I got an interesting 10 year anniversary present from Troy this year. I got an hour with another man. Come on folks, get your head out of the gutter....I know what you all are thinking.
No no no.
Troy got me a one hour visit with none other than Dave Scott. What would you give to sit down with triathlons biggest legend for one hour to pick his brain and ask him all sorts of questions? Well, that is what I got for an anniversary present.
Dave actually spent 90 minutes with me and it was a really cool experience. So cool that I forgot to get a photo with him...sad...yes I know.
We discussed so much and most of it I'm packing up and locking away with a key and a big dead bolt. There's no way I'm sharing all these pearls of wisdom. Nope, not happening.
However, after processing things over the last few days I will share some of what our discussion has reminded me and brought up in my own brain. These aren't Dave's words, but more my ahh hahas after thinking about our conversation and kinda jumping to my own personal conclusions. I think it's great when people can inspire you to do better and be better. Dave did that for me.
Okay, first off...meeting him. It is a CRAZY moment when he opens his office door and introduces himself to you and suddenly there you are standing in front of DAVE SCOTT. Act cool Sonja, act cool! I had to not think about the reality of it, which meant I couldn't really look around his office, because the lifetime achievement award kept staring at me. Can you even imagine what it would be like to deserve an award like that? I can not.
So, one thing our meeting made me think about was the concept of being "hungry". When I told him about my day at CDA he said to me "You weren't hungry." He pegged me in one line (he is very direct). I've thought a lot about hunger and desire and where that comes from, what happens when it gets lost, and how to find it again. I have been riding this week with Jocelyn who won the overall amateur at CDA and that girl was hungry. I know Katy B who had a fantastic race, and she was hungry for a win and for a stellar day. PIC was the most hungry I have ever seen her and I'm not shocked at what it yielded.
I spent the days before CDA getting my head screwed on straight, my ducks in a row, I was lightyears behind "hungry." I was trying not to be weepy. I was hoping if I came off the bike with the amateur leaders that I would grow hungry and race harder. That's bullshit, never gonna happen. I vow here and now that I will never stand on an IM start line again unless I'm hungry. Bottom line, I gotta have the eye of the tiger when I race, these opportunities aren't to be squandered. If I can't find that, it's best to rethink my hobby.
Where did the hunger go? I know in my heart where it went. After Kona last year I had a hard time believing that there was better in me. Not because I had such a great race that I felt complete, but more because I worked so hard last year, and the result was 8 minutes and 10th AG. I can't even say I had anything go wrong, that was my best, most well executed day that I had in me. I went to Cozumel trying to break 10, to prove that all my work had trained me to do that, it was my hope to do it at Kona. I thought I was ready to do it. Then I didn't do it at Cozumel either. Another day where I raced so hard, I executed the best I could, I left it all out there, and I pulled up short.
It's hard to describe but I've just had this feeling over the months that I'm no good. That I may get marginally better with oodles more of work, but I no longer could see a path that would put me on the podium, or at the top of the podium in Kona. The ladies were getting so fast, and at 8 min PR chunks it would take me another 5 years go get to where the top girls are right now. Who knows where they will be by then? Nobody sees me as a threat, I can be swam down by swimmers, biked down by bikers and run down by runners, why would they? So not only was my hunger gone, I just couldn't find my way back to having hope. After Cozumel this year, I told myself my goals were too lofty, that I just wasn't good enough to dream that big. I had given it a go, but I was at the flat end of the progress curve and didn't have enough talent to score one of those wooden bowls at Kona.
So what do you do then? You race happy. At least I did. I love Ironman, and I'm not surprised I was able to find joy out there.
Dave reminded me that it's important to maximize your strengths. Work on your weaknesses, but hone those strengths. If you are tough, then be tougher than everyone else. If you are a work horse, then work harder than everyone else. If you are cunning and calculated...do that...whatever you do well, do it really freaking well. Take pride in your strength and use it. Don't spend all your time focusing on where you suck, spend some time honing where you rock. Because when you know you've done the best at what you are good at, you can walk into a race with an aura of success. To not run the runner means that they get on the start line with questions in their head about their strengths. Where's the confidence in that?
Make sure you are challenged. Whether it's in your body, or your head, or your heart, make sure that you look at your training schedule and some of it scares the shit out of you. If you aren't challenged, it's hard to think you are making progress. I don't know how other people work upstairs, but I know I need some adversity. I need to feel strong and powerful, and I need to feel weak and busted. If I'm not crawling into my bed exhausted at 7pm at least once a week, then something is missing in my life. Sometimes we all get in funks, but if you are in one and it's not a result of injury, then I ask you, "Are you challenged?"
It's been an enlightening week to say the least. How often do you get to meet a legend, someone who has success and hard work oozing from their every pore? To just absorb that energy and to ask questions and hear his point of view was awesome.