Ignoring speed limits in 2019

If my car was a runner and I-80 a race course, I think we would have qualified for Boston yesterday. We most certainly had a personal record! 818 miles from Lake County, Illinois to Bergen County, New Jersey in eleven and a half hours. Yes, I did the math. That’s 71.13 miles per hour. That’s a blistering pace for me; even in a car.

In addition to a vow to obey the speed limits on the return trip when my daughter and her friend will be joining me, it got me thinking about the marathon. That, and the fact that I had 11.5 hours in a car (plus 45 minutes’ worth of pit stops) to myself to think. Aside from my Spotify playlist and a dash-mounted GoPro, I was unplugged.

There is a lot of similarities between the endurance that it takes to drive all day and completing a marathon. Maybe even, being a marathoner helped me complete the 800+ mile journey so quickly. But mostly, it takes much of the same kind of focus, patience and persistence. I also used a similar strategy. I started the journey well-rested and well-fueled (me and the car). I broke the trip down into four. I made pit stops in between for re-fueling. I focused on just getting to the next pit stop.

Applying that strategy to your New Year’s goals (I hate calling them resolutions; read why here), also works. “The Science of Setting Goals” (N. Goodman, Ideas.TED.com, December 2014) outlines three ways to make goals stick: choose goals that matter, not just an easy win; focus on the process, not the outcome; frame your goals positively; prepare for failure (in a good way).

There is a marathon on my schedule for 2019. This year’s marathon will be Chicago in October. After I wasn’t selected in the lottery, I decided to run for a charity team. I will be running for Gilda’s Club Chicago. I did really well raising money for Gilda’s Club Northern New Jersey with the 2005 New York City Marathon. Will keep you posted.  I’m volunteering to coach a beginner running group as part of their support program for people living with cancer and was planning to help out with Team Gilda anyway, so it’s fitting that I am an official member of the team. Lot’s more on all of this to come.

Beyond the $1,500 fundraising goal, my personal goal is to qualify for the 2021 Boston Marathon. Chicago will be my first attempt in a new age group. I have two additional marathons on the radar in case I fall short (part of “planning for failure”). But right now, I am focusing on “just getting to the next pit stop.” I broke my training down and all I am thinking about until June is the build-up – strength and flexibility – creating an environment for successful marathon training. I’ve reviewed what I’ve done in the past; what worked, what didn’t. With that I created a good plan for 2019.

I became a competent and fearless driver with experience. If qualifying for the Boston Marathon requires experience, I’ve got that. I know it also takes focus, persistence and patience. I’ve got that, too. This is going to be my year! I’m moving at a blistering pace, and there are no speed limits where I’m headed!

Under Lake Shore Drive near Belmont Harbor. Chicago, Illinois. January, 2019.


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