Have you ever participated in a sports activity that opened big doors for you, and maybe one that was earth-shattering?
I ran my first marathon way back in 2002. The experience was absolutely transformational on so many levels.
You see…I went through a very sad slump post 9/11. I was living in downtown Jersey City and taking a sabbatical from my corporate tech consulting work. I dreaded going back into the corporate world working in a cubicle with no windows…but I knew that was likely inevitable.
At the time, I was also watching countless hours of news and TV a day, living off my savings and not exercising to my full potential despite knowing that I had a serious health condition at the time. I’ll share about that in a future post.
One day in early 2002 a group of friends, who I often met for lunch, challenged each other to apply for the NYC Marathon lottery. By winning the lottery, the winners would not need to go through the arduous process to qualify for the race. I took immediate action that day and applied.
Months go by and I find out that I WON!! Getting into the marathon pushed me to shift my focus, turn off the TV for good and GET MOVING. God works in amazing ways.
Since I lived right next to Liberty State Park, I made it a regular practice to run by the Statue of Liberty. I’d often run with tears flowing down my face as I got more present to the American dream. Sadness shifted to possibility as endorphins filled up my dopamine centers. My wife, the Endocrinologist, will probably be able to explain this better. 😉
I became an official member of the NY Road Runners Club and I attended as many events as I could to be as prepared as I could.
Interestingly, my first acting role came after a New York Road Runners Marathon prep workshop at a college in NYC. They were scouting runners for a commercial to enroll the Olympic Committee to choose New York for the 2012 Olympics which was 10 years away.
At this performance, there I was jogging down Canal Street with a cavalry of police motorcyclists behind me and even a helicopter above to film it all, while I ran forward with a torch. Mind you this is right post 9/11 and being a brown man sometimes had its own hurdles. 😉
That experience led me to pursue studying more performance, improv, toastmasters, standup comedy, and personal growth and find more ways to get out of my comfort zone to level up my communication skills.
Finally, running the 2002 marathon awakened me to realize that I’m an extrovert at heart and hence being around others energizes me.
My sister and several friends cheered me on and halfway through my Mom called me. My Dad cheered on from home as he was still recovering from a stroke. Sometimes I meditate on these images from back then.
I made huge career shifts since then, breaking away from just being an engineering consultant to own up to being an entrepreneur building companies and creating coaching programs where I get to deeply connect with people and measure and create impact. The greatest success is progress.
This month I found out that I won the lottary again to run on November 6th, 2022 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of my first run.
I’m committed to do the work and break my record from my first run while enjoying the journey.
Onward and upwards,