Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lessons Learning (Third in a Series)

Earlier this year I was invited to a big show.

The largest the USA has to offer... that is The Boston Marathon. I wasn't there because of a blazing fast qualifying time. No, I'm not at that level, yet. But only through recognition of a bit of charity work, a bit of for-pay work, and a whole lot of somebody-that-knows-somebody kind of work did I get to Boston.

Undertrained and overwhelmed I began the race in the face of a cold and rainy nor'easter. At the 20 mile mark I passed out while bending over to adjust my shoelaces. When I came to a paramedic offered to drive me into Boston and end my day.

I refused.

I was determined to finish the race on my own. Nothing, short of a physical breakdown, was keeping me from finishing the race. And I did.

You see...

You Have to Want it... bad.
On the proverbial road to Ironman there will be times when the pavement gets tough. For just as many bumps there are in road, proverbial and otherwise, there as many opportunities to quit. Each one ripe for the taking. That's when the depth of your determination is measured. For every test, every trial, every moment of doubt, how much you want your goal will be revealed. I think Eric Butterworth said it best,

"Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It's a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.”


Determination and desire have no substitutes but there is more to athletic achievement than getting your head in the right place. You require a plan. A plan for physical, as well as mental, training and forging.

You see...

You have to be strong...
Winds will blow, rain will fall, hills will be steep and your legs, arms, back, and mind will strain. This is when you stress yourself to eventually become stronger.

You have to be tough...
Not every training day or race will be perfect. Some will be hot and some will be cold. Yah, some training days will stink. Your body can take the abuse but your mind must be tough to keep pushing.

"Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head." - Joe Henderson

You need guts...
To break though the tough days you're going to have to show intestinal fortitude. Guts. I know that when I find myself in a tough situation, one that withers my strong legs to jello I worry about pushing through the pain. I worry about failure and the pain that will follow. It takes guts to breakthrough and risk comfort for the pain of gain.

"Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts."
- Steve Prefontaine

And...

You have to give it your all...
If you're going to achieve there will be times when you have to leave your old self behind and give it your all. Giving it your all some of the time, at just the right time, is how you become a new person in the quest for your goal.

In the next post I'll conclude this series with the beauty and the beast lying between you and your goal.

Stay tuned...

4 comments:

UntPawGal02 said...

These lessons learned are great. They are giving me great motivation and has me changing my mindset about an IM! I know it will be tough, both the training for it and the race itself!

Wendy said...

Boomer -- Great series of posts!

My cowbell's packed & ready, and I'm stayin' tuned!!!!

Kim said...

i am lovin the posts boom! :) it's days like today when i need some words of encouragement to keep going :)

you are gonna kick that boston marys ass in 2008!

JM said...

Wonderful post. I wish you all the best on Sunday. You will be carrying the names of 3 people my husband and I lost to cancer. We will both be there as spectators (next year hopefully as racers) and will be keeping an eye out for you.