The Pilgrim Pacer Marathon was held at Shawnee Mission Park, Shawnee/Lenexa, Kansas Saturday, November 8. The day was beautiful; no, it was perfect. A cloudless sky, minimal if any winds, temperatures in the 40’s to 50’s, and a gorgeous setting.
I’ve found I learn, resolve, recognize, understand...so many things when I’m on a run. It’s one of the many benefits of long-distance running. That’s time in silence, unless I’m gasping, engaged with running but free to consider vexing issues of the day, week or life. With a steady supply of endorphins and adrenaline and a surging supply of blood and oxygen to the brain, connections and solutions and peace come easily.
Finishing this marathon was no different.
Plant Your Flag. Weather in the Midwest in Spring and Fall was unpredictable before the impact of global warming. Predicting it now, even two to three days in advance is, well, entertaining. I’ve noticed daily highs can change twenty to forty degrees within three days. This race day was beautiful, albeit perfect. The bookend weekends were awful. Who knew this week much less last year? Whenever, wherever, you launch your idea, product, conversation, collaboration or the pursuit of your dream...you’ll launch it into uncertainty. Your best predictions will prove wrong. No plan survives the first day. Plant your flag and make it happen.
Be Generous. Help Others Even if it’s only to gasp Good job, marathoner. Say it. We all know what we’re doing. And we all sometimes feel that’s the last thing we’ve done. But it keeps us going. Let’s face it, even starting a marathon deserves that much. And if you see somebody having a bad day, I saw several runners bent over not looking so good and I stopped and asked You ok? They waved me off but...it helps to know somebody cares. You could be the next one that needs help. During this race a few times I thought I might be.
Don’t Judge a Runner By Their Shape. You can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t judge a runner by their shape. I’m guilty-guilty-guilty of this; but I’m learning. Before the race I’m walking through the enthusiastic, upbeat, crowd of runners and their supporters. I’m seeing the usual gazelle like shapes and serious looks; they’re stretching through their latest day-glow fabrics. Cool. Then there’s another group I’m thinking...No, there’s no way you’re running a marathon. Many of those in this second group finished ahead of me, some passing me and delivering a silent head slap as they did.
It’s Not the Route; It’s the Runner. Bing-Bang-Boom. I wanted a flat route for this, my second marathon. The only one in driving distance was Naperville and it was full. I found this one, finished it, but in a slow pace. That’s because...hills kill me. For others that day, not so much. So, I finished and had a great leg workout in the process and learned something. I need to work on leg strength this winter.
It’s a Marathon. 26.2 miles. Finishing a marathon starts with training. Training to finish a marathon is a marathon. Months of miles, heat and pain and snow and rain, aching knees and stubby legs and some euphoric moments. Juggling schedules and mastering time-management, making sacrifices and asking others around to make their own. Then getting to a marathon. And you haven’t even crossed the starting line. Let’s talk about that. No marathon is ever run exactly to plan. It’s hotter, colder, you’ve trained too hard or not enough. It’s crowded, it’s hillier than you thought, the route’s not marked well, the aid stations busy...where the hell’s a portapotty?!?!!? It’s no different with your business, established or a startup. So...pace yourself, walk a bit, roll with things, grit your teeth and keep moving forward. And pee in the bushes if you have to. Everyone else has done that at one time or the other.
Run Your Race. Truer words...have never been spoken. I needed a long time to understand them when it comes to running. It’s your race. You’re competing against yourself unless you’re an elite runner trying to qualify for the Olympics. Like the saying Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Taken. When we be ourselves...no one can compete against us. Our message is heard loud and clear and finds the right audience of supporters, customers, employees, vendors and suppliers and if it’s a race we run the right race, finishing at the right time with its accompanying benefits and learning what more we need to do to improve. Oh, and we hear the right calls of support from spectators and volunteers.