I love to exercise alone. I love to run in French Creek Reservation (and, as an aside for my SAM, I was imagining that you showed up there during my mental run last night right before I fell to sleep--and I let you run with me and then we walked, too). That is my happy place. It is a gravel path that goes up and down hills and valleys through the woods and along the creek. I love it there. It gives me joy and peace and perspective when I run there. It's about 2.5-3.1 miles in distance (depending on which trail you hit) which is about as far as I like to go anyway. I've run it in warm weather and cold weather. I like it there no matter what the weather. It's a good place to take the kids, too, and I hope to be able to take my baby-girl running there with me soon. She is totally getting into my exercise addiction and I am so excited to share this with her.
Last year was the first time I had really set some goals for myself regarding where I wanted to go on this journey. I wanted to do a 5k and 10k, I wanted to lose ~70lbs during the year and work on becoming more fit. The only think I missed was my weight goal. I missed it because I hadn't anticipated the mental part of the journey and the potholes that I would fall into around that. Don't get me wrong, I am not making excuses. I own that I missed it. I take full responsibility for it. What I am saying is that I am still living Plan B and sometimes I have to adjust my plan because this journey is all about learning about myself, what works for me, what doesn't work for me, and what can I do better.
What I didn't think about regarding this journey, is that people would look to me as their inspiration just as I have with others whose achievements and inner strength and beauty have for me. My girlfriend, Carolyn, has been just such an inspiration for me. Our stories are very similar from our growing up years. Her drive, self-motivation, and consistency inspire me to be more for myself. When I am falling down, she picks me back up; sometimes on purpose and sometimes inadvertently through something she's written, done, or said. There are people on the website where I met Carolyn, sparkpeople.com, that have said I inspire them and push them to do better for themselves and that feels good. Now, I have some friends on Facebook who are working out more because I hold myself accountable for working out and post on there what I am doing. There are also a couple of people who have told me that because of the changes I made, they, too, are doing things to change their health, fitness, weight or the like.
To me, that is what the "spark" is all about. It's about igniting something within yourself. Sometimes it is through someone else, but keeping it lit is all about you. Others can fan your flames and continue to bring it oxygen, but they can also put your flame out. At some point, you need to learn to keep it burning within you. Last year, this was the quote that kept me going:
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
I am very grateful for those that sparked my flame, helped it to ignite, fanned it when it was starting to go out and never left it unattended...never left me. To the ones that tried to put it out, it's not worth the effort to keep validating myself and my journey. I have no reason to prove myself or my worth or share my journey with you if you don't want to walk it with me--beside me, not in front of or behind me. To those whose spark I ignited, know I will continue to fan your flames and walk with you wherever the journey leads you! The best is yet to come!!