Resilient Insights From A Turkey Trot

by Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE
(Dana Point, CA, USA)

The runners passed me: old, young, pot-bellied, knock-kneed, pushing baby strollers, wearing turkey hats, and boasting feather bonnets. One very determined man ran in a full Pilgrim costume, complete with black top hat, white stockings, and buckles on his running shoes. Some people are just determined to go all in and you have to admire them for that.

Some 12,000 courageous souls turned out at 6:30 am Thanksgiving morning for the 36th annual Dana Point, California Turkey Trot. It was my 22nd time to run yet I am normally always thrilled by the variety of folks who come out to support local charities.

This year, however, was hard. I kept a steady pace, murmuring the "Hail Mary" with every step. Perhaps I thought that praying would keep me moving. And they continued to pass me. Lean, mean, tight buns, and skimpy shorts. AAARGH! How could they pass and laugh that they weren’t even warmed up yet!?

I swear they moved the turn at the 1.5 mile marker. Further away surely. For the first time in 22 years, I was tempted to stop. To drop out. To shrug my shoulders and trudge back home. Have you ever had that feeling of wanting to give up but not wanting to at the same time?

That’s when it hit me: resiliency is NOT about winning the race. It’s about staying in it. It’s not about beating the competition. It’s about listening to the beating of my heart. I just need to practice what I preach: consider another way of looking at this. Find what is positive. Listen to my stamina level, and laugh!

Yes-laugh. When the dad and his little daughter passed me at the 5 mile marker, I asked how old she was. "Eight" replied the tiny blonde.

"I’m 88," I hollered after her. Everyone around me laughed because I'm clearly not... 88!

I stopped looking for the balloon arch that signaled the end of the race and instead, focused on the immediate road in front of me. Another lesson: it’s not about yearning for the future. Resiliency is about showing up NOW.

Holy Schmolly. I suddenly spied the balloon arch. By not grasping for it what I wanted appeared before me. With a sigh of relief, I crossed under noting my time was just a hair under one-hour.

I didn’t care. I stayed in. Like St. Paul wrote "I have run the good race. I have fought the good fight."

P.S. Another lesson. Perhaps we are tougher on ourselves than we need to be. I just checked the race results and in my age category - I come in 2nd!!! Amazing.

© 2013, The Resiliency Group. Publication rights granted to all venues so long as article and by-line are reprinted intact and all links are made live.

Eileen McDargh is a Hall of Fame motivational speaker, management consultant, resiliency expert and top thought-leader in leadership. Visit The Resiliency Group website at to get her free quarterly e-zine, read her blog and articles. Discover why hundreds of satisfied clients from all over the globe hire Eileen to keynote at their meetings and facilitate their retreats.

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