Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Run to Remember

“It’s not how hard you’ve pushed along the way it’s having something left in the finish.” -- MJ, Gatorade commercial

On Sunday, November 21st I did something that only a few years ago I would have considered improbable, if not impossible: I completed my first half-marathon! To many I’m sure running long distance comes easy, but for me that’s hardly the case. I’ve used every excuse in the book, from my short legs, to my below average athleticism, to rationalize why running for me is so unbelievably painful and boring.

However, this year I put aside my doubts and decided to run the Philadelphia half-marathon. In hindsight, I’m not really sure what drove me to do it. I guess it’s always been something that I’ve aspired to do…so now as I’m embarking on a new journey in life with the start of Zaffron it made sense to seek to conquer other milestones along the way.

I was fortunate that my old pal, Hassan Shah, was also up for the task, so we buddied-up and decided to train together. Our training didn’t consist of anything special: we followed a simple program by renowned trainer Hal Higdon and tried our best to stick to it. Once we started training, I couldn’t help but think of the commonalities between running a race and our journey to start a restaurant.

For starters, there is the overwhelming hurdle that one needs to get over and that is to commit to doing it! As is the case with running (and starting a business) there are thousands of reasons to not do it. And then once you commit to doing it, sticking with it is even harder…as again the doubts creep in and the voice inside your head starts saying…”can I really do this”, “is it worth the hassle”, “maybe next year?

But over time as you get stronger and start beating down the barriers, you begin to realize that maybe it is possible and maybe those elusive goals for yourself are in fact achievable! Surely, the journey along the way is still painful and there are days when you’re down and out, but you lean on others to help you power through and you inch closer to your goal.

Currently, we’re in the early innings of achieving our long-term vision for Zaffron, but in many ways we’re getting close to a major milestone in opening our first location. As I reflect back on my experience of training for the half-marathon, what matters most at this point is to finish strong. It’s tempting to cut corners, be it with our product R&D or hiring and training our staff, but we can’t let that happen.

I’m eagerly awaiting the moment when we finally open for business…I’m curious to find out how I feel. But if the commonalities between starting Zaffron and running the half-marathon continue, I’m sure it will be an exhilarating experience. Just as with the race, I’m optimistic that our hard work and persistence will amount to something and once we open our first location we’ll set our sights on the next goal, just as I’m already thinking of someday running the full marathon.


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