Last week for work, a group of company leaders came together to talk strategy and goals for the coming year. Jodee Bock, a former All-American basketball player at Concordia College who now owns and operates Bock’s Office Transformational Consulting, provided some thoughtful context for the dialogue.
In short, she encouraged us to practice awareness and artful action to reach transformation in our lives, whether it be professionally or personally.
Transformation is a topic that’s been on my mind quite a bit for the past few years — either through developing leadership skills for work or pursuing my running goals.
The transformation as a runner hasn’t always gone smoothly — largely because instead of taking breaks after a marathon, or appreciating the accomplishment, my focus always turned quickly to the next race. There always was another race. And always another attempt to qualify for Boston.
Eventually those efforts also left me on a path to injury.
Without question, I loved the daily ritual of running and the grind of a heavy training load.
And while running is the most important part of being a better runner, there are too many other aspects of my training that were neglected or ignored: stretching, core exercises, strength training and even nutrition. These all are part of a tapestry, when put together, make us stronger, better runners.
With more than 7 weeks on the sideline, recovering from surgery, I’ve had time to recalibrate my approach and work on my shortcomings. It took a full 4 weeks just to reach some level of comfort to start stretching and light exercise. The past 3 weeks, though, have given me a chance to develop habits and a routine to make me a better runner.
Either we are moving forward or falling behind.
And for too long I allowed my strength to be my sole focus, so much that it became my weakness.
With a return to running imminent, and better habits for training and racing, my focus is centered on possibilities. It will take time to regain my fitness and strength as a runner, but the foundation has been set.
Every day I stretch. Nearly every day I do core work. Elliptical, cycling and strength training have been mixed into the routine, too. All of those ingredients need to remain.
My biggest worry has been whether I’d feel motivated to return to marathoning.
But even that hurdle doesn’t seem so daunting. This weekend, I’m looking forward to watching the New York City Marathon, 1 year after I notched my Boston qualifying time for the first time. And I’m anxious to return to running with friends and training for the Utah Valley Marathon next June. And even further out, my sights are set on finally returning to the Chicago Marathon for the first time since 2010.
All of these possibilities lie ahead — and 2018 is looking like an epic year full of exciting experiences.
Photo credit: Runners start the Chicago Marathon at Grant Park on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. Patrick Gorski / USA TODAY Sports