2019 Boston (GA) mini marathon (Recap)

Boston mini

“How do you know someone ran a marathon?  Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.”

(Jimmy Fallon)

My Walk into the Future continues to provide me with adventures and challenges to chase.  The latest challenge came during the Boston (GA) mini marathon (13.1 miles) on 10/26/19.  This race was on my 2019 schedule because I ran it last year and had really good results.  Set my first of many personal records (PR) at the race last year.

Fast forward to this year’s race and there’s not a PR to discuss.  My race time and finish position regressed this year.  Was a bit disappointed with my results because I know I can run faster and have done so multiple times this year on tougher courses.

So, why did I regress during this race?  Great question and I spent a day reflecting on why this race didn’t go as I planned.  Turns out I simply took running fast times for granted.  Not saying I didn’t train and put in the miles to run another good half marathon time.

  • September miles: 44 (includes Philly Rock N Roll Half marathon)
  • October miles: 29 (includes Boston mini marathon)

I did assume my Boston mini marathon race results from 2018 would automatically translate to the 2019 race.  The course was the same, but the weather was significantly different this year–mid-50s in 2018 and mid-70s with high humidity this year.  Also, needed a better hydration plan since the temperatures and humidity were higher than normal for an October morning.

My race mistakes are all easily correctable and I was back in the gym the next morning correcting them.  My physical race prep will still resemble what I’ve been doing but working on the mental aspects, so I never enter a race with assumptions again.  I improved my half marathon times this year by entering every race with a chip on my shoulder—got ahead of myself for this race but the corrections are being made.

Lesson learned—never take a race or finish time for granted.

Boston mini marathon weekend

Boston (GA) is a nice little town 40 miles northeast of Tallahassee (FL).  The people are friendly and have a blast for the entire race weekend. The half marathon is just one of the events they host for the weekend. It’s the kickoff event but most of the weekend action happens once the runners get out of the way.

Vendors setup before the sun comes out to get ready for visitors.  The Boston butt BBQ competition is fierce with BBQ outfits from multiple states vying to win the first-place prize money.  Most of these folks provide samples of their competition level BBQ after the race.  There are other vendors with additional items for purchase (cakes, pies, fish, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.).  Almost has a carnival feel to the day once the race is over.

The parade starts right after the race awards are presented.  I normally hit the road right before the parade kicks off since most intersections are blocked to accommodate the parade route.  Great little town and event if you’re ever in the area.

https://bostonga.com/boston-mini-marathon/

 

Next race

Will venture down to Orlando for the Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) half marathon on 12/7/19.  I ran my first ever half marathon at the OUC event back in 2013.  Hard to believe but I’ve been chasing people at half marathons for 6 years now.  Never thought I would run another half marathon after the first one but now I’m traveling the country making memories with my friends.  Pretty cool transformation for me as I continue to Walk into the Future.

Looking forward to my training as I prepare for the OUC race.  Also excited to catch up with family and friends while in the Orlando area.  Already got my post-race lunch location picked and can’t wait to eat shrimp and grits! 😊 Plan to visit my favorite reggae spot, Bob Marley’s at City Walk too.  Will be another fun adventure for me!

 OUC Half

“Running won’t solve all your problems.  But then again, neither will housework.”

(Unknown)

How do you bounce back from a set back?  What lessons have you learned when things don’t turn out as planned?  Thanks!

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Leverage a growth mindset to maximize your success

 

 

“You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By becoming a little better every day, over a period of time, you will become a lot better”.

(John Wooden)

Growth mindset has been defined as people believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point (Carol Dweck).

Fixed mindset

A fixed mindset puts undue parameters in place.  An individual who believes they are only good at certain things will most likely only be good at those things.  You can talk yourself into or out of anything.  A fixed mindset can hinder progress because of the avoidance of anything that may challenge you.  This process causes individuals to give up when tasks get hard or unfamiliar.

A fixed mindset limits individual growth because of sticking to what you know only—attempts to try or learn new things are avoided at all costs.  A sad aspect of this mindset is when people believe potential is predetermined.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t—you’re right”.

(Henry Ford)

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Growth mindset

Contrasting the fixed mindset with growth mindset highlights the importance of positive thinking and actions.  People with a growth mindset view failure as an opportunity, not something to shy away from.  Functioning as a lifelong learner is another aspect of the growth mindset—the foundational principle is to never stop learning new things and tasks.

