Friday, December 22, 2006

A great story about a client...

As many of you know, I coach people for triathlon, as well as running and cycling. I have a client who came to me back in mid-summer. I will call him Tom, (although this is not his real name.) Tom came to me with a goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. His personal best time was just under 4 hours, and he would need to run 3:10:59 to qualify.

Tom had done some triathlons, but his real motivation came in wanting to qualify for Boston. Tom and I worked together a plan which had him squeezing in runs on his lunch break, and some serious runs on the weekends. Tom's job is crazy demanding, and I wasn't sure he was going to be able to keep it up, but he did.

The real amazing thing about it, is Tom had people in his life who really felt he was wasting his time. His wife, who had plenty of running experience, told him she was worried he was working so hard, only to set himself up for disappointment and failure. Some of his friends told him there was no way he could cut off nearly 50 mins from his personal best.

When I look back on it, I never told Tom he couldn't do it. Honestly, I don't think I ever doubted he could do it. He wanted to do it, and that was good enough for me to believe he could. Tom decided on the race he wanted to do, and made his attempt.

Tom's final time...3:11:16. Gut wrenchingly close, missing Boston by 17 seconds! I called him up, and left a message, bummed for him, but so proud of the improvement he made and how hard he worked.

We talked a few days later, when he was feeling more like talking. He told me, "If my goal was to run 3:10, I would be ecstatic to have such a huge improvement. But my goal was Boston, and my attitude is negative because I didn't get it." He was extremely thankful for all my help, but I felt bad. That is until he told me about what the people around him were saying. That's when I really felt better. That meant more to me than anything else. His goal, his run, his reaching for something which seemed soo intimidating to others around him, really was a great life lesson for all those people. Heck, it was a great lesson for me. I love coaching.


1 comment:

Scott Hughes said...

Triathlons are very hard. It takes an extremely dedicated athlete and a lot of training to do even a sprint triathlon.

Scott Hughes
Triathlon Forums