Sunday, 27 December 2015

Year End Wrap Up

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

It's time again for the year end wrap up post, one word sums up my year and it is IRONMAN!

I wanted to do something epic for my 50th birthday and in 2012 I decided it would be Ironman Mont Tremblant, it did not matter that I had never completed a triathlon or run more than 10k, that was the dream.  I have worked since that time to be ready and I was ready with lots of experience in the bank on race day...and I needed it all and then some to finish the race.  I still can't believe I finished it, it was so close to being a DNF but with the help of my friends and determination and strength I did not know I had, I did it.

Also during the year I ran 2 marathons, a few half marathons, a 10k, a 30k and a few other fun runs, I also did a 70.3 triathlon in NY state with my friend Michelle and Neale. 

I think a highlight (other than Ironman) was starting the year running the Miami half marathon and hopping on a cruise ship with my friend Debbie for a vacation, a perfect vacation that combined all my favorite things, running, cruising and Debbie. Another was finishing the year running the Space Coast Marathon with Kate as her first marathon. She did great and I so enjoyed the weekend with her in Cocoa and can't wait to go back soon.

A few of my medals from this year, I am missing at least 3
So what does 2016 have in store, I am not really sure yet.  I have registered for the ATB relay on April 3 with my friend Anita. we are each running 15k, I am doing the Mississauga half marathon on May 1 and the 10k in Ottawa on May 28th and a 5.5km open water swim on July 2nd but I have not planned much else.  I am torn as to what I want to do this summer for my triathlons and don't really have a plan yet.  We are going to Peru for 2 weeks in June but will be back to watch our friends do the 70.3 in Tremblant.  Eventually I will make a plan but for now I am focusing on strength training and speed work and having fun.  I want to learn to cross country ski and to go mountain biking and kayaking, I want to try snowboarding and skate on the canal this winter...all the stuff I did not have time for while I was on the Ironman journey.  The last few years have been great, I really enjoyed the journey and I know I will keep on running and doing triathlons but I am eager to try new things and return to some familiar things I put aside. Who knows what adventures await but what I do know is I can can do whatever I set my mind too and I have a never ending bucket list of things to do.  I look forward to the challenges ahead including the 2017 challenge of running the Dopey one weekend and the Rebel Challenge the next, coast to coast, 109.4km, 10 medals, that will be a great way to start 2017! 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Running and a Business

For a long time I wanted to write a blog post about how running and triathlon helped me become a better business person but did not think anyone would want to read it. My business coach gave me this for my homework so I have to do it before our call on Tuesday, she knew without a deadline I would probable be too scared to write it so thank you for the push coach.

In 2005 I started my own business, it was a risk but one I needed to take for myself and my family. Having a business is scary, your financial success or failure is down to you and sometimes you lose sight of the big picture because you are so busy surviving.  For four years, my business survived, slowly growing but along the way I had lost my passion, my reason why, my drive.  I gave everything I had to my clients, my business, my family and other outside commitments and I forgot to keep something for me, I was miserable.  In May 2009 I decided it had to change…just like that, I made a decision and I did it.  That decision lead me to athletics, first walking, then running and than triathlon. Along the way the lessons I learned through training made their way into my business life as well.  This happened slowly, I really did not even notice it happening, it just evolved but over time my athletics and my business lives supported each other and lessons learned in one area were carried into the other, seamlessly.

This is the first lesson in everything we do, there is no place for doubt, we can feel the fear but we must believe we can do what we set out to do. When I stand at the start line of a race, or start training for a new big goal I need to be able to visualize myself at the finish, successful and happy or what is the point.  If we let doubt creep it in erodes our resolve, like water on rock, ever so slowly it creates cracks that break us down. Be clear on what you want to do, be confident you can do it (or fake it until you are confident) and don't let anyone stop you from your goal.

Not everything in business goes the way you plan it, you need to be resilient or persistent, know when to dig in for the long haul or when to pivot and change direction. Nothing I have ever done has gone they way I thought it would. I encountered setbacks along the way but it is how I deal with them that affects the outcome.  We can give up the first time we fall or we can pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and  carry on, stronger, more determined and more focused.  The ability to shake off bad training days, injuries and even failures in athletics has helped me become more resilient in my business life.  There are so many cliches that work here, find one that speaks to you and use it. You are stronger than the force that is trying to defeat you so view it as a learning opportunity, there is usually something you need to learn, learn it and move on, just never stop moving.

One of the biggest gifts we give others and ourselves is to support and encourage each other in life.  Every race I am surrounded by runners who support me, they support my successes and encourage me to keep going when its a bad race. I have slowed down to support a runner who is struggling and I have been a cheerleader for those passing me, usually on the bike at a triathlon.  In fact when I get too self centered and focus just on my results, the experience is usually a lot less fun. This is the same in business, we do not have competitors, we have colleagues and I firmly believe we can support their business as well as making ours exceptional. It is not a I win/they lose, because if they lose and I did nothing about it I have lost as well.  Share your passion, help others and encourage them to be successful in their business, there is room for everyone. 

Five years ago if someone told me I would be a marathoner runner, an Ironman and have two successful businesses I would have said they are crazy but here I am. Life, business and athletics is not always easy, thing happen, some we can plan for and some we cannot.  I have learned that anything worth having has to be worked for, it is never just given. We have to work hard, we have to be willing to do the work others do not want to do, we must be willing to give it everything we have and if we do this, we have a better chance of being successful.  It might be uncomfortable, it might hurt but in this pain, we grow, we change and we become the person who can accomplish our goal and even become an Ironman.