Monday, February 1, 2016

Your Last Run

by Sue Aquila

A few days ago one of my friends died unexpectedly while running. When this happened I was vacationing internationally. I received emails from friends and family with a common theme. Most of them remarked on how we need to remember how precious life is every day.

If you are reading this, chances are you are the type of person that excels at executing your training plan. You understand what it takes to do “X” number of minutes at a certain percentage of effort. Like me, you probably take great pride in executing your plan day in and day out.

What about your other 23 hours a day?

I think the other parts of my day are broken down into:

  • Acts of love. Every day. These are atypical actions that remind the people in my life that I was thinking of them, that I put them first and that I love them. It may be texting a lyric from a song to the one I love or leaving a cut flower on the pillow.

  • Acts of service. Helping a family member with a piece of technology. Getting a car fixed. Explaining math homework to my middle school neighbor. Putting together a pre-race breakfast for a training partner. Going to work.

  • Moments of truth. Opportunities to express my integrity and values. As simple as giving back the cashier the extra incorrect change she gave me. As complicated as only doing business with companies that I believe do no evil.

I think we all need to celebrate how precious life is with the ones we love. This is the barometer that allows us to chase our dreams professionally, personally and in the world of triathlon.

For me, finding opportunities to gather reminds me of where my center lies. My teenager knows that attending family dinner nightly is expected. Date night is on the calendar weekly. Every Thursday night our extended family gathers for a group dinner. Gathering together celebrates our love and our lives.

My friend who died was one of those rare individuals who was always gathering people. He loved his family and showed it with many acts of love. He left his mark on our part of the world by providing countless acts of service as a medical pillar of our community.

I need to remember to practice the preciousness of life every day with a plan as purposeful as my training. It is far too easy to forget that this run may be your last.

Sue Aquila is a USAT Level 1 coach who balances her ironman training with running a successful business that she built from the ground up. She blogs regularly at You can also follow her on Twitter @fewoman.
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