Coffee Time: Finishing Strong

Don Lindsey-Conveyor Application Systems

As we all anxiously await the end of the strangest year EVER, I think we can all agree that 2020 cannot get over soon enough! Going into 2020, I anticipated some uniqueness because election years are always a bit strange. However, this election year was definitely one for the books and just when I think it could not get any stranger, something from seemingly out of nowhere happens. If you are like me, you are already starting to think about 2021 and all the fun stuff you and your family will be doing! Personally, my wife and I will be busy planning a high school graduation party for my youngest son and a subsequent vacation, which we hope will go off without a hitch. At this point, just having the opportunity to travel without any restrictions will be a welcome sight for sure!

As we close in on the end of the year, my goal is to Finish Strong! Finishing Strong can mean different things to different people but for me, I think of it as the last 100 meters in a 1,500 meter race. It would be easy to see the finish line and think how difficult the pace during the previous 1,400 meters had been or how a tight hamstring is getting more painful with every step. I think about watching Olympians as they round the last curve and head for the homestretch. All of those athletes have trained extensively for the race but for just a few, they will truly own the moment. These are the times when super-human abilities start to take place as a few racers start to pull away from a pack running a world record setting pace. I am starting to date myself a little but I remember reading books as a kid about the so called “experts” saying there was no way a human-being could ever run a sub-4:00 minute mile and then all the “experts” were shut down when in 1954 Sir Roger Bannister ran 3:59.4 mile. Roger past away at the age of 88 in 2018 but on May 6, 1954 he had accomplished what no human being had ever done or thought humanly possible. Roger opened up the door to what was truly possible in track and field from both a physiological and psychological standpoint. Today, the mile world record is 3:43.13 and was set July 7, 1999 by Hicham El Guerrouj who is a now retired Moroccan runner. Are you wondering who the first American was to achieve a sub-4:00 minute mile? It was Don Bowden, running for the University of California, ran 3:58.7 on June 1, 1957! Not to be outdone and since we are die hard Ducks out here in Tracktown USA, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the second person to ever run a sub 4:00 minute mile was Dyrol Burleson, who on April 23rd, 1960 and while running for the University of Oregon ran a 3:58.6!

I cannot help but to wonder what those runners must have been thinking as they rounded the last corner. Did they want to quit? Were their legs tired? Or did they suddenly get a burst of adrenaline that started to touch on a “super-human” type of tendency? I think people have a tendency to focus on the physical aspect of achieving an extraordinarily difficult physical feat but in doing so they are forgetting the most powerful force in a human being is their brain and their heart. Put mental fortitude in-line with a person’s grit and desire and the impossible starts to occur! This is what Finishing Strong truly means! Breaking through the barriers of what is possible at that particular moment to achieve the seemingly impossible or in simpler terms, going beyond what is comfortable.

As we look at the remainder of 2020 and the approaching finish line, it is easy to kick it into neutral and coast to the finish line just to get through the year. However, if we desire to accomplish great things, we have to be willing to do the hard work and sometimes that means running when every muscle in our tired body is telling us to stop or coasting just a few steps because our joints ache. My goal for the remainder of 2020 and my encouragement is to Finish Strong! Doing what others won’t and going where others will not, is what sets the average person apart from the special ones. Remember, it only takes one person to achieve the impossible for it to become a reality for someone else.

Here is to a Strong Finish in 2020!

Happy Holidays!

Don Lindsey

**photo is courtesy of the Austrian National Library