Positive effort and attitude are thought to be determining factors toward individual abilities.  This concept helps eliminate being defeated even before starting a task.  The success of others leads to inspiration for someone with a growth mindset.

The great things my tree branches accomplish daily inspire me to continue to grow and make a difference.

A hidden aspect of the growth mindset is the freedom it provides to practitioners.

Growth mindset is based on not limiting yourself (thoughts or actions) so you approach each day as a gift.  You seek new challenges because you have the tools to accomplish them.  You’re willing to try new things because you never want to stop learning and improving your knowledge and abilities.  Setbacks are your opportunity to learn, reset and then try another approach to the challenge you face.

Lessons are everywhere when you embrace the growth mindset.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

(Napoleon Hill)

Growth mindset key factors:

  • You can learn anything needed for success
  • Displaying the right attitude makes learning possible
  • Challenges are viewed with excitement
  • Failure is not the end
  • Positive words, thoughts and actions daily

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you don’t stop”.

(Confucius)

How can a growth mindset impact your daily interactions?  What things do you need to change to adopt a growth mindset?  Thanks!

Reference

TED Speaker, Carol Dweck. (n.d.) Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.ted.com/speakers/carol_dweck. 

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It’s all GOOD – Networking in Orlando

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“You have to motivate yourself with challenges.  That’s how you know you’re still alive”.

(Jerry Seinfeld)

I’m always looking for ways to expand my knowledge base to help me with my Walk into the Future.

Networking and partnering with individuals and organizations has been fruitful in 2019.  The Greater Orlando Organizational Development (GOOD) network was recommended to me by a tree branch as an organization with consultants/practitioners with similar interests as me.

The GOOD network has been great so far especially with networking platforms they currently promote.  They have monthly professional development workshops to bring members together to share and learn from others.  This process enabled me to get involved with organizations to see what they do, learn from veterans in the career field and share my knowledge and experiences with them.  Felt good (no pun intended) to share my authentic leadership platform research with practitioners who were looking for ways to engage leaders in their respective organizations with evidence-based research.

Made several professional contacts with aspirations to leverage into additional research and application of authentic leadership in business environments.  My initial research was done within a university setting but believe we can easily translate the four variables (self-awareness, relational transparency, internalized moral perspective and balanced processing) into multiple work environments to enhance leadership development and job satisfaction for direct reports.

Currently working on a proposal to present at the First Annual Organizational Development (OD) Conference, Ignite Your Future:  Innovation in Action in February 2020.  Plan to bring my authentic leadership research to the conference to enhance audience understanding on the leadership platform and how it can be used to provide leaders with tools to enhance their work environment.  Excited for the opportunity to stand in front of movers and shakers of some of the largest organizations in Orlando and show them the value of authentic leadership.

Excited and scared at the same time but my walk continues to move forward!

This process may provide me with additional tree branches as I continue my quest to enlarge my tree.  Wish me luck!

What have you done lately to move from your comfort zone?  How do you challenge yourself to try new things professionally?  I welcome your thoughts—thanks!

“The key to life is accepting challenges”.

(Betty Davis)

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Running to Philly

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“I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days”.

(Ronald Rook)

Decided early to make my Walk into the Future about setting goals and then putting in the work to meet those goals.  Very proud of my efforts so far in 2019 as I continue to cross things off my list daily.  One of my ongoing 2019 goals is to run a half marathon under 2 hours.  I’ve improved my best time twice this year for a total of 5 minutes faster than I ran in 2018.  My best time of 2:08:21 (2 hours, 8 minutes, 21 seconds) was run at the 2019 Nashville Rock n Roll Half Marathon back in April.  Very proud of this time and training used to get ready for Nashville.  Again, my 2019 goal is to run under two hours, so still have work to do.

Miles, miles and more miles

Determined the best way to run faster was to increase my training program with additional miles.  I had to put some thought into how this would happen considering I would be running during the summer in Florida.  The heat and humidity can be unbearable just walking around so running would be an additional challenge.  Set my running schedule to avoid the hottest times during the day—early morning runs allowed me to get out and back before the full heat and humidity of the day kicked in.  Weekend runs started a bit earlier since I leveraged this time for my long runs.  Learned quickly getting out and back before 9:30 am was ideal—anything past 9:30 am and the heat beats you up.

Logged 50+ miles in June using this training method.  June also provided me with the blueprint on times to run, times to avoid and how to hydrate properly to pull this process off successfully.  Increased my training miles in July to 70+ by running two weekday runs of 5 – 6 miles each and then having a long run of 8 – 10 miles on the weekends.  Also, started carrying a hydration belt with Gatorade and water so I could replenish fluids while out for my run.  Hydration belts are not the coolest looking accessory, but it is very functional when you need something to drink miles away from water.

