Archive for February 12, 2010

My refigerator has magic powers ….

Posted: February 12, 2010 in Motivation

I think my refrigerator has magic powers.

I’m not kidding.  There is something magical about my refrigerator – specifically the door on the left where I have posted my training schedule since I began running marathons in 2006.  Once the schedule is stuck to that refrigerator door it is no longer just a sheet of paper and ink jet digits.  It is not a “recommendation” or a “guide”, it is in fact a binding contract.  One that I have entered into with myself.  It is non-negotiable. 

Magic Fridge

If the refrigerator door says 8-mile pace run, well then that is what is required.  12-miles at race pace, no problem.  4-mile recovery run, 8 mile tempo run, 16 mile bike for cross training, even the scheduled “Rest Day” – all are sacred.  Cold weather, wind blowing, rain falling, late flight home – doesn’t matter because if I don’t complete that workout the only person I am cheating is myself.

Training Schedule

Perhaps that is where the magic is.  It may be that it is the schedule or the “list” that holds the power.  That actually makes more sense.  I am being completely honest when I say that one of my favorite parts of the day is when I get to grab that yellow highlighter on the kitchen counter and cross off my latest workout.  Sometimes it is the very first thing I do when I come in from a run if it was a particularly challenging workout. 

Crossing off those 18, 19, or 20 mile runs provides a great deal of satisfaction – just as running a solid pace run or recovery run does.  It marks being one step closer to the goal I am chasing.  I’m one day stronger, one day more prepared, one day closer to toeing the line at Boston or one day closer to that finisher’s medal at Pittsburgh.  One day closer to hugging my wife, family, friends and of course Dom knowing that I gave everything I had that day to honor my good friend and his fight against a terrible disease.

After finishing up this morning’s 8-mile pace run I now have 65 opportunities left to cross the boxes off my list before Boston.  Then 13 more boxes remain and I’ll be finishing the final leg of Run for Dom at the Pittsburgh Marathon.  Will there be another list waiting on me after Pittsburgh?  Absolutely. 

In honor of the power of list making – here is my list of reasons why making lists can be so magical:

  1. Focus – Having a list in front of you allows you to truly focus on the next step necessary to accomplish your goals.  Setting out to run 26.2 miles, start your own business or build a better mousetrap has many incremental steps that need to take place to realize your dream.  Having a list enables you to focus on just the next required step and removes distractions.
  2. Clarity – Having a list helps you zero in on how you will get to your end goal.  You can literally visualize all the steps in the process and it helps keep you on course.
  3. Direction – Having a list enables you to always know which way you are heading.  It helps to serve as an internal compass, always pointing you toward the finish line.
  4. Hierarchy – Having a list creates an automatic “ranking” system of your priorities.  “First I must do this, then that” – there is a liberating power in knowing you are moving in the right direction at all times.
  5. Accomplishment – Having a list allows you to do the most liberating thing of all, which is crossing off your accomplishments as they occur.  This allows you to experience many small victories along the way to your end goal and removes the feeling that “I will never get there”.

Removing that fear of failure is the greatest gift of all.  Of course you will!  Just count the squares and before you know it you will be there.  Trust me I know this to be true – in 65 mornings I am going to find myself standing in the middle of 25,00 marathoners from literally all over the world.  I will be in the middle of the greatest international marathon on earth.  Me – and I owe it all to making a list more than 4 years ago that simply said, “Boston Marathon” on it.

Of course there is the very real possibility that my refrigerator has magic powers.  Just don’t tell my wife Dawn or there might be a new list on that refrigerator door tomorrow …. I can only imagine the kinds of things I might find on it.

Monday, April 19th ..... Boston