Perseverance triumphs in a 50-mile race

All the training, all the dedication, all the coaching, all the support, came together at The Hawk Hundred in Lawrence, Kansas. Lance, our Systems Engineer of Operations & Support, accomplished his stretch goal of running a 50-mile ultra-trail race.

If you’re just joining us, we’ve been tracking Lance’s journey since the spring. In April, we shared how Lance’s commitment, relentless training, and being united in his goal, exemplified our core values. In July, we brought you up to speed on Lance’s progress and how it demanded resiliency.

Last Saturday, Sept. 7, Lance completed the 50-mile race in 12 hours and five minutes. He took 18th out of 96 runners and feels like a champ. We couldn’t agree more. All of us at Lockpath congratulate Lance on his amazing achievement.

If your company has a big goal like building a governance, risk management, or compliance program, there are five Lance Lessons from his training and race experience you can apply to your goal.

Start with the goal
Lance committed to running a 50-mile race from the very beginning. It was an audacious goal — inspiring and a little scary. That’s the nature of a worthwhile goal. To be meaningful, it must stretch you and your team.

What’s your goal for your program? Gather your team and ask for goal suggestions. Many set the goal too high and fail. Others suggest using the SMART approach to goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It makes sense, but as Lance shows, you can achieve more than you thought possible. That’s somewhere between SMART and too high.

Lance Lesson: raise the bar on goals as your team is more capable than you may realize.

Bring experience
Lance was an avid distance runner long before he set the goal to run 50 miles. He had run a marathon, several half marathons and plenty of 10k races. He also participated in many trail races shorter than the 50-miler, and every runner knows trail running is harder than running on pavement.

If your goal is making you sweat, it’s best to have some experience to build on what’s already known and minimize mistakes. Look objectively at your team’s skills and backgrounds.

Lance Lesson: if experience is deep and varied, the odds of achieving your lofty goal are much better.

Consult with experts
Lance worked with an ultra-running coach who put together a detailed training schedule. Lance did everything his coach recommended including special pre-race instructions like eating until he was stuffed. It served a dual purpose: if stuffed, he wouldn’t start too fast or run out of energy. Lance burned around 10,000 calories during the race.

For your major business goal, you need the equivalent of an experienced coach—a corner office executive who shares wisdom and sound advice when the inevitable challenges occur.

Lance Lesson: your coach’s advice is only as good as the person or team following it.

Expect setbacks
Throughout his training and the race, Lance avoided injuries that plague distance runners. He did suffer a knee injury during training that required a doctor visit and a cortisone shot. Two days later, Lance was back out there running. And just days before the race, he tweaked his ankle while walking.

Lance Lesson: you’re going to experience setbacks. You must overcome them with dogged determination and a relentless focus on the goal. If you’re leading a team, use the goal as a rallying cry that always reminds everyone why they’re working so hard.

Celebrate victory
Given its solitary nature, runners celebrate victory with those closest to them and enjoy the self-satisfaction that comes with accomplishing the goal. This type of endurance activity also entails injuries. Lance is walking wounded two days later but he’s still walking.

Lance Lesson: there is no greater feeling than the sense of accomplishment. Celebrate it with all the people who made it happen. Spread the credit around. Even with a solo activity like running, there are people to thank.

We commend Lance for setting the goal, executing the plan, and completing his mission. Whether your goal is an athletic quest or building a governance, risk management, and compliance program, follow these five Lance Lessons to improve your odds of success.

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