RUNNING FROM AN OLD TO A NEW REALITY
Years ago, I used to run the Boston Marathon. Without question, I was running without a registered number in the Back of the Pack, Rat Pack and may have been the worst runner in recorded marathon history. One year, I was so slow, the ambulance finished ahead of me. Nonetheless, I ran as it was the manly thing to do.
That particular year, I made a basic runner's mistake by “Coming out too fast.“ Good runners know when you do that, there’s often not enough left in the tank to get you the full 26.2 miles. My bad.
As I was frantically searching for my next breath and a new Race Plan to get me through the next 18 miles, I came across a struggling female runner weaving all over the course . I identified myself, untruthfully, as the Head of the Marathon Checkpoint Police.. I warned her that if she didn’t stop weaving, I’d have to pull her over and write her up. Her tears told her story. Her late fiancé, an avid marathoner, had passed unexpectedly of cancer that past Fall. She was doing her best to do what he did best and run in his memory. Her heart was breaking and mine wasn’t far behind. ”You’re not really with the Marathon Police are you?” she gushed. "Maybe not,” I shared, “ But you have two choices; you can believe that story and we get through this together or you can quit and forever feel you let your fiancé down.”
Three hours later, we crossed that famous finish line together, a moment never to be forgotten. We hugged and cried. Our respective Finish-line Friends surrounded us with congratulations, we were separated and never got each other’s names. I hated running pretty much every day I did it except that day. That was my true ”Runner’s High.”
Today seems like an appropriate time to remember that story and share it with you. We are a couple of weeks into our awkward attempts at quarantining. This feels like a marathon to me and I’m pretty sure I may have ”come out too fast.” This hurts and we may have a long way to go.
Permit me to share lessons learned on a gray Monday Boston afternoon a quarter century ago that may be relevant today.
- Just when you’re at your wit's end and you don’t feel like you can take another step or go another mile, it gets easier if you’re helping someone else to the finish line.
- Even if you’re stretching your sense of reason and logic, we’re so much better when we believe in each other and in a positive outcome.
- There is so much more to us and in us than we dare imagine. In times of crisis, we have no choice but to reach inside and “grab those goodies.”
I’ve thought about that wonderful lady a lot over the years the same way I’m thinking of you today. Be the hero, be the helper, be the healer. Let’s finish this up.
P.S. If we can't be there, we'll E there or V there.