Saturday, January 14, 2017

C, C, C what begins with C?

Commitment and crew 

Courage and climb

Challenge and change

and celebrate;

Your goals are yours for the taking. Hurry, don't wait!

Sometimes things happen or someone says something at just the right moment. That thing changes my perspective.

I don't live in the past. I don't look back over my life and think "Oh, if I had only done this".  Everything that I have done (right and wrong) has led me to where I am today. I'm happy where I am today. 

This applies to training, too. I don't look back and think, "I wish I had started earlier" or "I wish I had changed that sooner".

This means that I, also, don't look back when I have a tough day or even an unsuccessful training session and say, "But look how far you come".  

I guess it's the "Don't look back. You're not going that way" mentality.

But, sometimes you do need to look back to see how far you've come.  There are incredibly valuable lessons that you've learned in the past. It's those lessons that put you where you are today.

When we started our business, we went through a very difficult time. This was at the start of the recession. We learned more in about 2 years than we had learned in my previous 40. To survive, we had to change. We were committed. It worked. 

But we were never the same. We were better.

You see. There's a difference between changing for the sake of change and evolving

This winter, Liz and I have been doing very different types of training. 

I don't know if it's working. If there are fitness gains or improvements, they're hiding under layers of winter gear or struggling up treadmill inclines. We went into maintenance mode on the bike. My swim coach has been pushing me harder and harder, challenging me to swim with people who are so fast that I have to wear fins on long sets just so I don't hold up the lane. 

Months and months of grueling workouts without any measure of where I am. 

Day after day, I go through the motions, trusting the work; hoping that when April rolls around then I'll see the months of work. 

It's easy to swim masters, lead the lane, knowing you're the fastest person in that lane. 
It's easy to show up to a race and know that you have a good chance at winning.
It's easy to hop on a bike pass other riders like they're standing still (on your easy day).

It's harder to go to masters every day and get lapped.
It's harder to show up to race and think you'll be in last place.
It's harder to get on the bike barely hold on to your old watts.
It's hard to get your ass kicked every day. 

At the same time, it's really good for you. It creates a hunger.

Instead of hoping the training will pay off, it becomes a challenge

Challenge accepted.

After months of taking my beatdown.....

Wait. Did I just swim that 400 faster? What time did I leave?
Wait. Can I really do that strength workout without passing out?
Hold on. Hold on. Did I seriously just run that hill as easy as I did?

The pieces started coming together. 

One day, I went swimming. I was a little early to masters and started my warm up. I watched a woman in the lane next to me. Strong swimmer. I love watching swimmers who look like they are better than me. After a few minutes of warming up, she turned to me and asked, "Do you swim on the (university) swim team"?   (hahahaha.....ok.....age aside).

"No, I swim masters".

"You have an incredibly powerful stroke. I was watching you. I would love to be able to swim like that". 

A few days later, a woman at masters (who has been swimming for a very very long time), says to me, "Your stroke is very efficient. It's very strong. You seem to move effortlessly".

Later in the week, I finished my run on the treadmill. Mr. Tea said, "I was watching you. You are a completely different runner now. You used to plod along. Now, you're so light on your feet. You hardly make any noise when you're running."

I might not see the changes happening. I might not even feel the changes happening, but they are happening.

Yesterday, I stumbled on a blog post. The writer listed all his goals for the year.

I remembered when I started triathlon. I thought, I would have these magical breakthroughs. I thought that as long as I trained, I'd have huge PRs without really having to work hard. When you start, you do have faster gains, but it's wishful thinking that you'll go from back of the pack to podium finisher in one year. 

That's exactly what I thought would happen, though. 

To be successful in this sport, you have to truly love the sport because it will take a very long time of hard work, hard recovery and hard fueling. You can go for very long periods of time without seeing any improvements. That's when you need to adjust, change course.

Improvements will happen. They will not happen overnight. They will happen :01 at a time over a period of weeks and months.

You can reach your goals. It will take everything you have. It'll take commitment, courage, challenge. It'll take your support crew. It'll take patience and perseverance. It'll take time, but you can get there.