Monday, August 8, 2011

The Road To Victory

As I continue my journey back to running, I spend most of the time on the road in reflection.  Believe me; with the times I am running, I have lots of time to ponder on life….
Yet as I stagger and sputter down the road, a shadow of my former self, I can see progress.  A month ago success was measured in yards.  After 100 yards, my lungs burning and gasping for air, I had to rest for another determined attempt…small successes followed…yards turned into quarter miles…quarters into half’s. 
Today I ran 1.5 miles before my struggling lungs gave out.  I staggered home but completed the 2.5 miles in an earth shattering time, 28:53.  That right…11:33 miles.  Some might see that as disappointing to someone who in his prime ran sub 4:20 miles, but disappointment doesn’t enter my mind.   Besides, I am 52 now not 29…and as a result of several heart attacks, my heart only pumps out half the amount of blood it takes in…so my goals are different now.  At this point, completing a 5K without stopping would be a major victory and is my goal.
The failures I suffer running now will help me succeed later.  Like most things in my life, if they come to easy I fail to appreciate them. 
I attribute my successful professional career to lessons I learned about victory from running.  It started slowly, and I constantly struggled.  By age 25, I had yet to finish college and accepted a job outside my major with low wages, but good benefits that my young family desperately needed.  At first discouragement and feelings of failure overwhelmed me until I determined to be successful in my job.  I started to strengthen my resume and engaged fellow employees who became mentors. Many failed interviews followed but, after each failure I learned and focused on my weaknesses until they became strengths.
I have only had 7 promotions in 26 years and more than 100 failures.  Yet I stand at the top of my career and am considered an expert in my field…I conceived, developed, implemented and continue to lead the disaster recovery testing program for the Internal Revenue Service…and yes I was able to move back in to my chosen career track.  
As I think about running, my health, and career I realize that my road to success and victory has been paved with the many stones of my failures along the way.  Yet each stone of failure provided a base for me to reassess and make myself stronger.
The road to victory is paved with failures….but I will get there….look out 5K…you’re next