First off, my sincere apologies for allowing this blog to go unaddressed for more than four months. A lot has happened since I crossed the finish line in front of Tavern On The Green on November 7th 2010. As the medal was placed around my neck, I began to survey the damage. The foot was a royal mess. I was exhausted. Dehydrated. Sore. In a level of pain that I have only felt in the most dire of moments. As I limped home along the streets of the Upper West Side, the temperature began to drop. A chill went up my spine: one part cold…two parts elation. It’s this feeling – this feeling of absolute exhaustion which is the result of expending every last ounce of effort that I had within me to achieve a goal regardless of the discomfort that accompanies it – that I crave.
I know that sounds weird. However, if you’ve read this blog thus far, you’ve deduced that I require a rather sizable carrot dangled consistently in front of me in order to accomplish anything. Well a medal earned on the streets of New York on the first Sunday in November is about as big of a carrot as one can dangle in front of any distance runner. And there it was: a simple gold medal with a blue ribbon. It only weighs a couple of ounces, at most: but it’s what it symbolizes that matters to me. It reminds me that I may not have been fast (oh pleeeeease – that’s an understatement) – but I did not quit. The race brings me face to face with every bit of negativity that lies within me (otherwise known as The Tool, as you know). It forces me to confront all of it within a five hour span. And it gives me a forum to either succumb to my own weaknesses or dig deep and redefine my own possibilities.
I love what I do for a living – I believe I do it well and I do feel a level of pride in my deliverables. However, my work doesn’t define who I am. I have so many things that I want to accomplish…experience….achieve….see…..do…. It is that combination of thoughts and desires – that bushel of carrots dangled in front of me – that truly gets to the core of who I am as a man. I get consumed by my weekday grind; working long hours to earn a paycheck in order to keep my daughter in a good school forces me to see the trees that make up my life…not the forest. The marathon forces me to elevate my vision. I see the forest clearly as the miles clip by. I am alone with my thoughts and goals. In order to distract myself from the mumblings of that tiny 4” schmuck within me, I develop a game plan in my mind as I am running, to achieve some of those goals that I want so desperately to chase after…just like I’m chasing after that marathon medal.
As I arrived home and plopped myself down into a cold tub of water, the game plan that kept my mind distracted from the pain was still fresh in my head. I wrote down some of my goals, and my time frame and plans for achieving them. They would take time and energy. But so what? I just ran a marathon, and I’m chock-full of adrenaline. I can do anything.
First up: another marathon. Then plan out the completion of my first novel, earn a professional certification, and begin writing for a magazine or two in my spare time. Sprinkle in a whole bunch of races throughout the year. There it was on paper. Now all I needed to do was take those words and put them in to action. It was just as I began this process that I was informed that I would need to look for a new job, quickly. I performed compliance services on a contractual basis for a mutual fund company…and that company wanted to cut expenses and pull services all in-house. So I found a great position at a huge firm, providing these exact same services for more assets and a much bigger audience. Funny how things work out. But: I lost sight of the forest through the tress of my daily work life once again.
The first Sunday in January arrived, and I ran another marathon: the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Florida. A full write-up on this one is coming this week, I promise. And yes – it will be funny.
As January led in to February and then into March, I felt like I was beginning to lose sight of who I am once more. …..
And that about brings you, the reader, up to date. So the plot thickens:
- Will I be able to figure out who I am and finally begin taking decisive action to achieve some of the goals I have set out for myself?
- Will the foot heal properly and allow me to pursue a much-improved marathon time this year?
- Will I be able to get myself several steps closer to qualifying for Boston?
- When with The Tool finally show is wretched face once more?
All of these rather trivial questions will be answered in the weeks and months that follow…..please stay tuned!
A final post script: each of us has passions in life. Don’t make the same mistake I do – be better than me. Spend some time game planning what your goals are. Then take action – do not let life distract you from what truly matters.
One of the worst things in life is wasted talent. Each of you has amazing talents and gifts. Utilize them. Focus on them. Draw strength from them. Embrace whatever those passions are, regardless of how much time they may require from you during the week or the weekends. Don’t waste your talents – allow them to shine. Polish them through practice, and when you rest your head on the pillow at night you’ll sleep just a bit easier. The way I look at it: a person’s life is the sum of his/her deeds. It’s what you do that matters. My family motto is “facto non verba” – deeds, not words. Lord knows I’m all words and a couple of trivial deeds thus far….but my story is nowhere near to being completed.
Thanks for reading. Thus endeth the sermon. And I promise: I’ll get back to venting the rather odd thoughts in my head that kept me out of the really good schools beginning with my next entry….