I was blessed enough today to be able to run a marathon. If you were to ask me six years ago if I thought I would do that and enjoy it I would have told you you were wrong. Not only would I have claimed you were wrong, I would have laughed at you. A lot! Today, I ran the Big Sur International Marathon from Big Sur, CA, along Highway 1 for 26.2 miles, to Monterey, CA. It was an incredible experience!
The views were unlike any that I have ever seen during a race. If for no other reason than those views alone, this race would have been amazing. However, this race represented so much more for me. I have been running races for six years now. What running has done for me has far exceeded any expectations I could have ever had.
For the first time ever, I went into this marathon with no expectations. I didn’t have a goal finish time for a race and the intention was to be in the moment and take in the beauty and comradery surrounding the whole day. The run was a tough one. It involved over 2,100 feet of climb and some pretty fierce head winds. Any other day there may have been a lot of complaining and groveling but I heard none of that today. Unlike many other races there was little spectator support because of the remoteness of the race. That didn’t seem to affect myself, the group of friends I was running with or any of the other roughly 4,300 runners in the marathon on the course. It was one of the best organized and run events I have had the opportunity to run.
What made this run different is what I realized out there today. I know that God has blessed me immensely with the ability to be able to do these types of activities. It is a lot of work to prepare and execute but I am fortunate and blessed to be able to do so. It is through God’s grace that I am able to do it. I have had many people not only tell me they thought I was crazy for some of the running adventures I have undertaken but I think their looks tell even more what they think. Here is the thing though, running and in particular, being active, has presented me with opportunities that I didn’t even know existed.
Since I have begun an active lifestyle I have seen so many amazing and completely awesome parts of our world that I would have never had the opportunity to see if I wasn’t active. I have run in the desert in Nevada, the Grand Canyon in Arizona and today along the Pacific coast. These are just a few of the amazing places I have been blessed enough to experience. It has certainly enriched my life and presented me with views that I have now forever imprinted in my memory. I have pictures from many of these places and, although they are incredible, they pale in comparison to the amazing memories I have.
I also had the opportunity to spend the day with some close friends that are also incredible people. Being active has provided me the opportunity to meet and become friends with a wide range of people that I may have never had the good fortune to get to know, let alone meet. The stories you hear and the people you meet at these events, as well as the training leading up to them, will renew your belief in the human spirit like no other. I have learned so much from many of the people I now know through being active not only in a physical aspect but a human aspect. In fact, today, just as I crossed the finish line, I ran into running icon Bart Yasso. I have used his Yasso 800s in my training several times. He was gracious enough, in the middle of a race finishing around us, to take the time for a picture with me. Thank you Bart!
The kindness and generosity of those in the active community are rivaled by none. It has certainly allowed me to come out of my shell and be more outgoing. It is because of my involvement that I finally have become active in many other things in my community. Something that I’ve wanted to do for years but always was hesitant to do. Being active and running in particular, has given me the confidence and courage to do that.
I know that being active isn’t for everyone and that is OK. But you need to find something that gives you pleasure, satisfaction. Find something that allows you to live! Don’t just sit back and let life pass you by. You need to get up and experience life. You need to find what that is for you. It is different for everyone. I have been asked if I am worried that all this running and activity will cause my body to break down. You know what? It might. Then again, it may not. It may allow me to be more active and live longer. The key is that it is something I have found that lets me enjoy life and see and do things that I may not have ever had the opportunity to do otherwise. That is living! We all need to find what that is for each of us and do it. It reminds me of the quote from The Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” For the past several years I have been getting busy living and I have no plans to stop. That just seems way more appealing to me than the alternative! I hope you find something that makes you passionate and you get busy living!
Be Great! Be Strong!
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