July 21, 2024
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What’s Your Marathon?

The now popular term “bucket list” has come to mean “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or to accomplish during their lifetime.” One of the items on my personal bucket list was to run a half-marathon. Five years ago, I checked it off my list and moved it to the accomplished column. But even though running in a marathon was no longer on my bucket list, I ran two more half-marathons since then, all in Miami, running and raising money for Yachad, an organization that is very important to me and my family. Last week, during Chol HaMoed, my son Yosef came home from the annual NCSY-sponsored day at Great Adventure with a flyer in his hand containing information about “running with Yachad” in the upcoming 2018 Miami Marathon. I am contemplating participating again, schedule permitting, because I realize that running for an organization that is important and needs on-going community support is not a one-time activity that can just be checked off a list.

The classic definition of “marathon,” according to Webster’s Dictionary, is a footrace run on an open course, usually just over 26 miles; broadly, a long-distance race. A secondary definition of the word “marathon” is an endurance contest or an activity that lasts a long time.

Many of you may have felt that this last month was a marathon of Yomim Tovim, characterized by walks to and from shul for davening; by shopping for, preparing, serving, eating and cleaning up after meals; by spending time with in-laws, children, grandchildren and friends; and then by doing it all again and then again. Now that the Yomim Tovim are over, do you have the feeling that you have crossed a finish line? Or do you feel like there is no finish line?

This Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh, the first day of a new month. The Yom Tov season is indeed behind us. For some, it is a relief to be back into the regular work, school, home and life routine. Others are saddened to see the holidays end and as the Sukkah comes down, so does their mood. In any case, I find that this is a good time to reflect on the last month and set some intentions for the upcoming year. At the start of any new year, many people make resolutions, but most are not kept. Is it possible to make a plan and stick to it? What are the barriers or obstacles that may prevent us from reaching out goals? Where can we get the support we need to accomplish our spiritual, intellectual, interpersonal and physical goals for 5778? Planning for success in achieving your goals is a lot like training for and running a marathon.

To run in a marathon, a number of key components are necessary, starting with a solid foundation—your feet need to be supported with excellent running sneakers. It is also imperative to have a good coach to guide you and set up an effective training schedule. You will need to start slowly, perhaps walking more than running at first, and over time you will build up your endurance and your strength, eventually running more than walking. There will be times when you just won’t feel like getting up early or going outside to run. It may be too cold or too hot, you have may have—and probably will have—other things to do, you may be tired or you just may not feel like it. At those times, you will need outside support—usually a family member who encourages you and may even push you out the door. After a few short months, you will be able to measure your progress in miles. You will be proud of your accomplishments, and then one day, while out for a run, you may trip over a rock and hurt your ankle. You may need to stop training for some time while your ankle heals. You will feel frustrated at this setback and annoyed at yourself that you didn’t see that rock. After a few days, you may try running, but your ankle will throb and you’ll need to go back to just walking. Eventually, the ankle will heal and you will be able to run again.

The night before the race you will be so excited that you cannot sleep; even though you know that your body needs the sleep, your brain won’t shut down. You rise early in the morning and join the other runners. You start your run slow and steady. Along the route there are people cheering you on and providing you with water and Powerade. Every mile is marked so you can measure your distance. At some point during the run, you feel that your body can’t continue, but the runner next to you smiles encouragingly and you keep going. As you near the finish line, the crowd cheers you on. As you cross the finish line, and you feel like you are about to collapse, someone is there to hug you, hold you up and provide you with food, drink and dry clothes.

Whether your personal marathon is an actual race or the important challenges of day-to-day life, it will likely consist of experiences similar to the above. You will accomplish your goals through hard work and perseverance; the guidance of a teacher and coach; friends cheering you on; recovery from setbacks; support from a community of like-minded people, including strangers who offer you sustenance and kindness; and someone who loves you to hold and support you when you feel that you have given your all.

By Beth Taubes, RN

 Beth Taubes, RN, OCN, CBCN, CHC, CYT, is the owner of Wellness Motivations LLC. She motivates clients of all backgrounds, ages and health conditions to engage in improved self-care through nutritional counseling, personal fitness training, yoga practice and stress-reduction techniques. Sign up for the Post-Yom Tov Reboot program. Gift certificates available. Beth can be reached at [email protected] or wellnessmotivationsbt.com.

 

 

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