Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Column in the Muncie Star Press August 23,2008

Whatever You Do, Go the Extra Mile

Olympian swimmer Dara Torres possesses a stunning physique and fierce athleticism, but what sets her apart from other top athletes is her age, 41.

Torres inspires me because at 45, I started running again, which is neither easy nor graceful. I call what I do "slogging," for "slow jogging," because I'm ridiculously leaden. My allergic post-nasal drip is faster than my gait.

But this morning, I had the best slog of my life.

Mid-route, as I neared two runners, they began hooting, pumping their fists, jumping around and singing the Olympic anthem at the tops of their lungs on a Saturday morning in the middle of a quiet neighborhood street. It was quite a heady experience.

A while after I passed them, I realized I hadn't needed to slow to a walk anytime during my run. In fact, my legs felt solid, my breathing was adequate, my calf didn't cramp, my laces stayed tied. I seemed to be morphing into a real runner.

Before long, I noticed I was about to match my own distance record. Fueled by pride and adrenaline, I decided to keep going, and I went a full extra mile!

I thought about Torres as I ran. She's used to slicing through the water to confidently gaze at her time. I'm used to looking for sprinklers to run through and collapsing in my yard. She has hundreds cheering her on. I have my husband, George, and his friend, ironically named "Victor," encouraging me and annoying the neighbors. Torres has the life of a champion; I have the life of a tryer.

So I wonder: Does Dara truly ever exult in the small things, like going one more lap in the pool or holding her breath a few seconds longer?

Because I sure exulted this morning: "Thank you, God, for this beautiful day! Thank you for legs! For breath! For no hot flashes during this run! Thank you that I can thrill over small things. Thank you for helping me go the extra mile. ..."

And that's when my thoughts changed perspective: "The extra mile! Wasn't that exhilarating? Guess what? You can get that same great feeling again today if you go the extra mile for someone else. Encourage someone the way Victor and George encouraged you; give your all to whatever situation you're in; don't discount small beginnings and rejoice in small victories -- go the extra mile."

1 Peter 4:10-11 says, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others ... If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."

Whatever you do today, go the extra mile. You're golden!

Linda Crow, of Muncie, is the mother of three teenagers and works in youth ministry. Visit her blog at www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com.

21 comments:

PJ said...

I've admired Torres too -- just that ability to keep up Olympian skill at her age is admirable. And so is going the extra mile, for all of us. It IS all about doing for others and using our gifts to go the extra mile in service. Thanks!! Great article.

Denise said...

How many champions would there be if we all remembered the power of encouragement! Thanks for the reminder! Happy "slogging"!

Chatty Kelly said...

Today was the most beautiful encouraging post!! Thank you. And I like your new "postscript" telling us who you are. :-)

I remember when I got up to 4 miles (walking, not jogging) and I couldn't believe it. Now that I've taken a "break", I'm back to 2 miles.

So keep up the good work!

Rhonda said...

I've admired Torres as well. I love to hear about someone near my age (43) that I can be inspired by.

Congratulations on your victory and for also being an inspiration!!

"MoodyBlue" Jodi said...

Great article Linda!!! So proud of you !!!

Lisa said...

Weird, I posted about running today too...however, my run wasn't even close to as successful as yours!
Thanks for the continued inspiration!

Marsha said...

Terrific column Lidna... BTW, I'm headed that direction tomorrow. I should be at my mom's late tomorrow evening. I'm getting old and dread driving straight through but I'm bringing the dog and it's too hard to find a place to stay with her.

Muncie, here we come!

Lynn said...

Awesome post. I need to get slogging again myself. I am inspired to do so. Thank you, Linda. Have a great week. Hugs, Lynn

Susanne said...

A gold medal post, for sure! Thanks for the encouragement to encourage others. How we could change our own little worlds if we would just remember this.

Smilingsal said...

You go, girl!

Linda said...

Excellent! And congrats on becoming the best you can be. :)

April in CT said...

YOU are inspirational! It's so awesome that you ran further..great job!

A few months ago I started exercising after having NEVER exercised in my life. I don't know how I would have done it without the motivational support from my husband. He encouraged me every day that I wanted to slack off and now I find that I motivate myself on the days I just plain don't want to do it. I've lost 13 pounds, I feel amazing and I'm excited for the future!

Never hesitate to motivate someone...it's truly amazing what a few encouraging words can do for someone struggling with something in their life. :)

Nadine said...

Very encouraging and well written post.

It's good to go the extra mile because we truly get blessed when we don't give up.

The Bayou Belles and Their Beau said...

I'm going to run right now. Thanks for the encouragement.

skoots1mom said...

very nice...going the extra mile definitely makes a difference to the "goer" and whoever might be on the receiving end. What amazes me is that the small things sometimes make a bigger impact than the larger edeavors...

Smiles are easy, they don't cost anything, and they make the world a better place

Serendipity said...

What an inspirational post! Thanks for sharing it.

Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment.

Zoe is adorable! Wags and licks from Happy the silky terrier to Zoe!

My ADHD Me said...

Thanks for passing the torch!

Heth said...

Good work! Heck, next year at this time, you might just be slogging a marathon!

samurai said...

Just a note to encourage a fellow "slogger". :-)

ann said...

Well said, Linda! And good job! Keep going. I tell you, I haven't slogged in over three weeks (vacation got in the way). Now I pretty much am right back to where I was before I started. Don't stop! Keep going :)

Lelia Chealey said...

AGAIN my friend...both awesome and funny! Great message Lidna!!! lOved it. And the author. ;)