This might sound cliché and yet this does resonate with me from a personal place …. I hope it does for you too.
I’ve run 15 marathons so far in my life (a couple of Boston’s). I say this as it never ceases to amaze me that running a marathon (any long-distance race for that matter) really does unravel some secrets to life. It’s a metaphor for: ‘it’s never over ‘til it’s over.’
In a marathon, some tend to be impatient and start out much faster than they should for the long run. Some plod along, and yet if strategic enough, and have trained for the distance, may catch the faster starter-outers. If you’ve put the proper training in, then it really is a mental game. You need to pace yourself, not get psyched out by the faster runners (if smart you can even chase them down). You can’t, however, be naïve into thinking that there isn’t some manoeuvring going on. You need to be prepared, nimble and flexible to the reality that it does happen. People will try to trip you up. They’ll attempt to push you out of the way so that they can get ahead. You need to be strategic and break the race down into a manageable pace so that the distance doesn’t seem so daunting. Know that you have a reserve tank. Learn how to use it.
On the flip side, there is a real opportunity to help others along the ‘run.’ When you see someone struggling, encourage them to keep moving. Let them know to keep putting one foot in front of the other. If one is new to the race, teach them to take ‘water breaks’ in order to stay hydrated. If someone reaches out to you before the race, guide them to ensure that they have the proper gear for the race ahead. Suggest better ways to train so that they can avoid (decrease) injury.
I’ve translated this ‘race mindset’ into everything that I do, or at least have tried to do in my life. I say this as I’ve seen time and time again people racing to get nowhere, fast.
I encourage you to consider your life in a way that has you enjoying the distance (translation; the journey). Live at your pace, and yet connect with a community that encourages you to keep going; to keep growing. Please remember that a ‘runner’s high’ doesn’t happen THAT often. When it does happen, enjoy it. Celebrate the moment. It’s an incredible feeling.
Similarly, life doesn’t follow a straight line. Know that there are going to be challenges along the way. You’re up for it because you’re resilient; you’ve been training. You’re learning and growing all the time. I encourage you to pause to take in what you’re doing. Encourage others to enjoy their journey as well.
At the end of the race (our life) we will look back and discover that we have always been in this together.