Struggling to the Starting Line

What does it take to get to a starting line?

In some ways, its the same challenges every time:

  • Register – Making an intentional effort, that includes putting money where your mouth is, to choose something difficult. Promising to yourself that you will set aside time for a challenge, and the work ahead of it (speaking of which…)
  • Train – While this post is focused on my recent marathon, any challenge requires some work in advance to prepare. For a race, it’s the miles of walking or running ahead of time, to build physical and mental strength. For a musical performance, it’s practicing notes over and over again to seek beauty. For a job interview, it’s hours devoted to researching the organization and rehearsing for those self-evaluative questions. You don’t just show up (but yes, you do have to show up).
  • Wake-Up – I rarely sleep well the night before a race because I wake up multiple times, worried that I’m going to sleep through my alarm. Each starting line has a deadline before the deadline. Some point where if you miss dotting the i or crossing the t, the next steps just won’t happen. That’s why I set up as much as I can the night before and have a back-up alarm set. I signed up for this thing, no way I’m going to miss it.
  • Eat Breakfast – Again one of my pre-race struggles is eating a good breakfast that morning. My stomach is a tumble of knots and butterflies, so even my favorite foods sound nauseating. But my brain has to overcome with the knowledge that I need those nutrients later on, just as any speaker, performer, or athlete would. Getting up early and eating small amounts over a long period help to fill the need.
  • Walk the Dog – This weekend I was dog-sitting, so an adorable fur-ball was staring me in the face throughout my pre-race prep. Knowing I’d be gone for several hours, I wanted to get him out for a short walk before I left. Pulling on an overcoat from his owner, I grabbed a flashlight and we went for a 15 minute walk around the block. This specific need reflects what is still universal in getting to starting lines: It is not just about me. There are other people (and sometimes animals) who have needs too. Ignoring the dog’s needs would have bought me hit or two on the snooze button, and caused him great pain (or a major accident) later on. Diving into a new challenge requires a check-in with your nonnegotiable people to find out about their nonnegotiable needs.

These are just some of the pre-starting line challenges. And I’m not even in the car yet!!!

Stay tuned for part two…

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