030: Observations About Personal Growth and Longevity as a Half-Marathon Spectator

030: Observations About Personal Growth and Longevity as a Half-Marathon Spectator
Photo by Tong Su / Unsplash

My observations began the day our youngest daughter informed us about her plan.

That is, her plan to run a half-marathon - as in 13.1 miles.

I could relate to her excitement having been a runner in previous years.

But I must admit my longest running event was a 15k (9 miles give or take)...I haven't (yet) crossed into marathon territory (half or full).

So, with a lot of "go-for-its" I began to proudly observe our daughter's several months journey of preparation as she trained, ran, and completed (achieving a personal best time I would add) the half-marathon portion of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

I realize that not everyone is able to run, has a desire to run, or is prepared to run recreationally or in a designated event run.

But as my observations revealed, everyone (you included) has something compelling you forward as you age.

Frankly, if you aren't compelled by the reality that everyday you're alive and breathing is a gift...well...I hope you're well-aware of the alternative.

A compelling purpose could be the single most meaningful aspect of your growth and longevity journey

Why a compelling purpose?

Because however many birthdays you've celebrated something has caused you to wake up, get up, clean up, eat up, work up, and stay up-and-at-it day after day, month after month, year after year.

But that merely describes your daily, expected purpose.

The bigger question: is all that "up" time compelling?

What I observed in my daughter and what is true of other runners in her recent event, and in those I've observed through the years (including myself) is this:

  • Your decisions determine the results you experience.
  • Your discipline reveals the dedication you know is required.
  • Your determination enables you to push yourself to finish.

What will you decide to do today that could change how you live tomorrow?

Just about everything you do (or don't do) starts with a decision.

Your decisions set your calendar, your schedule, your priorities, your values - you name it - a decision is at the front of the pack.

My daughter didn't line up on race day at the front of the pack.

That wasn't what her decision was about.

Her initial decision to run the half was to change some things about herself...and finish the race.

Those things were deeply personal for her.

I observed that her decision paid off as she trained, approached race day, and crossed the finish line.

She can proudly call herself a half-marathoner as a result of her decision.

But she also earned much much more.

  • Her physical condition has improved.
  • Her emotional maturity has deepened.
  • Her love and appreciation for running and competing with herself has grown.
  • Her relational circle has expanded.

Physical, emotional, and relational growth are the by-products of a decision.

And age is irrelevant to that process.

As long as you can decide...by all means decide.

Decisions set your life in motion or they keep you in place.

Where will your personal discipline reveal the quality of your dedication to what you value?

Decisions are merely the beginning.

Action must follow - let's call it decisive-dedication.

The weird thing about decisions is that they're typically made in advance.

But advanced decision-making can't forecast the conditions you'll face once you decide to:

  • Make a change in your life
  • Improve your health and wellness
  • Develop a new habit.

These demand practical dedication and resilience.

Race morning for our daughter was a bit rainy on and off.

Not a deal-breaker for dedicated runners by any means.

Like for most runners, the pre-event training environment conditioned our daughter to maintain her disciplined dedication through heat, a thunder-shower or two, cold days, and a bout with a period of illness.

Conditions do not determine your discipline - your dedication to whatever you value or desire as you age does.

When will your determination kick-in to keep you moving toward creating a meaningful legacy?

Aging sneaks up on you.

Sure, you can watch its effects in the mirror or feel it in your body.

More relevant is the subtle passing of time that catches you off-guard.

It's realizing that you've reached a certain age and you begin to question things.

  • What you've accomplished (or haven't yet)
  • How you've prepared for the second-half season of your life
  • Who you've loved, what you've lost, and what you've learned to endure

Crossing the finish-line gave our daughter (and my wife and I) a strong awareness about the power of determination for accomplishing something meaningful.

That's also relevant to your growth and longevity journey whatever decade you're in.

The most meaningful result of your disciplined, dedicated, determination is to keep moving forward and decide that you will finish strong

  • Make a decision
  • Apply some discipline
  • Be determined

Press on...