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Sometimes going public is not such a good thing.  Facebook?  Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.  That picture of you streaking through the center of town?

In this age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there was no way that wasn’t going viral.

But there are times when going public is a good thing.  There is a reason I put it out there to all of you that I had begun studying for my CSCS certification.  It created accountability on my part.  I also figured that if I made it public, I would have hundreds of readers who would in their own way make sure that I stayed the course (so to speak).  By making it public, I could not let the books and CD’s gather dust in the corner of my desk like so many other things have.

This works for just about any goal.  If you are thinking about running a race, be it a 5K, a marathon or anything in between (or beyond!), tell somebody – tell everybody!  If you’re thinking about joining a gym and getting yourself into better shape, announce it to the world.  In doing so, you will be creating your own support system that will A.) hold you accountable and B.) lend encouragement.  Offer regular progress reports whether through social media, email or even through a blog of your own (if you start a blog, let me know so I can check in on you regularly!).

In the rare circumstance that someone you share your plan with comes back with a negative response, USE THAT! Get mad, get angry, prove them wrong and then shove your accomplishment in their face while thanking them for the motivation.

In the end, you will accomplish your goal and even better, by going public, you may inspire others to follow.

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In a few days I will be traveling up to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire to run the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon. I have worked hard this summer, following a proven plan, hoping that it will translate into a Boston Qualifying time. During this week I have actually been surprisingly unfidgety with my taper. In previous marathons I have dreaded this week before a marathon, but with every workout on the Pfitz 12/55 plan planned right up to Marathon Day, I have had a sense of calm I have not experienced in the past. That’s not to say that I’m not very excited.

But as excited as I am about running this thing and hopefully achieving my goal, I am just as excited, if not more so, about running Smuttynose with two friends, Pete and Brendan. The interesting part about this though is that I have only met Pete once and I have never met Brendan. Still, I plan on putting much of my Smuttynose experience in their hands.

Our plan is to run together for as long as we are able. We have agreed that if someone falls off the pace (7:38/mile) we will not all slow down for them, but we do plan to try to carry each other to a sub-3:20 finish, which would be a PR for all three of us (Pete’s PR is a 3:24, Brendan a 3:27 and mine is a 3:30). Unfortunately for Pete, he’s a bit younger than Brendan and I, so a 3:20 doesn’t qualify him for Boston.   I won’t blame him if at some point he is feeling it mid-race and takes off.  In the meantime, we will run together – strangers in the real world, good friends within our online running community.

I feel lucky that I live in an age where a site like dailymile exists.  The three of us have become friends because of dailymile (and to some extent Twitter).  Pete (of Runblogger fame) was the first person in the ether to reach out to me a year ago when I was stumbling blindly on Twitter looking for advice on the Manchester Marathon.  Through him I was introduced to dailymile.  On dailymile (a social site for active people) I was able to connect with many, many other people who, like me, found joy in regular physical activity.  I eventually connected with Brendan, who just might be one of the most positive people on dailymile that I have ever interacted with (which says a lot because as a whole, the people you find on dailymile are a very positive bunch!).

Over the past few months, the three of us have encouraged each other through good runs and bad, through health and injury.  This Sunday will be the first time I go into a marathon with a solid plan to run with friends.  Hopefully we will draw strength from our numbers when we all inevitably hit the wall at around mile 20.  Regardless of what happens, I know that the experience of running together will be a positive one and will help us run faster than had we been alone.

Wish us luck…hopefully there are 2, maybe even 3 BQ’s waiting for us on the other side of this weekend!

Stay tuned!

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