Monday, January 08, 2007

It takes two

"To set a World Record you must be arrogant enough to believe you can be faster than any person who ever lived, and humble enough to do it." (paraphrased)

It's very common in our society for people to dream to be someone great or do something outstanding. It's encouraged in commercials. People stress the importance of "aiming high" all the time. I call this the "I wanna be a Champion" attitude. It is very important to have dreams and goals. Unfortunately very few people stress that second, equally important part of the equation for which a second, distinctly different type of motivation is required: the part where you spend the countless unglamorous hours of work and preparation. There are no crowds. There are no awards. Frequently people tell you what you are doing is strange...not normal. They ask why you would do this (because let's face it, they can't). There is frequently nothing more than a cold cellar wall staring at you while you work. In these humble moments, out of the limelight, you find what it takes to be great.

For whatever reason, I find great enjoyment in the long hours of hard work, especially during the winter months. It's meditative. Sure by March I'm dying to be out racing again, but I've always taken great pride in the hard work. During this period the training can be very programmed, very methodical. Racing and traveling to races tends to mess with the schedule, as does the mere fact that warmer weather begets more temptation to do other things. During the cold months, however, there are fewer distractions. It also helps that over the years I have found a direct correlation between how well I've prepared during the winter and how well I race that year. There is no leap of faith into the hard work. I know it is the key.

Because of that motivation to do the hard work, when April 1 rolls around and I line up in Central Park for the first duathlon of the year, I'll transform into that (borderline) arrogant 20 year old and I'll do so with the strength and wisdom gained through 41 winters. Should be fun!