40 for 40: Day 3

Hi Dave,

Looking back over my almost 40 years, I have come to realize that there are defining moments in our lives. These are symbols or events that clearly impact our future. These moments are so vivid and real that years later we look back and remember everything about those moments. It happened when I accepted Christ and today's event shaped my future (I just may not have realized it at the time).

Yesterday, I shared my 5th-grade epic fail. The moment I lead the 600-yard race and then swiftly went from first to last. Crossing the finish line I vowed to come back the next year and win the 600; however, that wasn't enough. I wanted to win the 400-yard race as well.

The Races

It was May 13, 1987, and I was back at Berkeley Hall. I was standing on the same track where my first epic fail had taken place. Over the bullhorn, I could hear the first call of the 400-yard race. I had been training and racing with the Northridge Pacers (a local track club) and felt that I was ready for the race.

I slipped on my red Nike track spikes and prepared for the race. These were epic shoes. Don't they look cool?!

Nike Spikes

As I stepped onto the track, I could hear the dirt crackle under my feet as the spikes became acquainted with the new surface. Within a few minutes, I toed the line for the 400-yard race. As I looked at my foot that was right on the start line, I settled my heart and breathing and silently said let's do this.

The gun once again released me and the crackle of spikes and dirt connecting was heard. With each step I took, I could feel the rhythm of my arms and legs working as one. Coming off the final curve, I was leading and could see the finish tape stretched out in front of me. As I broke the tape, I was elated. I had accomplished goal #1 – win the 400-yard race. My time was 1:11.1. I apparently really liked “1's” that day.

No time to rest on my laurels, it was back to cool down and warm up for the 600. This year, I was bound and determined not to get a beat down from this race. 

It was time. The 600-yard race was just seconds from beginning, and I suddenly felt a little overwhelmed. The butterflies were working overtime that day. As I stepped onto the track, the familiar crackling of dirt and spikes being reacquainted calmed me down. 

For the last time, the gun released us, and I quickly settled into a pace behind one of my school buddies. This time I wasn't going to make the same mistake. I would measure my pace for the first 400 or so and then work the curve and hang on for dear life. 

Well…the final curve came, and I moved out, went around and headed for home. I won the race in a time of 2:00.66. I couldn't tell you just how big the winning margin was, but I was so proud of myself for accomplishing both goals that day. A year ago, I vowed to come back and win both the 400 and 600-yard races, and I accomplished it.

Over the course of the next several years, I would win a few more races and have moderate success in my track career, but nothing was as sweet as those two victories.

Mark Batterson shares in his book Soulprint that symbols, such as awards and medals, remind us of accomplishments and serve to guide our journeys. When we need encouragement, we can turn to these symbols for strength.

I recently went through and photographed all my ribbons that I received over my track career, and then they went into the trash.
I had the pictures and memories of those races, but the first place ribbons I received from winning the 400 and 600 served as soul prints for me and will stay with me my entire life. They are on my wall of fame.
What are the soulprints in your life? Take a few minutes today to reflect and write down one or two soulprints that were defining moments for you.
Years later, I would accomplish three significants goals with regards to running, and I hang those medals (alongside these ribbons) on hooks that remind me of what I have achieved. The words above the hooks read “Always Earned, Never Given”.

These ribbons remind me every day that I can accomplish amazing feats if I work hard and put my mind to something.
[reminder]What are the soul prints in your life? Take a few minutes today to reflect and write down one or two soul prints that were defining moments for you.[/reminder]

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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