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Starting LineA few weeks ago in my blog post The Perks of New Adventures, I wrote about running the endurance Ragnar Relay and what I got out of it — mind, body, and soul.

But there’s a very important perk I forgot to mention in that post — namely, the powerful role having that race as a goal to work towards played in my life. For the three months leading up to the race, my Ragnar goal kept me focused and clear when it came to self-care and wellness. And that alone as a benefit was so worth the entry fee.

And so now, with Ragnar behind me, I’m in the market for a new running goal.

To fill the gap, I just signed up for the Lake Union 10K this weekend, a 6-miler around the same Seattle lake where Tom Hank’s character in Sleepless in Seattle lived in a houseboat on the water.

But after that, then what?

I’ll be looking for a new race — preferably one that’s run in an interesting locale or terrain (maybe a trail run in the Cascades?) or is a distance that will push me to consciously train (is it time to do another half-marathon again?) or has a unique feature like the Polar Bear Run that ends with a plunge in frigid Lake Washington. Whatever it is, I’ll find it and put it on the calendar.


Because having that next race, that next big goal, is one way I motivate myself to keep up with my running and fitness regime.

The thing is, declaring and committing to a clear end-goal, be it a race, or a finished manuscript, or a website launch, is a way of putting a stake in the ground.

It works because it:

* Creates a sense of urgency and inevitability

* Builds in accountability, especially if the declared goal is made public

* Leads to a path of action by eliminating the waffling that often happens pre-goal

* Is rewarding and therefore encourages more successful goal setting

Me? I’m looking for my next big race.

So, what is your stake in the ground?