Friday, September 19, 2008

We are all in this together!

Well, I decided to start a blog then get a serious case of writers block!

Hopefully I can get through this one without boring you to death.

As endurance athletes, we find ourselves to be quite humbled more often than not. The truth is that on race day only a select few have the opportunity to win the over all race and a few others that will take home the age group titles.

So how do we motivate ourselves to compete in something that we know we will not win? We put in hours on top of hours, pushing pedals, pulling water, charging hills and making our family and friends think that we are all crazy! (In a lot of ways they are right) The answer is so that we can say that we did.

Our PRs are our goals, t-shirts our rewards and the fact that we took on a challenge and completed it is our satisfaction. We brag about our times, wear our shirts like a badge of honor and smile when we see others jump on the endurance bandwagon because they see what we have accomplished.

It is so easy for each and every one of us to inspire others. This is a responsibility and an honor that we should all recognize. I see it as a psychological reward in the sense that I am leading by example of a healthy and competitive lifestyle.

It takes a lot of time, effort and support for us to compete in this madness the way we do. I learned the hard way that we cannot do this on our own. In order to meet our goals we have our training partners, our families, our friends and more than anything else we need each other in order to cross the finish line.

We need our training partners for obvious reasons. I have had the pleasure of training with my life long friend Jerry Carroll. Jerry is a man of amazing character, drive and motivation. Anyone who has ever seen him compete in anything knows that he is a great athlete and anyone who has ever talked to him knows that he is 10 times a better person. I am a better man and athlete because of him.

We need our family and friends. They are the ones that give us rides to the races, ask us about our training days and give us a nudge when we need it.

I do my long runs on Sundays. It is a figure eight route that starts and finishes at my front door. The front of the subdivision is the half waypoint and my favorite part of the day. It is a long flat boring portion of the route where I tend to run out of water and food. Every Sunday between 8:00 and 8:15 my 14 year old son is standing at the front of the subdivision with a cold water bottle and 2 Power Gels for me. He starts cheering for me as soon as I top the hill, hands me the supplies and pats me on the back as I pass. I have a goal that he will never see me walk in a race. I could not do this without him.

We all some times get into the mind set on race day that we are on our own. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our biggest motivation on race day should be each other. How many times have you been struggling up a long hill and someone passes you with a word of encouragement and it made you pick up the pace? Now, how many times have you said something to someone struggling up a hill? We can make a difference every time we race.

A few years ago, when I was somewhat fast, I passed a guy in the last few hundred meters of a 10 K. I had been chasing him the entire race and he had a great pace the whole day. He was just out of gas. As I past him I said, “I have been chasing you all day! Don’t let me beat you now”! He picked up the pace and we sprinted to the finish line together. We broke the tape in 43:34. We shook hands and caught our breath and he thanked me for saying something to him. He said that he beat his PR by almost 20 seconds and would not have done it if I had not said something.

You just never know when you are going to make a difference in someone’s life.

Train hard and may the wind be at your backs!


Tri-ing with Twins said...

So true! What a great read. You're awesome!

BethE713 said...

I like it! Very good!