26 Miles for 26 Jobs
By Steve Germani
ADEC Staff

“We can plan a road trip or a workday down to the last detail, but the unexpected will always arise. If we are not malleable, we will get left behind.” John Wooden

Since the beginning of the calendar year, I have been running at least two times each week. In recent months, I have been running four or five times each week. Now, during the most critical weeks of my training, I have not been running at all.

I successfully ran 17.5 miles on Sunday, August 25. Approximately 13 miles into that run I began feeling pain on the outside of my right knee. The pain was strong enough to bring me to a walk on several occasions as I finished my run for the day. I haven’t been able to run since. I assumed rest and ice would take care of the problem, but I’ve learned that the discomfort will not go away any time soon.

I have a relatively common runner’s injury called IT Band Syndrome (http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sportsmedicine/a/itbs.htm). While it certainly won’t happen without some discomfort, I’m happy to report that a knee specialist at South Bend Orthopaedics has confirmed that I can finish the marathon without doing any damage to my knee. This is great news – even if I’m now WAY behind on my cardio training.

I’ve denied being a “runner” since the beginning of my training, but I am chomping at the bit to get back out on the roads to continue my training. I will begin running again this week. Taking more than three weeks off from running has certainly altered my expectations and goals for running this marathon, but I’m still confident I can meet my original goal of finishing the Chicago Marathon. I certainly won’t be qualifying for the Boston Marathon, or achieving my original goal of running the marathon in under 4 hours and 20 minutes. But who cares? I’ve set out to run the Chicago Marathon, and somehow, someway, I will accomplish that goal. It won’t look exactly the way I envisioned it six months ago, but it will still result in the accomplishment I originally set out to achieve.

Setting ambitious, yet realistic goals is critical in any attempt to grow as a person and to learn about our capacity to achieve. However, sometimes the lessons learned in making an effort to achieve an ambitious goal are more important than the specific outcome that was originally targeted. Even if the outcome doesn’t look exactly like it was envisioned, you still come away with not only a better understanding of the work ethic and commitment it takes to succeed, but also confidence from accomplishing something that could not have been accomplished without some effort.

Community employment can be a very scary and intimidating proposition for many of our clients. It’s an appealing thought, and a goal many clients dream of accomplishing. However, there’s often a fear of failure; a fear of the challenges and obstacles that await them in a community employment setting.

I know it’s easy for me to say, but I genuinely believe it’s impossible to “fail” if you’re open to growing and learning and working hard toward achieving your goal. In other words, if a client sets out to achieve his or her goal of finding employment in a golf pro shop, only to find out – through trial and error – that working in a kitchen for a local country club is the most appropriate employment setting for them, to me they’ve still succeeded. The end result doesn’t look exactly like they envisioned, but it’s still a success.

NOTE: ADEC’s Employment Services team has successfully secured sponsorships for 23 of my 26 miles! Only three more placements to go before we achieve our original goal of 26 placements!