“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.” -Madame Marie du Deffand
Last week I wrote about the number of athletes who were giving up triathlon because it was to time consuming and they viewed their continued participation as selfish. I got a ton of emails and responses that all seemed to carry the same message…balance is the key and anything is possible if you really want it.
At the same time I was tweeting with David Mills (@AverageIronMan) who is about to launch his new book The Distance.
Having brought you my rather negative viewpoint last week, I wanted to BALANCE that with a piece about some really astonishing athletes that are accomplishing greatness every single day.
Who might they be and what are their secrets to success??!! Well, David has written a book all about it.
It’s you, it’s me and it’s every other age grouper out there that’s making the time to set goals and then working their asses off to achieve them.
He’s the lead man in this story, but David is just like the rest of us. He goes to work everyday, he has a family, and he has to bust his butt to fit training in the best way he knows how.
And you know what, he does a pretty good job.
Just like we all do.
So take a look in the mirror and pat yourself on the back because you, my friends, are doing great things every day!
Enjoy the teaser, the book will be out in a few weeks!
One Piece At A Time
There is something deep inside all of us that asks the question, “Could I do that?” Whenever we see a person earn a difficult degree or cross a big finish line we cannot help but wonder if they are different from us. Do they have something we don’t? Are we capable of the same accomplishment?
After watching two of my friends finish an Ironman Triathlon I couldn’t help but ask myself that same question. “Could I do that?” At first I dismissed the question. It’s absurd. Only other people do stuff like that. Average Joe’s like me can’t do an Ironman, right? After all, I’ve got kids and a job; I’m not the kind of guy who wears a Speedo and shaves his legs. Still something in me couldn’t stop asking that question. So I set out to discover the answer. I decided to find out if I could do that.
When I first got into the pool at the fitness center I could barely swim two laps before I needed a break. How was I ever going to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run 26.2 miles – all in a row?! At first it nearly killed me to bike 20 miles. Soon enough I could bike 25. By consistently increasing just a little bit at a time, I was eventually swimming more laps and biking and running more miles than I ever had before.
Whenever I looked at the entire event I would get overwhelmed and discouraged. But I would force myself to just look at the small portion that was right in front of me. I knew I could bike just one more mile. I knew I could jog just a little bit further. Large goals must be broken down and tackled one small piece at a time.
I often hear people say, “Oh, I could never do that.” I want to tell them, “Of course not – you haven’t trained yet.” That’s like thinking, “Oh, I could never play the piano.” Well, you could if you took lessons and practiced a little everyday.
There is no single, huge workout that prepares you for an Ironman. It is only through many consistent investments that we accomplish anything great in life. Whether we are earning a degree, learning to play an instrument, or saving for retirement, we can easily become discouraged if we try to take on the entire mountain at once. But with gradual change, anything is possible.
By focusing only on the small goals right in front of me and tackling one at a time an Average Joe like me was able to finish an Ironman Triathlon. I answered the question, “Could I do that?” And I learned a lot about breaking down large goals into smaller, more manageable pieces. What mountain in your life appears insurmountable? It’s amazing how everything changes when we start to view our marathon as merely a series of one mile jogs.
David Mills is the author of The Distance: An Average Joe’s Path to Balancing Family, Work & Triathlon(Coming this August!) Pre-order your copy at
and follow David at www.facebook.com/TheDistanceBook as he trains for his 2nd Ironman.
Run Happy, My Friends!