Sunday, April 26, 2009

Journal Entry - Mon. 3/16/09

For the past 5 or 6 months, I have been working on the STEPS to HONOR program. It is a dream of mine to get an awareness program started that will motivate people to purposefully set aside time each day to honor our American heroes. I’ve given the program a lot of thought. The program isn’t about who can run the fastest mile or who can run the longest distance. It is simply about honoring those who selflessly serve for you and for me. It has to be a program in which anyone can participate. It can be as easy or as difficult as you choose for it to be. I see two benefits from participating. The first benefit - you will be forever changed if you really take the time to honor our heroes. The second benefit - you will get in better shape!

The reason this program is called STEPS to HONOR and not something such as RUN to HONOR is because not all of us are runners. I can personally tell you that I hate to run. Until recently, I had never run more than a mile without stopping. I had not ever had the interest to push myself in that way.....until I participated in Run for the Fallen last August. As I mentioned earlier, I had begun an exercise program earlier in the year. I had been walking at the YMCA and taking a few exercise classes in an effort to strengthen muscles and better cope with a permanent disability with which I live. I had gotten in the habit of exercising about 5 days a week so I was much more prepared to run a mile than I had been in years. I decided that I was going to participate in Run for the Fallen, and I was going to actually jog rather than walk.

August 24, 2008 was a HOT day in Lexington, Kentucky. As the group headed out to run the mile long trek, I immediately noticed that it was a lot harder to run in the heat than it was to jog in the A/C on a treadmill. About 1/4 of a mile down and I was beginning to think I was crazy! I refused to quit and kept on running. At the half mile point, I was really hot and ready to stop, but I was determined that I would not quit. The last half mile was extremely difficult, but I kept telling myself that I could do this. Certainly the men and women that have served on my behalf suffered much more than I was suffering.....and they had made the ultimate sacrifice on my behalf. There was no way I was going to stop running until I got to the finish line or dropped dead trying to get there! Somehow, I managed to make it to the finish line. I had struggled, but somehow I did make it to the end. The entire time that I was suffering, I was reminded of the names written on my racer’s bib. As I ran and struggled to breathe, I spent time thinking about the individuals I was honoring with my run. I prayed for their families and asked God to give them what they needed to keep on going in this world without their loved one that had made the ultimate sacrifice. I thanked the Lord for His grace and the blessing of living in a land of liberty and for those that had made that possible through their service.

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