Holiday season got you down? Well at least it’s you’re not having a Griswald style Christmas! Well, hopefully you’re not! This is video is a clip one of my favorite scenes from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, where they discover a squirrel hidden away in their obnoxiously large Christmas tree. Now I’m all for over decorating and celebrating Christmas from October 1 forward, but lucky for me none of these catastrophes have happened to me! Looking back though, this movie could very well be the reason my dad insisted we couldn’t only have an artificial tree!
The point I want to make though is this: make sure you laugh a little this holiday season. It is so easy to get so busy with training, work, school, family, etc – that it’s easy to make days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and months turn into the end of 2016 before you know it. And while there are few feelings greater than setting a goal, working hard and accomplishing it, your greatest satisfaction will come not from the end result, but from the process. When I, and probably most elite athletes, look back on our careers and accomplishments, it is the process and the lead up to the event that is most memorable, not the accomplishment itself.
When I tell the story of my silver at Jr. Worlds, I can’t even remember the actual race. Instead what I remember is breaking my collarbone in Mexico city over Memorial Day weekend only 10 weeks before Worlds that year. I remember the flight home in a neck brace and sling. I remember the surgery the next day after I landed and having to watch the Sommerville crit with my arm in a sling. I’ll never forget the countless ergo workouts at the track on the infield while everyone else trained on the track or my first races back on the bike in July and being scared to make moves I previously wouldn’t have thought twice about. It was that process and those obstacles that I had to overcome to even make it to Jr. Worlds that define that accomplishment to me. Not the race itself.
So my lesson this week is to remember to take a step back from time to time and enjoy what you are doing. Yes the training is hard, yes the efforts are painful and sometimes life will get in the way and set you back. But you have to remember to enjoy every step of the process because this is what you will remember most 15 years down the road. You may not remember the gold medal final ride number 3, but I can guarantee you’ll remember that horribly painful ride out to The Rock and back every Sunday for what seemed like eternity.