A tale of toughness

FasterSkierSeptember 15, 2003

Through our lives in sport we sometimes meet or experience people and situations that change our own lives or outlook on life. This just happened to a couple of us here at Fasterskier.com.

There are many grades of athletic performance. For a newcomer, each sport is at its highest level more challenging and advanced than you ever thought. Until you really experience the pinnacle of a sport, you may think you’re a World Champion in your own world. However, most of us get “put in place” when we are up against the very best, or at least get an eye-opener that changes our outlook and self-claimed bragging rights.

Without exaggerating too much, both Gordon Lange (FasterSkier partner and former US Ski Team Head Coach) and I can claim to be pretty tough athletes. We’ve either been Olympians or the best in our National age groups in a couple of endurance sports. We’ve done events at times and at a pace that most people think is undoable. This makes you think you’re pretty tough, both physically and mentally. However, we’ve now stopped talking much at all about our physical workouts or our mental toughness; we’ve seen an example of what that really is.

A couple of weeks ago we both signed up to pace (run along with) two friends the last 25 miles of the Wasatch 100 Mile race, without really thinking much about what it entailed. The Wasatch 100 Mile race is not only exactly 100 miles in distance, but also includes 26,000 feet in elevation gain and loss. The race starts at 5 Am in the morning, and this past weekend we met our friends at the aid station at 75 miles, at about 1:30 Am the next morning. This is where we saw the first example of toughness.


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