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How to Turn Ridicule Into Accomplishment

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When you want to accomplish something that you think is close to impossible, follow a program that others have used to succeed.

This thought came to me a few months ago at the dinner table. My wife, an accomplished and enthusiastic runner, had just signed up for her 12th marathon (having raised more than $50,000 for cancer research in the process). While my kids and I were celebrating her ambition, I couldn't help but think, how hard can that be? If she can do 12, I should certainly be able to complete one, right?

"Hey kids, what if I ran the next marathon with your mom?" I proposed to the table.

"Wow, Dad, that would be great!"

"We would be so proud of you."

"You are a father and a hero!"

These are the things I should have heard.

Instead, the entire room broke out into uncontrollable laughter. About four minutes' worth. I thought we would need to distribute oxygen.

Now, I guess I can understand their cautionary reaction to my proposed goal. I am not a runner. In fact, I don't think I have run three miles since I was 21. Like, in total. And that includes that brief scramble from Mary Joe Kopeckne -- wow, did I misread the body language on that one!

But I signed up. I am slated to run the Big Sur Marathon on May 1. I hope to come in just under Al Roker's recently set mark of seven hours -- just ahead of the street cleaners. But I plan to finish.

Two points. First, I don't really think I was serious when I mentioned the idea of running a marathon to my kids. But watching them fall over in disbelief at the thought convinced me. Not sure this works for everyone, but having someone say to my face that there is no way I can do something has a highly motivational effect on me, and it is the root of some of my greatest accomplishments.

Second, while I have enough doubts about this endeavor to fill an entire room full of running shoes, I have seen others achieve this goal by following a thoroughly tested group program. A program helps break the journey down into manageable pieces. It keeps you on track, including not letting you push yourself too far too quickly and burn out. It brings the group together to support each other to the finish line. Following a proven group program is a powerful way to accomplish all sorts of things in life.

And so, I am confident. I am inspired. I think I can... I think I can!

But I do remained deeply concerned about next week's clinic about nipple protection...

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