About 4.5 years ago I took up running to lose weight and shape-up. As I thought about what I would like to accomplish over the second half of my life, I realized that it would be hampered by poor health. While I wasn’t sick, my middle was bigger than it should have been, and I knew I needed to make some life changes. The two biggest changes were to alter my eating habits and exercise more. For my diet, I cut down on portions, added more vegetables and reduced carbs and red meat. For exercise, I added running and then weight training. My desire was not an overnight change, but rather a move in the right direction that, over time, would get me where I want to be.
To help with exercise, I decided it would be interesting to try a hard challenge, and the biggest challenge I knew of was to run a marathon. Having the goal helped me to stay focused and committed. I started with an 8K run, then a 10K, then a few half-marathons. A year-and-a-half ago, I ran in my first marathon, but reached the 30K gate a minute late and was forced to drop out. A year later, I entered the same marathon, and lost the mental game at the same 30K gate and dropped out. On 11/20, I ran in the Kobe Marathon and crossed the finish line after running for 5:31. No records set, yet amazing satisfaction! It was pure joy to receive the finisher’s medal.
As I am in the second half of life (well into), I’m thinking a lot about perseverance. Keeping a slow, steady pace and staying focused on what really matters. Things like daily hiding the Word of God in my heart, speaking words of blessing and encouragement to my family, accepting failure as a lesson learned and getting back on the horse. It is oft said, but life really is about the journey. Of course crossing the finish line at the marathon was fantastic, but it was the years of training that took off 18lbs, gave me back the same waist size I had when I graduated from high school, and finds me feeling great. My medal now sits on shelf, but my health I carry with me everywhere. Same with the Word of Life, as day-by-day I hide it in my heart, it accomplishes its purposes in and through me. May the words of blessing and encouragement I speak be what my family carries through-out their lives.
The journey is what life is about. Celebrating the victories. Taking joy in the everyday ordinary. I’m in it for the long haul.