Hitting Your First Podium

I have been wanting to write this post for a while. When I first started racing my goals were set on just finishing. I was out of shape and frankly didn’t have much self confidence at finishing let alone placing in races.

As time went on and I continually finished races at turtle like speed, I began to shift my focus on the possibility of winning a race someday. It seemed impossible since the guys on the podium were literally hours ahead of me in terms of time on course.

As months and then years went by without even a top 10 or 20 finish I hit a wall and decided it was time to quit.

I made a lot of excuses why including the winners are probably doping, I’m just not a naturally talented runner, I’m too tall, too fat, too skinny, etc.

My wife being the great person she is let me wallow for a bit and then gave me a quick kick in the head.

She reminded me that over the course of three years of racing I had continually shaved time off of my races. Not a ton of time but shaved it off little by little.

I had gotten so caught up in wanting that podium that I wouldn’t even give recognition that my race time had been improved by hours not minutes over the last few years.

With patience gained not so much confidence I went into more racing still having my sights set but not allowing myself to get depressed based on my results.

The race I got my first podium at spartan was a Stadion race in Phoenix. The ironic thing is that through all of these self doubting thoughts I remember a big one being that I just wasn’t fast so I would probably never podium at a sprint.

I remember coming across the finish and only seeing a couple of guys there. Some friends were waiting at the finish for me and all I could choke out was “I think I podium-ed!!!”

I did in fact and things changed after that. I realized how hard you have to push, how difficult it is, how you can’t afford even one mistake, and how you can’t look back but focus on starting fast and maintaining the lead or at minimum keeping the leaders in sight.

For anyone reading this that hasn’t gotten their first podium, don’t give up. This post is really for you. I’m so glad I didn’t give up and that my wife didn’t give up on me.

But more importantly I’m glad I pushed harder than I thought I could until finally it was enough to get that podium and I knew I could do it again. You can as well if you are willing to put in the work and never give up on that dream.

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