As we close in on the end of the first quarter of 2021, and just past the one-year mark living in a global pandemic, many people are feeling like this has been a marathon and hoping the finish line is in sight. Walt Edwards, AVP for Talent Management for the University of Texas Development in Austin, said, “Marathons are rarely won at the beginning. It is staying strong throughout, staying focused on the goal, knowing you are well prepared (remaining confident in that preparation), and believing that the end will come…whether it is in sight or not.”
Marathons: not really most people’s thing. And yet, that is where we find ourselves. I think of it much like when I completed my first (ok, my only) half-marathon…
Running was not my goal. Finishing was my goal. When I first started training I was recovering from a long illness and was barely able to walk a quarter of a mile, much less run (or even complete) 13.1 miles.
How was I going to take this on? The following strategy emerged.
1) Use the (remote) buddy system. My sister and I decided to run the marathon together. We lived in different states, so couldn’t train in person together, but we were still “running buddies,” keeping each other informed of our progress and creating a plan for The Day. You notice I didn’t say creating a plan for the “race” …because it wasn’t a race to us. It was a journey, including the training, and one that we wanted to complete because that was our win.
2) Create a plan that works for you. My sister and I agreed long before The Day that we would run (OK, jog) two miles and then walk one mile for the entire course. We knew we could handle that…and even have some time to talk along the way. Which brings us to #3…
3) Build and strengthen relationships on the journey. This plan gave my sister and me a regular reason to catch up during the training…and then several (ok, three-plus) hours during the race to catch up. Also, the whole journey (even before I started training) started with a new relationship when I decided to connect with a man who had also had health struggles and yet had gone on to complete a Triathlon. I asked him for advice and encouragement, and we got to know each other, even meeting in person. Relationships are the richness of life – and a marathon is a great time to create new ones and strengthen current ones.
4) And lastly, the course was along the California coast, so no matter whether my sister and I were jogging or walking, whether we were talking or silent, we also enjoyed the amazing beauty of the journey every step of the way.
This pandemic has been a marathon… We hope you have been able to create plans that work for *you,* to build new and strengthen old relationships and to see some beauty along the way.