Written by Page Freer—
When I read that Thomas Jefferson wrote The Declaration of Independence at the young age of 33, I felt inspired to also do something BIG in my 33rd year. So I entered the new year on Jan. 1, 2013, with the personal goal of running a marathon. Go the grueling 26.2-mile distance. Earn the glory, the shiny medal and a lifetime of bragging rights.
I faithfully followed my training program and visualized crossing the finish line on every run. I lived and breathed my goal—that is, until a recurring foot injury stopped me in my tracks. My body began voicing the familiar complaints: Too fast. Too much. Too hard. Many a runner has been forced to decide what it’s worth to push through the pain. Once I realized that I was spending more time managing my pain than actually running, I wasn’t prepared to press on.
Fast-forward a few months to when I read (with great interest, as you probably will, too) Stephanie Heinatz’s feature on three athletes—a runner, swimmer and cyclist—each of whom has defied the odds despite physical limitations. Jeff Kerr pedaled 1,000 miles with multiple sclerosis. Mimi Ulsaker is wheelchair-bound yet swims for miles at a time. Bill Sorrell, a marathon runner battling arthritis, recently completed a 50K run (that’s 31 miles!) to commemorate his 50th birthday.
Stories like these, which you’ll find on page 40 of this issue, remind me that it’s not the actual crossing of the finish line that matters but the dedication and training required to get there, regardless of how long it takes be or how many bumps we encounter on the way. It’s a lesson we can apply to so many situations in life. When the timing is right I will tackle that 26.2-mile course. Anything is possible, and these folks prove it. Meanwhile, remember that one really BIG event I felt destined to accomplish this year? As it turns out, it was hidden in the cards all along. If you are reading this column, you are holding in your hands the 100th issue of The Health Journal. It represents 100 opportunities to do our best work; we have told thousands of stories, and, I am grateful to know, touched countless lives.
So while I may not be blowing past a marathon finish line this year, I am still crossing a finish line nonetheless. The difference is that unlike competing in a race, hitting the “Big 100” is more than just a personal triumph. My dedicated staff and family at The Health Journal—along with our many readers, clients and contributors—will all share in this momentous achievement (as well as the bragging rights). And that’s cooler than any medal.