What I Have Learned from Running

I’ve learned a lot from running and while running.  I didn’t start running until I was 42 years old.  I quit smoking, cold turkey, on August 6th, 2007 (and that’s a whole other story all to itself) and started running.

The first important lesson I learned was there is way more inside of me than I ever knew.  My tank is never completely empty.

The second important lesson I learned was all aspects of running can be used in analogies that can then be applied to all other areas of life.

The third, and most recent, great revelation came to me today while I was running and really wanted to quit 15 minutes into it.  The fog of physical discomfort parted from my brain and the word NOW flashed in my mind like an old Broadway sign.  Suddenly, I knew.  Suddenly, I was made privy to the deep meaning of Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan.  Mother Teresa knew it: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”   Gandhi was in on it: “The future depends on what you do today.”   All the way back to Horace who coined the phrase, “carpe diem.”  I had suddenly been brought into the fold, a new member of the club of the enlightened.  In that very moment when I wanted to quit and walk back home and had come up with a list of reasons longer than the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights put together why it was permissible for me to quit this one time, I understood what it would mean to quit.  I understood the importance of my decision in this very moment in time.  If I were to let myself quit, I would make it ok for me to miss the mark in future endeavors, fall short of goals, and delay dreams.  And that is not ok.  Making it ok to live by excuses to perform less than my best is not ok.  Living by excuses is living in the graveyard of goals and dreams long dead.  I think Gandhi said it best.  Whatever my future is to be, depends entirely on what I do today.

The discomfort I was feeling at the moment was supplanted by my mind’s voice repeating, “All I have is NOW. Be who you want to be NOW.”  I knew I did not want to be a quitter!  NOW kept flashing at me.  Flashing.  Flashing.  NOW flashed in my head all the way to the finish line.

NOW

I finished the run.  Yessiree!  I finished and every step, every thought, every action after that run has had NOW flashing all over it.  Which explains how I got to be sitting here writing in my little piece of the world today.  Right now.  No more putting off until tomorrow.  No more dreams for the future that I am not bring to live in the present.

And sitting here staring at that picture of my NOW, just made me realize that NOW spelled backwards is WON.  If I want to win, if I want to reach my goals and live my dreams, then I must live right NOW.  Do it NOW!  All I have is NOW.  Let us begin.