Thoughts about my 1000 mile journey

“The  Final Countdown” was blaring in my headset when the announcer on my workout tracker said, “You have reached your goal.  13 miles in 57 minutes  37 seconds.”  This shattered my 13 mile personal best time by 2 minutes.  I was happy and emotional.

My mind drifted to January 24, 2010 1:13pm… My partner, Bill, and I were run off the road by a distracted driver from Arnold Trucking (yes I am still a little bitter and upset).  A wild ride ensued and the ambulance was totaled as it flipped over on its side in a ditch on FM 14.  After a few minutes of gathering ourselves, we climbed out the back shaken, but alive.  It was a life changing moment that made me realize there was more to life…and I needed to find it!!!

Segue to August 2011.  I had just enrolled at UTTyler to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications…the degree I had started in 1990.  This was a huge leap of faith.  I had one year to complete this course.  We had sold our house and moved to Tyler.  This move, after living in the same place 35 years, was tough.  It was a life changing moment that made me realize there was more to life…and I now had the chance to find it!!!

I always heard the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.  So, this became my goal- to walk or ride 1000 miles in the next 9 months as I completed my degree.  Several problems quickly arose.  I was 39 years old, weighed over 380 pounds, and couldn’t walk 10 feet without panting.  This was going to be a LONG journey.

On August 19, 2011,  I took my first  step…then another…then another towards 1000 miles.  It was a very negative journey.  I was going to take one step for every person who has told me I am too fat, too ugly, too tall, too…everything.  So many people had “done did me wrong” over my lifetime.  At 18 inches per step, I had 3,520,000 steps ahead of me.  And plenty of people to hate on my trip. 

After those very first steps, I honestly thought they were right…I am a failure.  I couldn’t even walk a flipping half-mile.  My body ached all over.  My feet were sore.  I lost heart, but that burning hatred for all those people drove me on.  They could not stop me.  They could not win THIS fight.  I would never be a slave to them ever again.  It was a life changing moment that made me realize that I had allowed OTHERS to control my happiness…and somehow I needed to dig deep and fight it!!!

Something amazing happened as the steps and miles piled up.  I posted on Facebook about the journey…and people seemed to care and show support for this crazy trek.  Dang it all to heck….Now, I really had something to do.  I couldn’t let all these people down.  Yes, this was a personal journey for me, but somehow, it became more.  More than I ever imagined.

On December 21, 2011, I fell off a 10 foot high bridge into the creek below while riding a trail with my son.  The wound festered inside and two weeks later erupted.  The resulting abscess  left  a 3.5 cm wide hole that went to the bone with 2 inside intertissue tunnels that were 3.2 cm and 5.5cm long.  The worst part- the doctor said no exercise until it healed, which would take 4-5 months probably.  It was life changing moment that made me realize that I might not complete the journey and reach my goal…I was devastated.

I went to wound care and tended to the leg.  I went to the gym with Mary, my wife, and worked out my upper body 4-5 days per week.  We had so many good times together.  Somehow, I had forgotten the one person who had supported me on this journey…and all my crazy journies in life.  For the next 3 months, we continued wound care and gym work outs.  This was a wonderful time…even though, inside I knew my goal of 1000 miles was gone.

Finally, the doctor pronounced me as “healed as I was gonna get.”  I rode 2 miles that day and almost passed out.  I was sore all over from not riding for almost 3 months.  I ate ibuprofen for dinner that night and went to bed early. The first week back riding, I rode 40 miles…and hurt everywhere.  There was no way I was going to complete this journey.  All those people were right.  I was a failure…a fat, old failure.  It was a life changing moment that helped me realize that despite everything I had been through and overcome, I still allowed others to control me…and I could not let that happen again… So I rode to find it!!!

I rode and rode some more.  I hurt more and more.  And rode each day.  My friends and family provided so much support and help on the last 300 miles. I would like to say the miles became easier…they didn’t.  I still struggled with each pedal and step.  But each day, I pushed a little harder and a little farther inside to my being.  I had hours to think about me.  I had hours to push aside the hate again.  I had hours to just pedal…and focus on nothing but the next step or turn.

Segue to today, April 9, 2012, at 5:10 pm… The Final Countdown was blaring as I  completed the last 13 miles of my journey.  I completed the journey as it had started…sweating like a stuck pig, sore legs, and panting.  But this time, I has sprinted at 13.5 miles per hour for an hour!!!  My personal best.  The completion of the 1000 mile journey was a life changing moment that made me realize this was only the start…I could and can do anything I want!!!  Am I still old, fat, and most of those other things listed in the beginning? YUPPERS!!!  But I just rode 1000 miles…and no one can take that away from.  Tomorrow, I will take the first step towards my next 1000 miles…and can’t wait to see what this new journey brings.

9 Responses to “Thoughts about my 1000 mile journey”
  1. Tasha says:

    I love you and Mrs Mary much!! Adore you two so much and proud of you and your family!


  2. missingarrow says:

    Congratulations! I hadn’t heard your motivation, but your dedication was amazing to watch on Twitter.


  3. missingarrow says:

    Congratulations! I hadn’t heard your motivation, but followed your dedication on Twitter!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Rock on man! You Did IT!!!!


  5. Christie McGrew says:

    When I met you…I never thought of you as any of those things that people have called you…I would like to be one of the many that helps you add some positives to your list…you are: dedicated, intelligent, faithful and inspirational, a winner and still one of our most loved heroes…Aaron Deason you are a great man….your wife and son are truly blessed to have someone like you. Here’s to another 1000 miles!


  6. Anonymous says:

    Congrats!! I am so proud of you for sticking to you goal.. keep on keeping on toward your next goal….keep in touch and give a big hello to wife and son


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  1. […] how I was beginning a long trip transitioning to becoming a college student  In 2012, I wrote Thoughts about my 1000 mile journey  about things I did and learned during my 1000 miles.   The later ended, “I can’t […]


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