Thursday, March 19, 2015

What is it, that will make life worth it, for you?

I am not religious, but I believe in faith and faith in oneself. I wake up every single day and ask myself, what can I do today, to make myself a better person, a stronger person, a kinder person and a wiser person. I have done this for over 25 years straight.

I am a runner. Running is an extension of my faith and spirituality. I have run over 150+ marathons and ultramarathons in the last 3 years alone. I dropped down from 315lbs to 195lbs in 6 months to run my first marathon, just 4 short years ago. I have done this against the odds.

I drank alcohol and smoked for 20 years. It seemed to be part of the culture I group up in. After awhile I couldn't breathe anymore. 

I had to recognize and accept the fact that I violated the expectations I had for myself and my life. I had to reconcile, that I violated the expectations others had for me, which was a very hard pill to swallow. I went through testicular cancer and lost the use of my testicles. This happened at a much earlier age than most and brought fears and anxiety that my future was not bright. I went through the short-selling of my home and lost all my money. I sat by my mom's side as she slowly died from a crippling disease and held her hand, as she passed away. She was my best friend. 

I have advanced arthritis in my shoulders, back and feet, so bad, that more doctors told me to never lift weights again, in order to hold off from shoulder replacement surgery for as long as possible. I have never been married because I carry with me self-esteem, self-worth and trust issues that were instilled in me from childhood. A childhood in which I was bullied, constantly beaten up and alienated because I was overweight. Even after dropping down to 2.5% body fat during my training for the Kona Hawaii, World Ironman Championship triathlon, 30 years after the problem, I still worried about being fat.

As I started to try and gain some self-discipline and tried to lead a healthier lifestyle by running, I tore the tendon completely off my ankle, by accident, from something unrelated to running. I tore it so badly that the doctors, specialists in foot and ankle, told me I would never run more than 5 miles again. The people around me all told me that what I was doing was a waste of time. They told me that I was too big to be a runner. They laughed at me time and time again, as I kept talking about wanting to run a marathon, especially after the doctors told me I was finished as a runner.

I say all this without complaint. My life is truly blessed and I have learned to surround myself with people who inspire and motivate me and who, by their very actions and words, can be identified as being on the same mission as I am. A mission to be a better person, to be something more, and with a purpose to help others around them. I see it in their actions and hear it in their words and it truly touches me. It makes me want to be a better person and live a better life. It not only strengthens my own faith, but also my faith in others, which is so lacking, based on my past experiences.

Running is how I pray. My church is the land, the mountains, lakes and the sky.

I write this after having just completed my 5th running race and 4th ultramarathon this year. A 50 mile run through Antelope Canyon in Page Arizona. As I was driving home, I began to cry. I cried not because of the pain I was in, not because of any kind of injury I had, but because of the pride I felt, in what I had just accomplished. A sense of accomplishment that truly filled my soul to its core. It is a feeling that changes the entire way I look at life. It is a feeling that to me, makes life beautiful. It is a feeling that makes life worth it.

I believe that it is our duty in life to help others. To help those who sit so quietly in the darkness. To be the light that allows others to see the path and to help guide them out of the darkness. And I want you to know, and I want others to know, those who are going through hard times, those who are in pain, and those who live each and every day out of fear, that I will do my part. I will use everything I have and every ounce of energy that passes through me, to be that light, no matter how great the darkness. I will do this not only with my words, but through my actions. I will do this, until I leave this place.

If I cannot find a way… I will make a way…

What is it, that will make life worth it, for you?

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