When Hayley and I dropped out of Dallas earlier this year for four months to embrace the mind-body-spirit of the Big Island in Hawaii, I was determined to get off the couch and back on the road of life. Years of excuses, none of them good enough, had brought me to this point. It’s easy to say and hard to do, but at 62, I decided to put myself in a position to succeed.
Every day I would say to myself, “one foot forward, one foot forward,” and even during the painful first few weeks of falling apart trying to jog a quarter-mile, soon turned into a mile, then two, three, and on up to six. I found a roadside route under the humid Hawaiian sun that wound it’s way thru endless fields of sunbaked lava, with 14,000 ft. mountains on one side, and the ocean on the other.
I started at the same spot every day and usually ended where the road ended, at The Beach Club at the Mauna Lani. Smiling, and always exhausted, I would say to myself, “I just did that, I just ran 6 miles.” Drenched from head to toe in sweat, my feet tired, toenails falling off from the hard pavement, I would finish my run, walk the few steps down to the ocean, drink a cold cup of ice water and watch the happy tourists play in the water. Then I would start the two mile ocean trail walk back to our condo, saying hello to the locals who had became a welcome sea of smiling faces in paradise.
I’m not sure what I miss the most, their gentle faces, the hot sun on my neck, the cool ocean water after a long run, soaking my sore feet in the hot tub, or the once a day beer in a frozen mug that greeted me back at the condo.
The experience of taking care of yourself on a physical level appears selfish on the surface, but in reality it is just the opposite. Our health is the only thing we can truly control, and the promises I have made to everyone in my life who loves me makes this not only a priority, but a requirement. Yes, it takes an enormous time commitment, but in Hawaii, I had the time. Today I am trying to keep that commitment on the roads of our East Dallas home.
While in Hawaii, I looked forward to what Hayley referred to as, “eating the rainbow” every night. Waimea Farmer’s Market salads filled with the color of plump red radishes, bright tomatoes from the tomato king, Raymond Kawamata, huge bulbs of fennel, cucumbers, golden beets, squash, two or three kinds of lettuce and baby kale.
And wine, yes wonderful wine, often with bakery fresh bread and cheese, and none of it processed, all of it real.
To celebrate this new focus on health and commitment, I ran the “Turkey Trot” 8 mile race yesterday, Thanksgiving, morning, and am signed up for the Dallas Half Marathon on December 13.
Wish me luck in the next phase of this adventure. And know, that with each day that passes I try to maintain, stay focused and strong keeping the mind as strong as the body, encouraging both on this path to the next phase of my life adventure.
It feels good. And, if you see me on the road, say “Aloha.”