A Different Kind of Race

9 Aug

Two weeks ago I started a different kind of race than what I’m used to: I began my MBA program. However, while completing an MBA program may not be listed as a race on Active.com, it’s still a race for me.

If you don’t understand why I think the MBA program and training for a marathon are almost the same, please allow me to elaborate.

Both are things I never thought I would do. 

I’ll never forget standing on the corner of 51st Street and Broadway in my Sunset Park, Brooklyn neighborhood and watching the New York City marathons runners past me. I thought to myself, “I could never do that.” Several years later, with a few 5k’s under my belt, and the best cheerleader ever (my now husband) and some very supportive friends, I started to believe that maybe I could run 26.2 miles. So I did. Twice. I guess you can say I’m intent on proving myself wrong.

I’ll also never forget how I felt as I watched my husband work his way through his MBA program. I was so proud of him when he graduated. However, a couple years of watching him miss out on time with family and friends (and me) had taken its toll. I didn’t think I was willing to make that sacrifice. But then things slowly began to change … and I realized that this was a sacrifice worth making.

After one day at work, I came home and told my husband I was going to get my MBA. Not only was I going to get my MBA, but I wanted to do it at one of the best programs in the Southeast and I was going to aim to start this upcoming fall semester. That was in April of this year. It was right before we left for our honeymoon. Life hasn’t calmed since.

Both require commitment. 

If you don’t do your weekday training runs, you risk injury or a horrible long run. If you don’t make it to classes or do your reading, your projects become that much harder. Training partners and classmates alike rely on you. There’s no half-assing your way through marathon training (especially for those of us who are injury-prone) and there’s no room for slackers in my MBA program.

Both put a real damper on your social life.

“No, I can’t go out Friday night. I have to eat my ritual pre-long run meal, organize my running gear, charge my Garmin and make sure I’m in bed early enough to wake up Saturday morning at 4 AM, eat breakfast and run 20 miles.”

“No, I can’t go to the beach this weekend. I have to read a hundred, billion pages, write two papers and drink at least two pots of coffee and yet still fight the urge to fall asleep.”

Seeing as I am training for both a marathon and getting my MBA, I’m pretty sure that’s going to make the lamest friend ever. On the bright side, when I do go out I can score some student discounts and save money on alcohol since I’m such a light weight.

Both require the support of your loved ones.

Without my husband’s support, I couldn’t do either of these things. He walks the dogs when I don’t come home from work and school until 10 o’clock at night or after I’ve run 18 miles and can’t move. He cooks dinner on school nights. He wakes up early on race day to cheer me on. He supports me, and more importantly, he believes in me. And that means the world to me.

And let’s not forget four girlfriends I have. Two are old co-workers that became my best friends and two are my running partners. All four of these women are smart, funny and incredibly talented at what they do.  All four of them inspire me and challenge me. And all four of them encouraged me to take the MBA challenge head on.

Sure, you can accomplish great things through your own hard work and determination. But I think it’s always so much nicer to have people you love cheering you on along the way.

That finish line is so sweet.

To me, 26.2 miles or two years are one and the same. Whether I’m reaching the finish line or graduation, either is a reminder that I can do anything I set my mind to.

The next few months will be difficult for me: I’ll be tackling training for the Chicago Marathon while acclimating myself to attending classes after work and spending my weekends running and studying. The way I look at it, the running will hopefully keep me sane. Or I’m going to collapse from exhaustion. If that’s the case, I hope my support system will be nearby to catch me. 😉

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5 Responses to “A Different Kind of Race”

  1. cavegirlmba August 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Did the MBA thing. Will never do the marathon but rely on my car instead.

    • Hemarie August 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      People race cars too. 😉

      • cavegirlmba August 10, 2013 at 1:03 am #

        Yes, and that is great fun!

  2. joannerambling August 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    I don’t know what an MBA program is…….

    • Hemarie August 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      It’s a Master’s in Business Administration. Aka Grad school.

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