It’s the third day of the new year, 2016, and I am already facing a decision. Not an earth shattering one…unless it is. Just a slight adjustment but one I hate to make…despite my New Year’s Resolution #1 that included the admonishment to “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!” It is a concession to age and oh how I despise making a concession to MY AGE! For over a year now I have battled my arthritic and injured knee and my running. Over the same year I have mulled over my orthopedic surgeon’s prognosis, “There is a knee replacement sometime in your future.” He said other things but for some reason I didn’t hear much after the “knee replacement” part. I probably ought to get some clarification. I did make the decision to put it off as long as possible…which brings me to the decision to discontinue—GASP—running.

Running has been a constant companion since April 9, 2006. I had been a “hit or miss” kind of runner the decade previous…make it more miss than hit, but in 2006 I made the decision that I needed to make a lifestyle change. A heart attack will cause you to contemplate such modifications and, when it occurs on your birthday, remembering the anniversary of your heart attack is that much easier. I really don’t have a problem recalling the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest and the fear that went with it. Because of that fear I made major alterations that included exercise and a new diet that allowed me to drop sixty-plus pounds. One of those alterations was twice a day bouts of walking and running. Mostly walking but some forty or fifty mile weeks of running thrown in for good measure. Since my injury my bouts are once a day and focus much more on walking than running.

My problem is not with the exercise. I can replace my running with more cycling and fitness walking. I really need to be more consistent with strength training. Maybe a rowing machine or a membership to the Y. Yeah I can do that…but what about my head? I should mention I once suffered from clinical depression…but not since I began running consistently. That’s the small stuff I am sweating. I’m not sure I can out walk my ghosts or the grim reaper. I just know if I don’t stop running I may not be able to out walk anything.

So the decision is made…right? As I walked into church this morning I picked up a bulletin and immediately noticed a runner on the front in starting blocks along with a Bible verse from Hebrews, “Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus.” Okay…looks like their maybe a bit of prayer before my decision is fully made.

Don Miller is a retired teacher and coach who, in addition to his Blog, has written three books that have drawn heavily from his childhood and years in teaching. They may be downloaded or purchased in paperback at the following links:

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