I ran 10 miles yesterday morning with Dawn, Beth, Kevin and Rob. It’s a great group of runners and even better people. They’re optimistic, energetic, healthy, humorous and fast: just the type of workout partners I need to motivate me to get out of bed at 4 AM.
As I listened to their stories yesterday morning, something became very clear to me. Although we all came from different parts of the country with diverse backgrounds and careers, we all had share a common bond of a healthy attitudes & healthy habits. There’s never any bitching about work or the economy or how painful the run is. The topics range from past races, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ upcoming NFL Draft options, ambitious future race plans and healthy stories. All in all, it’s a group of well-conditioned friends with the type of outlook on life that we all need to be around more often.
Dawn is a marathoning machine in gymnast body. She’s well organized in her approach to each race with the Paris Marathon in her sights next month. I really respect this dancer-turned-runner’s drive to stay healthy. The early riser approaches running, tennis, cross-training and life with the excitement of a 6-year-old on Christmas morning. Dawn is the youngest of the group and we all appreciate her youthful enthusiasm.
Rob and Kevin are great guys and loyal Jaguars fans regardless of our Win-Loss record. They enjoy the preparation for the 6+ races a year they compete in as much as they do the post-race parties. Both successful businessmen, they know how important it is to stay healthy and they dedicate their mornings to enhancing their fitness. I thoroughly enjoy my time with them because they are always upbeat about their lives as devoted husbands, fathers and athletes. Based on their healthy attitude and fitness discipline, I could see both of these young men running races into their 70’s!
Beth shared her blessings of having a strong marriage, a long and healthy gene-pool, an exciting career and a sincere passion for being very healthy since she was a teenager. She referenced a neighbor from her youth who exercised every morning and the positive impression it made on her 35+ years ago. Her fitness level and athleticism is obvious and a result of her hard work and diligence.
Recently our early morning gang of running thugs on the “mean streets of Ponte Vedra Beach” is missing our official leader of the group, Rushton. I ran my first Ironman triathlon with Ruston in Hawaii in 1994 and have ben close friends ever since. She is one of the most motivated non-professional athletes I’ve ever know and I have a ton of respect for her as a person and an athlete. She’s overcoming a recent heel surgery and we’re all cheering for her to recover in record time. She’s not running now but we all know that she’ll be back winning her age group in road races by Memorial Day.
I’ve learned so much from my healthy friends and so can you.
Stay the Course – Consistency is a valuable variable with fitness. Making the time to exercise and eat properly is priceless if you want awesome results compared to simply tying to find the time to workout.
It All Starts With the Head – Having a positive attitude about your body and what you want to do with it is the first step. Unlike your car, computer or house, you can’t simply trade your body in for a shiny new one so you better work on making this one better. When I’m running down the road at 4:30 AM checking out the raccoon in the grass or the moon-lit sky, I get excited about being extremely alive in my mini-adventure not envious of my warm pillow.
Like Charges Attract – If you want to be healthy and exercise properly, spend more time hanging out with people who do just that. I love the quote: “Successful people consistently do what unsuccessful people don’t like to do.” If you truly want to have outstanding health, have healthy friends who embrace fitness with a positive attitude.
Challenging Yourself – There’s only two ways to motivate yourself: Pleasure or Pain. Either something feels good (positive reinforcement) or it hurts (negative reinforcement). In reality, most challenges in our lives encompass a combination of the two. For me and my friends, competing in races and competition gives us a goal to prepare for to challenge ourselves. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself because it’s a great way to grow, to get stronger both physically and mentally and to learn priceless lessons on how to both win and lose…..such as life itself.