When I interviewed for the role of Administrative Assistant at Square Root, I felt confident that I was right for the job. I knew I had the experience to handle office management; I had, after, all, managed a class of 22 preschoolers and more recently managed a house and a family of 4 (11 if you count all the pets!). I was ready to transition to a new challenge, and if everything I’d read about Square Root was true, this was the place for me. I had no doubts… and then suddenly, a bit of doubt crept in.

In my interview with Chris, the founder and CEO of Square Root, he was friendly, easy to talk to, and gave me even more reasons to want the job. At the end of our conversation, I asked him what qualities or characteristics were necessary to succeed in the job of an administrative assistant. “Tenacity is a big one,” he told me. Suddenly a glimmer of worry entered my mind. “Do I have tenacity?,” I wondered. Am I determined enough to do whatever it takes to get the job done?

As you can probably imagine (I am writing this blog after all), I got the job. I had a whole slew of responsibilities to tackle soon after starting and I felt confident in my ability to do so, but a tiny thought still lingered in the back of my mind as I opened my computer at the beginning of each day. “Do I have tenacity?,” I wondered.

It’s a (Half) Marathon, Not a Sprint

Two weeks into working at Square Root, I attended the GirlStart Annual GameChangers Luncheon. GirlStart is one of the charities Square Root supports. Among the many speakers at the event was Tamara Hudgins, the Executive Director of GirlStart. She spoke about the 3M Half Marathon, a race for which GirlStart had become the beneficiary, and shared that she vowed to run the half marathon upon hearing this news. Never having run more than a few miles, she wasn’t confident, but she continued to hit the pavement until the day the race came and she crossed the finish line just as she had promised herself.

“If she can do it, I can do it. I’m young. I’m healthy. I run. I can do that,” I thought to myself. She then went on to challenge the people in the room to do the same thing and several of us at the Square Root table looked around, eagerly nodding that yes, we would definitely do that! We decided to get a group together to run the 3M to show our support for GirlStart in a new, fun way. Suddenly, I had committed myself to a half marathon that was in less than 3 months. Registering for the race a few weeks later signaled the start of my training journey and it became more real that I needed to get started. All of a sudden, my priorities changed. There was no choice of the matter in waking up early in the morning to run; it was a necessity if I wanted to finish this race.

I started tackling early morning and late night runs on the treadmill, working my mileage base up. My first “long run” I knocked out over Thanksgiving break, a 4 miler. “Not that bad,” I thought to myself. When I ran 6 miles on the Lady Bird Lake trail, I felt like I could have easily gone another 2. I was loving training and wanted to run constantly. I started looking forward to my weekday runs, too, which was something I didn’t expect. Each run felt like a small action step towards my larger goal, something I could check off my list (and I love checklists). What I looked forward to even more, though, were my long runs on the weekend. I hit 8 miles, then 10 miles, and finished up my training with a 12-mile long run.

All the while, at work, we were encouraging each other via Slack, in person, in group runs, and at our twice-weekly bootcamp. Having that camaraderie was something new for me in the realm of exercising. Usually, I was on my own, purely self-motivating (and sometimes not so much), but this was different. Knowing a group of people was counting on me to show up that day helped motivate me even more to get out there and do my best. I was excited to run for myself, but I was also excited to run with my coworkers.

Reaching the Finish Line 

The morning of the half marathon, it was cold and windy. I packed up my dates (my chosen race fuel), laced up my shoes, and had my husband drop me off at the starting line. I waited around with my fellow radical Emily, huddling with other runners to stay warm and out of the wind. Finally, the sun came up and the time had arrived. I said bye to Emily and weaved my way into my chosen pacer group. The race started and my feet began moving. A huge smile spread across my face as I crossed the starting line. I laughed out loud as my joints loosened up and I thought to myself “This is tenacity.”

I finished the race and crushed my target time. The doubt surrounding my tenacity disappeared. Training for and finishing the half marathon helped me realize tenacity has always been a part of who I am; the support from my coworkers helped strengthen that foundation in a way I didn’t know was possible. Next on my list? A full marathon.

Rachel is our resident scheduling sorceress and a member of our operations team where she helps with project management and executive assistance (among many, many other things!) Interested in meeting Rachel? Come to our Startup Crawl party happening March 13! RSVP now