I’ve been a runner for 30 years or so, but I’ve never been overwhelmed like I was on a recent Tuesday morning run.

It wasn’t just the physical challenge that overwhelmed me. No, it was all mental at first, followed later by the physical challenge as well.

I had run one easy mile and realized that I had 19 to go. This was overwhelming because I had never run 20 miles before. This was a first in the history of me.

I’ve run nine half marathons of 13.1 miles each and I’ve had recent runs of 14, 16 and 18 while training for my very first marathon on Dec. 9 -- a few days before my 65th birthday.

I’m working very hard to get my body conditioned for a 26.2 mile run, but on that recent Tuesday, I realized I’ve got to get my mind conditioned as well. Running with thousands of other runners in the Dallas Marathon will certainly help, but I still will have to deal with the intense mental side of this wonderful sport.

I just thought about my first half marathon in December of 2008. I decided to pray for Brandon Maya the entire run. My pain was self-inflicted. His was not.

Brandon was a senior at Community High School in Nevada when he collapsed at school on Nov. 4, 2008. Initially, the medical opinion was that he suffered a head injury when he fell. Doctors learned later that he collapsed because of a previously undetected brain aneurysm.

Today, Brandon can’t walk, talk or eat. He has only partial movement in his right arm. But Brandon is so full of life.

I was mentally prepared to think and pray for Brandon and his family. That took so much thought off me and my pain and how much farther I had to run.

This year — and the thought just occurred — I’m going to pray for my family as I run. And, I’m smiling because I just remembered my very first 10-mile run. It was on my 60th birthday.

A friend shot video as I completed each mile. Son Isaac ran the first mile with me. He was my first running partner. Wife Becky went the last mile with me. It was a joy for me to have Rebecca Joy finish this run with me because we’re going to finish this race of life together.

What a special time that was and I certainly didn’t think back then that I’d be planning to run a marathon five years after completing my first 10 mile run.

I feel better already.

That’s one of the joys of writing this column. I may start writing with a single-sentence idea. Then it flows from one, to the next, to the next and pretty soon, I have a completed column that I’m pretty pleased to submit for this publication.

And with the thoughts of my wife and prayers for Becky and our family, I believe the upcoming Dallas Marathon miles will flow from one, to the next, to the next and pretty soon (after six hours or so), I’ll be crossing the finish line.

Thanks for being a part of my mental workout today. I feel better. Does anybody want to join me as I get back into making sure the rest of my body is ready for the physical challenge?


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