Just like the Cert IV TAE can, my first marathon – the New York Marathon – took about a year from start to finish. In the end, I think I clocked up about 800km of training kilometres, busted my knee, broke a toe, had lots of ups and downs, but in the end I still finished.
Some people ask how long it took me.
The answer is 4 hours, 48 minutes and 17 seconds.
But really it took a year.
Some people ask what place I came in.
The answer is I was number 32 241 across the finish line.
But really it was just me.
I didn’t realise when I started a year ago just how many parallels there were between running my first marathon and studying something like the TAE40110 Certificate IV in Training & Assessment.
The day I crossed the line in New York’s Central Park, back home were sent Certificates to 8 people who graduated from their courses.
In many ways, we achieved the same thing. My medal, and their Certificate, was not the result of just a few hours work at the end. Instead, it was the result of consistent application over time.
Every step of my marathon had to be trod by me. Likewise, every step of their courses had to be trod by them.
And just as there are no shortcuts when running 26 miles, there are no shortcuts when studying the TAE Cert IV.
There are times when all I wanted to do on a training run was throw up, and I know that some students have the same response when confronted by yet another task or piece of jargon.
There were times when I just didn’t want to do it, and I know that some students have the same response when confronted by a life that has so many competing demands.
There were times when I could not run because of injury, and I know that some students get way-layed by illness and tragedy.
But what mattered most is not whether we felt sick, just didn’t feel like it or were sick, but what we did next.
And that is the single biggest lesson I learned from the New York Marathon, and the most important thing for students studying something as challenging as the TAE.
It does not matter what we have already done, it matters what we will do next.
If we have taken a break, or dropped the bundle, or tripped and stumbled, then so be it.
We just have to get up on our own two feet and take another step forward. And then another one, and another one, and as long as we keep taking them we will surely move closer to the finish line.