A Runner’s List of Gratitude


We’ve gotta chuckle at ourselves every once in a while, and it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves of the things we appreciate. For runners, those two usually go together like… well, the list below probably says it best. Enjoy our list of obscure and relatable blessings, close to the heart of every runner. 

A good, clean snot rocket:

It’s satisfying. Like ears popping on a plane..

Cracking our feet, ankles, or back:

This grosses out most of the human race, but runner’s either love a good crack or simply fail to realize that every time they stand up, an orthopediatrist freaks out.

That new-shoe feeling:

Nothing like it… except the next new shoe, which will be even better.

Foam Rolling:

Maybe a blessing and a curse sort of deal. It hurts so good.

A half-way decent race photo:

We’re not vain. We want the flying-through-the-air moment more than 1 out of every 1,000 photos.

When someone asks us how far we went on our long run:

Okay, maybe we’re a little vain. Who doesn’t love the classic, “I don’t even drive that far!”

Face-cicles after a cold run:

It validates how tough we think we are for getting out in the elements. (Check out our winter running tips!)

The power of Vaseline:

It only gets awkward when people notice all seven of the tubs in your cart. Perhaps they’ll understand if you remind them that you’re buying a whole week’s worth

Peanut butter:

I have yet to meet a runner who doesn’t eat some sort of nut butter on the regular. Zach is currently 10 years into his effort to discover whether man can live on peanut butter alone.


We can’t get enough. We envy all the babies. We also envy all the people who actually have time to take naps. *nods off while typing*

Nice callous coverage on our feet:

I don’t know any other group of people who love their callouses like we do. The last time someone brought a pumice stone near my foot, I nearly kicked her in the knees on pure reflex.

No line at the porta potty:

Everybody’s gotta dream.

Enough toilet paper in said porta potty:

Maybe we’re just getting greedy, now.

A very large bush:

If there is no porta potty, we are desperately grateful for dense and secluded wooded areas. And perhaps a few very large leaves. That’s precisely why you should move to West Michigan (if you don’t already live here).

Running and orthopedic shoes:

We may even wear these shoes in public and at work. *Gasp*

Crunching leaves under-foot during the fall:

Nothing better, except the donuts we indulge in after. 

An injury-free training cycle:

And during the injury-free cycle, we use far too many emojis to describe our runs. ?✨??✨?

New socks:

I don’t know if anyone gets as excited about new socks as runners. It’s like when Thor reunites with Mjolnir. (Andi’s fav socks.?)

Being near the ice dispenser at the hotel:

Not only do we subject ourselves to the discomfort of running, but we also enjoy indiscriminately inducing frostbite.

Oversharing with a running buddy:

Friends with whom we can talk about all things, even lament bodily functions that would disgust regular humans. Psychiatrists everywhere would be appalled by the restraint they hear in contrast.

Speaking of bodily functions, a good poop before a run or race:

One of the few things more satisfying than a good snot rocket.

Elevators at the hotel after a race:

I run marathons, but ain’t no way I’m hiking the stairs!

When our vacation destination also hosts a race:

Regular person: “how was your trip?” Us: “It was amazing! We ran at this… and we ran to the… and there was a race on the…” Regular person: “I thought you were going on vacation?” *shrug*


By the toilet, in the bath, down the stairwell… isn’t universal design wonderful?

Coffee and tea:

No, hospitals do not offer a smooth Sumatra IV option. We’ve checked. But apparently it’s US federal law to sell coffee every 17 feet, so we’re good.

Inspirational quotes:

Anything related to the “journey” (ideally paired with a photo of us running in the distance). Cheetahs are an acceptable substitute. 


Originally called “second breakfast” (since first breakfast was that 5am coffee and bagel), brunch was created as a perfect post-20-miler meal, ideal in both quality and quantity for replenishing the 2,000-3,000 calories just burned. 

Dirt roads:

While residents petition their roads to be paved, we runners are secretly and overwhelmingly lobbying for that dirt. Help me, Grand Rapids Gravel Co., you’re my only hope!

The finish line:

Because no matter how much we love the run, the thing we desire most is the finish line. And a massage, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Truly, we have a lot to be thankful for, even some of these seemingly ridiculous things! We would love to have you pass on this joy…. share with a friend who needs a smile (maybe include your most relatable blessings).

And if it bothers you that our list ends at 29 (and we’re betting there’s a good chance it does!), leave a 30th in the comments below! (Yes, we’re leaving it up to YOU to restore balance to the force.)

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6 replies
  1. Pete Mumbower
    Pete Mumbower says:

    #30 When your watch (GPS/footpod) matches the race the distance…ok maybe a utopian dream…but ahhhhhh…bliss when it happpens!

    • Zach Ripley
      Zach Ripley says:

      Pete… I LOVE THIS! What would it take? I wonder that all the time… there has to be a race somewhere where the actual distance line-to-line is EXACT, and in using Stryd, we finally might have a tool capable of mirroring the measurement… maybe.
      We can hope, eh?

    • Pete Mumbower
      Pete Mumbower says:

      But there is the conundrum! How close to the tangents was the course actually measured?!? Did the measurer get proper coffee that morning to stay focused? I have read that the “big” races have the tangent line painted on the road…hmm truly a dream gratutude, but below peanut butter.

  2. Suzanne Fedewa
    Suzanne Fedewa says:

    I’m grateful for my AtoZRunning kids! I love this gratitude list, and even though most of this stuff I can’t relate to, since my personal running level doesn’t compare, I have experienced a couple of the items on your list.


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