We headed to Michigan for the Steelhead 70.3 this past weekend; me to coach and cheer on friends/ athletes, Adam to race. I did manage a little training along the way with a stop in Naperville for an outdoor masters swim on our way out of town Thurs night, and a good ride on the course Friday.
Watching a race is never easy for many reasons; its a long day, its hard standing around waiting, if you're an athlete you'd rather be racing. The Steelhead course isn' too spectator friendly and the day started with rain. If you do watch, you can learn some things from some of the best, like when the fastest win.....most of the time they look like it hurts too. Its not a cake walk. You can also witness some crazy things of what not to do in a race like put your helmet on backwards, take off on the run with your helmet still ! (yes I've seen it)
This weekend though, I witnessed "the look". I saw it on more than 1 occasion. The look of pure determination, 100% focused, in the moment that you are going to do this thing! I've seen this look from our kids when they are giving it their all trying something new and big. Andy Schlek had this look chasing down Contador after he made the gutsy move to attack him during a mechanical.
Jack racing in his first triathlon
I saw it on Kelly Williamsons' face,(first place female pro) as she was coming into the finishing chute to win her first 70.3. It made an appearance on my client Sara's face who was digging deep and finished her very first 1/2 IM ever, doing so under 5 hrs.
I showed up in its greatest form this weekend on Adam's face as he was rounding the corner into the last finishing stretch. I had just said to the friends I was with "if he is having a good day we should see him any minute"....and a few seconds later there he was running fast.....with that look. I wished I'd had the camera, but don't know if I would have captured it. I knew from that look he was having his day and it had all come together. I sprinted through the sand and people to the end of the finish (got sore calves from that!) and find him. When I did, the look was still there, because it was one of those races we all are in search of. Where it ALL comes together.
I don't think "the look" is something you can just pull out of anywhere on some random day, or workout. You can fake one sometimes but it is just an false image of that true "look". You may see glimpse's of it at times when you are digging deep and putting out a good effort, but it really makes rare appearances and when it does show up you know there is something amazing happening!