Be an active participant in life

PARTICIPATEWhen I begin my journey over five years ago, I really didn’t just begin a weight-loss journey. Sure, over the past five years I’ve lost 180lbs., but that wasn’t my focus or point of my journey. When I made that decision to take those first steps, I was really telling myself and the world that I was starting to be an ACTIVE participant in my life.

I have been extremely lucky and blessed over the past five years. I have gone and seen places I never dreamed imaginable, met tremendously awesome people and experienced many wonderful moments that I will always remember.

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How? Why?

Mainly with the belief and resolve that I was no longer going to let the world pass me by. I wanted to be the person that wrote my own destiny. I wanted to be the one who took me where I wanted to go. And, quite frankly, I was sick of not living life. Not just to the fullest, but … at all.

I have been very lucky to have running in my life. I am even more lucky to have the body and health that I have, sure I still deal with health issues here and there, but I still have the ability and capacity to do what I want to do and go where I want to go.

The body is an amazing thing.

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And, I’ve been thinking a lot about the body as of late. I used my weight as an excuse for a number of things. Heck, I remember when I used it as an excuse not to workout … because I was … well … fat. What a great excuse, huh?

But, more than just where I’ve come from and where I am now … I’ve been thinking a lot about the miracle of the body and how despite perceived limitations one can soar. And, over the years I’ve had many people in my life show me there is no such thing as limits.

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One of my best friends Jordan was one of the first to show me that limitations are man made. I met Jordan while at Salt Lake Community College I was involved in student government and was sitting on a committee interviewing for new senators. Jordan came in and interviewed for a position.

He could have probably been easily dismissed because of perceived perceptions, but I will never forget his interview. Here was this young 18 year old man with cerebral palsy that has the most infectiousness attitude, optimism and love for people. You could tell that he fully believed in himself and didn’t see the person that the world saw.

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Jordan and I quickly became close friends and over the years we’ve gotten even closer. I will always remember him confiding in my his fears, especially those of not ever getting married or having a family. Where is he now? Married and has a beautiful daughter. I have no doubt this happened, because he didn’t see how the world saw him. He pursued his dreams and fought through a lot to get there.

Even in the running community I have seen these examples time and time again. When I first met Elsha back in May of last year I had no idea how my life and running was going to change. Elsha who was born with muscular dystrophy doesn’t have the ability to use her arms or legs. But, has that stopped her from being a participant in life?

And, I wouldn’t be writing this post if I answered that rhetorical question with a resounding, “YES!”

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Of course that hasn’t stopped her from being an ACTIVE participant in life. In fact I’d probably say she lives more than most people. Not only does she run, but she is an accomplished artist that makes Christmas cards for charity, she raises money for children in Africa, she even sponsors a child through school in Africa. This doesn’t even include her love of U2 and relationship with Bono and the band.

Elsha is simply an amazing person.

The relationship that I have had with her introduced me to many other assisted athletes, especially that of Reese Thorne. Reese doesn’t walk or speak, but he sure loves to run! Through the couple of times that I pushed Reese while running I love seeing his smile grow large and feet kick out of his chair.

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That’s when you know he’s loving the run.

Seeing that joy and being able to give Reese that joy has solidified and deepened my love for the gift of running. As cheesy as it might sound, I run so they can soar. And, there are many times my pushing them is because of the pull of their undefeatable spirit and will.

See I told you it sounded cheesy. But, it’s true.

How often do we hold ourselves back from being participants in our own life? How often do we tell ourselves that we can’t do something because of some lame excuse? I call it lame, because there really isn’t a worthy excuse for living your life. Not, necessarily to the fullest, but even living it on a half empty tank of gas is pretty dang awesome!

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So why not go for it?

I look at my inspiring friends’ examples and wonder how I can sit back and just let my life pass me by. If they can overcome what the world sees as limitations, why can’t I overcome what I see as my own limitations? Because, really, limitations are just lies we either tell ourselves or believe that come from other people.

So what’s holding you back? What’s keeping you from your dreams? What’s keeping you from flying? Soaring?

Nothing has held back my friends Jordan, Elsha and Reese and I look to them for strength when doubt creeps in my life. Because, I know if they can overcome ANY obstacle in order to be an active participant in life … so can I.


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For those that are interested on Thursday, February 5th at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns there is a fundraising run being ran by Extra Mile Racing called Reese’s Run. It is an indoor half marathon specifically for assisted athletes like Elsha, Reese, my friend Josh and others.

The race is open for anyone to run along with these awesome athletes. It’s $25 per pusher and $5 for the assisted athlete. Even if you don’t want to run the whole half marathon you can run as much as you want, volunteer, cheer on the athletes or simply make a donation.

You can register for the race by clicking on this linkCome run!

There’s also a GREAT article written by one of my running group members, Arianne Brown, on KSL.com this morning about this race and Reese. Check it out!

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