5 Marathon Tips to Help Get You Back to the Office Without Quitting

Let’s all agree this COVID thing feels like a marathon. A very stressful and challenging marathon. It’s been so damn demanding and mind numbing, the “sheltering in place” feels more like an Ultra-Marathon. The daunting thought of “will this ever end” just keeps coming up to the front of our minds.

TWIN LAKES, CO – AUGUST 16: Runner Tony Brown #104 washes his head in Lake Creek as runners make their way along Gordon Gulch during the 2014 Leadville Trail 100 ultramarathon on Saturday, August 16, 2014 in Twin Lakes, Colorado. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

I know a bunch of people who have run marathons: Boston (@tonyong @montycoggins), Chicago (@patcoakley), Miami (@rogertharrington), Austin (@danielbrown), Las Vegas (@davidbell), Raleigh (@milesbrown), Asheville (@mikepatton @bobbyrhinehardt), Pittsburgh (@erickkaniecki @jasonbodnar) and many more. The list of folks I know that have run Ultra-Marathons is much shorter … like zero … so if you have, please comment below. Edited: @valeriePatenotte @amandablair @milesbrown (I stand corrected) well done!

Same thing with this COVID-stay-at-home. I know a ton of folks who have stayed home for weeks: snowstorms (@stephenskinner), hurricanes (@brucehoytt), tornados (@sheenabell), fires (@michaelbogle), and floods (@dewayneroberson). The list of folks I know that have stayed on for multiple months is non-existent. Nobody. So, again, if you have, please comment below.

Now, I’m not going on a rant about Trump vs Biden mask wearing habits. Furthermore, I actually don’t think most scientists or CNN talking heads have a clue about what the human race shoulda, coulda, woulda do against this virus which apparently has a particular grudge against old dudes … at least I’m self-aware.

After working at Deloitte & PCG for all of my consulting career, I know about the demands of professional client service industry. All you lawyers, accountants, and private detectives surely can relate? It’s a grind.

Having run the Leadville Trail 100, Key West 100, Burning Man Ultra-Marathon (mostly naked … it was 104 degrees), and South Africa’s Comrades … I know a TON about suffering over the long haul to reach the end of a very difficult challenge.

After reading this “how to” article on how to finish the Leadville Trail 100, I was reminded just how damn hard running an Ultra-Marathon is and many of the feelings/thoughts/strategies about how to not only “not die” but how to “succeed” are directly transferable. Let’s go to work.

Top 5 Tips for Surviving the “Sheltering in Place” Ultra-Marathon

#5 Walk the uphills, jog the flats, and run the down hills … rest when you must. In brief, don’t attack things you can’t control. Take advantage of the wind being at your back, and just pace yourself during the “daily” grind. We have come a LONG way and it’s likely that many of us still have a LONG way to go. It could be that we are only at Mile 25 (finished our first marathon), and we’ve got THREE (3) more to go. So, it’s critical that you not “flame out” anytime soon. Most of this race will be trudging uphill and simply jogging the day-to-day. Save your “full steam ahead” for the times you know exactly what to do, how to do it, and things are working out in your favor.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Rest … You Gotta Find a Way to Recharge

#4 How you communicate with your team matters … a ton. Most folks who run Ultra-Marathons have pacers and crews to help them during the 100 miles. Not many folks can do it alone. I think the same is true for the “remote working” slog. There is only one little lower case “i” in collaboration. Sure, you gotta own your journey through this pandemic, but you don’t have to do it alone. Chances are you CAN’T do it alone. So agree with your teammates early and often how you will communicate. Be positive. Build up don’t tear down. Maintain a positive mental attitude. Every word is about doing better, maintaining effort, and getting to the end of this successfully – together.

Sometimes it is just a few words of encouragement

#3. Utilize and celebrate “waypoints.” Let’s face it … you can’t start running at 4am and just quit the next day at 10am. You can’t eat an elephant in one bite either. To process through this COVID ULTRA, you need to break it down by time, deliverable, or some other milestone. We are going to GRIND until we’ve finished our 1,000th contract tracing call. We are going to GRIND until when I have to take the kids/dogs out for fresh air sans HappyGuide logo masks. Write them down, understand what it’s going to take to make it there, and then take a rest once you get there or accomplish the short-term effort. Here’s how they set up the LT100 Water Stations:

#2 Self-discipline your mind. Look you have felt the pain of all this. The computer screen has no friends … it’s mean to us all. The boredom, the lack of connection, the competing pressures all require that you constantly make “trade off decisions.” Like in an Ultra race, when you get up, when you eat, how hard you push, how you find time to rest, and how you treat other people will ultimately decide just how hard this COVID crisis will be for you, your family and your friends. You must be able to prioritize, organize, and triage all the stuff in your head/heart. Don’t let the immediate get in the way of the important. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of “good enough.”

#1 I COMMIT, I WILL NOT QUIT. This is my #1 recommendation. This is the one piece of advice that will take you to the finish line. It took me THREE (3) attempts to finally complete the Leadville Trail 100 Ultra Marathon. Do not give up. No matter how dark, painful, and defeated you feel … keep putting one foot in front of the other. The finish line is out there … I promise. We will NOT keep doing “sheltering in place” forever. Even though it might feel like there is no hope. That’s not how nature or humanity works. The sun is going to come out, schools will go back into session, folks will go back to work, and we will figure out a way to be live safely and thrive as a species. #My2Cents

What my daughter forgot to mention was her saying …
“Dad if you quit, just don’t come home. I won’t be able to take it.”

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post. Just so the google search engine gods will show some favor, please comment below. Heck … #unsubscribe even works. All feedback is good feedback. #GoMakeaCircle

Here today’s vid clip:

I COMMIT, I WILL NOT QUIT

10 Comments

  1. VERONICA CROOK on May 27, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    The Sun is going to come up in the morning, love your positive-mental attitude. We are in this together, most of us are together. Keep grinding and stay happy!

  2. Xelpha on May 28, 2020 at 5:19 am

    This post is awesome. I cannot wait to share it with the Indy team at PCG. I have never participated in an ultra marathon, but your parallels to our lives right now are spot on.

  3. Valerie N Patenotte on May 28, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    You know a couple of other ultra marathoners, Amanda Blair, and recently me too!

    • Tony McLean Brown on May 28, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      @valerie … thx so much for keeping me honest. Which ultras did ya’ll run? How ur toes? At least Bent Creek running trails should be opening up soon.

  4. Sandy Michel on May 31, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Tony Brown! Always and inspiration! Great article! Thank you!!!

    • Tony McLean Brown on May 31, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      Appreciate your feedback and taking the time to connect. Be safe!

  5. Richard Purcell on June 6, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Great article Tony. Enjoy continuing to learn with and learn from you in every aspect of life. You inspired my first Marathon back in 2011 in Miami and my life forever-changed. Keep inspiring!

  6. Chy Davidson on July 3, 2020 at 10:06 am

    TB Truly a Pro from my perspective! It takes great fortitude to persevere in times of uncertainty. Not sure if I can compete in the marathon space by definitely can compete in the COVID race. I commit, I will not Quit!

  7. Frances Harris Tacy on September 6, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Ha! Love it! You just popped up on my feed & we met at running- Blue Ridge Relay! Appropriate to choice of photos but too many close & no coon cap?

    • Tony McLean Brown on September 15, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      Franny – enjoy all the updates regarding your farm and family. #KeepGrindingXO #ShowUpTomorrow #ExpectMore

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