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

  1. connie says:

    I hope one day you write a book with all the things you write about now in it. Your stories make me laugh and sometimes cry.
    I just hope I live long enough to read it. lol
    remember your are A WINNER

  2. joerunfordom says:

    Connie – thank you so much for visiting and for all the support – you are absolutely the greatest – If I get to the finish line on that project you’ll be getting a signed copy for sure. Best from Austin! Stay warm up there!

  3. onelittlejill says:

    I am the Queen of list making!! My co-workers joke that I make lists for my lists that have post-it notes with lists on them. But the reasons you listed are so true- lists help me and crossing off makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Jill – Now that is funny! I agree, nothing better than crossing off that item from your list. True irony – still haven’t marked my workout from this morning off yet. I get to do that when I get home from work later …. great stuff.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Love the new site!

    I absolutely love crossing things off of a list, but nothing is more satisfying than crossing off training runs. I have my schedule posted on a bulletin board in my kitchen and I look at it several times a day.

    I need to become more strict with my schedules. I am always great in the beginning and the end, but there always seems to be a lag in the middle; a couple weeks of my motivation lost. It’s something to work on in the future.

  5. Wow, you have one great fridge 🙂

    I totally believe in lists and plans to. They focus me and help me achieve what is priority. I bet most marathoners are excellent with lists and plans!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Ashley – thanks for the visit and the comment! It will be a dark day if we ever have to replace that fridge – lot’s of miles covered because of that thing! Have a great weekend! Joe

  6. Linda Case says:

    Ok so the fridge blog made me think of all of the “cribs” shows on TV. Like where celebrities show their houses but say that all of the important stuff is whats in the fridge. maybe you can give a glimpse inside the magical fridge to show what really motivates you!

    (and I also have to say that Lenny is pretty awesome for sponsoring mile 18)

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Linda! So good to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by for a visit – that is a great idea – I’m going to be blogging before my first 20-miler about pre-workout nutrition, that is perfect. Thanks again for checking in, hope you are all well in S.C. – take care, Joe (And you bet – Lenny is the man).

  7. John S says:

    What would you think about making that spreadsheet available? Looks like a great tool.

    • joerunfordom says:

      John – thanks for the visit and comment! I’ve had a couple people here and over at Daily Mile ask about my training plan. I will plan on getting a blog post with the sheet included later this week on Thursday or Friday. Have a great rest of your day and thanks again for stopping by! Joe

  8. Great Info. Tweeted about it. I’ll bookmark this post too later :).

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