LA Marathon

March 9, 2014

I ran the marathon today for charity. I should say I ran half of it, and my friend covered the last 13.1 miles. The race began at Dodger Stadium and ended in Santa Monica. I grew up in LA and have seen it change over the years. That said, I say the streets of downtown differently as a runner. We must have weaved around the Courthouse once or twice. While running by I could not help thinking of my experience in front of Judge Wilson many years ago. But the moments were not filled with anger. Rather, I was pleased at how far I had come. In prison I met Michael who encouraged me to use my time wisely. For me that meant waking early, reading extensively, learning, and running. Running helped me set clearly defined goals. When I would hit them I would become more confident. Now, as we encourage our Straight-A Guide members to do, I always track my progress. Am I writing a blog every day? Am I spending as much time with my family as I committed to? Am I hitting my running goals of 150 a month? Accountability logs, or our 4th A, keep me on track. Then when I hit or exceed each goal, I feel that same sense of self worth I developed in prison. It is part of the reason my prison experience was so wonderful. I worked daily to pursue my values, and in doing, documented the journey to show others how to do it. Michael laid out the template and I choose to follow it. As a result my life changed. Others in our program are generating the same result.

Justin Paperny

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