One of my favorite running stories goes like this:
The setting: a track race. A coach watches from the infield.
His runner passes.
Something is wrong. The runner is far off the lead. Things aren’t going well.
‘I want to quit,’ the runner informs him.
‘That’s fine. Catch the leader, then you can quit,’ he responds.
The runner catches the leader.
And then catches fire. Wins the race.
The lesson: never give up.
The other lesson: sometimes a change of goals, even mid race (mid life), can drastically change your outcome.
I read that Meb Keflezghi has four tiered goals when he runs. The first tier when you’re Meb is to win. But hey, shit happens. So much can go wrong in a marathon (a life). If it doesn’t look good he adjusts expectations and focuses on the next tier. Sometimes he catches the leader. Sometimes he shifts to tier 3. Or 4.
Success ain’t a straight line. And winning all the time is fascist.
Sometimes when I run I feel like I need eight tiers (did I mention I just turned 40).
Next time you pick a race write down 4 goals. Or 8.
Go like hell.
And when things get difficult you know what my advice is:
‘Catch the fucking leader!’