About six months ago, I met a guy who changed my life. Sorta.
He’s an executive and an entrepreneur who wants to improve his public speaking skills. I’m a woman who attended a professional development seminar to reboot my career. I introduced myself and shared my story. Then he told me about his background.
It turns out, we both run.
He is a guy with bad knees. I’m a lady with a bad hip and a lot of carbs in my tummy, right now. But we’re both marathoners, and we have similar stories about the ups and downs of racing, so we became buddies for the day.
He asked if I’d ever run the New York Marathon.
I’m like, whatever. Yes, I’m a marathoner. I have medals. I’m awesome. But that’s a serious race for real runners. I’m never going near that event.
And, in a flash, he’s like, you’re running New York.
I’m like, ha, okay. First, let me eat this cookie and drink my eighth cup of hotel-seminar coffee.
But here I am on a Wednesday morning in April — injury-free and healthy — with an entry into the New York Marathon. It’s amazing what happens when you make networking connections. I’m booking hotel rooms and feeling pretty good about options in life.
Can I do this marathon?
Do I want to do it?
Do I have the full and unwavering support of my husband?
Are my friends on board?
I think so. Someone said that I’m a better writer and I seem happier when I’m running with friends and training for a race. I’m like, shut up, don’t judge my work through your limited perspective. Then I was like, yeah, okay, thanks for your support.
(Yes, it’s amazing that I have friends.)
I’ll be running the marathon in November if I can get my act together. Will I write about it obsessively? Probably not. I heard feedback in 2013 and 2104 that my posts about running made some HR ladies feel bad about themselves. It was the opposite point of all those posts, by the way. I am body-positive and inclusive, but I’ll try to do better.
So let’s all give a big round of applause to the guy who sat next to me and helped me secure a space in the race — and my mind — at the New York Marathon.
You never know who you’ll meet if you talk to someone at a professional development event. If you chat about something other than work, networking can be ok!