Sometimes, a little tough love is needed.

My first half marathon is this coming Sunday, and I’m feeling confident with my training. I know I will finish this, no problem. And this week, I’ve been easy on myself with running. I did three miles on Sunday, planned an easy six miles this morning and another three coming up on Friday. Enough to stay warm and ready but not so much that I am tired for Sunday.

This morning, I woke up and got dressed right on schedule. But I made the mistake of checking my email on my way by my computer, and before you know it, more than 40 minutes had gone by. By the time I got out the door and to the gym, I was nearly an hour behind schedule. And if I run too far behind, I don’t get back home after working out to see my husband before he leaves for work.

So, I’m on the treadmill, calculating how much time I would be able to run. I figure I can get 45 minutes in, maybe 50 if I rush my shower. I’m thinking, “dang it, this totally bites… it’s so annoying!”

Just then, I looked up from my treadmill to the TV playing just above me and to the side. There was a show on about a children’s cancer hospital, and the little boy on screen was showing the reporter his new artificial leg. Apparently, they had amputated from the knee down in an attempt to stop the cancer from spreading any further.

In that moment, I felt like the world’s biggest piece of crap. Was I seriously whining and complaining that, because of my OWN unwillingness to get off the computer and leave on time, I was going to have to shorten my workout? This five year old boy will spend the rest of his life without his lower leg, and I’m whining about my schedule? Seriously?

Oh, man. In that instant, I felt so ashamed that it was almost a physical reaction. I thought I was going to be sick. I am blessed with great health, the ability to pay for a gym membership, and the freedom to come and go on my own time. Yet I was complaining.

I turned back to the treadmill and did a little math. Yes, I could shorten my run and finish on time. But shorter distances are only one way to lower a workout time. The other solution is to just run faster.

So I did. I ran with a new focus and a passion that has eluded me of late. I ran to celebrate my health and my life and all the good fortune I enjoy every single day. I ran faster than I have run in many, many years.

And I finished my six miles in 49:43. And as I left that treadmill, I said a little prayer for that young boy and all those others in his same situation. Because I already had found all that I could hope for.

And yes, I did make it home in time to see my husband off to work.

SDJ

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