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Lessons from a Marathon Run

runningOn Apr 18th I had the honor of running in the 120th Boston Marathon. This was my first and perhaps my last, but nonetheless, it was a unique experience that one can garner many life lessons from. For most the idea of even running 26.2 miles seems ridiculous and, truthfully, that was my sentiment 6 months before the race. Then circumstances collided and the opportunity to cross something off the “might never happen” bucket list came to fruition. Interestingly, in doing this there was a sequence of events that emerged unwittingly which could be assigned to any project being undertaken, whether personally or professionally. These involved the following:

1. Plan – I had 4 months to prepare for something I had never done before but at least I had the consolation of knowing that many others had successfully mastered it. Through research and speaking with other experienced runners I came up with a plan that was reasonable and provided the necessary confidence that I could do this.

2. Practice – whenever we encounter something new, we have to start slowly and allow both the body and the mind to adjust and get used to this different regime. By following a plan and building incrementally along the way, everything progressed well.

3. Setbacks – in pushing my body to new limits, there was no knowing how it might respond and, it did. Only four weeks into my training regime, I pulled a muscle in my calf. Training stopped and in order to get back on track I had to do somethings that was less than ideal in preparing for a marathon – rest. Doubt began to set in as I required 3 weeks to pass before I could continue the training regime. But I dealt with the setback, got back into training and everything else proceeded according to plan.

4. Execution – eventually the big day arrived upon which the previous 4 months efforts would all be judged. How would my body react, what would be going through my mind and, most of all, will I be able to finish the 26.2 mile course? It all started very well.

5. Completion – no matter what, I was determined to finish. I had gone through 18 miles of the race when my calves began to cramp up (that setback again!!). The more I ran the more they hurt, and I still had 8 miles to go. In my mind I concluded that without compromising my health, I could still walk 8 miles in 2 hours and finish the race in less than 5. While many ran passed me during this time, I persevered and finished in 4 hours and 54 minutes.

So what’s your marathon? What do you wish to achieve but haven’t started? Inevitably, you most likely will find yourself going through a similar process to what I did; and it worked!

About Bill Sex

Bill Sex is President of New England Coaching and specializes in supporting personal, professional and organizational advancement with specific emphasis on coaching skills, emotional intelligence and employee engagement / motivation.

2 Responses

Comment from Bruce Mendelsohn
Time: June 13, 2016, 12:43 pm

Congrats on your accomplishment, Bill! Try running 18!

Comment from Stacy Gilmour
Time: June 17, 2016, 3:37 pm

Congratulations on the achievement of your goal! Wow – a great story of perseverance in the face of setbacks. Such a good reminder that challenges are part of the growth process. Nice work!

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