If you ever have the opportunity to spectate at an Ironman race, you should do it. It’s an amazing experience watching ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Once the elite athletes are done and probably napping, the finish line is where you witness the sheer jubilation that comes with the culmination of months of training into one very long day of racing. The  unmitigated joy, utter exhaustion and a dozen other emotions, rushing over the athlete’s face as they run down the finishing chute … wow.  You’ll have goose-bumped arms and be awestruck, guaranteed.
  • All I can say is that this IronDay was one of the best ways that I could have spent my vacation time. Being around friends, cheering them on, sharing in their IronCelebration — really, is there anything better?

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… Jeanie! There were 17 entries, I listed them basically in the order in which they were posted (with people who also posted the entry to Facebook getting an extra shot) then went to a random number generator online and rolled the virtual 17-sided die. I’m happy that the book will be going to a good home!

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Yup, it was held in a church … we’re all going to hell.

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Me and a small human-sized Rory!

I did get to see Jenny Lawson in person last week — and if you have the chance, you should definitely go out of your way to do so as well. She read from the book for about 30 minutes and hearing it in her own voice? Really amazing. And absolutely hilarious. And then she took questions for 30 minutes … I was a little bummed that she stopped reading, but it turns out that her extemporaneous answers to questions was *also* hilarious. She’s an amazing woman and deserves all the attention that she gets. I did not get a chance to have the books signed — the line was oh-so-long — but the experience was more than well worth it.

And here’s another great interview with Jenny Lawson. And here’s her book tour schedule in case she’s coming to a bookstore near you!

One last thing: reading about depression and mental illness on The Bloggess site was definitely an influence when it came to me starting to have the conversation on my own blog about it. It’s tough being vulnerable and admitting to something you consider a flaw or weakness, but the chorus of “you’re not alone” make it so much easier. So, thank you to everyone out there that’s been so supportive — I appreciate it more than y’all know.