What does it take to be able to run a marathon? Some may think it’s purely a physical feat, but I learned it is much more than that. On Oct. 19, I ran my first marathon. It took four months of training and after five hours and 35 minutes, I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes.
As I was running and enjoying the scenery of Detroit, Michigan, I had plenty of time to think. Many aspects of the race and training made me think of what we go through in our everyday lives.
Physical challenge: Running is most definitely a physical challenge of endurance. We must train our body over time and it will improve. We are constantly faced with physical challenges throughout our lives including arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, depression and more. Each day we must face the challenge and choose to “train.” This could involve taking a 15-minute walk, going to physical therapy, taking an exercise class or making social connections each day. This mindset is especially helpful for seniors to embrace; the mantra “age is just a number” is often held by people who challenge themselves to do great things and ignore how many candles adorn their birthday cakes.
Mental challenge: When I got to mile 18, 19 and 20 I had to make the mental decision to keep going. My body was physically capable of moving, but I mentally wanted to stop. I kept telling myself, “You can do this… one foot in front of the other!” Some days we are mentally exhausted or frustrated. It takes determination and encouragement to know that it is possible to keep going. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s possible! I love seeing determination in the eyes of the Springmoor residents with whom I work; physical fitness is so much about attitude.
Emotional challenge: If I tried to run 26.2 miles on my own, I don’t think it would be possible to finish. As I approached the end of the race, each step was a challenge. The people are what helped me get to the finish line. I was surrounded by fellow runners that were on the same journey and I had people on the sidelines cheering me on. As I think about it, tears come to my eyes again. Complete strangers looked me in the eye and told me to “Finish strong. You can do it!” This was the bestpart about running the marathon and the biggest lesson I hope I can share with people. A little encouragement goes a long way. Residents of Springmoor benefit from a similar group dynamic; they all chose a similar life path, and are always cheering each other on to achieve their goals.
Life is a marathon and we are all running it together. We are faced with different challenges but with training, determination and ENCOURAGEMENT, we can successfully cross the finish line together! Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community and the Pathways wellness lifestyle represent this idea beautifully. Our residents have their own stories, challenges, goals, and triumphs but they also have support! Springmoor provides support through the many different services and facilities that make up our campus. Support also comes through relationships. The staff and residents are constantly encouraging and supporting each other as we are on this journey together. I feel privileged to be part of such a caring community. So remember, “Finish strong. We can do this!”
To hear more about the Detroit Free Press Marathon visit their website or read this article about it!