Hitting the Wall
Serious runners, especially long distance ones, talk about "hitting the wall." It’s apparently something that defies easy description and is different for different people. It’s variously described as that point when "an elephant jumps on your shoulders for a ride" or "your legs feel made of lead – if you can feel them at all." It happens usually around mile 20 or so according to most running websites.
Our son-in-law Chris, who recently ran his first full marathon, said around mile 23 he encountered his nemesis: "an angry, anthropomorphic Wall with fists." Hitting the Wall is an experience of total energy depletion, of mental fuzziness and self-doubt, perhaps even defeat.
Chris said he had to slow to a walk and then eventually stop. A fellow marathoner paused to check on him and offer help. After a bit he started walking again and soon came up on his merry band of supporters, including his wife (our daughter) EA.
As they walked together up a steep hill, Chris confessed he was discouraged and disappointed he wouldn’t finish the race in his target time. EA answered, "No, but you can finish 15 minutes later than that." Her belief in him got Chris running again, and indeed, he did finish within 15 minutes of his initial goal.
Marathon runners aren’t the only ones who hit the Wall. At one time or another it flattens most of us who run the road of recovery. Maybe it’s a relapse, a consequence, a disappointment or just plain old exhaustion, The Wall crushes you. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually you’re spent.
So what do you do? How do you get past the Wall? You do what this new marathoner did: You surrender, stop and get your breath, assess your need for help, find support, and start running again. You set a new goal and keep on going.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Somedays (okay … some weeks/months/years) are just like hitting the wall. But we get to start again, fresh with each new day. One day at a time, one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.
(the picture wasn’t in the email, but I wanted someplace of me looking like I was really having a good time… running)