I Am Here: Strength in Reflecting on the Past

This post is a story that highlights the purpose and premise of my eBook, I Am Here.

I hated running and I hated the gym. They always gave me a feeling of inadequacy.

Team sports had always been my forte: baseball, basketball, and football.

A few years removed from college and the enjoyment of a desk job left me out of shape and in need of motivation. Adult league softball wasn’t cutting it (no offense guys). It made me mad that I had regressed so much from my high school and college years. I was a shadow of my former, athletic self – if there ever was such a thing.

When I learned that we were expecting our first child, I recognized a need for change. I didn’t want to live a life that led my son to ever accept complacency. I wanted to be in my mid-40’s yet still keeping up with the physical prowess of a teenager.

How do you respond to these feelings of change?

Sometimes it takes massive, radical action.

In 2009 I saw a friend compete and finish a Sprint Triathlon. The roar of the spectators and the challenge of the 3-sport event were intriguing. The initial nudge was a curious internal question.

“I wonder if I could do that?”

Having grown up at the beach, I had swam before, but just playful, never as an athlete.

I had ridden a beach cruiser, did that count?

Did I say I hated running?

Then, I was given the gift of a challenge. For Christmas that year, my wife signed me up for the same race I watched my friend compete earlier in the year. Albeit her act wasn’t malicious, I took the hint.

At the finish line with my biggest fan

At the finish line with my biggest fan

Never being one for moderation, I was signed up for a Half Ironman two years later.

This epic race has competitors complete a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile cycling leg and a 13.1 mile run – altogether 70.3 miles. On average, the event is a six to seven hour adventure.

Surender is likely. At least for me it was.

As muscles cramped with exhaustion, my mind began to bend; a cramping of its own.

Every step nearly took me down.

My body had reached a point where I physically couldn’t take another step. The motion of walking caused my quadricep to cramp in my thigh. When I stopped, my entire lower body began spasming. Assistants and volunteers approach asking me if I needed help. Everything in me wanted to say yes, except my heart. It kept screaming no.

It was at this point, about sixty-eight miles into my race, I came to a realization. What started out as a race against the competitors and the clock, became an appreciation of the moment. As I continued to take steps, I came to realize the beauty around me.

The sun was perfectly placed in the blue, October sky. The breeze was gentle and amid the struggle within, there was serenity. In that moment, I decided I was going to finish this race, I just needed to find out how.

The only thing that worked – walking backwards. I was engaging different muscles and the cramping went away.

As I turned around, looking from where I came, I saw the hills and the road beneath my feet. I’ve come this far and yet I’m still moving toward my goal.

There’s a strength inside that comes from reflecting on your past – a confidence created by the understanding that you’re here.

As these realizations came rushing in, I realized, although I was walking backwards, I was moving forward. I was moving toward my goal with the energy gained from my past. I wasn’t living in my past, I was simply reflecting on it as it drove me onward.

Is it possible to move forward while looking back?

Well, it was happening.

This new movement relieved the muscles that had been so overused. My legs began to regain strength.

The scene of the downtown skyline behind and other racers approaching provided an experience of watching others on their journey. The opportunity to face them, congratulate them, share encouragement as they continued; a certain confidence within my own humility.

In that moment, I realized I was as happy as I had ever been. My happiness was originally set on my own journey, head down, eyes forward, driven to my own goals.

However, as I turned around, I noticed that I was still continuing my journey while helping others on theirs. That was my journey – as I reflected on my past and saw people emerging in their own race, I was there to champion them – to encourage them as they ran. It didn’t matter that they passed me – I was still finishing my race.

As I turned forward again, my legs were refreshed from the reprieve – I could continue.

As I neared the finish, I could see the onlookers and loved ones cheering my completion. However, I knew that my race wasn’t over, it had just begun.


This post is a reflection on the purpose of my eBook, I Am Here: Becoming Unbroken. It is my recognition of my life's struggles and brokenness and their necessity to bring me to where I am today.

Turning around to reflect on my past has given me great strength in the present as well as hope for the future.

I hope the book meets you right where you are.

Whether it be through writing, speaking, coaching, conversations, or emails, I want to share with you. My passion is to cheer you on as you continue your own journey.

If you enter your information below, you will get a few emails to confirm the registration and I will send you a copy. Additionally, if you like what you read or if it moves you in any way, I would love for you to share a review here.

I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share with you.

I Am Here: Becoming Unbroken

I Am Here: Becoming Unbroken

(Click on the book above or click on this link  to get a free Kindle or iBooks copy)

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6 Responses to I Am Here: Strength in Reflecting on the Past

  1. Tammy Helfrich March 26, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    Excited for you!!

    • Matt Ham March 26, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks Tammy – look forward to catching up soon!

  2. Herb Willis March 26, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Great job!

    • Matt Ham March 26, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      Hey Herb – thanks for stopping by!

  3. Tate Cole March 26, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Great post, looking forward to the ebook.

    • Matt Ham March 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

      Thanks Tate! I can’t wait to hear what you think!