You have come a long way baby!

This morning I went for a nice 4-mile run early morning before going into the office.  It was a chilly 26F and a tad windy, and I was feeling a little tired.  But after about a mile, the legs ;woke up' and the run started to feel better.

At one point, I turned a corner heading east, clearing a line of trees that was blocking my view of the eastern sky.  Wow!  I wish I had brought my phone because in front of me was this beautiful, red-orange sky in the midst of sunrise.  It was one of those moments when you know there is a God because no way was this kind of sight the result of random evolution.

And it got me thinking (yeah, not a good idea! haha).  Here I was, running for 4-miles (which was actually 4.6 miles when it was all done) as part of a training plan to prepare me to run the Disney Goofy Challenge and two other Full Marathons in the first three months of 2013.  Oh. My. Gosh!  How did I get to this point?  What in the world made me even think I could?

"You've Come a Long Way, Baby!"  Remember that slogan?  If you were born after 1980, probably not.  It was a 1968 advertising slogan for a brand of cigarettes targeted towards women, called "Virginia Slims".  While I do not smoke, and am certainly not a woman, the slogan holds some meaning for me as I look at where I was and where I am today.

Later today, I went back and read some of my old blog posts from 2011 -- the year I started my running addiction (er, I mean "passion").  I started with last December, when I was training for my first Half Marathon race, and I grabbed a snippet from the post on December 29th:

12+ Miles in a Winter Wonderland = Awesome!
So 12.90 miles covered, 2214 calories burned, in 2:40 hours of foot time for today. A pretty good run I think! Tomorrow is a rest day, and the beginning of Taper time! By the end of December, I will have run 62 miles this month and just under 520 miles for the year! Not too shabby for a guy who didn't even own a pair of running shoes until late March.

I read that and couldn't help but compare it to where I am today.  This month, my training plan calls for me to run 140 miles, more than double what I ran in December 2011.  And my total mileage for this year will be around 1,120 miles, more than double the 520 I ran in the 9 months of 2011.  I ran 13 races in 2011. most of them 5K races.  In 2012, I have run 19 races, most of them Half Marathons and two Full Marathons.

I find that astonishing, actually.  Astonishing within the context that I only started my running journey 1.5 years ago, and I have already accomplished so very much.  And while doing so, managed to keep my weight stable, my diabetes fully under control, and be a much healthier "me".  And, most importantly, I have done so without getting myself injured (knock on wood).

I have been very blessed, and I give major 'props' to God for keeping me in His care.  He has been a real presence to me throughout this process (especially during the Chicago Marathon).  I am thankful that He strengthens my body and spirit.

I am also truly thankful for my wife, all of my friends, family, running buddies (especially Mike), and the extended running community that I have connected with via FaceBook, Twitter, podcasts like The Marathon Show, and my Disney running team W.I.S.H. (We're Inspired to Stay Healthy).  All of you have been there for me, listened to my endless babbling, consoled me, encouraged me, challenged me, and kept me grounded.  You are all awesome!

And while I really have no idea how many people have been following my journey online via this blog, I hope that you have found tidbits of information  inspiration, and humor to help you stay committed to your own goals and aspirations.  We all have them.  We just have to make that first decision to strive to make them realities.  That is all I did -- take that first step towards healthy living.  And I have to decide to keep taking that step each and every day.

I would love to hear your stories too!  In fact, I'd love to publish your encouraging and inspiring stories so that we all might be uplifted as well. We are all here to help each other, right?

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