Congratulations on nearly completing your marathon in 2020!
Wait, you didn’t realize you were doing a marathon? While it’s not a marathon in the traditional sense of the word, it’s the marathon of 2020 that began at the start of the pandemic.
It sure feels like we’ve been running this whole year.
When you complete an actual race, people are happy to share some kind sentiments and say congrats, good job, nice work, etc. Whether you feel like you’ve run, jogged or walked through this race that was 2020, you’re getting ready to cross a finish line right now.
I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Aren’t we all a bit? I’m tired of this last year, of this race, but let me tell you I know I can finish it. You can too!
This year has been tough, it has been long for ALL of us. Pretty sure no one will jump in to correct me on that one. One thing that keeps getting me through each day is the faith that I know I can make it through hard things. Somewhere deep inside there’s strength that comes from whatever your version of spiritual connection might be.
Whether you’ve ran a marathon, like I have, or you can barely walk around the block, imagine 2020 has been your race.
Mile 3. February 2020. You sit at your pace, chat with a few fellow runners and enjoy the sights, sounds and spectators who are all there enjoying the morning with you. You think to yourself, “I’m really doing this today!” We’re all in it together. There went the first 10k and you are cautiously optimistic.
Mile 7. March & April 2020. You realize you’re in this for the long haul. The daunting task in front of you is fully realized, and you have a moment of panic. “Can I really do this? How am I going to do this?” You make sure to take some water or sports drink, and squeeze the goopy energy pouch into your mouth to keep you going.
You know you need to find a way to power through for a while yet.
Mile 15. May to July 2020. “I can do it. I can do it. The pain is all in my head. Just stop thinking and keep moving. This is starting to hurt a little more. It’s taking a really long time. Seriously, what am I doing? What was the plan again?” You start to question your ability to finish, maybe walk a little.
Mile 18. August to October 2020. Pain starts to creep in and things veered off course a bit, but you stare straight ahead and face the challenge. “I have to take care of myself because I don’t want to quit. I can do it.” The cheers from spectators echo around you and you pretend they are just for you. “Yes, I am doing great, I can do this, I am tough.”
Mile 22. November 2020. You made it through “the wall” of miles 18-21 and you cry. You stop and stretch a little. Then, there is A HILL!! Yes, another hill to climb. At one point someone checks in to see if you are okay. “Yes”, you mutter, “I can keep going.” You wonder if you are indeed coherent. “Did he understand me as I wiped away the tears and snot to actually yell at my legs to get moving again? This isn’t pretty.” All around you there are people struggling and bent over in pain. We are all just trying to see the end.
Mile 24. December: Right now.
I will never in my entire life forget the woman at mile 24 of my marathon.
When I had reached the point in the race where I had nothing left and I was exhausted, empty, and running on fumes, there she was. I can’t tell you what she looked like but I can hear her voice in my head.
It was not the typical, “You got this, good job, blah blah,” that you usually hear along a race route. She was OUT there, almost in your face. She seemed to look right into the depths of my soul and YELL LOUDLY and straight into me, “
You’re running a marathon today, you can do anything! Anything! You’re amazing!”
She was so enthusiastic. She made sure I heard her and she convinced me that I COULD do anything. What an angel. At that very moment I knew I was going to make it. All of a sudden I wasn’t completely empty. Someone filled me up, just enough.
Just. Keep. Moving.
This is mile 24 and we can finish. We can do it. YOU can do it. It feels so good to cross that finish line! I’m not exactly sure where the finish line is, but we can get there. I’m going to, even if I have to yell at my legs to move. Don’t give up. Look around. Connect and cheer for others right into their soul if you can. You might be that angel at their mile 24 who fills them up, just enough.
Once you get to the finish line of 2020, remember to rest and the recovery will start to come. After the many miles alone you will reunite with friends and family. Yes, there are some new pains to work out. Hopefully, not any major injury. It can take hours, days or weeks to feel fully recovered, but it comes.
This marathon will end.
I hope that after the marathon of 2020 the big pains will dissipate quickly. And if anything lingers a little longer I hope that it’s small and we can feel normal again as we start 2022. There may not be medals awarded, but we’ll know we made it, someday soon.