I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (although, as we learned in my last post, we are still in the Christmas season and will be until next Saturday, which is Epiphany) and didn’t miss me too much during my unannounced hiatus last week. Today, I have a story to inspire you toward whatever goals you may be pursuing in the new year.
Last week, we were staying in a hotel while visiting family in Ohio. One morning, I was in the fitness center doing a walking incline workout on the treadmill, when a little old lady–I use the term quite literally, with no disrespect intended–came into the room and hoisted herself up onto the elliptical. My initial reaction was “Bless her heart,” but as the minutes went by, I could see in my peripheral vision that she was holding her own pretty well.
When I got off the treadmill, she was still going at it, and she wished me a good day, a merry Christmas, and a happy new year. (At least I think she did–I had my music up loud.) I thanked her and asked if she wanted the TV remote, which had been sitting unused on my machine, but she couldn’t hear me very well either (she didn’t have her hearing aids in, as she told me a few minutes later), so she got off her elliptical to find out what I was talking about. I felt bad that she had to interrupt her workout, but it quickly became apparent that she wanted to talk. We had one of those polite little strangers-in-public exchanges, but this wouldn’t be an interesting story at all (sorry about the long set-up) if not for what she asked me while I was on my way out the door.
“Have you ever run a marathon?” she asked. I popped out one of my earbuds and answered, “No, I’ve run a half-marathon, but not a full marathon.”
“Oh, you have to run a marathon,” she said. “I’m training for my 13th marathon. I didn’t run my first one until I was 61.”
[From here on, I’m not going to continue with this dialogue thing–just imagine me saying variations of “Wow, amazing!”]
She began speaking as if me signing up for a marathon were a done deal. “Just have fun,” she said. “You can alternate between walking and running, at least on your first two marathons.” (Now she was assuming I was going to run two.) “Don’t worry about keeping up with the Kenyans.” Here I laughed knowingly; my heart always sinks when the first Kenyan runner passes by on the return leg of the Virginia Ten-Miler when I’ve barely gotten started.
The conversation was short, and it ended with an exchange of first names (hers: Connie) and with Connie telling me she would pray for me and my family (this is not really a surprise in Central Ohio, Bible Belt North). I walked away from the fitness center with a lot to think about, most of which can be summed up in various cliches such as “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and “It’s never too late to try something new.” So I won’t belabor the point. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, and I hope Connie’s example won’t discourage you (“I’m not her, so I won’t try”) but inspire you. Your thing may not be running marathons (though apparently mine is), but you do have a thing–go do it.