I'd been training hard for my... 15th? 16th? I forget... marathon. I'm a big believer in the power of thought: What you think and what you say have a huge influence on how you perform. I have a big bag of mental tricks, and I pull them out when I need them. One is "visualization". That can mean driving the course, so that you can picture what's coming when. It can mean imagining the roar of the crowds. It can mean many things.
Somehow, for me, for this particular race, visualizing success came to mean picturing the Starry Night cake in Whimsical Bakehouse, topped with the same sparkly chocolate numbers that I hoped to see at the finish line. My goal was 3:40 and I'd have been very, very happy with those numbers. But the cake in my head showed 3:37. I visualized that cake often. Because of it, 3:37 became my secret, scared-to-say-it-aloud goal.
There's a race report here, and if you scroll down to the finish line picture, you'll see the time... 3:37:57. Ok. That's a little scary. No, more than a little scary. Whoa! That's just bizarre.
Still, the time on the clock includes the time it took to get to and cross the starting line. Official results --net running time-- show something altogether different, numbers that were beyond my wildest expectations: