A benchmark marathon goal time is to finish in under four hours. 60 minutes per hour and 60 seconds per minute adds up to 14,400 seconds in a four hour marathon. In the 2012 Atlanta Marathon, I finished in 14,389 seconds. So, I accomplished my goal by less than a margin of how long it took you to read those first two sentences.
Such a small difference. Think of all of things that happen over the course of four hours in any given day, let alone along the course of chilly, hilly marathon. I think about having stopped quickly to greet my wife and daughter at mile 16 while I dropped off my hat, gloves and a used water bottle. I think about the moments I paused to stretch due to an injury between miles 18 and 20. Mostly, I think about that last, long hill towards the finish line and the few people I passed who were walking while I convinced myself to keep running, even though everything inside me was insisting otherwise. I was the last person to cross the finish line with a net time less than four hours. But I made it.
11 seconds. Such a small but important margin for me that day. But isn't it the little things in life that become some of the most defining moments? Here’s a few things you can do in 11 seconds or less:
· Stop and say “thank you” for a kind word or gesture
· Hold the door for someone
· Let that guy cut in front of you in traffic (who knows where he’s going – maybe it really is important)
· Reach in your pocket and take out what’s there and drop it in the bucket next to the lady ringing the bell
· Tell someone “good job” or “well done” for something they did that you noticed
· Pray for someone
· Add an item of your own to this list...then do it.
· Ask yourself "what would an extraordinary person do?"