Sources of Inspiration

Posted: December 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

Now is the time to consider what you hope to achieve and accomplish as we approach the beginning of our training for the 2011 Boston Marathon.  It is important to then develop a multi-faceted strategic plan that will position you for success.

I recommend that the cornerstone of your plan be the actual marathon.  I suggest your marathon goal be to finish in ‘relative comfort’ if this is your first marathon.  Having a time goal can be a double-edged sword in that, if you happen to not have a good day on April 18th, it can completely overshadow what should otherwise be cause for celebration. 

Running, particularly marathoning, has always been far more meaningful to me than simply getting into the best possible shape and trying to achieve a particular time.  Running and all that it represents has always been my True North.  It has taught me more than anything I could possibly have learned in a classroom.  I have learned that I am capable of accomplishing practically anything when I remain focused, deal with the ebb and flow of anything significant and have the willingness and desire to pay whatever price is necessary.

This will be the 5th consecutive decade that I have run Boston and I have certain goals that I want to accomplish.  I want to be the best role model for every runner that I coach.  I want my runners to be as proud of me as I am of them.   I also want to set an example for my children, Macie Jo and Rider, that it’s important to set  huge goals and remain steadfast in your commitment to those goals, as well as to live a healthy lifestyle. 

I received a gift once that had the following quote etched in an extremely heavy piece of metal, “What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?”  It was a very thoughtful gift but it has NEVER resonated with me because the possibility of failure has been my constant companion.  I have always been comfortable with the possibility of coming up short and failing.

I recall when I attempted to run 100 miles in 24 hours on the local high school track.  The headlines in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette sports section read, “Muhr to Attempt 100 Miles in 24 Hours!”  The day turned out to be simply unbelievable because of gale force winds and an incredible amount of rain.  I ended up running 62 miles and knew the best decision was not to go on because I had been unable to eat for such a long time.  The reporter called the following day and asked me what I thought he should do?  I suggested he write the headline, “Muhr Comes Up Short!”  I don’t want to sugarcoat my failures…I have learned far more from my shortcomings and failures than any of my successes.

I simply don’t want to be one of those poor souls that is so paralyzed by failure they don’t accomplish anything.  One of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ”

I realize his quote isn’t considered politcally correct today but I didn’t want to alter history.  Trust me, no one knows better than I that women can endure far greater pain than any man that I know, particulary when it involves the marathon and beyond :-)! 

You are also going to encounter critics when they learn that you’re training for the 2011 Boston Marathon.  They are going to question ‘why’ you would want to attempt something so significant and even cast doubt on your ability to finish. 

For all the people that might say that you can’t do it or that you won’t do it; or that you are crazy for even trying, You will see them at the finish line!

So my goal for the 2011 Boston Marathon is to run under 3 hours.  I look forward to training beside you and paying the same price that you are.  I look forward to sharing the entire journey with you…the pain, the discomfort, the chocloate milk and the socializing when we complete our runs and, most importantly, I look forward to sharing the accomplishment and acheivement of completing Boston with you! 

 I look forward to silencing the critics, ‘those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ‘

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