After Ironman 70.3 Ireland, I was posed the question by another racer.
“Do you really think you have a realistic shot of going pro? My times are only a handful of minutes off yours and I am about as far away from pro as imaginable”.
It got me thinking. Not about whether or not I could go pro—my simple answer is, “yes”. But about why and how I could do it. I believe it’s a good thing, maybe once a season, to try and step back and evaluate the sum of your efforts. I try not to do it too often, because if you constantly subject yourself to cross-examination and self-doubt, frankly you just destroy your confidence and panache.
In the weeks after the race, I watched Alistair Brownlee put on (yet another) dominating performance to win the Grand Final and WCS World Title in Beijing. His times, splits, and win were jaw dropping, but mostly, I was impressed with the way he raced. Brownlee doesn’t just “win” races, he just takes the race by the scruff of the neck and challenges anyone in the world to go with him. He intimidates, dominates, and consequently, wins. Everyone else who watched that race probably thought
“How can he possibly do that?”
I thought, “I bet Alistair Brownlee was a 2:10 Olympic guy at one point”.
We only see the finished product. We only see the guys once they’re on TV. We forget that everyone has to start somewhere and no one is invincible. Until the rest of the ITU recognizes that and stops deferring to the brothers Brownlee, they’re not going to loose. You’ve just got to believe.
Which brings me to Brett Sutton. Short of coaching Chrissie Wellington, I didn’t know much about Sutton, and frankly I kind of thought of him as the crazy uncle in triathlon. I mean, yes, he had coached Chrissie Wellington to success, but being frank, at times it seems like a dog could coach Chrissie to another world title. The guys at Ironman Talk interviewed him over a series of two shows, talking about coaching philosophy, training plans, and quite honestly, just letting the man talk for the better part of an hour. I didn’t expect it at all, but it was awesome. The man has so much insight into the sport and success stretching across three decades—it’s unbelievable. I’ve probably listened to the interview about two dozen times now, and each time, I pick up another gem of information from him. I don’t want to say it’s revolutionized my training, because that would be inaccurate, but it certainly has changed the way I structure things, and I’m stronger for it.
It sounds odd to say, but I am quite confident I am in the best shape of my life. Were I to line up in a race, I would kick the ass of every previous version of me going back in history, whether it be college, high school, or even earlier this summer. I don’t use a power meter or a heart rate monitor, nor do I believe in pointing to one or two workouts as indicators of fitness, but as a collective, I am so much stronger than I was.
I am confident next season will be better than this one. And I am equally confident the season following will be better still.