Eighteen months ago I embarked on a campaign to get healthy. I had been quite a bit overweight, but mostly healthy, for most of my adult life. A few sudden setbacks changed all of that, and made me re-evaluate my health. I made some changes in my eating habits and started walking. Then I discovered running.
Running became my new passion. I fell in love with it. It was my stress relief, my meditation, my new everything. One year ago, I told my friends I was going to run a Half Marathon. They looked at me like I was crazy. At that time I could still barely run two miles, but I really enjoyed it. Then winter set in and not much running happened for many months. Finally April came and I started up again. I would run 1 minute and walk for 3. Soon I could increase my time bit by bit. Then I got brave and signed up for a 5k fun run in town. It took my almost 47 minutes to run that 3.1 miles but I finished.
I figured, I was lapping everyone on the couch that day, and it didn’t matter that it took me almost 16 minutes a mile to run that 5k. I still did it. So I found myself a trainer, and then discovered that one of my clients was a Boston Marathoner! He became my mentor and I begged him for tips — and he began coaching me on my journey. I started training in earnest. I signed up for a training plan and a Half Marathon in September. I ran a few more small races in between. I remember one in July, another short race: I came in dead last, but I didn’t care. My time per mile had decreased significantly, and I was proud of that.
Then, I injured my back. It set me back 4 weeks of training time, and made it impossible to run the Half Marathon I had originally planned for. “Okay, it’s okay”, I told myself, “I can recover and find another race.” There happened to be one in San Diego, 4 days before a late-October conference I was going to attend,so I signed up for that one. And kept training. I got stronger and faster. Race day came and my wife, my adult son who lives in Las Vegas, NV and my Brother-in-law who lives in CA came to cheer me on. I was ready. I had a goal of a 12 minute mile, and guess what? I did it! And I was far from last: I was in the middle of my age group, and the middle of the pack. I was so happy I burst in to tears when I finished. I was in this process for the long run, so the training, the injury, the long-term time frame didn’t matter. It was the end goal that mattered.
Investing is exactly the same. It’s not a short-term process. We have to be ready for the bumps in the road and the mishaps that will come along — because there will be some. Sometimes the market is up (fast), sometimes the market is down (slow), and sometimes we have no idea what it’s doing, it just looks injured! But if we are in this for the long run, we have a few ways to smooth out the bumps: Having a good plan in place. Looking to the experts who know what they are doing, and taking their good advice. Not giving up and throwing in the towel if we are frustrated or feeling down because things aren’t going exactly the way we thought they should. No road is ever straight or easy. But the good things are worth the patience of the process.
Will I run another Half Marathon? Absolutely! In fact I ran two other races in Las Vegas, NV, just two weeks after my Half: a 5k and a 10k (3.1 miles and 6.2 miles). I set personal records for each, 11:15 per mile for the 5k and 11:30 per mile for the 10k. So, with determination, all things are possible. And hard work and expert advice has gotten me to my goal. Many thanks to my coaches (you know who you are!). I may never run Boston, but I will cheer you on when you do!