Saturday, November 26, 2011

I run because every expedition needs a leader...

Someone once asked me if I ever get bored. It struck me as an odd question. It was a question that was posed in the context of my half marathon training programs that effectively involve the same goal time and again. I suppose if I was making the same widget day in and day out, it would get maddeningly tedious. Fortunately, I don't make widgets.

When thinking about what I 'do' amazing, inspiring, and transcendent are adjectives that come to mind. So are infuriating, baffling, and bizarre. Amalgamate the aforementioned and you're looking at something decidedly NOT boring.

I struggle sometimes to explain what I do because I don't see myself as a personal trainer or a coach per se. Similarly, I don't see myself managing a running 'club'.

What I really do is lead expeditions....that involve running. I suppose this explains why I am such a fan of Shackleton who led some of the boldest expeditions ever.

Each expedition has its own distinctive energy and personality. So, even if the goal is effectively the same for every expedition (running 13.1 miles), the journey there is never the same.

A big part of what provides this energy and personality are the stories. The story of why someone joined. The story could have everything do with running or nothing to do with running.

People sometimes bring stories of grief and hardship. Maybe it's a breakup. Maybe it was the death of the loved one. Maybe it's a life threatening disease. They HAD to do something positive, to literally 'move forward'.

It's not surprising to me that someone confronted with questions about mortality would find themselves gravitating toward a life perpetuating and affirming act like running.

Others bring expectations of communion with others as friends or perhaps more. I would say many join me with the desire on some level or another to connect with others.

Whatever the story, it's my job to hear as many of them as I can. If I have any hope of being able to motivate someone to go that extra mile during difficult times, it starts with an understanding of their story and why they are there.

One thing Shackleton had a real knack for was understanding his crew, tuning into their moods, and responding accordingly. Somehow, some way he got the best out of his crew when things seemed most dire.

I'm no Shackleton, but I run because every expedition needs a leader.

No comments: