A New Job, COVID-19, and a Marathon, All in the Same Year
Recalling a memorable 2022 leads a columnist to make big plans for 2023
The year 2022 was one I won’t soon forget. Yes, it’s easy to say that right after it’s ended. But sometimes, you just know that a time was special, don’t you?
Like much of the world, I knew that 2020 would be memorable, what with the COVID-19 pandemic starting and social justice getting much needed attention. We all knew that 2020 was one for the history books.
In more personal ways, I know that 2022 was a meaningful year, too.
In my career, for example, I transitioned from my amazing role as the chief financial officer of the historic National Urban League to my (still new) role as the chief executive officer of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. In addition to the organization being the oldest state accounting society in the U.S., I’m honored to be the first Black person in my role.
In my running life, I finished my first marathon at the biggest race there is: the TCS New York City Marathon. Those 26.2 miles have never been so exhilarating (or painful). I also squeezed in another three half-marathons, along with hundreds of miles while training. My goal seemed rather unlikely at the start of the year, but I was blessed to meet it.
All of this activity happened while I enjoyed the love of a special woman and had amazing family and friends. And now, as COVID-19 concern has become something most of us live with, for better and worse, I’ve had the pleasure of reconnecting in person with so many people.
That’s not bad for a year that began with a January diagnosis of COVID-19. That virus led to a doctor-required 20-day home isolation.
Even living with sarcoidosis was different this year, although I guess a year that includes both COVID-19 and a marathon while living as a high-risk patient is bound to be different.
Running isn’t typical for those with sarcoidosis, so I’m particularly pleased to have run so many races and miles. At my most recent appointment at the Johns Hopkins Sarcoidosis Center, I asked my doctor if she knew of other sarcoidosis runners; I wanted to chat with them to compare notes. I was especially curious to learn how others control their breathing when we have this condition dramatically affecting our lungs.
Despite her role as a doctor at Johns Hopkins, her work as a professor and researcher at the medical school, and the deep contacts she has within the sarcoidosis community, she was hard pressed to mention anyone who runs as much as I do.
That made me feel both lucky and determined to keep running for as long as possible. Heck, for 2023, I’ve already engaged a running coach. I’ll probably never be a fast runner, but I’m hoping my coach can help me maximize what power I do have.
With her coaching, my goal is to run the New York City Marathon for the second time, as well as at least three half-marathons and, if the calendar works, maybe another marathon, this one outside New York. Admittedly, my plans might be a bit aggressive, but as long as I have the blessing of movement, I want to push myself.
Truth be told, despite the title of my column and my obvious love of movement, running your own race isn’t only about physical races. It’s also about giving yourself the grace and permission to do whatever you feel you can, however that comes about.
That’s part of what I was able to talk about as a panelist at the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) global patient conference during the summer of 2022. It’s also what encourages me to give back as a member of the FSR Patient Advisory Committee. I suppose it’s even what helps me write columns like this one.
Running your own race might be about the physical activity, or maybe not. Maybe it’s about career, or maybe not. Hopefully, it’s about being your best for loved ones and family. But however you think about your race, it’s important to give yourself grace. And perhaps that’s the best resolution for 2023.
Happy New Year!
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.