Some marathons are easy to identify. You put on well-worn running shoes, sunblock, a ponytail holder, and run 26.2 miles. There were thousands of miles of prep before that race. Those miles can come with lots of blisters, bleeding toes, barking dogs, bad weather, Power Bars, endorphin highs, skinned knees, hydration breaks, sunburned noses, and great conversations if you happen to have a running partner. You can feel as though you are flying. These are obvious signs of marathons.
Some other signs of marathons are not so easy to identify. They take just as much energy and planning, maybe even more than the obvious ones. Instead of torn up toes, there are likely heavy hearts doing “invisible marathons” that could look like raising a child who suffers from a chronic illness, creating structure within a team that is not used to structure, turning deeply ingrained negative viewpoints into positive ones, or believing in a vision when all outside evidence is to the contrary. Few will cheer for you at the finish line of the invisible marathon, if you can even decipher where that is.
Perseverance is a visceral experience. Once it marks your body, soul, mind and spirit, you have the means to carry on through any other marathon-type, which may come your way. Once marked, know you’ve got this!
Having sunblock (protection), hydration breaks (self-care), and great conversations (connection) help ease the way for both the obvious and the invisible. Make sure you have these to help you put your best foot forward.