Photo Source: Belfast Telegraph

Were you witness to the recent triumph that took place shortly after this year’s London Marathon? Sixteen days after the marathon ended, a final entrant crossed the finish line. Claire Lomas, who is paralyzed from the chest down due to a horse riding-related accident in 2007, finished the marathon with a little help from her computer-enhanced, ‘robotic’ legs — along with a very healthy dose of will power and sheer determination. If you saw the news stories documenting this triumph, you could hear the applause from her supporters (including her husband and 1-year old daughter) who witnessed Ms. Lomas’s strength and courage.

Ms. Lomas told the BBC, “It’s a moment I am going to treasure for the rest of my life.” And I’m inclined to join her in treasuring this moment. After all, when my alarm rings around 4:30 in the morning (calling me to get out of bed and drag my butt to the gym), I often let out a groan and wonder how I’m going to get through the day at hand’s workout. And this groaning happens even without the need for the ReWalk suit, which helped Ms. Lomas meet her goal.

But after bearing witness to Ms. Lomas crossing the finish line (after averaging 2 miles a day while also raising more than $125,000 for paralysis research, according to USA Today), I realize that I have nothing to complain about. Even if I feel like I didn’t get enough sleep the night before.

It’s triumphs like this that remind me that working out isn’t a curse, but a gift. By making exercise a part of my life, I am able to maintain a healthy weight, look better, feel better and be a whole lot healthier on theinside (let’s not forget all the benefits working out bestows upon our inner body, organs and muscular structure).

Often, it’s when we’re sick, have a cold, flu or some other ailment that we appreciate our health and bemoan the fact that we can’t excel physically (as we normally would if not sick or under the weather). But how often do we take our health, well-being and ability to workout for granted on days that we actually arefeeling 100% healthy? Seeing inspirational stories like this can remind us that every day is a gift — as is every movement we can make. Even if you’re not able to make to the gym, you can make it around a block via a quick-paced walk. Or even just up and down the stairs (as opposed to using the elevator).

And yes — we’re even allowed to think of managing to exercise as completing our own marathon, of sorts. Even though we might not step away from our exercise regimens with a medal, we get something better: theknowing that we made it (to the gym, around the block, up and down the stairs — whatever) and that we didn’t let any excuses stop us.

For the record, USA Today reports that Ms. Lomas didn’t receive a medal either. Although as of their press time, 15 other marathoners had donated their medals to her. And rightly so. She reminds us all that courage and fortitude comes in all shapes, sizes — and ability levels. Simply stated, if Ms. Lomas can do it one step at a time, so can we.

So come on… What do you say? Let’s take that very next step together!

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