I’m training for my second marathon. The idea has been in my mind all summer but I didn’t commit until a few days ago. Before that, I was hedging, training for the marathon but reserving the possibility that I would switch to a half marathon distance race and goal.
Still, the dream of another marathon has propelled me to commit, this summer, to some very early morning runs with a local running group. We often meet at 5 am for weekday runs, and sometimes start even earlier, at 4:30. Because the meeting spot is a 20 minute drive from my home, participating in the group runs means getting up extremely early. Even on weekends, we meet early, to complete our runs before family activities.
A silent alarm wakes me early and getting up is the first and most important choice. Once my feet are on the ground, I’m committed. By the time my friends and I gather in the parking lot, the fact that I’ll finish a run is no longer a question. At that point, my commitment is clear. As my friend Whitney Johnson has said, showing up is the most important metric.
Once I’ve shown up, all that remains is putting one foot in front of the other. Then, I enjoy the benefits of showing up: conversation, watching the sky lighten as morning breaks, cool breezes as relief from the humidity. Less immediate benefits: improved health and fitness.
Why would you get up so early to run, my daughter asked me.
I can’t remember what I said in answer to her, but my husband said something incredibly profound, to me.
Mom gets up early to run because doing something big sometimes requires crazy sacrifices. Committed people do things that seem crazy, sometimes. If Mom wants to run a marathon, she has to make choices that seem crazy.
It’s true, isn’t it?
As an entrepreneur and marathon runner, I feel like my whole life is about crazy, committed sacrifice. I do stuff other people might think is crazy, sacrificing personal space and time to devote time and energy to growing my business. I do things for my business that cause people to ask: How did you do that for so long? This question, in reference to the years I ran my business out of my home, including recent months in which either 2-3 or 6-8 people worked my home during business hours. Why did I do that? Committed people do things that seem crazy sometimes.
I do what is needed for my business because my commitment to growing my business is a commitment to show up and do whatever it takes.
Why do I get up early to run? My commitment to complete another marathon requires creative scheduling.
Running long distance requires mental and physical strength and endurance that fuels me to be mentally and physically strong through stressful days working in my business. It works the other way, too; the mental toughness I’m developing in running my company is a source of strength in running, too. Can I run an extra mile? Can I have a tough conversation with a client? Yes. And yes.
I do things others call crazy because of my commitment to all that can happen when you show up.
In running, and in business, showing up may be the most important metric of all.
As a fellow runner, of course I get this! Totally! From a running perspective, I think I’ve gotten a lot more open to “crazy” configurations of workouts to fit everything in. Open windows of time are now treated to the “can I fit a run in?” criteria. Sometimes it isn’t as far or long as I would like, but it’s a deposit in the training bank. Good luck with your marathon!
Crazy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Excellent observation, John! So very true!