Book Review: Thanks A Thousand (having gratitude for coffee…and running)

Thanks A Thousand is not a running book. It is the story of a gratitude project in which a man who loves coffee decided to thank everyone involved in making his morning cup of joe possible.  As I read, I thought about how much I love coffee. Coffee is an essential part of my pre-run routine. These two things were jumbled in my mind as I read this book. Bear with me, I’m going down the rabbit hole here, but it’s wonderful to realize how many elements make running (and coffee) possible. Author A. J. Jacob’s gratitude for his coffee intertwined with my gratitude for running. As I read, I couldn’t help but make a list of all the things I am grateful for that allow me to run.

Jacobs noted that gratitude has been shown to lift depression, improve sleep, diet, and exercise. I began working on being more present and thoughtful during my runs last summer, feeling gratitude for the beauty of the world around me as I ran. I can admit that I noticed an improvement in all these things when I became more mindful. Jacobs took his gratefulness into another realm altogether, by thanking all those responsible for his coffee, starting with the barista and coffee taster/owner at his favorite local coffee shop. From there it went into every corner, nook, and cranny of all things that go into his daily morning coffee: the cup makers, the roasters, the water, the farmers, the movers, and all things associated with their jobs, which are virtually endless, including plastics, the lid inventor, paper mill workers, truck drivers, those that make the tools and supplies needed for roasting, shipping, etc. It’s incredible to consider all the things that go into that beautiful warm cup of coffee that we drink everyday. What if I considered things that went into making running possible? I am grateful to have the health to be able to run, but there are so many other factors I hadn’t as meaningfully considered to be reasons why I am able to run.

1. Owning a home: being able to prepare for a run, live comfortably, prepare food and water, shower, and dress.

2. Access to water in my home to drink, and for washing my running clothes. Thankfulness to those who do the testing and maintenance of our water utilities to provide clean drinking water to my home everyday. Beautiful Jordan Lake from which our water supply is collected.

3. Access to healthy foods at a nearby grocery store. Those who grow and produce food, ship, stock, and work in the stores.

4. My family for understanding and supporting me during time away to run.

5. Shoe and running clothing companies: Nike, Brooks, Oiselle, Athleta, Under Armour, Belega, Feetures, Bondi Band. Those who design, research, market and sell the items I love wearing.

6. Running accessories: Garmin, Nathan water bottles, Goodr sunglasses, nuun hydration tablets, Huma Gels, UCan powder. After run accessories like rollers, Epsom salts, or biofreeze.

7. Infrastructure of roads, trails, greenways, sidewalks, crosswalks. I am grateful to those who maintain them in our community.

8. Friendships to enjoy while I am running. Too many to list. I am one lucky woman to have them in my life.

9. Multiple local running groups and a wonderful coach, Holly.

10. Access to running water fountains and public bathroom facilities around my community. Those who maintain them every day.

11. My personal trainer Chris who offers strength and cross training classes.

12. My favorite massage therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists when I sometimes need them!

13. Access to healthcare so that in case of injury while running, I can see a doctor or therapist.

13. Books and podcasts to satisfy the information junkie in me to learn more about all things running or learn about other runners.

14. Races and the race staff and volunteers who put them on. I’m grateful they put in the time and effort to offer me and other runners an opportunity to have a run goal.

15. And last but certainly not least: my coffee and coffee maker, for waking me up to run and warming me when I return.

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