I am compelled, from time to time, to write some thoughts about this concept.
Sometimes it's fun to be impulsive and spontaneous, but on most days, when I hear that bang, I really need to take a look toward the finish line. I need to see how far away it is, I need to see who and what lie between it and me, and I need to pace myself accordingly. When the gun goes off and my feet push off of the blocks, I need to focus on my route and make adjustments as needed. I also need to be prepared to break the tape at the finish line.
All of that from the starter's pistol. It means more than the beginning of a run. And it could mean the difference between finishing and winning.