Twenty feet before the finish line and in the huge, boisterous crowd, I see a hand. Of course, I know that hand. The long fingers, ideal for playing the piano. It is the same hand that has comforted me when needed over the past 15 years. The same hand that provided a push or a soft touch is now waving frantically in a sea of hundreds, hoping I would see it. Instantly, I recognize it and move toward the barrier and am rewarded by a vision of the hand's owner. Lisa, complete with ever present smile is right there at the the finish line, the completion of my 9th Disney marathon. It is not all that surprising that I finished. It is more surprising that I started.

Mile 25 is just exceptional. Though my hips are very sore, my legs and spirit are outright bouncy. This mile feels like my victory lap, though I am hardly the overall winner. At 5:58 finish, I would have a personal record but given the events of the past few months, this event means more than a silly PR.

Mile 22 is outright harsh. The past 6 miles have looked like a running "MASH" unit, with disturbing bunches of athletes on the sides of the roads. There does not seem to be enough medical personnel to take care of the marathoners who were taken down by the heat and humidity. This is only the second time I have seen such extreme reactions. It was rather upsetting, knowing that there was little I could do. How prophetic. The numbers of times and people who I have experienced a sense of frustration with due to a strong desire to help -- one that they in fact, did not share --equaled the number of sick and injured runners. Say a prayer, offer help and move on is the message here. Some I simply do not have the skills to assist. Others want to stay in the same drab life they are living and my desire exceeds their desire for an improved life. And there is nothing I can do. There is nothing to be done but move on.

Mile 16. This is the beginning of a tough stretch. From here to Wide World of Sports, the road always feels longer than it is. We are in direct sun, running on black top. It is akin to running under a microscope. I know I will get through this. History is on my side. This is where it also pays to be determined or stubborn, depending upon which side of the coin you are viewing. It is a skill I had to utilize quite a bit in the last quarter of 2012. Many rough, forgettable moments. One of the things that got me through them is knowing that many others have it tougher than me, and yet they survived. Some even prospered. I wonder if other runners will struggle during this stretch too?

Mile 15. I have gone to Animal Kingdom many times but this had to be the most enjoyable of them all. I was greeted by a parrot, goat, owl, a ball python and a one-eyed Harris hawk at the entrance. Even took a picture with the latter 2. The person who handled the hawk was rather special. The hawk lost an eye due to irresponsible shooting but became an ambassador for hawks of sorts, teaching thousands about them and how to protect them and other beautiful creatures we happen to be sharing this planet with. Great things can come from ugly if you are willing to look for them and most importantly, apply them. You may have to go out of your way though. What a great lesson.

Mile 13. I wonder if there will be any animals outside our next stop, Animal Kingdom.

Mile 10. It seems like every year, I have an opportunity to speak Japanese with someone or in this case, a couple. It has been my experience that Japanese people are some of the kindest and most respectful people on the planet. Though my language skills have quite a few rough edges, we managed to have a thoroughly enjoyable kaiwa (conversation).

Respect. That is a word that has taken on a strong meaning in my life. Being in martial arts for 28 years to date, I assumed other martial artists would live by the code. Such is not always the case.

Contrast is a great teacher and during this conversation, I realized that respect will always be something I will teach and live by. This will be my contribution.

Mile 8. Our first time running in the Richard Petty Experience race track. Though I do not understand the appeal of NASCAR, it is fun to explore and do something new. That really is the message here, isn't it. Doing new things, expanding my world and fulfilling my life purpose of collecting experiences. Too many times over the past several months did I talk myself out of having new experiences. Too tired. Too far to drive. Too this and too that. The only thing true was that I was being too closed-minded. Life is a participation sport and the only true error is having a life that continually shrinks.

Funny how powerful lessons can come from experiences that are not my cup of tea. Then again, maybe that is the reason to do them.

Mile 5. Nothing better than running through Magic Kingdom. The castle is such a symbolic icon of human creativity and ingenuity. Running through here is an expression of pure joy. Joy -- a simple 3 letter word that will heal virtually any sickness or emotional situation, regardless of external circumstances. Pure joy. Needless to say, those 2 words will be accompanying me for the rest of my life.

