Friday, January 27, 2012


A friend of mine recently blogged that she was struggling with her expectations.  Her own expectations of herself as well as other people's expectations of her and her expectations of others.

My opinion on this has changed as I've gotten older.  

Expectations of Self 
This relates back to your goals and if you truly buy into your goals and 'dreams'.  You can say you "are all in", but the true measure of if you are in with all your heart comes at 4:15 am on a cold morning when you are extremely tired.  Do you hit the snooze?  Do you get up and go? It's that simple.  If you believe in your dreams and goals - you go with no hesitation.

Expectations of Others
As a coach and consultant, I cannot truly know your expectations of self until we get to that point when you have every legitimate reason to say, "Not today."  It's on those days that your workouts happen at 3 am or 11:30 pm that tell me if you have bought in to the statements you've made regarding your goals and dreams.  You can discuss this and be and shoved in the right direction, however, ultimately, my client decides.  My expectations must be based on the data that is returned to me.  From here, I make expectations of my client's season and results.  This is somewhere a coach and consultant can only hope to influence the client.  I cannot do the work for you.  It's moments when I tell a client to meet me for hill repeats at 5 am and I arrive at 4:45 am and they are already warming up that puts a smile on my face.  This "no excuses" attitude is what gets you to your goals.

My expectations are that people show up and try their hardest.  

It's that simple.  Don't use 'time predictor' apps or any bullshit like that.  Just show up and do the session to the best of your ability in the here and now.  When we race, you do the same thing.  What you've got, here and now.  Let me (your coach, advisor, consultant) figure out the rest.  You might just shock your own "best possible" prediction.  Don't put a cap on your ability.  Especially when you believe in yourself.  

There is a story that my club swim coach Ed Richardson used to tell us LONG before Senior Championships or Nationals.  He'd say, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to consider the possible.  Someone at this championship is going to be the talk of the meet.  Someone is going to swim so fast, that nobody saw it coming.  Someone is going to swim so fast, that they practically swim out of their suit.  Will you be that person who everyone will be talking about?"  I've had several times when that was me.  I remember one particular meet where I swam the 100m breaststroke championship in 1:06 something and got a very respectable 5th or 6th in state.  The next day in the prelims of the 200m breaststroke I took it out in 1:05.5.  I only remember it because we have video and Ed was ready to kill me.  ONE - for not going 1:05 in the 100 the night before, and TWO - for making him stress that I was taking out the 200 too fast.  I didn't.  I won that prelim heat by about 65 meters and set the fastest time that would last all the way until the final heat in the prelim.  That night in the finals, I went a little faster and wound up on the podium - top three.  The top four guys all broke the long standing state record.  I heard that Ed told the story of how hard I worked and how I believed I could do well to every team he coached from that point on.  I wasn't one of the most physically talented guys on that team.  No doubt about that.  I was certainly just one of the guys who was working to get better.  This is why a coach like Ed was perfect for me.  All Ed every asked was that you give your best.  He treated the state champions just as well as the guy or gal who was last on our team.  The common denominator - we all gave our best.  To Ed, we already were a champion regardless of the race results.  I feel the same way about my athletes.

NEVER put a cap on what is possible.  

Other's Expectations of Me
To be honest, I really don't care what your expectations are of my athletic performance.  I do what I feel is important for my family right now, and I don't expect you to understand.  I would never share my athletic goals on a blog or otherwise.  This is learned behavior from my swimming days.  You don't talk about it, you do the best you can and see how fast you can get.

Time waits for no one.  
Time never stops.  
Time is arguably the most precious thing we have.  
Spend it wisely.  

I will compete at certain events, but not at the expense of my family's happiness.  We plan the race season together.  I even plan annual vacations when we don't workout or race.  I know... shocking.  While I workout more than the average Joe, I understand the things that need to change and I work on them.  I don't use words like "limiter" or "weakness"; they let the negative creep into your thoughts.  I believe there are things you do well, and things that need to change.

Tomorrow is promised to no one.  Spend your time as YOU see fit.  (Kinda like voting.  Who do YOU like?  You don't need to tell me.  I just want you to vote YOUR conscious without any influence.) Live your life the best that you can and tell anyone who doesn't like what you do to go to hell.  Only YOU know what is right for you at this time in your life. 

Whatever you choose, it will be right for you and your ethics, morals and values.

Now, get after it.


  1. WOW!!! So glad that Ryan Falkenrath linked to your blog. This is exactly what I needed to read heading into this race season. I has just emailed my coach after a PR on a threshold run segment today saying I don't want to see what I hit as a limit. We should all be thinking that we can be "that" person who swims or bikes or runs out of their skin! Your story will stick with me. I'll be getting after it!!

  2. Cort, glad you liked it. We often over think triathlon. If we'd just show up and try - good things will happen if we have a good plan and advisors in place.

    Have a gerat season. See you at the races.