Anyone who has ever done some serious long distance running knows what it means to hit the wall. Personally, I’ve done the long runs before and I’ve even made it up to an 18-mile run at one point. I actually come from a long family of runners because my dad has done 10 or 11 marathons over the course of his lifetime. Of course, he’s got two shiny new hips and a brand new knee to show for it, but I remember growing up and let me describe what hitting the wall means when you hit that point.
Physically in physiology, what happens is that you have depleted your muscles of glycogen, which is a carbohydrate that your muscles store up. So once you have depleted your body of glycogen, you go into a state of extreme fatigue which would represent the wall. However, it’s not just physical, it’s mental. The overwhelming desire to quit is incredibly high and simply put, you just don’t feel like you can do it. Everything in your body is screaming that you can’t do it and yet, if you’re running a marathon, you have to keep going.
So a marathon is 26.3 miles and generally, most runners hit the wall somewhere between 18 and 20 miles. Now, when my sisters and I were young, my mom would always take us to watch my dad run these marathons. So we’d get a little pack lunch and we would make signs and we would bring chairs to set up camp right at the 19 mile mark. Why? Because that is exactly where my dad would always hit the wall. When our body and our brain betray us, the encouragement of the crowd carries us forward.
Of course, I hope you know that I’m not really talking about running. I know that as you’re reading this, maybe you feel like you have hit that wall whether that’s spiritual, physical, mental, or even emotional. Not only is your body exhausted, but your brain just wants to quit.
All I can is in that moment, will you please reach out? Will you please talk to someone? Will you please reach out to people who love you? We were never meant to run this race alone. We were always designed to run this life as a part of the community.