Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wins and Smiles

I heard a great story on my trip from a guy who was one of nine that attempted a climb of Mt. McKinley. Before the climb, each of the nine were videotaped separately. One of the questions was, “what do you think it’s going to take to make it to the top?” The four that didn’t make it all said, “we need to stay focused on the goal.” The five that did make it to the top of North America all said, “find joy in each day.”

Training can be a lot like climbing a mountain. We struggle to find enough time, fight injuries, deal with equipment, go through emotional highs and lows, and try to eat right. It can all be a bit overwhelming. Because it takes so long to train for a target race, it can be a slog. Simply focusing on the end goal can be overwhelming.

I try to find little wins with nearly every workout. Sure, there are those shorter, easy recovery runs and rides where we aren’t challenged. But there are plenty of workouts where we have specific goals and we get challenged. Today I rode for 2 hours on the trainer, keeping it at 65% the whole way. Then I hit the road for almost nine miles. Getting down to a 7:30 pace was easy. So today’s wins are…only my second two hour ride this season, my first long brick, the realization that my running has reached a whole new level, and that I did it all in 40 degrees and rain.

Look for small victories.

We can all get a bit too serious out there. We “gut” it out. Take a look at these two pictures:

Other than dominating Kona for the last decade, what do Natash Badmann and Chrissy Wellington have in common? They have reputations of smiling their way to wins. I’m not sure, but I think I’ve heard that there’s actually a beneficial chemical reaction when you smile. Try smiling during your next tough workout or race. See if you have some sort of lift. It seems to work for me.

Last night we went to Nick’s last indoor track meet- the regional “festival”…they avoid the pressure of calling it the season ending championship. He placed fifth out of 19 in the high jump (he was one of only five 7th graders, the rest were in 8th grade). He also ran a great 240, coming from way behind to win his heat, just nipping his best friend at the tape. Here’s a video of one of his jumps.


  1. This is a great post! I too love how Chrissie seems to be enjoying her races. I have been accused of smiling too much during my marathons but I don't usually run them very hard any more and am more sightseeing than racing.

    Thanks for the tips on GFT. I've done the 1/2 before and know what you mean about the scenery on the run. But actually the FL 70.3 run is even worse, IMO. It's all relative ;-)

  2. I believe it helps to have a smile on your face too...those two women are inspiring for sure. I saw Chrissie win Timberman and she really does look like that.
    You are crankin' Steve. Can't wait to watch your season.
    And ahhh...that pool. Looks beautiful. It was a nice treat wasn't it. Welcome home.