Sunday, July 17, 2011

Serious People Have Serious Expectations

This morning, I completed a half-marathon and gained a hard-earned personal best. My Garmin 310XT recorded a distance of 21.2K at a time of 1:39:36.

I am not a particularly fast runner but I think I can hold my own with the fast ones. I bumped into Poon before the race, who is a 10-hour Ironman finisher (and superb rider) and we discussed our race pace. I caught up with him early and we ran side-by-side for the first 10K before I faded in the middle chapters due to insufficient fluid intake (aid-stations were far apart). The highly competitive and mentally strong Poon, came home three minutes earlier, and alluded that he expected me to hold the pace. I cheekily replied that I did not know I was his designated pacer/rabbit, and thus it was stressful to do so with his running ability. We agreed to push the pace harder at the Bay Run in September – which buys me more time to develop a 4:30 pace strategy, and allow my mild case of plantar fasciitis to heal. Fortunately, my heels did not give me grief this morning. I suggested that he be the rabbit in the pack and I would tail him.

Looks like Matthew is recovering well from his pre-Ironman fatigue as he secured a 2-hour finish, and I knew he was holding back. This was a new route, fraught with bridges, slopes, stairs and a significant bay view. We ran past landmarks like the F1 Pit Stop, Marina Bay Sands (casino), Singapore Flyer, Floating Platform, Esplanade (arts and concert hall), and the Central Business District. The post-race recovery chat at the F1 pit stop with friends Brian, Jacky, Teryn, Jolene, Izza, Winston, Poon and Adam ‘One-Armed Runner’ was rich and gratifying.

There was a flurry of displeased adrenaline-drenched comments after I emerged from the finisher’s chute. Apparently, runners were annoyed with the lack of clear directions-signs and race-marshals at strategic junctions. The water-point was also spread wider than expected so hydration was a key issue. I surmised that the prize-giving ceremony would be compromised as leading runners ended up later in the pack due to the additional distance covered. We discussed the possibility that the eventual winners would not want to collect their prizes because they felt it as unfair to the better runners who took a wrong turn. The apologetic organisers bravely and immediately surveyed runners for their feedback. 

Having hitched a ride home, I discussed with my tri-buddy Jolene about our observations about people and their working values (mainly respect and gratitude). One topic that emerged was that people could get personal in an argument over professional matters. One may be thrilled with holding an argument based on fact, observation and perception yet others may be annoyed or threatened by it. I said that there will be haters, and haters will hate. There is not much we can do to change their perception, prejudices and perspectives unless they choose to do so. We also discussed catching people doing right, as well as wrong. If we catch people doing wrong all the time, it may breed cynicism, criticism and paranoia. Be constructive in your feedback and influence people to care about important things. Simple, yet not easy – got to start sometime, soon. This morning, Poon gave me useful feedback of my running posture which I will process seriously - as I am always eager to run injury-free and faster.

Live and let live – I suppose.

Leadership Lesson: Review your values that activate you into action. Explore new values that can enervate you and move you to accomplish new results. Learn to discern conditions where you can accept or reject outcomes and shortcomings. Empower with encouragement and constructive feedback. Correct yourself when wrong. Work towards your next better performance.

1 comment:

Matty Wong said...

Thanks mate, was just trying to hold a consistent pace. Trying to stay injury free and remain healthy for Aug.