Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

November 4, 2014

Train, Run, Scream Like A Banshee, And Other Lessons I Learned Running My First 5K.

This is another guest post by Matthew Williamson, my Chief of Staff for the The EDGY Empire. He’s a sharp dude — and he practices the #1 rule of Waldschmidtland: “Don’t Be Lazy…”. He’s an accounting graduate with a good sense of business and all things EDGY.  Here’s Matt:


I had finally made it to the home stretch, and I took off sprinting for the end, desperate to scoot under a 22:20 time…

Let’s start at the beginning.

Two months ago today, I laced up a beat-up, old pair of Nikes and ran 1.76 miles, my first concerted attempt at regular exercise in two years. Despite playing volleyball on Tuesdays, I knew I needed to get more exercise. Since I’m too cheap to pay for a gym membership, running was really my only option.

One problem: I hated running. I never saw the point since you always return to the same spot.

But I changed my mindset. Instead of saying, “I can’t miss workouts” I started thinking that “I don’t miss runs” (an idea I learned from James Clear), which made all the difference.

Shortly after I started, I set my sights on Blake’s Run that took place this past Saturday. When I first considered doing a 5K, 3.11 miles might as well have been 311.

I’d never run farther than 2.25 miles, so I made my goal just to complete a 5K. I started “training” by running .25 miles further each week, but I quickly realized that wouldn’t cut it. About that time, I also learned that Blake’s Run had prizes, so the goal immediately shifted to winning one.

That’s all I wanted. I had no idea what the prizes were. I just knew I wanted one. So I took my training to the next level.

Lesson #1: Invest in your success. No one else will.

I hired a certified trainer. We formulated a strict training regimen, that I followed exactly (I’m hyper-literal).

Even on Thursdays, when I don’t get home until 15 minutes before I usually go to bed, I laced up those Nikes and hit the pavement. I even bought protein shakes to drink after every run.

But it wasn’t just a monetary investment that I chose to make. I’ve invested hours upon hours running, talking with other runners, and just trying to learn everything I can to up my game.

Lesson #2: Big goals demand a radical change.

Running affected everything I did. I made time to run, even when I didn’t feel like it. I completely shifted my mindset where I viewed even something as “mundane” as food different.

I ate healthier. I passed on free desserts because they could slow me down. In my spare time, I envisioned race day and what it would be like. That race became what I daydreamed about. I became a different person when I set out to do my first 5K.

I also radically altered my running form, taking shorter strides at a quicker pace, which vastly boosted my 5K time during training. It felt counterintuitive, and even unnatural at first, but I can’t argue with the results.

Lesson #3: Change is painful. Run through the pain.

I started suffering from shin splints 3 weeks before the race, but there was no time to try to rest and recover, so I had to run through the pain.

I’d come back from a training run, whimpering while both shins were wrapped in ice. Some told me to quit. Take a week off and let them heal. It supposedly wouldn’t have affected my time “that much” anyways.

Nope. I kept training. My goal ultimately shifted to winning 1st overall, and I knew I needed to keep running if that was going to happen.

Lesson #4: Never give up. You’ll always wonder what you could’ve done.

When the gun went off, I started out with front of the pack, but slowly drifted away from the leaders. I started to get passed, initially by an older gentleman (who’d win 1st overall), before others overtook me.

Only  a half-mile in, a 12-year old kid passed me. A kid. I tried to keep up, and I stayed with him for a couple dozen feet, but my mind gave out, and I convinced myself I would never be able to pass him, particularly since he was passing me this early, so there was no point in trying.

I’ll always wonder if I could’ve passed more people if I had stayed with him (or someone else).

Every time I fell behind, a little part of me died inside. There’s a deeply personal sense of defeat knowing you’ve been beaten by someone better than you as you see them pull away.

I probably could’ve pushed harder, but I’ll never know for sure.

Lesson #5: Get a support network. Invest in them while they invest in you.

This was an incredible performance boost. As I ran the last half-mile, I started reflecting on the race, since nobody was close enough to either pass or pass me.

I started to get down, thinking of all the people that passed me and how I should’ve kept up. As I turned towards the last quarter-mile, I saw my aunt, who had encouraged me to do Blake’s Run, standing at the entrance to the track to direct people. At that moment, my spirits soared. I saw her smiling from a distance and turned on the afterburners to push home.

That track was “home turf” for me. It’s where I do my speed training. I burst onto the track, rounded the corner near the entrance and erupted with “TRY MORE” to carry myself to the end.

I had finally made it to the home stretch, and I took off sprinting for the end, desperate to scoot under a 22:20 time. As I crossed the finish line, still going full tilt, I veered to the right just in time to avoid smashing into the photographer, who was at least 10-15 feet past the finish line. When I was done, my heart, lungs, and shins were blaring warning sirens of imminent collapse (or so it felt), but I finished.

I finished strong.

I finished with an official race time of 22:19.4, crushing my personal best. I didn’t win 1st overall, but I placed 2nd in my age group and finished in the top 10.

All because I took the first step. And then the next. And then the next.

What’s that next step for you?


Matt’s on LinkedIn here & Twitter here, where he relays his adventures in Dallas, TX using #MattDoesDallas. He’s here guarding the details for us each day. Which is pretty damn awesome. Pick up your sword. Go find your dragon to slay.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.