Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Show Up Every Day and Give it All You've Got

I tell my athletes to do one thing: consistently show up to workouts and try their best.  Training for any athletic event is never all rainbows, ponies, ice cream, cake and balloons.  It requires effort.  It's why most people choose to sit on their couches for hours and WATCH someone else play a game / do an event than EXPERIENCE their own life and do it themselves.  The later is much more challenging, but amazingly rewarding regardless of any result in any competition.

I remember the first time my buddy Ross and I watched EcoChallenge.  On a couch.  Eating Doritos out of the bag and drinking Miller Lite.  My wake up came when Ross was yelling at a guy who just punctured his lung with a tree branch on a single track, high speed descent with three hours sleep over the course of four days. (His team was winning until that point.)  Something snapped me back to being an athlete that I am at my core when I watched this guy from Team Nokia (a team I would later become a part of - the "E" team anyway.  These guys and gals make the best Ironman athletes look like rank amateurs. A quote from training camp, "3:18 marathon? Not bad.  What do you think you'd do with a 60 pound pack on your back?" Yes, he was serious) trim the branch that stuck THROUGH his ribs and in his lung with a bike multi-tool.  He then told his team.  "It hurts and I cannot really breathe, but I'll be alright."  Thankfully, the nurse on his team told him to park it and he got helicoptered to the nearest hospital.  He was there and going to give everything he had until he passed out from blood loss. 

The military calls this "putting out".  The mind will want to quit before the body will.  Think about it.  When was the last time you went to the gym or a workout and felt awful.  You showed up.  You applied yourself the very best you could.  Then you left feeling awesome and you just MIGHT have put in some pretty solid efforts.  Interesting.  So, if you get your mind into the right state before training... it matters. 

It's as simple as that... show up every day (and sometimes, twice a day) and give it all you've got.

A great example is this morning (for me).  I am dog tired.  It's one of those weeks.  Had a funeral to put a cherry on top of everything going on as well.  ZERO workouts missed.  ZERO dog walks missed.  You know what?  The fatigue isn't that bad.  I'm kind of enjoying the soreness and "fog" of fatigue.  Funny thing... this morning I also had an outstanding swim coming off of a run.  That is a rare occasion by itself, let alone considering the conditions of the week.  The "main set" was 1500 yards.  I can only hope to swim that strong (or better) at my next half Ironman.  The workout finished with 3x 50 sprints.  I was going to do IM (individual medley) order (fly, back, breast) when I thought about the butterflier next to me.  One look and "it was on".  Then I swam some respectable times (if I was a sophomore in HS) 33.0, 32.6, 31.8 for three 50s.  While the times may not be very good, this is what I had today.  The heart rates I finished these 50s at was appropriately high for a strong effort.  I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting there.  Generally, I don't put times in the blog entry, but these were "noteworthy swims" and proove my point.

Show up every day and give it all you've got.

To all of you who are LIVING your life instead of WATCHING images of others live their life on a box in your house (maybe while eating Doritos and drinking beer) I give you this as we close out January of 2012. 

The road to the podium is longer than the rest, and there is only one route. One lap of the pool, track or cycling route/routine at a time, over and over and over until you’ve done so many, you’ve lost all track of time and distance. And still you’re not there. There are more laps and endless kicks and strokes and breaths and turns and pedal strokes, and footfalls. So you keep training, and training, training, because you know that one day you will arrive at your big race, and you will climb the podium.

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