I extended my training program and physical capabilities in August with a 100+ mile month.  My two weekday runs were extended up to 8 miles each and my weekend runs extended up to 11 – 12 miles.  My longest August training run was 12.65 miles.  Long runs were done to get the miles in, didn’t try to hit race pace since I wanted to build up my running base without trying to hit a specific time.  Ironically, my long run times were still better than some half marathons I ran a few years ago.  Looks like I’m getting faster just by adding long runs to my training program.

Note:  I still made it to the gym for my normal workouts and extra cardio.  Running was the priority for run days, but I didn’t eliminate weight training, yoga or stretching sessions.

Run Day view

September is my taper month as I refresh my legs for the Philadelphia Rock N Roll Half Marathon on 9/15/19.  I logged 20 running miles in September to complete my training program prior to heading off to Philly.  This allowed me to mentally and physically get ready to run my best in Philly.

The best part of being this close to a race is I get to carb load—all the pasta and bread I want! 😊  This will help my energy levels during the race and keep me moving fast.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/carbohydrate-loading/art-20048518

Cross Training View2

(Leg day on the Pit Shark)

Lessons learned

Mixed in hills, intervals and long runs into my training program prior to Philly.  Felt I needed to incorporate more hills and intervals after my Nashville race.  Believe these added programs will give me the endurance, speed and mental toughness needed to get under two hours in Philly.  We will see!  If not, the next race is 10/26/19 in Boston, Georgia.

You can follow my Philly progress using the Rock N Roll app:

https://rtrt.me/app/rnra

Off to Philly and looking forward to my cheese steaks after the race and sightseeing in a new city!

How are you doing with your 2019 goals?  What adjustments are needed to ensure you meet your written goals?  Thanks!

 “A goal is just an awesome way to force growth on yourself”.

(Deena Kastor)

Leading from the Front

We are all leaders!  The actual title you have is not as important as understanding your impact on others you interact with.  There are people in this world with the ‘title’ that implies they are the leader, but they don’t ‘move the crowd’.

Leading from the front can be done by everyone.

I continue to highlight the key to effective leadership is self-awareness.  Self-awareness is needed in order to lead from the front in your daily activities.   The self-aware leader understands strengths and weaknesses, have a fully developed self-view and demonstrate they understand how their interactions impact others (direct reports, clients, colleagues, etc.).

Things a leader can/should do:

  • Inspire people
  • Empower people
  • Lead change
  • Share a vision

So, if you can inspire people, empower people, lead change and share a vision, you are a leader.  Again, you don’t need a specific title to be viewed as a leader.  Don’t give away your influence because a specific title is not attached to you.

encouragement_leadership blog

We can all lead!  Look around your current work environment. Who do you inspire daily?  How do you inspire these people?  Your level of self-awareness within the work environment creates empowerment.

Do you need anyone’s permission to inspire your students, clients, colleagues or direct reports?  I don’t think so.  Now you need to identify/understand how you inspire others.  Are your actions positive and consistent?  Do you create an environment conducive for communicating new ideas?

I believe empowered leaders initiate, act, and adjust within the work environment.  These things are available to all of us.  I promote to direct reports, ‘Mistakes happen, just don’t make the same mistake twice’.  Use situations like this to create an environment where your people can learn and grow.

Leveraging your ‘Why’ can also impact how you lead from the front.  Identify why you show up every day and then ensure your leadership decisions are made to positively impact your ‘Why’.  Simple enough, huh?  It can be!

How do you lead from the front daily?  What adjustment are needed to ensure you lead from the front in your work environment?  Thanks!

Goal Setting—A Reverse View

 “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  Yoda

Goal setting has been a major factor in my personal and professional life for as long as I can remember.  I stopped generating New Year’s resolutions since the concept of SMART goals provides a different level of self-accountability.  My self-accountability is increased by sharing yearly goals with trusted mentors who conduct ‘check-ins’ to see how much progress has been made throughout the year.

goal setting1

One of my most adventurous 2018 goals was to:  Run 4 Half Marathons.  I say this was an adventurous goal for me since the most half marathons I had ever run in a year was two (2017 Nashville Rock and Roll Half Marathon and 2017 Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) Half Marathon).  Neither of these races produced a finish time that would awe other runners.  In fact, my times from these races were considerably slower than times I’ve run before.  So much for getting better with repetition.

