(Originally Published on LinkedIn on November 1, 2017)
This past weekend (Nov 2017), I ran my first official 5k with my son. This was the Zombie Stomp, an annual 5k/1k race event here in Cypress.
It was a chilly morning – much colder than Texas standard for this time of the year.
It was a great experience, and we finished the race in about 35 minutes, which I was told was good given that this was the first race for my 7 years old. Not only was this a physical experience, but it was also emotional and most importantly, a learning experience.
Here, I am sharing the 5 most important lessons I learned from my 5K.
Everybody needs a Hero
I’ve seen this race happening for the last 3 years but never had the interest or courage to participate. This year though, my friend Ashutosh convinced us to join. He has been running regularly for the past few years and completed many Marathons, 5Ks, Half-Marathons. He motivated the kids to participate – including his daughter who is the same age as my son. With the kids being involved, it was obvious that the parent would run too. He was a Hero in this case – A role model for the rest of us.
Many times in our life we don’t know what is the best way to do something. We don’t even know something should be done. If you have a role model, a Hero, or even a mentor, they can help guide you to the right path!
There are people in this world who are happy when others succeed! Find such people and make sure you learn from them!
It was cold. It was windy. When the race started, in the first few minutes I felt like this is not going to work. It’s too cold to run. I signed up assuming the weather would be good. I practiced in the evening when it was pleasant. This is 8 am in the morning and it’s 50 degrees. I am not supposed to be here…by the time all these thoughts were coming into my mind I had run about half a mile, and my body had warmed up quite a bit. All the negative energy had drawn out itself and was replaced by a positive jolt to get it done! – So, I kept going.
And then the same negative thoughts started popping up when I was in the last half mile. My legs were hurting. My friends have already completed the race as I can’t see them anymore. No one’s watching – better get out and call it a day. But then I saw the finish line..and kids cheering, shouting. That made me feel better, and I sprinted towards the goal with all the energy left in my body that morning.
Sometimes in life, we give up too easily.
Remember, you are 100% bound to miss the shots you don’t take. So, keep going, you may not realize that the goal was just a few feet away when you decided to quit and turned around.
If you just keep going for a few more feet, you’ll get where you wanted to!
Preparation is Key
This was my first official race. I didn’t know what to carry with me. Didn’t know how fast to run at the beginning. Didn’t know what shoes to wear. Didn’t even know that you are supposed to practice a few times to keep your body, mind and soul ready to participate. All this, was preparation that my friend helped me with.
Without this preparation, I’d have been miserable. If I had not brought the gloves that morning, I’ll be out in first 10 minutes after my fingers started to freeze. If I had been wearing the wrong shoes, I’d have hurt myself and would not have been able to run.
Preparation is key! whether its a 5K, a Marathon, or your life’s goal. Luck is nothing but when an opportunity meets a prepared mind! If you are not prepared – opportunity is lost and you can call it bad luck. If you are prepared, you’ll be ready whenever the opportunity knocks!
You need a team
You can do a lot of things alone. But when it comes to achieving BIG things – you need a team.
At a couple of times during that 5k, as I said before, I felt like quitting. But then I see my friends running along side. I see them cheering one another. I see a team, driving everyone to success!
You can do good, alone.
But you can do better, if you have the right team!
Small rewards go a long way
Along side the race trace, organizers had cheering squads spread at various spots. At every mile, they had a water/Gatorade table setup and volunteers were handing out water and Gatorade glasses, cheering you on.
For my 7 years old, a glass of Gatorade awaiting for him around the corner was a reward to bring his energy back. A cheering squad yelling “You can do it!” makes you believe – Yes, you can!
Like anything else, appreciation and small rewards along the way help make a long road easy to scale.Whether you are a leader, a team member or an entreprenuer – small rewards for your team, co-workers, customers will help you in the long run.
There are so many things we can learn, and re-emphasize with every experience in our life. It was a great bonding experience for me with my family and friends, but at the same time it was great opportunity to learn a few things about myself, and rekindle that spirit of Don’t-Give-Up! to achieve the dreams.
Life is too short to be negative – Stay positive, Stay Ahead!
Comments? Thoughts? Personal experiences? – Please share!