Imagining the Finish Line at the Halfway Mark

Race

I’m not much of a runner, but sometimes I pretend to be. A few years ago, I realized that I don’t actually hate running, so I started jogging outside a bit when the weather was nice and kept it up enough to actually run on an indoor track when the weather was not so nice anymore. I signed up for a few 5Ks and felt myself getting in better shape. It’s something that I hope to get back into soon1, especially since I signed up for another 5K that happens in about three weeks.2

Whenever I ran a race though, it was actually helpful when I didn’t know the full route, but could still see my progress from the periodic distance markers and various clocks along the track. I knew that by the end of the race, I would have run 3.10686 miles, no matter where the course might twist and turn or how many water stations there were. The finish line wouldn’t move, and I would get there after putting in the required time and energy.

I feel like this is an apt metaphor for pregnancy.3 We are in Week 21 and just past halfway through this nine-month race. We know the distance and we know we’ll get there4, even if we’re not sure of the exact layout of the course ahead of us.

I found myself pondering the finish line more than usual today after watching a video of Seth Meyers recounting the birth of his first child this past weekend. Meyers is one of my favorite comedians5, so I thoroughly enjoyed his telling of the frantic journey to the delivery room and the immediate reality of fatherhood. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the 10 minutes:

He talked a lot about how no amount of planning could ever really prepare him for the moment of his son’s birth, and I’m sure that will be true for the arrival of my daughter as well, despite my best efforts to do so. I still feel like I know basically nothing6, so it seems insane to think that in about four short months Theresa and I will be going about our weekend business7 or I’ll get a frantic call at work8 and everything we’ve been talking/thinking/planning/blogging about will reach a fever pitch at that moment…because we’ve put in the required time and energy…and we’re finally able to see the finish line in front of us — where there’s a brand new human being waiting there for us to love. And that’s when we realize that this 5K was just training for the marathon to come.

I really better start running again.

  1. back into running and back into shape
  2. Oops…
  3. And yes, in this metaphor I am definitely riding along in the pace car cheering on my wife as she runs the 5K. I know I’m not the one running. But I’m cheering really loudly!
  4. God willing!
  5. and he was a favorite even before I knew that he also attended Northwestern
  6. I’m really curious about what knowledge a birthing class will drop on us.
  7. Best case scenario…
  8. Less-than-best case scenario

1 Comment

  1. Ingrid Kern says: Reply

    This is a really interesting way to think of it:)

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