Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm no marathoner. Or am I?

(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
I live-streamed the Boston Marathon for a bit late yesterday morning. I wanted to recapture the excitement of the Wellesley College Scream Tunnel at mile 13 of the race. The 118th Boston Marathon started earlier than I recalled; when I cheered for those first runners coming down Route 135 it was definitely not before noon! So I tuned in too late to see coverage of the Scream Tunnel. But I did catch the last five miles of the elite first heat of women. I saw Rita Jeptoo make her move and break away from the others, and saw the joy in her face when she crossed the finish line. But the final miles of the men's race were really exciting: I tensed as Meb Keflezigh's race-long lead diminished, then cheered as it widened again. I watched in amazement as he almost sprinted has way up Boylston Street to an astonishing victory.  It was an incredible day for Boston, for athletes, and for those of us who watched. As Nicholas Thompson blogged at The New Yorker,  these two top-finishers demonstrated very different ways to win a race.

I am not a marathoner, and have never, ever had that urge. I used to go for short runs, and may do so again, but the endurance test of a long-distance run is something I can't imagine doing. I am in awe of those athletes who do it, who can keep up the pace for 26.2 miles. And particularly someone like Meb who was no longer ranked at the tippy-top, who had lost his Nike sponsorship and who was thought to be over the hill, a has-been, at 38.

So I thought I had little in common with Meb, Rita, and my husband's classmate Joanie Benoit Samuleson. But this morning I was on a call with Belinda Pruyne, business coach extraordinaire at Business Innovation Group.  And Belinda said, "the people who find success are those who go the extra mile, who aren't afraid to do the work needed to separate themselves from the pack." Belinda has a lot of good advice for how to separate yourself, beginning with knowing and acting upon your non-negotiable core values.

Now, as you may know, I do a few different things in my work world, and I do them in a pretty unique way. I like to think of my approach as "muscular creativity"--making connections others don't/can't/won't see. And working at it; putting in the time to tease things out and put them back together. Working to help others communicate more effectively. Applying those same techniques to get my message across. So maybe I do have more in common with those runners than I thought. Maybe I am a marathoner, metaphorically, and don't even know it. Maybe you are, too!

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