paulissamelkonian

Life as a Marathon, Not a Short Sprint

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Melissa and Paul Melkonian

Today, my friends Melissa and Paul Melkonian finished 26.2 miles worth of New York City terrain. They’re probably some of the most adventurous and confident people I’ve ever known. Anyone willing to start from Staten Island, across Sunset Park in Brooklyn, around Hunters Point in Queens, through Roosevelt Island, up and down the hilly Upper East Side and Harlem, into the track-laden cement of the South Bronx, and finishing around Central Park in hopeful celebration has to be. Semi-notables like Al Roker and Jared Fogle of Subway fame ran alongside the 30,000 or so participants. Yet, those who participated and finished the race all become celebrities for the day.

These runners teach us a great lesson: life isn’t an short sprint, but a marathon.

Melissa told me this awesome finish wasn’t awesome until it was over. She somehow sprained her ankle in the stairs. Four hours of running every weekend, plus the two before and after the run to prepare and de-stress, and the hour extra of running on the weekdays made the training less glamorous than NBC will tell it. Their diet changes a little, too, and they’re that much more conscious of what goes in, out, and around their bodies. I’ve never actually ran the marathon, but the sandals and the wrap runners wear right after the long run tell you everything there is to know about attempting to run a marathon mid-November.

Similarly, life isn’t worth one sentence or a slice of a film strip. It’s a long, grueling run, and the more we persist in telling ourselves we can make it through, the better we’ll be at this marathon. The little parts of our day when we prepare for the long haul, the training, the routines, and the habits we incur for success make it possible to life a long and successful life. We’re all still learning how to make our best personal time, but that’s the beauty about the NYC Marathon. Outside of Olympic runners, no one really cares where you finish, so long as you do. And if you finish in around four hours, you’re great for that.

As Confucius said, “It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.” For Paul and Melissa, they’re still going, far after the race was over.

Jose, who needs to train for his own marathon better …

2010 NYC Marathon Medal

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonLife as a Marathon, Not a Short Sprint