Strong Heart

Life’s tough. Get a helmet. – Boy Meets World

When I worked with adult students, there were a lot of comments about just wanting “the piece of paper.” These students were sacrificing a lot of time, money, and effort. And all that some of them wanted was something to get them a better job or keep them in the job they currently had. It was viewed as a financial transaction, with some homework thrown into the mix.

As someone who works in higher education, who has watched thousands of smiling graduates walking across the stage, I know that a college degree is about much more than any piece of paper.

When I signed up for my first marathon, all I wanted was the medal and the ability to self-identify as a “marathoner”. It was part of my plan to join a gym, lose 100 pounds, run a marathon, find a cute boy, quit the gym (cause I lost the weight), and life happily ever after. That whole plan was supposed to take a year, maybe two. And the start of that plan was about 10 years ago.

As someone who has completed 15 marathons (and I’ve lost count of all the other races), who has felt the joy and pain of crossing the finish line, I know that running is about much more than any shiny medal.

In education and in running, there is a need for long-term vision, or what I want to call Marathon Vision. That perspective means looking far beyond the immediate toward something that is far outside of view. And that change in perspective requires a change in actions. It might mean taking breaks or slowing down. It means taking in nutrition (physical, emotional, social) to get through. And it means offering yourself grace if/when the journey doesn’t go as planned.

And resilience is the strength that holds on beneath all of it. That strong heart that might get bruised but keeps beating. It might be tiny, but strength is strength.

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