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Swim Bike Thankful: The Gratitude Challenge

I had a great conversation with my new coach last night.   It actually started earlier in the day with a text that went something like this:

Coach:   “Are you running Savannah [half marathon] next weekend?”

Me:          “No. I decided that would be dumb.”

Coach:   “Good choice.”

Me:          “Elephants should not run half marathons.” 🙂

Coach:    “Self-criticizing humor is not allowed.”

Me:           “I’m screwed then.”

Coach:    “You know what I mean. Change your thinking, change your path.”

[Dang, these coaches are some wise folks.]

Over the course of this week, I’ve been doing some thinking and reflecting.  This week at work kicked my butt. (For those of you wondering, yes, I still work full-time.) The Expert and I had some massive old-school style fights this week, and I was feeling just miserable.

photo (48)

After Coach and I chatted on the phone and after he told me things like, “You’ve got too much good going on to be negative,” I had some realizations.

And they went something like this….

I was in a really dark place before my triathlon journey, back in 2009-2010.  And what did I do?  Well, I decided to change. I decided to become a triathlete. And I decided, over the course of almost three years, to change my thinking…. to change my path.  All the way from sprint to Ironman.  From “I’m not a runner” to “I’m an Ironman.”

To make this happen, I had changed my thoughts. I stayed positive. Yes, I had bad days, but for the most part, I worked hard to stay thankful and positive.  I checked off the workouts day by day, one by one.  And I changed.

I went back and read this post.  And I sort of re-inspired myself. (Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? “I’m so inspirational, I inspire myself!!!” [Insert silly face here.] I know…. bear with me).


So I re-read the reasons why I started this journey, and it made me realize that I want to keep going, to keep moving forward. With new goals and fresh focus and working hard towards being grateful for all the wonderful things in my life. To truly change my thinking.

In yoga on Thursday, the instructor said, “In order to know how far you’ve come, you must acknowledge where you have been.”

I took the time this morning to not only reflect on my triathlon journey, but also my life. My marriage and my family and all the amazing/fun/terrible/sad/hurtful/lovely/beautiful experiences that I’ve been through over the last fifteen years, since leaving my parents’ house.

I closed my eyes and really thought and mediated on it.

And when I opened my eyes, I was very thankful and centered. For the first time in a long while.

I know many bloggers are doing gratefulness “challenges” right now.  I have created this one for me, as my own challenge to remember the good stuff… but I will be thrilled if you want to join along with me, tweet your gratitude @SwimBikeMom, Instagram pictures @SwimBikeMom with hashtag #swimbikethankful, or share the photo.

Because I think one month of centered, pure gratitude will lead me on a better journey for a lifetime of change.


I would love to see what you are thankful for this month.  And thanks, as always, for along in this journey with me…  Love you guys.


  • Emily

    November 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I am thankful for my family and friends. They have supported me through this crazy journey. I am thankful that i found your blog because it has made me realize i am stonger and can achieve just about anything.

  • Dianne

    November 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Day 1 – I am thankful for so many things but will look at them one by one. I could start with all the usual things – but I am really going to start with how thankful I am that triathlon came into my life. This is what has transformed my life over the last almost four years. I’m not sure where I would be physically, mentally and emotionally if my friend had not literally dragged me into signing up and training for my first Iron Girl – crossing that finish line put my life on a whole new path – at the age of 58. Thankful to be here and thankful that I was in the pool this morning swimming. 🙂

  • Jojo

    November 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Just back from running non-stop along the beach and totally felt grateful for that then to come on and read this.
    A challenge I truly, whole-heartedly accept!

  • Allyson Chisnall

    November 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Today I ran a 5k run in memory of a young girl killed by a drunk driver three years ago. She wasd riving because her father had a few drinks and knew better then to drive. It was cold and rainy but I laced up and ran, I ran for Heather and her family, I ran for my family and I was gratefule the whole way for being able to run. I am blessed and I try to remember that when things get tough and on those really tough days when all I can be grateful for is being able to breath, I take that and know tomorrow will be a bltter day. Breath and believe, it will be all right in the end.

  • April Judd

    November 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I have been in the same headspace, Meredith. Unmotivated, down on myself, not wanting to run or workout. Only to eat and feel sorry for myself. Old, old thinking. But thinking I was so gung-ho to change earlier in the year. And I did for a while, but it’s been hard to find lately. I am thankful to know that others share this space. Even in it’s awfulness, misery loves company. But I hate it here. So I too have to re-inspire myself. I will take your challenge, for I truly do have wonderful things in my life and am blessed. I just forget sometimes when my mind is full of toxic thoughts. Time to detox, mind, body, spirit. And I truly believe that one day, we’ll be living with the mind, body and spirit we have always wanted and are now striving for. And it’ll be second nature. Just Keep Moving Forward.

  • Kathy Bruinooge

    November 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Today I am grateful for my first 5 miler :). I went by myself and had fun talking to some new friends.. Two years ago I would never have thought that I would be here 65 lbs lighter and running !!!!! Slow fast doesn’t matter… I’m grateful… Great challenge….

  • Courtney

    November 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Today I’m grateful for my husband. His unwavering support and love keep me strong and motivated. He never hesitates when I want to do something else crazy or out of the box. He keeps me grounded and happy. And I’m grateful he loves me the way he does.

  • Carly

    November 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Love this post! I am forever greatful for being physically able to swim, bike and run. That I live in
    A country where females are permitted to participate fully in society and last but certainly not least, I am very greatful that when I come home from a workout and turn on the shower, clean and hot water come out!

  • Suzanne Martin

    November 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I too spend the month posting a gratitude post each day. In addition to my daily post today, I wanted to tell you I am grateful to have stumbled upon your book and in turn your journey. I laughed, I cried while enjoying your book. We have a lot in common and I look forward to following you. Thanks for sharing! By the way, I am buying a dozen of your books to give for Christmas!!!

  • Laura Walls

    November 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I am just thankful I am upright and breathing. The icing on the cake is having such a supportive husband, beautiful successful daughter , a fantastic new coach (SBM!!!) and the ability to physically keep moving forward. Blessed indeed. Thanks Meredith!!

  • Andrea

    November 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I am grateful for you. I am grateful for your honesty, your inspiration, your humor, your willingness to share it all. I love reading your posts. Thank you!

  • Sher Franklin

    November 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I am grateful for my family and the many friendships that have developed through Tri training. The encouragement and skills, that I’ve learned from so many wonderful and inspiring people in this sport, have been life changing. What a blessing. 🙂

  • Suzanne

    November 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I’m so grateful for my health, and my ability to be a triathlete. I love having this challenge in my life. And I love knowing that I chose to be a triathlete.


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