Sunday, 7 December 2008

Do you believe?

As H and I wrote about a few weeks ago, Leeds based double Paralympic gold medallist and inspiration extraordinaire David Stone lists self belief as his number one weapon in the fight for gold medal glory. There are two types of person those who have it and those who don't... and what an amazing weekend this has been for the former :)

First of all, on Saturday morning H and I had the privilege of joining our mate Tess round the Hyde Park Time Trial for a massive three minute pb. She'd been on the brink of breaking 50 minutes for a long time and I absolutely knew that with the benefit of a decent pacing strategy she could have a 'breakthrough' performance. Setting off at a decent pace with a 4.5 minute walk / 30 second run plan we comfortably broke ten minutes for every single kilometre and crossed the line triumphantly in 47.40!! It was an amazing experience and, a bit like when Bannister broke the four minute mile, a psychological barrier has been broken and I'm sure many 'breakthrough' performances will follow.

This weekend's second great example of belief being the foundation for personal excellence was played out as we all slept last night where my mate Russ Cox was competing in the final Ironman of 2008 in Western Australia. Those of you who follow Russell's blog will know that having broken ten hours a few times, and with his sights set firmly on making it to Hawaii, he believed that he was capable of a 9.20 performance. Unfortunately this world is full of people who take great delight in knocking those who dare to dream... so much so that even the most ambitious of us are often scared to state our true goals for fear of being labelled arrogant if we succeed or deluded if we don't. Having posted a detailed strategy, the day before the race, of how he was going to get achieve his goal everything seemed to go pretty much to plan with splits of 58/4.55/3.22 (ish) seeing him cross the line almost bang on 9 hours and 20 minutes and in the process scoring a significant victory for those of us who choose to believe.

Unfortunately our potential 'hat-trick' of success was scuppered earlier today when Jevon had his end of year marathon ambitions snatched cruelly away at the final hurdle. An overturned car obstructing the course led to the cancellation of this morning's Luton Marathon and with 26.2 miles of energy burning a hole in his pocket he was forced to return home for a commiseratory (not sure if that's a word) rather than celebratory lunch.

On a final note I'd just like to say that although some people 'believe' and some people don't, it is most certainly a choice... sometimes we need a little help in order to see the light, but it's there in everyone. All we need is to create an environment where people are encouraged to dream and in turn shout those dreams from the tallest buildings without fear of being knocked down by negativity. The actual outcome isn't that important, had Tess gone round the HPTT in 51 minutes and had Russ blown up and finished an hour outside his target time they would still both have succeeded... you see the success comes in having the dream and being brave enough to go for it. The only failure in life is to never even try.

Anyway, that's about it for another seven days.

Keep believing,



Jevon said...

Great post this week mate. Very true... very true...

Russ said...

Would have commented sooner, but been a hectic week of travel, moving and trying to get race reports to people on time!

Thanks for the thoughts. I've come to believe that the mindset is massively important in Ironman. By race day I was absolutely convinced that barring disaster then my goal was straight-forward. Maybe it sounds cocky, but I honestly couldn't see how I'd not do it!

During the day that was my focus, just reach for the goal and work towards it. It was a close run thing in the end, but still immensely satisfying to have largely achieved the aim in such a controlled fashion. Very different feeling to some of my previous races and I'm left with a real sense that the improvements you make in training and fitness clearly improve your race performance.

Too big a topic for a blog comment! So thanks again for the support and your own belief in me too.

Congrats to you and Helen on getting married (and enjoy the second ceremony today). You've both found the perfect partner in the other. Enjoy your honeymoon, but don't let the training slack, I expect to see you up there in Lanza!