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Steve Wagner / Forum Communications Co., Published December 25 2011

Wagner: Pursuing passions can lead to new experiences

Bemidji, Minn. - Four years ago next month, in the depths of winter, part of me wanted inspiration and motivation.

By that time, I had committed to a running lifestyle, having completed a half marathon. By going to local races, I found a place where you find people full of energy, positivity and passion for life. I was hooked.

While a few friends warned me, I swore that I would never run a marathon. And then in January 2008, I found myself online, clicking the buttons and punching in my information. I would run Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, one of the bigger races in the country yet close to home.

Soon, I developed a love for the daily training regimen required in preparing for a 26.2-mile effort, and I adopted a mantra: Make your own destiny.

Over the past four years, my running mantra has served me well. It’s helped me get out the door on the coldest days to put in my miles, push me when I felt tired and uninspired, set goals and chase them down on the streets.

Now, as 2011 expires, and I’ve gone through a year of change both professionally and personally, my mantra seems tired. It will likely still pop up, in the late stages of a race, when I’m racing against the clock.

But it’s time for a new one. Soon it will be 2012, and time for new goals and challenges. The new year will open the door to new experiences and opportunities, albeit some may need to be created.

So while life still requires setting one’s one course – making your own destiny – mine is going to be guided by a new principle: pursue your passion.

In a way, this guiding principle set me on course to make trail running more prevalent in my life. It prompted me to fly half way across the country to run trails in Oregon and Arizona.

It was the impetus to run some of Minnesota’s state parks and begin discovering a way to do it more often, a high probability now that I live in Bemidji.

Having goals, dreams and pursuing one’s passion – on the trails, in the classroom, a hobby where you connect with others with similar interests – is what makes the minutia of everyday life worthwhile.

Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@bemidjipioneer.com