By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer
It is Thanksgiving, and runners have a lot to be thankful for. First and foremost, we are thankful for healthy bodies that permit us to run; for little aches and pains that prompt us to slow down; for boundless energy that carries us through each day; and for medical staff who mend us fast when injuries get in the way.
We are thankful for the bounty that feeds our body and soul; for pasta that gives us energy for the long run; for bagels that refuel us when we are done; for the bananas that protect us from muscle cramps; and for coffee that picks us up when we feel down.
We are thankful for energy drinks that give an extra boost; for flavored granola bars that we carry along; for sticky gel in little pouches half-way into a race; for glucose tablets and chewy sticks for a quick sugar fix; and for clean water before, during and after every run.
We are thankful for garbage bags that cover us in the rain; for reflective vests and flashing lights when we run in the dark; for headbands that keep the sweat out of our eyes; for padded socks so soft and smooth to cuddle our toes; and for mittens that keep our fingers warm when it is cold outside.
We are thankful for lightweight shoes that carry our weight; for ankle supports and stability bars that protect our feet; for multi-layered EVA that cushions from the roads; for carbon soles that wear so slow and give us lots of miles; and for pointed spikes that move us forth in the cross country mud.
We are thankful for orthotics when our arches fall; for glasses that absorb UV light when we run in the sun; for mesh singlets that wick the seat and keep us cool; and for colorful jog bras that keep things in their place.
We are thankful for high-tech gear that makes us look cool; for monitors that keep our hearts in their target zones; for nasal strips that hold our noses open in the wind; and for water tanks that wrap around.
We are thankful for vaseline that keeps our thighs sliding along; for band-aid strips over our nipples that save them from rubbing raw; for bags of frozen peas to heal the swollen heels; and for loads of ibuprofen.
We are thankful for directors who enter us on race day; for volunteers that we abuse in the chute; for loving spouses who claim we look good when we feel awful and sick; and for children who endure hours of standing in the cold and pouring rain.
We are thankful for running partners who wait when we are late; for roads so flat we run each day in our wake and our sleep; for workers who fill cracks and potholes, and save our ankles and feet; for truck drivers who plow the roads, yet see us through the snow; and for sleepy motorists in the morning who wave.
We are thankful for trails so soft that give our knees a break; for trees that shade us from the sun and cool us in the heat; for streams and fountains cold and clear that refresh us when we tire; for birds that sing, squirrels that climb and deer that bound around; and for all those who work so hard to keep these trails well groomed.
Finally, we are thankful for the joy of running; for that patient first coach who got us out of the door; for the runner's high that shapes our moods; and for the healthy way of life that shapes us every day.
Kamal Jabbour, whose RUNNING Column appears every Monday in The Post-Standard, is also thankful for extra-wide running shoes that hold his six-toed feet. Jabbour maintains The Syracuse Running Page and receives email at firstname.lastname@example.org.