Shalane Flanagan has the recipe for winning and the remedy for losing and the prescription for victory for us all: “Just run as hard as you can, within control, to the finish, but save one more gear just in case someone is there.”
I love it.
“New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan hasn’t slept much since Sunday, when she became the first American woman to win the race in 40 years, but she’s still exhilarated. ‘I updated my Instagram profile and wrote ‘New York City Marathon champion.’ “
Here’s what the Marathon Champion said to ESPN:
“I said, ‘OK, I’m just gonna put my head down and work hard, and they may just fall in line behind me, but I feel like I can just push hard to the finish. Just imagine you’re back in Portland on your own training grounds, and visualize your support team.’ Before I knew it, I got a sense, a feeling that there was no one right behind me, but I never turned around, because I didn’t think it was worth the effort to make a turn. ‘Just run as hard as you can, within control, to the finish, but save one more gear just in case someone is there.’ I could tell there was no cheering for any other athlete. I kind of was like, ‘Pretend that they’re close,’ but I could sense there was a gap developing.
I just was so focused on myself and not letting the moment overwhelm me. When you realize you’re achieving something that you have thought of forever, you can get very emotional — imagine trying to cry and run at the same time, it’s really hard. I didn’t want to tense up, so I was just trying to stay super-focused on my form and being strong. Not until did I see the literal finish line tape did I allow myself to soak it up for the 20 seconds that I had. I didn’t want it to slip through my fingers, I didn’t want to be overly confident. I ran scared those last three miles.” http://www.espn.com/sports/endurance/story/_/id/21338985/not-crazy-thought-do-says-2017-nyc-marathon-champ-shalane-flanagan
Many times we turn from side to side, wondering whether we have competition or opposition. We spend time and effort turning to the left and to the right or turning around “to see who is there.” But again Shalane saves us. She said “I got a sense, a feeling that there was no one right behind me, but I never turned around, because I didn’t think it was worth the effort to make a turn.” There it is. It’s not worth the effort to make a turn.
So stay focused, eyes fixed forward on the prize; because it’s not worth the effort to make a turn when the goal is ahead of you, not behind you.