Early on a Sunday I was running in Red Rocks Park along a beautiful trail. It was a quiet, overcast morning. As I started out, I noticed a woman in the distance. Maybe she was easy to spot because she was dressed all in white. I didn’t give her much thought until I got closer to her a little while later. She held a consistent pace.

One of my awarenesses in my life is that I truly enjoy exploring things I haven’t done before. I had chosen a trail that I hadn’t been on in a while and when I had the chance to choose the “Y” in the trail to the unknown—I chose it. It happened to be the same way my runner in white was going. The trail was narrow, and given that I had two dogs in tow, I didn’t want to try to “sneak by” her. So, the dogs and I followed her for a while. That’s why I had the opportunity to notice her strength, consistent stride, and a quality of persistence that I had a felt sense about.

After some time she stepped aside to let us pass. As I ran past I said, “You are looking strong” and went on my way. After a brief pause she said, “Not too bad for one lung.” I turned around, looked at her, and smiled as I said, “For that, you should get double credit for your run.” She laughed while I ran on, inspired.

As my morning run continued, I pondered why I felt so heartened. The power of her tenacity was profound to me. I can’t pretend to know her journey, her challenges, or her victories. I simply celebrate that she was out there, running, challenging herself. And it inspired me to appreciate that I had both my lungs, that I had my health, and I was in a beautiful place. Gratitude.

I laughed to myself about the metaphor of how I was running behind her thinking these compliments about her as I got closer to her. How many times is a compliment running up behind me? Am I open and receiving to it? Can I celebrate it when it comes running by? And I would ask you the same thing: can you celebrate you, either internally or when appreciation comes to you from the outside?

Be tenacious. Challenge yourself. Give and receive compliments that are genuine. Be grateful and stay inspired.