Mile 4. I see Lisa, complete with huge smile. I have never felt more fortunate than I do now. I am participating in an event that I love, seeing the person I love and having a most memorable experience. To think, I almost talked myself out of this a few months ago. What was I thinking! This is fantastic!!

Mile 3. I see Jack and other characters from one of favorites, Nightmare Before Christmas. I want to get a picture but the line is so long. So I run by, only to stop on a dime. I want a picture! So, I hit it in reverse can trot back the 1/10 of a mile to wait in line for a picture.

Wow. Simple picture but powerful message. Go for what you want, regardless of circumstances. The line was long but went by fast, taking all of 6 minutes. 6 minutes of waiting, which including a great talk with a couple from Michigan. 6 minutes to get a picture which I will treasure. Be patient and ask for what you want. When the opportunity arises, which it most certainly will, GO FOR IT.

Some of life's deepest messages need not come in dramatic fashion. Someone does not have to die or get sick or lose their job for a powerful reminder to be learned. Sometimes, it is the simple pleasures that we talk ourselves out of, that give us what we need to learn. A whisper. A touch on the shoulder. Listen. Your life may never be the same.

Mile 2. I am fighting feeling a little disappointed that no one but Lisa came to my marathon. Over the years, I have gone out of my way to be there for others, from 5K to swimming events to marathons, yet I can count on one hand the individuals who have supported yours truly. And still have 3 or 4 fingers left over.

This sounds like my first opportunity during the marathon to learn a valuable lesson. Do what you want, help others and perhaps, expect nothing. Expectations, particularly from others, has always gotten me in hot water. I sometimes expect others to act in a certain way and am invariably disappointed when such is not the case. Now seems like a good time to drop off this habit.

Letting go has always been a message from history. Letting go has always been a message from the Masters. Now seems like a good time to apply it. Ok. . . back on track, happy as a clam. 24 more miles and here I come!

The starting line. Normally, the finish line is the one I am not 100% certain about seeing. This year, I have flip-flopped and waffled about participating in this event, the type of training I would do and my overall feelings for endurance sport. Take the words, Yes, No, Maybe, Sometimes and Part Of It and throw them in a blender. Take out 3 scraps of paper and this is what my answers felt like.

As I stand here at the start line, I realize that I spent so much time trying to get my outside world correct, that I neglected to tend to the inner world. I disregarded things that make me happy, choosing inside the "practical" thing. Happiness was replaced by 'being responsible." Of course being responsible really meant . . . . being afraid. Now we finally have the truth.

I spent a great deal of time living in fear last quarter and most of last year. I started living in the world, and not in MY world. Starting doing things in a common way, instead of a creative way. It was not surprising why the end result was confusion and fear.

As I look around at the thousands of happy faces, the Disney characters adding to the excitement and the colorful fireworks painting the sky, I am happy. When I am happy, there simply is no room for fear and that is the equation that works. I cancelled many events in the past 2 years and that empty space, which normally would have been filled with excitement and happy was left empty. Then fear crept in, albeit slowly and stealthily at first.

I don't know if a person can control fear. I certain cannot. But what I can do is fill my space which overwhelming joy and happiness that no room is left for anything negative.

I teach martial arts and often tell my group to go out and make BIG mistakes. Don't waste time or energy on stupid ones or small ones. Make them big so that you learn something of tremendous value. I took my own advice on this one.

I am all of 2 steps away from the Finish Line and this is the last time I will be doing the Disney Marathon in my 40's. Like every other time I ran this event, I laughed, learned and experience things that make my life so much better. This year was different though. Most of the other times I did this event, I brought back lessons and adventures that added. This time, I left the things that drain or take away from my life.

I finished and am happy, thrilled, sore and a lot lighter.

Author's Bio: 

David Orman is the creator of the best selling product, Doc Wellness Formula. It can be found at