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The Ox and Lamb Kept Time ~ A 'Little Drummer Boy' Inspired Gift List For Runners

I keep coming across lists of Christmas gift ideas for runners. Even though one of the most glorious things about running is you can run free of charge, that doesn’t mean I don’t love my gear and gadgets.  I've spent $1,843.44 in my head buying so many of the items I have seen on Holiday suggestion guides for runners. But, this hasn’t translated into my credit card. 

Instead, I’m putting forth my own list, free as your next heartbeat.

Yep, I’m opening up a can of “Little Drummer Boy” on your runner’s butt.

"I have no gifts to bring" pa rum pa pum pum.

Here’s a list of Christmas gifts that are simple as playing your drum for baby Jesus, fully free of charge, yet Fit to Give a King. (Pa-Rum-Pa-Pum-Pum)

The Gift of the Wave
Wave to other runners. Wave.  Especially if they wave to you. Wave back. Either way, I will continue to wave to you as we cross paths out on our runs, but I feel a spiritual wound when my greetings are not returned, and now I have a lot of scars. 

The Gift of Silence
To all the non-running, newly driving teens cruising in your parents car: Stop driving by and yelling in our ears like ‘RAARRRRR!;' and scaring the Hell out of me.  Is that only happening to me?  No, I know it's not just me.  But man is that a hurtful thing to do, which is, of course why it is being done.  More about this predicament here.  

The Gift of Driver Awareness.
It's a serious problem, runners (and bikers)  trying to do their thing in a motorozed world, and injuries and deaths happen way too often.  So please drivers, stop at stop signs and red lights and look closer before you turn.  The biggest offenders are cars turning right who focus on the cars coming  from their left, and after they have cleared, the driver hits the gas and turns right, never giving a glance back to the approaching runner on the sidewalk and ‘Wham’ near accident.  Another offender seems to be those who's heads are buried in a fast food bag driving out of the drive through. A runners gift back to the drivers is wearing all those bright colors, being just as aware as we hope drivers to be, and 'running defensively.'  Pretend they are trying to hit you is my motto.

~Hmmm, this all sounds like some grinching and complaining... and that just doesn’t fit the whole Little Drummer Boy motif.   Here’a more positive list.

The Gift of Volunteering at Races.
I can't believe so many would do so much for so few. Tacky as that sounds.  It's almost like there are aid-station elves out there, who's only mission is to pass out things to runners, and when the race is over, they return to their little holes in the ground where they’re busy making packets of gu for all the good little boy and girls runners.

The Gift of Reading Cool Blog Posts  
I spend a ton of time reading inspiring and unique things runners have written across the blogosphere. Either technical or spiritual or motivational or funny as hell, it's all out there, and there's some days I can't stop reading new posts.  Seems once a week I’m inspired to run different, think different thoughts while I run, modify my idea of training, or get excited about a new race after reading a post.  All free as a drumbeat.

The Gift of Running Mojo
Whoever keeps juicing me up with those free intoxicationg drugs when I run, thank you, thank you kindly. Keep the supply of endorphins coming. My withdrawals would be ugly if this were to stop.  If the local dope-man in Detroit offered drugs like this just as free, he'd be more popular than Santa Claus.

The Gift of the Weather
Whoever is providing the Running Mojo is also keeping the weather unseasonably warm. Of course, as this keeps up and the world warms, my grandkids will live in a more unstable world, but, um, for now, thanks for the mid 50's in mid -December.  Feel free to provide some colder days with big fluffy snowy flakes falling and no winds, or a sunny cold day where the snow sparkles in the sun and my cheeks get numb and turn red as I run.  And let’s not forget some cloudless nights where the full moon reflects a blue sheen off of the untouched snow.

The Gift of Inventing New Ways to Help Us Run Injury Free
That means you, running scientists. I started foam rolling about six months ago, messed with KT tape, but whoever is on the front line of injury prevention for runners the greatest gift you can give us would be to let us always run injury free. (Whaddyaa mean it's up to me to stretch, eat right, take rest days? Just come up with a pill I take and we'll all go home happy.)

The Gift of Sanity and Doing the Next Right Thing, (from the New York Road Runners)
Yes, NYRR  I am still waiting for you to decide how to handle the canceled 2012 New York City Marathon.  I know your insurance agency has naked pictures of you so they are holding you hostage, but a nice present will be guaranteed entry into the 2013 NY marathon, which you still haven't confirmed.
(I’ll run my best for you, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

The Gift of a Holiday Run
Christmas to me many years ago used to be an extra excuse to drink and try to be merry, but usually being drunk and miserable.  But these days it means running. I plan my holidays around a run, and I am already looking forward to a Christmas Eve and New Years day run. They are of the most memorable runs of the whole year.  It’s as if I am soaking my lungs with the holiday joy in the air and it fills my body with a whole new kind of running magic. Yes, this gift is the greatest, and not to be taken lightly, nor to be taken back.

Then, he smiled at me,  pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

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Greg Strosaker said…
Great post Mark - I'm tired of the running gift lists, but this is one we can all relate to. I'll try to keep the cool blog posts coming, mostly by glomming on to others' work as usual.
Lots of head nodding and silent agreement going on here as I read these gift ideas! Love them. Feel the same way about the wave...saw the same guy twice on my run today, I waved at him the first time but didn't get a wave back...second time I hesitated, not sure whether I wanted to get hurt again, but I waved anyway and this time he reciprocated! p.s., I am enjoying the book immensely. :)

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