Monday, March 21, 2011

About Progress

As an endurance athlete, we live in a world of repetition.  The laps, the miles, the saddle time.  It's all about doing it over and over again, in an effort to improve, above all, technique.

If successful in our efforts we get rewarded with improved time and/or increased efficiency.  All this is well and good.

A bigger reward, however, comes in the form of progress.  Visual, measurable, actual progress.  Something we can wrap our hands around.  Something we can take to the bank.

I don't know about anyone else but this is what keeps me coming back again and again.  Each step forward I take is a reward.  Each second taken off, each stroke taken off a lap.  Yes, this IS what keeps me coming back.

There are other, equally important WOW moments that make it all worthwhile.  Yesterday I had one of those.

While on a bike ride with our tri team, we approached a hill.  Not just a hill.  The mama of all hills.  Well, it looked like the mama of all hills.  As I approached it all I could think was "God, please give me the legs, and the heart, to make it to the top... alive."

To the experienced rider, this may not have looked like much.  To me it looked like the end of life.  But it was time to test myself, to test the progress, to test my training.

According to calculations, the vertical change was 208 feet.  The Horizontal Distance was .62 miles which made the grade a 6.35%.

I buckled down, got my mind set in the task ahead.  Shifted to the appropriate gears and asked for divine intervention.  Half way through the climb I remember thinking "WOW, simply WOW.  I was on my way and the top was within reach."

I had not been on this road before so I did not realize that I had to do it all over again.  The second climb was just as intense but not as long.  And I made it through without consequence.

The payoff is huge.  Progress is visible, measurable and real.  All the spin classes and the trainer miles during the winter months, along with the strength and conditioning is paying off.

Progress is a great thing.  This IS why I keep coming back.


  1. Well done! The challenge, the improvement, the satisfaction in the effort... all important!

  2. Congrats! Although on a different level, I am seeing the satisfaction of improvement as well....its like a virus (a good one) that you cant get out of your system!