I used to run half marathons. I’m not a good runner. I never ran a day in my life until I was 33, and in spite of several years of training I never got good at it. But as we get deep into sheltering in place for the long haul, I realize how much it feels like distance running.
If there’s one thing I learned from distance running, it’s that you don’t want to look at how many miles you have left to go. You run the mile you’re in. If you’re lucky, it’s a downhill mile: you feel good and strong, like you can tackle anything.
That’s not how most miles feel. Most miles, in my experience, feel like uphills. They’re slow and daunting. It feels like you’ll never make it to the next corner, or mile marker, or water stop. And you’ve got some well-intentioned idiot on the sidelines yelling “You’re almost there!” even though you’re still at mile 8 of 13.2. You’re nowhere near the finish line, and you know it. You might even think that there’s no possible way that you’ll ever make it to the next milestone.
But here’s the thing: eventually, you do get there. And then you make it to the next. And the next. You make it because of the sunk cost. You’ve come this far; you’re not going to throw that all away by quitting now.
This is the same. We slog through because we need to see this through. We may not see the finish line now, but it’s there. We’ll make it if we just keep doing what we’re doing.