Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ten Days to the Finish Line - The Ripple Effect

I spent yesterday with my daughter and two of my grandchildren, then arrived back home refreshed, savoring a ton of hugs and kisses and memories of the day. As I pulled into the driveway, I was reminded that those hugs and kisses and precious songs were the reasons I decided last April to get off my butt and exercise.

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Heart disease is rampant on both sides of my family. My dad, a lanky man, died of a heart attack in his early 60s, as did his father. My mom, a petite Southern lady, sweeter than a glass of sweet iced tea, survived hers, but her brothers and parents did not. So why was I putting my heath at risk sitting at my computer 24/7 writing stories about love? Go figure.

One morning I woke up convicted that I needed to change my lifestyle. That was the day I bought a pair of walking shoes.

The shoes had pink trim that matched my ankle socks with pink ribbons. (I strongly support breast cancer awareness, but that’s for another blog post.) That evening, I started walking two laps around the church parking lot behind my house. That was as far as I could go. I set a goal to lose ten pounds in ten weeks by cutting 1000 calories from my diet each week. Easy enough. I gave up soft drinks, chips, sweets, and wine. Bingo. I reached my number. By mid-June, the ten pounds were gone, and I was hooked on walking three miles a day. 

One night in September, I decided to see if I could run from one corner of the parking lot to the next. I did! Winded, but excited. The next night I did it again. A week later, September 22, I was walking on the inside track and decided to see how far I could run. I ran a mile. A mile! Yes, I ran a mile—without stopping. Two days later, I ran two miles.

Fast forward six months. Next Saturday, I’ll run 13.1.

And what about the ripple effect. One son-in-law decided to change his diet and work with a trainer. He’s lost over 25 pounds. My other son-in-law played college football but had never run long distances. He is now. My daughter, who regularly ran 3 miles on a treadmill, has become a distance runner and is running below a 10 minute pace. She leaves me in the dust.

Yesterday, my three-year-old granddaughter said, “I want to run.” And she took off across the yard. Yes, I want to run, too. So I can watch my precious grandchildren run and run and run. 

Hopefully, twenty-five or thirty years from now, I will leave behind not only a legacy of living an active and healthy lifestyle, but also a  collection of books that my grandchildren will see on a virtual shelf. I hope my passion for writing will be passed down to another generation as my grandmother’s passion was passed down to me.

The ripple effect. Sometimes you don’t know you’ve started a ripple and sometimes you do, but regardless, do whatever you do with your best effort. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Live with passion. That’s what enables you to accomplish your  dreams in the first place.

Happy writing and running, Kathy

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