39. Pulling a message out of a shoe …

Running tip #39

Eamonn World

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.

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