I learned about the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Las Vegas while I was on my monthly call with leadership guru, John Maxwell. Maxwell was in Vegas for business with his CEO Mark Cole and had decided last minute to participate in the 13.1 mile endeavor. Maxwell used that experience to discuss the lessons he had learned from it, and Heidi and I used our experience in Vegas to talk about what we observed.
That's the beauty of inspiration, which is one of my favorite words. It comes from the Latin, inspirare, which means to breath life into. I'm jumping ahead, but that's observation #1. You never truly know how far your influence spreads. Maxwell's story inspired Heidi and me to sign up for the marathon, and St. Jude inspired us to raise money for their wonderful cause.
Heidi and I began a "couch to 10K" program and started advertising our endeavor to raise donations for the families being treated by St. Jude. My friends and family responded with such generosity that Heidi and I raised more than $3,500 USD! (There's still time to donate. Please consider a gift of any size.)
Just like Maxwell, we also observed a few things along the journey from start to finish. Here are the top observations Heidi and I made about Las Vegas and running the 13.1 mile race:
1. Inspiration is contagious. One statistic estimates that in our lifetime, we'll influence at least 10,000 other people. So the question is not whether we'll influence anyone, but how we'll use our influence.
2. The dichotomy between wealth and poverty: Sin City is known for its opulence--gondola rides inside the Venetian, a roller coaster on top of the Stratosphere, and the world's strongest beam of light emitting from the Luxor. Yet, we saw people sleeping on the sidewalk, others begging for money.
3. The contrast between destructive choices and healthy options: It felt ironic that we were running a half marathon in a city that was widespread with eating to excess, drinking to intoxication, tobacco smoke everywhere, doing drugs on the streets, taking an Uber/Lyft everywhere, and staying up all night. Yet 35,000 people from all over the world converged onto the strip to run either a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or the full marathon.
4. The power of partnership: Maxwell often says nothing truly great is accomplished alone, and he mentioned that he felt like quitting at mile 11 and would have if his partner had not been with him. Heidi and my training together allowed us to push each other even when the other person didn't feel like running after a long day at work.
5. The body is capable of so much more. Throughout our training, Heidi and I only worked up to a 7 mile run. Yet, at the half-marathon, we were able to push all the way to 13.1 miles without stopping. Our feet and knees started hurting by mile 10, but the energy of the crowd propelled us all the way to the finish line.
6. A shared victory: When I crossed the finish line, it wasn't a win for me. It wasn't a win for Heidi. It was our win. We did it together, with all our friends who demonstrated their generosity and support.
As soon as the race finished, the pain ignited. Heidi and I noticed it in our feet, knees, legs, and hips. She was asked about her thoughts on the race, and she replied, "It was my first and my last." We joked at the time, but a few days later we started missing the challenge and camaraderie for being part of such a noble cause.
How has someone influenced you to do something outside your comfort zone? Please post your comment below.