Finding Motivation in Regret

We all have pictures that haunt us, you know the ones we try to keep hidden so that nobody else will ever see them.  The one at the top of this post is mine.  It was taken on July 4 2005 and is of the first 5k run I ever took part in at Kernersville NC.  The  picture doesn’t bring back back painful memories, on the contrary it was an awesome day that helped me learn many lessons.  That day I embraced nuggets of knowledge such as when your running a race and want to be in the back make sure they crowd isn’t facing the wrong way, otherwise you will be in the front with all the “real runners.”

What haunts me is the lost opportunity of that summer and what could have happened if I took advantage of it.

The Kernersville 5k revealed that although I had been running quite a bit wasn’t really in good shape since my diet wasn’t ideal (a bacon cheeseburger and french fries are not the best meal the night before a race by the way…even if you do have a diet coke).  So the race became my motivation to begin training harder and eating healthy as well as run in two more 5k’s that summer.  By the Fall I was in the best running shape of my life, not ready to give Usain Bolt a run for his money, but could definitely outrun the neighborhood dogs.

Then it happened…..the weather turned cooler and it became harder and harder to motivate myself for running.  By the end of winter I was totally out of shape, never to come close to the fitness level of 2005 since.  That’s why this picture usually stays in an archive folder never to see the light of day, it fills me with regret.  That along with the desire to build a time machine so I could slap 2005 John in the face and say  “stop being so stupid!”

A few months ago that picture became something very different, a motivation to become 2005 John again.  Oh my time may not be as fast and I may not get another cool picture beside a man who appears ready to collapse but the important thing is using that frustrating moment as a motivation to pursue my dream again.

A few months ago after the Lord led me begin planning for a 2012 furlough I registered to run in the Marine Core Marathon with my brother Michael.  Obviously running a 26.2 mile race is a huge challenge that requires lots of motivation, particularly on the cold winter days which is where the haunting picture comes in.  Its the background of my desktop right now so every time I send an email, write a letter, or go online I’m reminded of how close I was to running one and then stopping short because it was too cold.  And thats the best thing I can do right now…at least until I finish building that time machine.

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John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

3 thoughts on “Finding Motivation in Regret”

  1. Regrets can be debilitating, or motivatin. It’s all in how you decided to use them. Of course, the worse you messed up, the harder it is to bring yourself to use the regret as a motivation.

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