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The Power of Setting Goals

Well, for quite a few days I have neglected my beloved blog here.  I cheated.  I admit it.  I’ve been seeing another blog…

As my health started needing a boost, so did my attentions.  So for the past few months I’ve been going a healthy route – eating better and working out.  Below is my latest post on being productive in a different slant – being productive for life.  Check out this post and more at my blog, Life Isn’t Over at 40 or Any Age.  At the bottom of this post is a link to my progress photos from the past 12 weeks.  It turns out everyone is a sucker for before and after photos, so here is that link as well.

Well, after a few days of rest, I can finally sit down at the keyboard and announce my news – I ran my first 5K in many years and beat my goal!

OK, let’s back-track.  As many may know from past blog posts, I’ve really had a great time picking up the running bug.  I’ve enjoyed using my Nike+ Sportband and running all over my small town to train for a local 5K.  But as my time got closer, I was faced with a reality – how fast was I going to run this race?  The competitive side in me would not settle without some sort of goal.  I learned a long time ago that you can’t get to a new destination unless you have a map of how to get there.  My road map suggested that I wanted to beat doing a 5K in 25 minutes or less.  My stretch goal was anything under 24 minutes.

As I got closer to the race day, I admit it – I was scared.  Not only was I fearful of beating 24 minutes, I was actually fearful of beating 25 minutes.  I began to analyze myself.  What was causing the fear?  Why was I feeling this way?  After dwelling, I think I came up with the solution.  My fear was a result of the unknown.  Although I had trained, I had probably let the speed drills slide a bit.  I was not totally knowing what I was going to do because I had not prepared myself as fully as I might.  Was I being a bit hard on myself?  Perhaps that was the case – as is often the case.  A part of me was also fearful because my new found health that I had just re-established in the prior 3 months was being put to the test – and I didn’t want to let myself down.

So, last Saturday, there I was.  I spent some time leading up to the race visualizing my race, a tip I picked up several years ago to help anticipate what could happen and how I should respond.  Mentally put yourself at the start line and anticipate what you feel, smell, hear, taste and see.  Do this as though you’re running and fight the urge to fast forward the event.  Just see yourself running the entire race, the hills, the passing of the crowd and the final moments you kick things into high gear for a strong finish.  It’s a great tool to use.

OK, I’m at the start line.  I felt my heart beat start increasing.  I would tell myself to calm down and just focus on myself.  Surrounded by a small but anxious army of runners, the gun went off and the shoes began pumping on the pavement.  I started my watch and then started my music as a few ran past me.  I admit I did get emotional.  I realized in an instant I was in a place that I never thought I would be – back in shape and running in a race.  I teared up in one eye, brushed it aside and smiled at myself.  I smiled as a few started off too quickly.  I knew they would eventually slow up and I would be the one passing them.  The small crowd settled in pretty quickly to their paces.  I caught myself behind 2 individuals and matched their pace for a minute.  Then I realized, “HEY!  This isn’t the pace I want!”  I had lulled myself into complacency and fought to temporarily pass them so I could continue the fight within me.  At the 2nd turn I passed a young guy and knew from his shadow he was not going to pass me that day.

At the 2 mile mark I felt like I was running a fast pace, but my heart beat was starting to take its toll.  I had to fight and find internal motivation to keep things going.  I picked a person out that was ahead of me and I made a deal that I would close the gap.  One minute later, my tank emptied.  I got mad at myself for stopping – this was a race for crying out loud.  I didn’t panic.  I had visualized this might happen.  I took 10 deep breaths and got back on the horse.  3 minutes later I passed the individual I had wanted and then I saw 2 more not far ahead.  At the last turn I knew I was 1/4 mile out and had to give it all.  Drawing on all that I felt I had, I kicked into 5th gear and then saw the time clock.  I was still under 24 minutes but I would need to push it a bit more.  As I closed the gap, the clock said 23:58 and I had done it.  I grunted as I crossed the line and walked my temporarly exhaustion off.  No Hollywood score or soundtrack going off in my mind, but I didn’t need one.  I had made my goal.  And yes, victory does taste pretty sweet.

The results for the race were posted today.  I came in 3rd out of 5 in my age group and was 14th out of 30 men altogether.  I’ll take that to the bank this time around.  Next time I’ll push a little harder and try to cry a little less.  At least until I’ve crossed the finish line.

PS.  The race wasn’t the only good news.  I also finished strong in my most recent 12 week workout plan.  I lost almost 30 lbs., decreased my bodyfat by almost half and have the pictures to prove it.  Click here for my photos and new page!


How to Lose Weight, Gain Muscle and Feel Great

Life Isn\'t OverEveryone, at least everyone I know, has had some weight issue, at some point in time.  When this occurs, the mind plays incredible tricks on you and for whatever reason you can find yourself in seemingly lost predicaments.  Speaking from personal experience I’ve been there.  I was overweight, 33% bodyfat and a slug.  I experimented, gain enormous knowledge on what to do, got in shape, ran the Chicago Marathon and had many other successes.

But, then, as life would have it, I lost my focus and in 7 short  years, my body is back where it was.  Part of this is related to the job I had, but in reality, that is just an excuse.  I’m 40, a family man and now realize that in my many interests, I need to put some interest back into myself so I can be around more to enjoy my life and my family.  So, I’ve created a new blog called Life Isn’t Over at 40.  Check it out at its early conception where I will blog about my progress, some useful tips anyone can use and hopefully we will all gain some motivational insights from each other.  What’s the most weight you’ve lost?