The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I believe the thousand mile journey begins with a single thought; a determination that proceeds the first step.
Around the middle of January I decided to run 1,000 miles in 2015. Back in the marathon training years I had run 800-900 miles per year, but never eclipsed one thousand. Running this distance would be longer than anything I had done pre-accident/L5-S1 damage/foot drop.
While a thousand miles breaks down to a manageable 2.74 miles per day, I started behind. First, I had the deficit of not deciding to do this until a couple of weeks in to the year. Second, I sprained my ankle in March and didn’t run for another three weeks. By April, I had a 100 mile deficit that I didn’t catch up to until a few days ago.
I don’t pretend to be the most intelligent or talented person around, but determination served me well. I ran through Columbus metro parks and across Cincinnati bridges, around Wisconsin lakes and through Nashville college campuses, alone across farmland and cheered by a homeless friend in downtown Houston. Running deepens my relationship with places. When running, I see and experience life more fully. My appreciation of creation grows every time my foot strikes the earth.
I see and experience myself more fully. In this thousand mile journey my ankle turned more times than I can count. My body continually reminded me that it is approaching 50. But I learned that I am more than frail bones and strained tendons. My will and perseverance are stronger than my limitations. In this, I am reminded that nothing is impossible. The only things we can’t do are the things we don’t believe.
We may not all be born with equal gifts or opportunities, but the desires of our hearts can carry us through thousand mile journeys that will never leave us the same.