I miss marathon finish lines. The accomplishment of crossing a finish line is so special. I thought I’d be a one and done kind of marathon runner. Turns out, I got hooked not only on the race, but on the entire experience, even the months of training. The challenge of seeing a plan come together, ultimately ending at that finish line is magical.
Like many other runners, in January I signed up for my 2020 races and planned for my fall marathon. My overall goal is to finish a marathon in each New England state; this year was the Hartford Marathon in Connecticut.
Calendar in hand, I mapped out a year’s worth of training.
Seven months into the pandemic there is no finish line in site, but all those miles of marathon training have helped me deal with life in general. When gyms had to close, I still had my running as a stress relief. Even as races started being cancelled, I stuck to my training calendar because there was a chance that a spring race may happen, and I wanted to be ready.
When the kids came home and shifted to distance learning, I woke up earlier to get miles in before my husband left for work, still holding out hope a finish line was in the future.
Then, there was the winter running streak I just couldn’t give up. I’d already run or walked a mile outside every day from January 3 so why not keep going?
While this year’s marathon hasn’t happened yet, I’ve crossed off many more milestones that I didn’t even realize would be there back in January. There has been more time to include our kids in my miles because they just assume that mommy has a mile to do today and we are going to do it together. Sticking with my training has also helped my patience. When I just want to scream in frustration after long days balancing work and life while the WiFi struggles to keep up, and I want to throw the modem out the window, I use my marathon mantras that I use to get up over difficult hills in a race to make it through the hard days.
And, just like in a marathon, when I’m feeling depleted and drained, there is a strength hidden inside that I can draw on to get me through to the end. There have been times I have had to take a deep breath when the next depressing headline crosses the screen. Just like digging deep at mile 22 because you’re almost there, I know we are so close to the finish. We might get there a little worse for wear, missing a couple toenails, but I can feel the finish line cheers.
Maybe this race turns into an ultra; I’m on day 294 of my streak so bring it on!
Read more Seven Months into the Pandemic essays.