Hard Things

I ran a marathon last weekend. I was better prepared for this marathon than any of the others I’ve run.

My 1st marathon was hard and I struggled but I was naive and didn’t know what to expect so I get a hall pass for that one. My dear and fierce running partner had to get me through that one. The second one happened on a hotter day than expected with a lot of wind and a lot of allergens in the air. That one didn’t go well either. Both of those were in OKC. My next one was at Disney and everything is magical there and, of course, it went well. My fourth was in Dallas and it was our fastest one with a PR that was 37 minutes faster than any of my prior marathons.

This spring we had our best training runs ever. We were running nearly a minute per mile faster than our PR pace in Dallas. So far this year I’ve run 586 miles when last year all year long I ran 794 miles. My partner and I have a goal this year of running 1400 miles and we are ahead of that target.

My expectation for the OKC Memorial Marathon where high. Our target was 14 minutes faster than our PR in Dallas with a stretch goal 8 minutes faster. We were confident and ready.

I’m a very analytical person who uses spreadsheets and plans and writes up 4 pages of notes prior the marathon to discuss and consider with my partner. Yes, I do that. We had strategies and tactics and computers and Garmin watches.

636608467845604642Unfortunately, the temperatures on race day started higher and then rose a lot higher than expected. We started in shorts and tanks and were glad to be wearing them and when we finished, the temp was over 80 degrees. My watch said 81 degrees. We had not done any long runs at those temps this year.

Probably the back 40% of the run I was struggling due to the heat and we had to slow way down. It was difficult and hard, but we kept going. We ended up finishing about 14 minutes slower than Dallas and about 27-28 minutes slower than our target.

My reactions on race day were of disappointment because I wanted to do better. My expectations were different than what we were able to achieve.

However, as I thought more about this, I’ve completely changed my view. Just being out there, healthy and running, is an amazing gift and I’ve realized just how wonderful it is to be out there and doing these hard things.

I learned in the final, official results that I finished in the top half of my age group. I’ll take that. I realized the day after the marathon that I finished this one about 30 minutes faster than my prior best in OKC. I’ll take that. And I finished on a hot day and I’ll take that too.

And I was out there running with my dear and fierce running partner being cheered and supported by three others who traveled around the course to help and cheer for us. One of the three supporting and cheering us is battling cancer and she is a dear and fierce person herself. Just to be out there with her was a delight. Having her giving me orange slices and bottles of water and a wet towel and sending us confidence was a wonderful experience and part of a wonderful day. It turns out my biggest regret is not getting a picture of them and us together at some point in the race. The five of us getting a selfie. Note for future marathons, make sure that happens.

Go find some dear friends. Do hard things. Enjoy the experience. Cheer for someone else.  Get out there.

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Things of Interest

A few interesting things I’ve found recently:

Am I Invisible? The Pain-Relieving Response to Being Rejected or Excluded is one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time. Seems to me that we are disconnected from one another more than ever and that more and more people are very lonely. I’ve been thinking about this article for a week now.

Remember the deepest desire of the human heart is to belong … to be welcomed … to know you are seen and worthy of kindness.

Warren Buffett’s ‘20 Slot’ Rule: How to Simplify Your Life and Maximize Your Results is an article about focus. Much like a prior post on Mindsets and Focus, this provides an interesting way to think about what is important to you and where you should invest your time, energy and thoughts. You’ve only got some many opportunities…

The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen by Andy Raskin struck me as a clear outline of how to sell your idea. A clear, step-by-step outline of how to sell your idea to someone else. I’m thinking of where I can apply this outline to something soon.

How (and Why) to Find, Hire (and Promote) a Utility Player by Karin Hurt has some thoughts on how to be really indispensable to an organization or team. She outlines some skills, and really a mindset to embrace, that can make you indispensable.

A rather interesting article called, The Status Update Life  with some thought-provoking ideas about social media and the compulsion to post status updates.

“You can take the person out of contributing to social media but you cannot take the social status needs out of the person.” — Taylor Wallace

and finally a good article about how to develop your self-confidence entitled, How to Activate Extreme Self-Confidence and Destroy Chronic Anxiety and Fear   by Anthony Moore.

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Intergenerational and Diversity in Connections and Conversations

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Virgin published a wonderful piece that reminded me of something I’ve thought about a few times in the past few years. The piece is about intergenerational learning.  You can read it here. There is much to be gained by connecting with people from other generations.

Years ago we participated in a small group gathering at church and for a while, it was cross-generational where people from different age groups met together to get to know each other, to eat together, and to share life together. Those were wonderful gatherings and through that process, I met people I simply otherwise would not have met. Our church discontinued that practice quite a while ago and now most such gatherings are with your same age group or class. That has been disappointing to my wife and me.

I think there are huge benefits in getting to know people from other generations and places. I’ve written before about diversity winning and in life, diversity wins in general. Learning from other, hearing their stories, helping them, spending time with others is a great benefit for all of us. This is true across generations as well as across other political views, across faiths, across nationalities, and across educational backgrounds.

I have dear friends in Singapore, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, China, Thailand, Malaysia, France and across the US and other places and I treasure the conversations we’ve had, the times we’ve spent together and our common experiences. I remember arguing with a friend in Paris, France about the behavior of Bill Clinton and his need to be held to a higher standard due to his office.

All the #metoo messages of the past months have been earth-shattering to me.  I’ve noticed since these conversations began that movies I’ve watched for years are frankly speaking, horrible in their messages about relationships between men and women, particularly in the workplace. That which was funny to me before is not funny now. This was not clear to me before but because of these conversations, I now see some things differently.

The US political landscape is a mess with people screaming at each other and not listening. Let’s try instead to listen, make some new friends, engage in thoughtful discussion and try to be better people and citizens.