In the picture on the left, I had just completed my very first Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans. At nearly 260 pounds in 2010, walking the 6.2 mile route through my hometown was painful. The pressure on my back from the weight felt like it was crushing me at every turn.
You wouldn’t know that by looking at my smile in that picture. I was just grateful that on that particular day, I stuck to a commitment to finish what I started. Still, more than two years would pass before the high blood pressure diagnosis that sparkd my journey.
Fast forward to the picture on the right from the 2015 Crescent City Classic, and the smile is even brighter. The joy didn’t just come from the 90 pounds I shed in the years since that first race. It comes from a sense of pride that I am keeping my promise to God and myself to make better choices for my health.
As I prepared to go to my hometown in New Orleans for the 2015 race, I wanted to glance at the images from that 2010 experience. The great folks at MarathonFoto dug up the photos from all those years ago and sent them to me. I was floored. Somehow, I managed to smile for pictures through all the physical (and emotional) pain. I did not run at all that day. I did not care how much time it took. I was just focused on finishing.
When I returned in 2015, I chose to walk the path, and really take in the moment it represented along my journey. Wellness is not a sprint. It is not a race that you run, get a medal, and you’ve conquered it forever. It is a slow, steady, hilly, messy, rough, smooth, beautiful terrain that lasts an entire lifetime. There truly is no finish line, only mile markers along the way.
Will you stumble? Yep. Will you set personal records? Yep. Will you run through the rain and the hills and the valleys? Yep. I am learning to embrace all of it, one step at a time. You can too! So lace up those shoes, and take the first step. Decide to live!
(Originally published April 2015)