How do you measure any level of success? Now I will keep this within the realm of endurance athletics but I think we draw a parallel to real life. But for simplicity sake let’s focus on what we all love to do for fun!
What is success in endurance athletics? The accomplishment of an aim or purpose is what the dictionary would tell you. Seems about right. But is there more to it? Can we somehow while “accomplishing a purpose” change ourselves? Can we grow beyond just “finishing” this race or “coming in” under that time? Can that purpose start to define us? Maybe give us a greater perspective on why we are going through with our goal? That’s a lot of questions! But ones I think are worth pursuing and answering. As we enter the last few weeks of summer I know most of you are looking back at your season and pondering if you met your goals and or met all of your expectations…that’s normal. Lets see if we can figure this out together.
Here is my definition of success according to my amazing S3 athletes: When an ultra runner spends an hour with a fallen competitor in the middle of her longest/hottest race to help revive and support him…and still finds the strength to finish, fights through the rain downpour…curses her coach out because he’s right all the time! But finds the inner will to push and finish a 160 km trail run…the finish is great. The character shown in her story is the success. The best part…it’s her own success. No one can take that away. Or how about the Ironman athlete who six weeks before the big race had to pull out of her “warm up “ race because she had a “ situation” in the water…how do you “compete” in an Ironman if you cannot be in the water? This athlete made all the right adjustments; found a new level of training commitment and her dedication to overcome any issues in the water were absolute. In six weeks she made a 180-degree turn around in the water. It’s funny how we always think we cannot do any more. We work so hard. This athlete proved that to achieve a new level of success you have to dig deeper. A lesson for all of us: you can always dig way way deeper! When it comes to success a plan is always important. Never go into any race without a plan…but what if your plan is broken? What if you have to deal with sickness? What if pneumonia sets into your lungs three months before your race? Hmmm…2 options here: 1. You can shut her down (talk to your coach about this) or 2. Create a new plan. This athlete chose number 2. Not only did she scratch the old plan…she overcame pneumonia, followed a new plan and executed perfectly. A month out of Ironman Canada we still did not know if race day was a go. But with a huge amount of patience and hard-core work not only did she find success on race day…she found success on one of the hardest Ironman courses on a cold wet day. Race day success? Yes, but also in my opinion a lifetime of success in accomplishing it on a very, very limited good health timeframe. How can you not grow confident from this! Life changing dedication was her success!
Those are just a few examples of how success is measured in my brain. Forget time goals and trying to set a personal best every time…(ok a PB is pretty cool) let your training and your experience dictate your success. And let your success guide you in your next decision. Don’t fight it…embrace it. Share it with others… We race because it brings us many different rewards. The clock and the time do not care about your success, only you do. Find your success whatever that is for you. For me today…I enjoyed my first race in 10 months. I enjoyed every second of it…my success? Having my mom and dad with my daughter at the finish line. Watching my wife on the course with me. It’s a simple one…but for today it’s my success.
Remember! The clock does not care…own it. Race it. Find your own success.
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