Two years ago you would not recognize me. I weighed approximately 400 lbs. I was happy and content. A content life is a dangerous life. The world we live in is turbulent, harsh, and beautiful. Eventually the storm of life will rain on each of us. In the words of Anne of Green Gables, “It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” I felt a unique kinship to these words as I read them. Anytime we make up our minds firmly, regardless of the thought, we will accomplish it. When my storm beat upon me I lost a little weight due to stress. One day after feeling a little lighter I felt happier. I firmly made up my mind. I will lose weight until I am at a weight that is healthy for my height.
Many of you have followed my journey and seen my progress. I want to share a few other insights from my journey. Starting with, how I began running. Many people think running is a difficult sport. It is hard on our body and physically exhausting. For the first 30 years of my life I agreed. Last year when I still weighed about 275 lbs I walked nightly. My feet moved as the evenings shadows whispered to my mind. The setting sun cast my specter upon the ground. We stared at each other. Eventually he told me I needed to run. As I walked I often would start to trot. Feeling my body bouncing and I got winded very fast. Every time I walked I could feel it. My body wanted to run. Shortly after I felt the spring in my step I signed up for a small triathlon. This was the first athletic event (since childhood) I competed in. When I finished the triathlon last year it was the first time I can remember running a full consecutive mile. I surged with pride. I continued to run because I liked it.
Months rolled along while winter nipped at my beard. Hesitantly I signed up for the Riverton half marathon. I never believed myself to be a runner. I used to mock my sister for running marathons. Now I run beside her. I trained for several months. I remember running my first 3 miles. I felt empowerment radiating from me. The next week I ran 6. I wanted to die… The cold air froze my fingers and burned my lungs.Pushing myself proved difficult but I wanted more. I knew I could do more. Another week later I ran 10 miles, I knew I could do the half. In May of this year I ran my first half marathon as a bearded batman! I accomplished a goal I never dreamed possible.
Now I have set my goals yet higher. I thought, if I can run a half. why not a full? I entered the drawing for the St George marathon the night before registration closed. A week later an e-mail shouted from my inbox congratulating me. I am running the marathon. Excitement and terror simultaneously spilled into my mind. I worried running would be a chore. Yet every time a lace up and start running I lose myself. I run solely because I want to. Sometimes it is hard. Yet, if listen to your body and you just run you’ll find your rhythm. When you are done you think clearer, be focused, and feel empowered. In 40 days I am running 26 miles solely because I want to. I never thought I would say those words but here they are.
I want anyone who reads this to know, “there is no goal you cannot achieve if you set your mind firmly upon it.” If you make your mind up before hand it will be so. Anne of Green Gables knew it. I know it. Now you can try it. Get up and walk to victory. The greatest journey begins the first step in the right direction.