Running tip #39
Last night while sitting trackside at a high school invitational boys’ mile, I was transfixed by the churning legs of the slightly barrel-chested runner in 4th place. He ran just like a young Eamonn Coughlin and I wondered if he was Irish (4:10 mile as a junior, Adam Barnard from Tennessee … likely of Celtic heritage) and then I got to remembering the time I met Eamonn at the Toronto Star Indoor Games – good gosh – back in 1984! Of course, being a big “star” himself, the chairman of the boards wouldn’t recall meeting a little Tarheel, but his advice stayed with me forever. Eamonn told me to write down my goals on a piece of paper and put the paper in a place that only I would know of (like a secret I was keeping with myself). He said in college, where he won four NCAA titles for Villanova, he taped his to the back of a bureau mirror so every morning he would be reminded of his goal.
That spring after meeting Coughlin, I chose my racing spikes as a secret hiding place. A few days before the ACC championship 10k, I wrote down my goal on a little piece of paper (with an inspirational quote by Rod Dixon to help me through the 25 laps: “You’ve got to totally believe in yourself so you are oblivious to whatever limitation your present situation puts you in”). I placed the note from me to me inside my spikes on a Tuesday, then forget about it until I was lacing up to race on the following Friday. Pulling a message out of a shoe (from me to me, or from you to you) is a powerful trick … more magic than pulling a rabbit out of a hat.