There is a DVD released out there called What It Takes. It follows four Ironman triathletes around for a year in preparation for the Kona World Championships. I only remember hearing about it but I believe it follows the lives of Heather Fuhr, Lori Bowden, Peter Reid, and Luke Bell. I’m sure it’s a great documentary but these are top notch world class athletes, so gifted with endurance, speed, and focus that their entire lives are now eat, sleep, and train, repeat. Sure there are injuries to contend with and sponsorship deals to work out. They also have appearances to make and flights to get to on time. Aside from the injuries and the occasional flight I have nothing in common with these folks.
Don’t get me wrong I love my life and would not change a thing. I have a gorgeous sometimes understanding wife and three beautiful kids but my entire athletic career is built around family and job. To that end I don’t have time to train when I would like to, I train when life lets me. My running shoes haven’t seen the sunshine in months. All training must be completed and I’m showered, shaved and ready to go by 7 a.m. when the first child wakes. On some days where long travel is necessary then you wake up even earlier to get your run in. Some weekends you beg your now less understanding wife to drop you off at some point on the way home from a family outing just to get the long run in. As penance for leaving her with three bickering children, God plays his hand. It’s these same drop offs where the heavens open up and a torrent of rain falls down before your feet and into your shoes.
I was stopped by my next door neighbor the other day. Kevin is a twenty something kid renting the basement of his parents place. He is a really friendly guy, who is always quick to say ‘hello’. He’s in construction so I always see him early in the morning loading up his truck or pulling away as I’m coming back from my morning run.
Usually it’s nothing more than ‘Hey’ or the ‘How’s it going?’ but this day he stops me and says, “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Of course not, what is it?” I reply a bit bewildered.
“How do you do it? . . . How do you get up so early and go running? I mean I can barely function driving to work let alone exercise. And you’ve already finished a run. So how do you do it?”
I was a bit dumbfounded by his query. We’ve hardly had a conversation let alone asking a question that runs so deep to the core. I wanted to say something prophetic. I wanted to say something inspirational. But all I could muster was, “If you want something bad enough . . . you have to do what it takes”.