Attitude and how your approach a specific task or tasks will be the one determining factor of success or failure even before you attempt the task. This came up today for me when I went to the pool to do a 4000 yard set. When I first got there I was tired and did not want to be there. The set was not going to be hard but it would take me near 1.5 hours to complete and that seemed daunting. Add to the fact that the night before I felt sick to my stomach (literally!) I woke up late and it just seemed that all the stars were lined up against me.
As with any pool swim I do not want to do I always say to myself: get through the warm-up and see what happens. I got in the water and it was COLD. I did the warm-up and chose to push on to the drills and kick sets. Still feeling cold but also feeling like I could get through the set I went on. I got to the main set and made a number in my head to hit (1:50/100y) and would not be satisfied with anything that was slower than that.
After the first 300 I was right on target, then the second. The 2 sets of 200 were there. The 6 sets of 100s were right there and my attitude was changed. I wanted to be in that water and for longer than I needed to be. I was having a great time and while I was not pushing myself to get into the 1:30s I was actually enjoying the water at 5am. It was no longer cold. The set was no longer going to be long. Everything was clicking and I felt on top of the world. In one short swim stroke my attitude changed and all was bright (even if it was still dark outside.)
When I got home I turned on ESPN’s Mike and Mike and they were talking about Cam Newton. How is attitude was just hurting himself and his teammates. I have seen the video clip from the post game news conference after the Panthers were crushed by the Giants and I could see right there that his attitude was shot. He had this look in his eye (when they were open) and this inflection in his voice that said he was defeated. I knew then that his season would be a nightmare for him, but then I read that teammates had spoken to him and I expected different. It does seem to have worked. Before we get to the second news conference take a look at this clip after the Panthers loss to the New York Giants.
If you have not seen the clip of the second news conference, take a look here and let me know if you would want to play with a guy who looked like this:
A few weeks ago I raced the US Open Championships here in Dallas and while I have not put up a race report a few of you know what happened. I had a horrible race. It was 45* the day of the race and the warmest part was the 70* water or so I thought. I jumped into the lake and when the gun went off and my arms moved my legs didn’t. I struggled to get to the 200 meter buoy and I grabbed a kayak. I talked to the woman for about 5 minutes and when I said to her that this was not my first open water swim and that I was an Ironman a flicker of hope went off. I decided to swim kayak to kayak until I finished even if it took me 2 hours. I swam to the next kayak doing nothing but pulling myself as my legs were not working. Then it was off the next kayak and the kayak after that. Once I was hanging onto the 4th kayak my attitude changed. I am a FUCKING Ironman and off I went. Pissed off that I was still in the water and pissed off that my legs were not cooperating. I swam the rest of the way and when I hit the dock I knew I was going to finish the race.
I got on my bike and I was freezing. I mean like a Puerto Ricansicle. I was shivering and teeth were chattering. Feet were numb and hands were barely working. I had two words going through my head the entire 24.8 miles…..motherf’er and finish! At one point I tried to drink from my water bottle and my hands were so numb that could not grip the bottle and it dropped. Even that didn’t deter me because I was going to finish and finish I did despite all the hurdles. The run was horrendous and both Achilles and calf muscles locked up. It hurt so much that I was brought to tears at the end of the race but I finished. My attitude got me to that finish line even though the day was horrible. Best part: I went to breakfast with Karen and had a great Sunday sitting on the couch with her.