Hometown Hero

820My buddy, Justin Daerr, won Ironman Boulder this month. Even bigger, the ladies at my health club have started chatting about him!

He’s truly made it.

Not many people make the transition from average to champion. I was along for the ride.

epic_konaIn October of 2004, Justin came out to Hawaii for a camp that we were hosting. He had a big week of training and finished third in his age group in Kona. I didn’t know it at the time but October 2004 marked the high-water mark of my athletic career.

hawaii_run18 months before that camp, Scott Molina asked me, “What if that’s it?” At the time, I replied, “There’s always more.” Scott was a little early with his question but it was a good one.

What’s next?

After Justin became really good, he put in another 10,000 hours to become great. It’s the profile of a clean athlete, many years of plugging away. No quantum leaps.

runI like to focus athletes on 1,000 days of effort. After 1,000 days, of racing pro Justin was going far faster but didn’t have a whole lot to show for his efforts. He was a long way off the top athletes and, like me, only competitive over long distances.

The link in the paragraph above shows J’s results. He was speedy for a long time. Thing is, everyone else at his level is speedy too! Eight years of consistent sub-9 Ironman times. That’s really fast, for a very long time.

How do I measure my return on investment?

…is a question we should ask

…especially about time we will spend

Absent conscious effort, we will default to the values of our community. My athletic community values vanity and victory. These values rule what I see around me and lead to athletic errors.

As a champion, expectations and self-image change. My champion pals, closer to my age, experience pain with the inevitable transitions that life brings. Whenever that transition happens, I hope Justin keeps what’s best from the last decade.

  • He was willing to inconvenience himself to do the right thing.
  • He persisted in the face of evidence that he might not make it – a good lesson for me to re-learn!
  • He never mentioned the slings and arrows that were tossed at him. Justin’s non-response made me a better person.

These are the good old days.

Remember to enjoy them!