I ran a marathon on Sunday.
That’s not a lead sentence I can pull out on any old day and last Friday, I hardly saw myself sharing that here. This was my fourth marathon, a 26.2 mile run through a random city or two or three. Honestly I’m not sure how many cities I passed through on Sunday (I don’t review course maps). Last Sunday I ran (with 7,000-plus others from Folsom Dam to the State Capitol building in Downtown Sacramento.
As a runner, there are many things I could report about the day, the training and the lessons gained for the next go round. Yes, you read that right. I’m not a one and done marathon runner. The marathon distance is my recreational personal challenge of choice. Training and pursuing something so big, brings a lot to my life beyond the physical benefits (which is debatable in many camps).
Last Sunday though, as we traveled home with my body semi-crippled from tightness, cramping and exhaustion, I thought of this column space and the lessons I might offer in a relatable fashion for our readers.
My friend, colleague and accomplished author Matt Fitzgerald really tapped into something when he began research for a future book entitled “Life is a Marathon.” He explored the theory through documentation of varying marathon runners and what drives them to continue to pursue this lofty and time-consuming goal. It was an interesting journey to follow and I look forward to the release of the book.
The days leading up to my marathon, however, everything began to unravel. All the things I thought I knew for certain seemed to not be so. In short, nine days prior to my trek to Sacramento all plans changed.
Imagine that … Four months of training for the big dance, plans seemingly all in place, just keep doing the work and bam! Nope; plans now look nothing like what you thought. As I often say to my kids, “Welcome to life.”
That’s the lesson I came to learn through the final nine days prior to my 26.2 mile trek. That’s how life is, isn’t it? Just when you think you have it all sorted out, settle in and take comfort in what you know is the best laid plan … pow, something happens and you must adjust.
Adjusting plans and expectations is rarely easy, most especially if you’re Type A and like to have all things dialed in and good to go.
Personally speaking, this has been one of my biggest areas of growth through the course of the past year. Learning to release control, let go and accept/let it be. Nine days out from this marathon, I was reminded of this lesson.
The funny thing about the ultimate outcome, is it’s just like life. When perfectly laid plans shift it’s easy to feel discouraged, disappointed, sometimes even lost a bit. Yet more times than not, when all is said and done, we find ourselves on the other side in awe of how well it all works out. That was my experience of the past nine days and that is often times than not, just like life.
So, as you look to your future holiday plans, juggle the schedule and try to be in as many places as possible, remember to “roll with it.” Some days the plans will go exactly as anticipated or hoped. But when that doesn’t happen (and it will), rather than stress during the uncertainty ride the wave of the unknown. On the other side you may just find the unknown proves more fruitful and memorable than the planned.
That was my experience, because life after all is … a marathon, not a sprint. Merry Christmas.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.