On 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!