Giving thanks |

Giving thanks

Mike Schneiter
Special to the Post Independent
Mike Schneiter / Special to the Post Independent
Staff Photo |

Giving thanks is a valuable part of recognizing the important things in life. No holiday is needed but the Thanksgiving season is a great time to reflect on what we give thanks for. This year, I am thankful for many things and here are a few of those.

I am thankful for running. Sometimes you don’t know how much you love something until you can’t do it.

After a six-month absence, I laced up the shoes for my first run after surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered in a climbing move last fall.

I ran a whopping six minutes, a distance of a few city blocks, and I was overwhelmed with joy. My wife couldn’t understand why it was such a big deal but she’s never gone that long without running.

When I ran a marathon in October, I was thankful for finishing after enduring plenty of days on the couch, aches and pains, and lingering doubts.

I am thankful for climbing ropes that never break and allow us to try, fall and try again. Learning that falling is okay is a hard thing to do but it teaches you much about life and how to persevere.

I am thankful for the energy and commitment of teenage runners. Even though our cross country team had no state qualifiers, our team was filled with winners due to their positive attitudes, unrelenting work ethic, and dedication to their sport. It warms my soul every time I see them running and preparing for next season. Their youthful energy reminds me to stay young and to always believe in the future.

I am thankful to live in a place with easy access to wonderful trails in beautiful places. I love the Wulfsohn Mountain Park trails by the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

I am thankful for the selfless efforts of people in our community such as the Two Rivers Trails group that makes running and biking there possible. I’m also thankful that when I informed our team of the volunteer work I had arranged for them on those trails, they didn’t blink an eye and took on the task with the vigorous energy that only teenagers can bring.

It’s all too rare for me to stop and take in the sites while running or biking but, recently, I climbed to the top of the highest trail at Wulfsohn and took a few minutes to take it in. The chaotic, broken cliff face loomed overhead with myriad features that I had scarcely noticed in the past. Underfoot, the drainage was a jumbled mess of rocks; its edges overflowing with the lava-like ooze of mud from the fall rainstorms.

I am thankful for the paved trails, too, which allow me easy access with my three kids in tow. I love the relative ease and smooth asphalt of the Rio Grande Trail and the difficult hills of the Glenwood Canyon bike path. I love the way the bighorn sheep that sometimes line the path are never in a rush and let you admire them.

I am thankful for friends to share summits with. Over time I have learned that the camaraderie shared around the campfire is as important as a hard day of climbing.

I am thankful for fall weather that enables us to run in shorts while snowstorms dust the surrounding mountains with that wonderful white stuff. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a beautiful painting, surrounded by the local scenery with its wide palette of colors and expressions.

I am thankful that I have a family that loves outdoor adventures. I love that my kids would rather go on a hike outside than sit around inside. And I love the way they remind me to be fascinated by all of the little details while out there; the birds in the trees, the rocks along the trail and the spiders spinning webs.

I am thankful for the relaxing waters of the Hot Springs Pool, helping me soothe my sore muscles and prepare for another day of outdoor fun and adventure.

I am thankful for flowers that remind us to stop and reflect. And I’m thankful that I have a four-year-old daughter that won’t let me pass one without stopping to smell.

This Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for many things and I hope you are, too.

Come give thanks at the 27th annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day, Nov. 28 at the community center. 5K race or walk starts at 10 a.m. Day of registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and is $15. Preregisration is $10 and available at Summit Canyon Mountaineering, Independence Run and Hike or through members of the Glenwood Springs boys and girls cross country team, boys and girls swim teams and Sopris Barracudas. All proceeds benefit those young athletes.

— Mike Schneiter is a Glenwood Springs H.S. teacher and coach, owner of Glenwood Climbing Guides, and a Brooks Inspire Daily athlete.

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