“Five minutes until start time for the 10k runners. Five minutes,” blares the announcer’s voice. Hundreds of people congregate in their respective pace times. The cool Oklahoma wind swirls. Upbeat “pump you up” music unconsciously sets a positive mindset.
“Three minutes until the start time for the 10k runners. Three minutes,” says the announcer. It’s time to get in race mode with my 5k-10k playlist, which consists of 90s, country, christian and broadway show tunes. First, I look down at my phone as it turns off. Fluster number one! Next, I push the power on my headphones and they won’t come on. Fluster number two!
“One minute until the start time for the 10k runners. Get ready for the gunshot. Good luck runners,” cheers the announcer. I press power over and over and over on my phone. Nothing. I press power over and over and over on my headphones. Nothing. Fluster mode is in full force.
Gunshot! And we are off. I am off to the longest race of my life with no music. How will I make it? What will motivate me? What will keep me from the mental obstacle of stopping because I hear my winded breath?
Fluster continues with a bit of problem solving mode as I run the first half mile of the race. No, it is not a safe state of mind especially when in the middle of a herd of runners. I don’t recommend it.
Suddenly, my phone turns on and my headphones make the friendly do-do-do tune. Yes, I have my music! I can be a runner now!
A start line of fluster sucked the excitement out of the first five minutes of my first 10k. Problem solving became my focus rather than embracing the moment of the gunshot, the herd of people, the crowd and the start of a personal achievement. When have you had a start line of fluster that sucked away the excitement of that moment??
When we find ourself at a starting line of fluster, remember these things.
- Define the absolutes of the situation. What can you control? What is out of your control? Put your energies on the things that you can control and move past the things that you cannot control. I can control my attitude about the race. I cannot control my phone battery and earphones. This technology mishap will not define me. A mishap does not define you.
- Embrace the positives and negatives of the situation. What is the best possible outcome? What if the worst outcome becomes THE outcome? Spend time in the moment and later reflecting because both perspectives are important. I want my phone to have enough charge to power through on the entire race. I need it for the last 1.5 miles, my nemesis. (Yes, my phone prevailed!) If my phone betrays me, then I will sing out loud my favorite songs or pray or make up stories or focus on my breathing like a yogi. Either way, I had to finish the race. You have to finish your race too.
- Love motivates in all situations. What do you love in the situation? Make that your focus and let it motivate you to success. I have a passion for running because it became my therapy after some very dark times in life. I jammed to my music with my best friend on one side and Jesus on the other side. Together, we persevered while getting healthy physically. You will persevere when there is love.