Life is a Marathon

by Jenessa McCabe

Editor’s Note: Jenessa, aka Super J, is one of our valued team members here at The Sneaker Store. She’s known around this place for her positive attitude, puns, and ability to make an inflatable t-rex suit look good. We love this piece, not only because we believe in what she writes, but also because she embodies the best qualities that she describes.

That’s right, you read that right. Life. Is. A. Marathon. Life is that long race, 26.2 miles, that seems to go on forever, take so much energy out of someone, but also gives one that pride and drive just to keep going until the end. This phrase, “life is a marathon” means it needs to be treated as such. This entails many different behaviors and perspectives, four of which I’ll touch upon right here.

First off, one has to prepare and be ready for what’s about to come. One does not just start a marathon without any training or shoes on his or her feet. People start training months, sometimes a whole year, in advance and create a lifestyle to which they believe they will have the ability to succeed the most. This idea doesn't just pertain to marathons either, but most people train for any sort of race or competition in the future. People want success. That is a fact. I want success. You probably do too. You want to thrive in whatever it is you are doing, wishing for something that may seem so out of reach. But the problem with just wishing for that success is that when it comes, you may not actually be ready for it. In that case, its there in reach, but not beneficial to you at all. I always remember the saying “prepare for rain”, thinking back to a story of two farmers constantly praying for rain. However, only one prepared his crops ahead of time, so by the time their prayers were answered, it only benefited the one farmer who was ready and prepared. This combines both preparation and faith; trusting that good thing will happen, but acting in that faith through proper preparation for it. 

In a very similar aspect, a marathon takes fuel and so does life. One wouldn't start a huge 26.2 mile race having eaten nothing the day before and without any water or hydrating leading up to it. People need to fuel themselves for life as well. Essentially, it is ok to eat. It is ok to take in those carbs, be it pasta or beer, whichever makes you happy and within reason. This is part of the preparation as well as merely maintaining performance during the “race”. People carry various chews and Gu and also take in water when passing water stations. Even the fastest racers do this, so one is not considered weak by getting the fuel that is already available to them. In a different way, one needs to fuel mentally for life as well. Before a marathon, there is so much motivation and positivity running around a community (pun intended) to get racers in the spirit for what they are about to endure. One needs to fuel his or her spirit and mind with positive thoughts and encouragement in the same way to create the right mentality in order to do the best he or she can. Filling the mind with doubt and fear is not going to help anyone who is about to run a marathon. That will only hurt the body even more than any extraneous race will. Even the slightest bit of hope and courage can go a long way for some, maybe as long as 26.2 miles.

Marathons are run all around the world, run on various types of terrain, courses, etc. Some have many up-hills and others have more downhills. One thing to keep in mind is that up-hills will lead to downhills and vice versa. In life, pain can lead to victory; struggles to triumph; tears to joy. It’s crucial to keep your head up high and eyes set on the better half of life’s race, even when things seem so bad. If people use the hard up-hills to their advantage by pushing harder and being more aggressive, then they will have a better outcome and a stronger drive to do even better during the easier downhills. When one successfully runs uphill, he or she attacks the hill. One will drive his or her knees up, keep the arms at 90 degrees while punching the air with every stride, the body is leaning towards to hill getting closer and closer to the ground. This attack can be used for any hardships or trials one goes through in life. Remember, even while hydrating, which is vital for all runners, that the glass is HALF FULL! Keeping a positive mindset even when everything seems to be spiraling out of control is what separates an okay life from a great one. How one views what he or she is going through is more important than succeeding itself. I like to remember the saying from Timeflies’ song “Once in a While” released in 2016 that goes, “live life like your blood type: B+”. The song works better if your blood type actually is B+, but you get the point.

Live life like your blood type: B+
— Timeflies, "Once in a While"

Finally, with all marathons comes spectators. People drive from all over to simply cheer on those putting themselves through so much torture. They may cheer on specific friends or family that are participating in the marathon. However, often, these onlookers end up cheering on complete strangers and motivating them to keep pushing to the end. Marathons are filled with people screaming, carrying posters, and ringing cowbells. These fans are what make the race more enjoyable and less exhausting and dreadful. A perfect example of this kind of atmosphere would be the Boilermaker road race filled with thousands of people watching. However, one doing the marathon would never yell at someone to NOT cheer or get mad that there are so many people that care and try to lift the person up. No, definitely not. This is true with life. One’s life is filled with so many spectators, people who may even be complete strangers that are simply cheering another person on and making sure they don’t lose hope. Welcome those who are rooting for you in life and embrace the encouragement. Know that you are not actually alone and there are so many people out there who truly want to see you succeed in every way possible. Don’t turn away the support, don’t be angry that someone wants to help. Instead let them, then pass it onto the next person. Marathons create a running family, a sense of community, and that is exactly what we have here on earth as well.

Furthermore, to all those passionate runners out there: translate your sense of a runner to life as well. Don’t just be that “runner” for the 2 hours a day you may be on the treadmill or out on the trails. Rather, let that same mentality take over the full 24 hours in a day and let others see how much running has done for you so maybe it can have the same powerful and inspiring impact on someone else.