Boston Marathon birthed…….and then the hard part starts. The 7 elements needed to achieve hard stuf
Updated: Feb 9
Staying on track takes fortitude. It takes determination. It takes knowledge. It takes desire…and lots of it. It takes awareness. It takes choice. It takes commitment. It takes practice….and lots of it. It takes accountability. It takes willpower….and lots of it.
Along the journey (of whatever it is you are going after), the shiny, often neon flashing light of pulling the chicken switch in favor of goal abandonment looms. That shiny chicken switch invites you to stop. It invites you to give up. It invites you give in. It invites you to abandon.
In 1995 a buddy and I were sitting around talking about what we’d like to do as 24 year old self-proclaimed studs. Lost in a plethora of idiot ideas, we landed on one that made sense to both of us.
We would run the Boston marathon.
Thus was birthed on that cold wintery day in the mountains of Utah 22 years ago, an idea that has since spawned all sorts of attempted physical craziness for me.
Boston here we come….so we thought.
Problem: Neither of us had ever trained for a marathon. Sure we ran cross country races in high school, but a 5K is a far cry to the 26.2 miles of a marathon.
Problem: The Boston marathon is a race you must pre-qualify for. You must run in another marathon and meet the qualifying time for your age group.
Problem: You have to run a pretty fast prequalifying time to even qualify to run in the Boston marathon.
Problem: Neither of us knew much about running long distances or how to qualify.
Problem: Neither of us were very fast. Perhaps just a touch faster than the average runner's time at best.
Problem: Both of us were naive and yet dripping with optimistic ignorance as to what it would take, the willpower required and the determination needed to qualify.
On that cold wintery day 22 years ago, the moment we declared the goal, we immediately felt the feel- good chemicals being released into our bloodstream exclaiming ‘do this,’ ‘do this.’ Endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine surged through our bodies. We felt the emotion. We felt the high.
With brain on natural drugs, we haphazardly committed. Little did we know the amount of rigor and persistence that would be required to actually qualify.
Once the natural endorphin high wore off, we faced the crossroads of discipline and reality. Would we be able to follow through on the commitment after the emotion of making the commitment had passed?
Reality: Qualifying for the Boston marathon (the oldest continuously running marathon and the second longest continuously running footrace in North America) is Not easy for two just above average runners. It is not easy. In 1995, I was 24 and the qualifying time to even be considered admittance to the Boston marathon party was 3 hours and 10 minutes. If you do the math, a runner would need to sustain a 7:15 minute mile…………….for 26.2 miles.
Reality: We ran our first marathon to qualify for Boston and finished in a messy 3 hours fifty minutes. Off by 40 minutes. No qualification, Denied!
If staying on track and achieving goals takes fortitude, then you must sprinkle….No douse is a better word -- your fortitude with 7 elements to stay the course and avoid pulling the chicken switch.
I self-assessed my fortitude in getting to Boston against these 7 elements. I was surging with some and wanting in others. On a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being weak and 10 being strong, I gave myself a 2 on knowledge on how to get Boston. I gave myself a score of 9 on Desire. If you are not at least a 9 or 10 on desire, you are not likely to find the willpower to achieve much of what you set out to do. Third element is awareness which is a deeper cut of knowledge where you ask yourself the tough questions about what it will take given your current situation. I gave myself a 5 on awareness. Fourth is choice. With awareness comes better access to choices about whether to proceed or not proceed towards your goal. I was a 5 on choice. As my knowledge increased I was able to make better choices about marathon training. Fifth element is commitment. I was committed. I scored myself a 9. Sixth is practice. After the first marathon where I finished with an 8:45 mile pace and the reality was I needed a 7:15 minute mile pace, the reality of practice and improved performance became a reality. I gave myself a 6 on practice, which grew to a 10 as I failed again and again to get a 3:10 finish and my desire grew to a peak of pure obsession. Last element is accountability, which helps grease any desired outcome we seek. I scored myself at an 8. I had my buddy as an accountability partner and we pushed and pushed each other.
Marathon #2 to qualify for Boston. Failed. St. George, UT. Time: 3:35
Marathon #3 to quality for Boston. Failed. Salt Lake City, UT. Time: 3:40
Marathon #4 to quality for Boston. Failed. St. George, UT. Time: 3:29
Marathon #5 to quality for Boston. Failed. Los Angeles, CA. Time: 3:25
Marathon #6 to quality for Boston. Failed. Salt Lake City, UT. Time: 3:31
Marathon #7 to quality for Boston. Failed. St. George, UT. Time: 3:23
Marathon #8 to qualify for Boston. Portland, Oregon. 1998.
By my 8th marathon, I had learned so much about marathons. I put into practice the 7 elements necessary to achieve the goal. Knowledge, Desire, Awareness, Choice, Commitment, Practice and Accountability. I turned running into a science and got exact in everything needed to hit the required pre-qualifying time. I found the perfect shoe, clothing, nutrition, music, and mindset. I even wrote the required mile time for each mile on my entire forearm in large permanent market to insure I was where I needed to be at every mile along the way.
October 1998. Portland Oregon. 7 am PST.
It was a perfect day, both in my head and in Oregon. The gun went off and my marathon was underway.
Fast forward 3 hours 9 minutes later.
As I turned the corner for the last few hundred yards, I saw 1 thing and heard 1 other. I saw the official time clock: 3 hours 9 minutes. I heard over the thousands and thousands of spectators lining the finish my families voice, screaming “Kit you are going to do it!!!!!!!.” Dopamine immediately flooded my tired body as I surged to an all-out sprint.
Finish time: 3:09:57
Boston here I come!!!!!!!!!!
I completed Boston marathon in the spring of 1999.
Anything is possible. Make it so for you.
For more information about Kit Allowitz, Don’t Pull the Chicken Switch, and access to a free 7 day course that will help you identify what it is you desire and give you access to having everything you want out of work and life visit https://www.chickenswitching.com/