You might remember that over the past year, I decided to take up RUNNING.
As in, purposeful fitness-driven running—not just running to meetings or events, or to pick up my kids!
So a couple months ago, as the frozen ground began to thaw out, I signed up to do a 3K with my daughter, Isabella, and our two dogs, Jake the German shepherd and Stella the golden retriever. (Hey, I didn’t say I was MUCH of a runner—just that I’m doing it. 🙂
This was a pretty cool 3K for people and their pets; we helped raise money for the local university AND got to experience what it’s like to run side-by-side with our furry friends!
Before this race, I got in a few weeks of practice runs so that I could improve my time from the last race I ran. I’m a little embarrassed to say, but after taking the winter off of training, a twelve-and-a-half-minute mile was my best time. If you’re not sure what this means in runner speak, it’s S-L-O-W.
Anyway, by the end of my training weeks, I had pushed myself to an eleven-and-a-half-minute mile, but I will admit, even that was HARD and STILL pretty slow. But I went into the race feeling as ready as I could be for the little time I put into practice.
On the day of the race, I chose to run with Jake-the-German-Shepherd and Isabella chose to run with Stella-the-Golden-Retriever. Once I put Jake on his leash and the race time started, we were OFF … and I mean we were running with POWER. Jake is a force of nature, and I could tell he was running to keep up with the people in front of us. And of course, I’m holding onto his leash and hustling to keep up with HIM. I was being pulled along whether I liked it or not!
There were literally moments during the race where I was saying, “Jake! Slow down!” And of course he didn’t (or couldn’t!). BUT, it worked.
At the end of the race, I came in FIRST in my age category and had done so by running MUCH faster than my previous rate … 9:30 per mile to be exact!! It was an awesome surprise and a HUGE accomplishment over my “spring training” efforts.
After reflecting on that race, I’ve realized what an obvious life lesson was at play here: When you link yourself to something or someone who is stronger and faster than you are, you’re going to be pulled along and become stronger and faster too … IF you’re prepared to take advantage of it. My training actually allowed me to KEEP UP with Jake and go faster than I ever had before!
It’s kind of like the saying that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with … and in this case I was the average of the PACK I was running with.
It reminds me a lot of what we’ve created with More Than Just Great Dancing® and the tribe of members we’ve grown since 2012. Certainly we could all be pacing ourselves with what we think is good enough, doing our work in isolation, and generally going it alone. OR we could be setting goals and linking up to a “pack” that will help us keep going and push forward, even when we might not think we can achieve more or go faster.
In this entrepreneurial life, we can choose to stay in our own comfort zones, or we can choose to elevate ourselves to run alongside others. There are times we can be pulled along because we want to keep up, and there are times when we can do the pulling. It’s this synergy of the group that can make all the difference!
I encourage you to think about the pack you run with: Are they lifting you up? Are you eager to keep the pace? Or if you’re not running with a pack at all, where can you find the like-minded people who will help you become stronger and faster?
My hope for you is that, in the next race you run—whether it’s the sprint to the end-of-the-season finish line or the marathon to next season’s new programs—you will surprise yourself (just like I did) and achieve even more than you had thought possible. And all because you made the choice to run with the pack.
To a stronger and faster YOU!