My fix to improve my running times and training routine was to challenge myself to run more races which would lead to more training sessions.

Again, my written goal was to run ‘4 Half Marathons’.  I didn’t initially write down specific races, cities or dates where I would accomplish this goal.  I utilized the concept of ‘4 Half Marathons’ as my base goal and then worked my way in reverse to identify when and where I would run these races.

Things I considered when selecting the specific races were:

  • Travel distance
    • Drive or fly
  • Weather
  • Course conditions (hills, pavement, gravel, bridges, etc.)
  • Registration costs
  • Hotel proximity to event
  • Things to do after the race

These factors helped me identify races I could train for and reach in a reasonable amount of time (fly or drive).  I also used these factors to pick races that gave me some down time from training without feeling guilty.  Spacing these out allowed for full recovery from one race to the next and provided time away from running to recharge mentally and physically.

My reverse goal process allowed me to select, register, train and complete the following half marathons in 2018:

  • 2018 New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Marathon (February)
  • 2018 Nashville Rock and Roll Half Marathon (April)
  • 2018 Boston, GA. Mini-Marathon (October)
    • Personal best time: 2:13 (2 hours, 13 minutes)
  • 2018 Amelia Island, FL. Reindeer Half Marathon (December)

I stayed away from summer races because of heat and humidity.  I still trained over the summer but didn’t feel any pressure to work on speed, just logged miles early in the morning to beat the heat.  The races earlier in the year allowed me to gain my running focus while also enjoying two cities with cultural and entertainment districts.  A benefit of running larger races is the music, food and beer you get to enjoy once you cross the finish line.  Hanging out on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and line dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville was my reward for completing those races.

The Boston, GA Mini-Marathon was close by and I heard great things about the course (flat and fast).  It lived up to the billing of a fast course since I was able to run my fastest half marathon time EVER during this race.  The funny thing is I was using this race as a training session—cool weather and a flat course provided me with a perfect opportunity to push myself.  It didn’t hurt that my training program had increased my weekly miles and endurance leading up to this race.

The Amelia Island Reindeer Half Marathon was selected simply because of a flat running surface and I had never been there before.  Running races allows me to travel and explore, so this was the perfect last race to meet my stated goal of 4 Half Marathons.

I was able to meet this 2018 goal by challenging myself with an increased race load (for me) and then working in reverse to identify/select/train/complete the races needed.  This was a major upgrade in my running program since I finally put a different level of accountability on myself.

Benefits of meeting this goal:

  • Satisfaction of meeting a written goal
  • Increased speed
  • Increased endurance
  • More travel
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Lost 7 pounds!

Working on my 2019 goals right now—thinking about 6 Half Marathons in 2019.  Will leverage my reverse goal process to determine the races needed to meet this goal.

How can working backwards (reverse) help with your 2019 goal setting process?  How much progress have you made on your 2019 goals?

FYI–I finalized my goals this week!

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2019

‘None of us can change our yesterdays but all of us can change our tomorrows’ (Colin Powell)

2018 was a great year and looking forward to having a great 2019 as well!

I’m sure you will hear Happy New Year for the next few weeks, so I decided to get my version in via a blog post.  Positive thoughts lead to positive actions so let’s use the New Year vibe to create a road map for your personal and professional success.

I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions because the construct behind these resolutions have an air of whimsy.   Most resolutions are stated with an almost ‘either/or’ prospect without the foundation for future growth or success.

I sit down each January and generate a list of goals I will accomplish in the New Year.  These goals range from travel locations, fitness targets, professional pursuits, community involvement and reading plans for the year.  Generating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Based) goals provides a template to determine progress towards meeting a specific goal.  The ability to gauge progress towards stated goals provide a level of satisfaction and accountability to meet or exceed a goal.  I also leverage an accountability partner who receives a copy of my goals and checks on progress throughout the year.

 

smart goals 2019

I routinely advise direct reports and mentees to generate 3 SMART goals in the following areas:  professional and personal.  This process has helped them set goals to ensure the new year will bring the success they seek.  Please note:  3 SMART goals are the minimum I request from my tree; most create a robust number of goals in these areas and others depending on their professional and personal needs.

Use the early days of 2019 to get organized and create goals that will enhance your entire 2019!  Don’t wait, get moving towards the productive year and outcomes you want to see!

Let’s energize your Walk into the Future!

What goals do you have for the New Year?