Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lessons Learned on the Run

I just ran my first 15K race yesterday. Now if you know me, you'll know that I am not a runner. I am good for 2 miles - the Army standard for assessing Physical Fitness. Two knee surgeries and a bad back generally assure that I do not venture beyond that distance!

Yesterday I went beyond 2 miles. Way beyond. Now for many of you, 9 miles is not a big deal. But at 44 years and 235 pounds...this isn't my gig. is now. I'm still aching but it has inspired me to keep at it. I'm signed up for a 1/2 marathon in January. Who knows what is behind it? Maybe I'll go for the full marathon after that.

Those of you who pound the pavement know that there is plenty of time to think when it is just you and your ipod. Notwithstanding the 5,000 or so of my closest friends, this time with myself allowed me to think about...leadership. Here is what I learned:

1. Keep making goals. I use the expression, "If you're not going're going down!" This is my first run beyond 10K - at 44. With this one in my rearview mirror, I am onto the 1/2 marathon. The inner city kids who were part of this race (Students Run LA), were learning goal-setting, discipline, and character development as they pushed themselves beyond what they thought they could do. We all have to keep pushing ourselves to improve - physically, mentally, spiritually, organizationally. Sometimes putting something like a race on the calendar gives us that challenge we need to push ourselves to the next level.

2. Accountability. Goals are difficult to achieve without some sort of accountability partner. I would not have entered this race without the challenge from my friend Wayne, shown in the picture. I did not want to let him down. This was often the motivation I needed to strap on the running shoes and hit the road during my training. Having an accountability partner is critical to achieve our goals - whether personal or professional.

3. Humility. Nothing will put you in your place better than seeing your competition blow right by you. In this case my competition was a bunch of middle school and high school kids, some of them half my size, all training for the LA Marathon. Good for them! And good for be trounced by kids, by older men, by older women. I'm proud of finishing but need to know that I have a lot more that I can ask of myself. So now I am back to point #1 - establishing new goals that will push me further and maybe allow me to beat some of those 12 year olds!

It was a great day. I'm still nursing some sore muscles but feel good about what I accomplished. Now I need to take the discipline, the focus, and the determination that I got from training for and running the race...and apply it to other aspects of my life.

What about you? What "stretch" goals get you out of bed in the morning? Who have you told? Who is holding you accountable? What are you doing to grow, personally and professionally? And how can I help you?

I'm humble enough to know that I have a long way to go. Yesterday, despite how bad I felt when I finished, served as a terrific reminder of what we all can do when we put our hearts, minds, and bodies into it. Can I do better? You bet I can. Those 12 year olds better watch out next year! Hooah!


Steve Harper said...

Okay that makes my gutting out my four miles every other day seem trivial. Thanks for making me feel bad about myself!

Seriously...great post my friend.

Ripple On!!!

Tom Magness said...


Trust me...I was the "anchor man" on this race! But that is the great thing about running. It can energize the brain...even while draining the body! Thanks for strapping on those "sneaks" every other day. You are making a difference! Hooah, my friend!