Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Who's the Mentor?

You may be asking whether this is a question I am posing seriously or something else?  And in relation to what?  Well, it is the name of the two person relay team I am participating in on Thanksgiving weekend.  Last year, I ran a full marathon that weekend and was blessed enough to almost qualify for Boston.  That is when my idea of my first tattoo (and its eventual evolution toward St. Sebastian and Irene) began.

This year, I will be running on the same course, but as part of a two person relay team that will run that distance.  I'll run half. My teammate will run half.  We registered as a team called, "Who's the Mentor?"


Well, for the past year and some, I have been a professional for her.  I won't claim to be the only as I imagine she has some mentors within the organization for which she works.  I have been her mentor with respect to public health and economics and her MPH studies.  As someone who is already married with kids (with her about to get married) I have also tried to be a good example (although I would not necessarily claim mentor) about life in general.  Work-life balance.  Doing what you love and loving what you do.  And so on.

She has been my running mentor.  I have seen her struggle.  Not with every race, but with some races, starting last Labor Day.  She has had a year of a few downs and mostly ups (at least in the races in which I have crossed paths with her).  Despite any downs here and there she always comes back.  And, I take a few lessons from that:

(1) Never give up.  I don't think I do, but she has set a great example of how not to give up and how keeping on coming back can lead to even better things eventually.

(2) Fix what's wrong.  She identified what her issues were for running and she fixed them.  That has made her an even stronger runner as far as I can tell.  This is a lesson I should take after a summer of runs that were by no means bad but were not quite what I'd expected.

(3) Be confident.  This is not to say act prideful.  This is not to say, act "cocky".  This is just to say that when I have done all the work and I know I can finish--I should never let that thought leave my mind.

(4) Be generous.  She not only participates in running--she gives through her running. She encourages others.  She is there for others.  I try to be as well.  I certainly do so on the academic side of the world.  I just have to remember that not only is there more to life in general than academics, but there is more to being a good person and all that God has called me to be than academics.

(5) Be thankful.  My teammate never fails to thank anyone she runs with--as far as I can tell.  Whether it is a workout on the track.  A long slow distance run.  A tempo run.  Anywhere, anytime.  She thanks those around her who help her have positive experiences in the world.  I try to do so, but I don't think I remember all the time.

Moving forward, if I follow the five points above--even better than I am following them now--even if I never have another lifetime personal best time at any distance--I will be a better runner, a better person, and someone who enjoys my running and life more as I bring a positive attitude to my little corner of the world.

I hope I can live up to it.

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