I remember well the cold January afternoon my two closest friends met me at a local university. It was the beginning of a new year and we were meeting to run our first mile. None of us were runners, and we were still carrying around all the excess poundage we were determined to lose in the coming months.
Barely able to run for 30 seconds and spurred on by our desperate need of a bathroom, the situation was certainly comical, made worse by our own laughter. That was the first of many meetings, miles, and laughter together.
There have been other memorable miles: the first time I felt I could run outside without shame; the first time I ran in the rain, splashing and feeling like a kid again; the thrill of completing my first 5K; running miles in memory of my father; the triumphant final mile of my first 13.1 surrounded by the sound of cheering. There have been miles mingled with tears as well as laughter; silent miles filled with unspoken love and friendship; lonely miles; slow miles; speedier-than-I-thought miles.
The most important mile though, I believe, is the mile I’m running right now. It’s the only mile I can control. Yesterday’s miles are run; they’re history, just memories.
It’s the present that matters. If I give in now to the strong desire to quit or to slack off on this mile, then it will be easier to do so on some future mile. If I keep pushing hard and determine to finish this mile with strength, then I can move into the next mile with no regrets from the last. I’m thankful to my Creator, who has given me hundreds of miles thus far and strengthened me to run them, but I’m not guaranteed hundreds more. I only have this mile.