I started running marathons for three reasons. First, my high school friend convinced me to do so. As a proud alumnus of Christian Brothers High School (Memphis, TN), an all-boys catholic high school. I am still good friends with my high school buddies; however, we are all very competitive. My friend first talked me into running the Country Music Half Marathon, which I found to be an exhilarating experience. I thought if I could run a half, then let me see if I could push it a little further and run double that. Second, after my wife ran her one and only marathon, she made a half-joking, sly comment to me, “Only a marathoner would understand.” This got the fire in my belly blazing. Finally, after earning my MBA, I needed a new challenge in my life. A marathon proved to be exactly what I was looking for to answer that challenge.
To date, I’ve run five marathons. I’ve never run a so-called easy marathon, those flat courses that are guaranteed to get you a PR. Unfortunately, my personal best is still 77 seconds short of my wife’s one time marathon. Break that time down and I’m looking at less than 3 seconds per mile. I keep wondering what I could have done to find those 3 seconds… was it in the planning of my training schedule, the execution of my workouts, or did I not just bring my best every day when I was at the gym or running my long routes.
Running marathons has taught me a great deal in my professional life. As a business strategist, I am constantly looking for ways to improve our company’s performance. I look at strategies from a different lens now. Strategies are no longer a sprint, but a seemingly endless marathon. There will be good miles and bad miles throughout the 26.2 course; however, with a well-crafted game plan, good preparation, and consistency in my approach, I strive to beat my personal best (and my wife’s). I continue to look to achieve my long-term goals through short-term accomplishments and crossing the finish line is a milestone. Once done, I’m looking for a new goal, a new milestone, a new challenge and the preparation begins all over again.
To date, I have not found those 3 elusive seconds. I’m still searching. I’ve learned from my successes and mistakes. My approach this year is different, better. Here’s to a great 2017!