There are plenty of management consultants who advise that recognition is one of the most, if not the most, important criterion to motivate and retain employees. Some believe that it is more effective than giving the employee more money. (That has never been true for me personally, but I get the gist of what they're trying to say. It's important to notice good work and give that someone a positive, perhaps unsolicited appraisal.)
Running and racing have been at the core of my work for the past couple of years. I have been extremely fortunate to have been immersed in the world of running and to have been compensated for providing coaching, program development, event management, marketing communication, and some retail sales. On the other side of the running coin, I've trained and raced and remained competitive. It's been a rewarding few years since starting A Running Conversation, and of course, I was running and racing long before then.
The Maine Track Club hosted its annual awards banquet on Saturday evening to recognize age division standouts, exemplary club members, first-time marathoners, volunteers and race directors, as well as to enjoy a social evening with friends and food. Last minute obstacles prevented me from attending the event, though I am proud to say that I was voted the 2009 Female Runner of the Year.
I am very pleased with this award, as it lends credibility to how I've been "working" over the last year. It also really does motivate me to stay at the top of my game and to remember this is what I can do! It is a real honor, too, given the terrific female runners in the Club, and the community as a whole.
In the January/February 2010 edition of New England Runner Magazine, one can find a list of the 2009 Top Runners by state and age division. NER lauded my performances for the year and gave me the nod as the top female Mainer in my age division. I also received the award for Athlete of the Month, something they feature in every issue. I was completely surprised and very excited to receive these honors, as the net is flung wider than my local club.
So why aren't I brimming with self-satisfaction and fulfillment? The truth is, I'm feeling rather blue. I've been grappling with this mood for a couple weeks (notice my last blog post was December 28, exactly three weeks ago) as it doesn't make sense to me. I am pleased. I am proud. But I'm in a funk.
I think it harkens back to what I said in the first paragraph about money and how it translates into value for me. I don't have an income right now, well for the past three months, and it's wearing on me. It's not for lack of trying: I have been looking, networking, applying, wracking my brain! And coaching is something I can and will do part-time. I'm looking for other work - doing the same things just not revolved around running. I think it's exhausting me even more than training for the Boston Marathon. I also think the emotional drain is insidious.
The mind is a powerful thing. I know what I need to do. I know I need to turn things around upstairs, in my head. And I will. After all, this is who I am and this is what I can do. I'm a runner.