Time for another edition of my BadAss Spotlight, a highly-coveted, prestigious award for not only athletic performance but also grit, attitude, and general badassedness that doesn’t fall into any particular pre-defined category. BadAssedness can come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and from the most unlikely characters.
Who would’ve thought that the most recently-crowned award recipient would hail from Minneapolis, MN, and have a nickname of T_odd. Not me. I first crossed paths with this character when I reluctantly accepted him as my Facebook friend, because of mutual friends, and he promptly called me FAT in a public forum. I was recovering from a concussion, post-crash in Australia, and complaining about the treadmill shaking due to post-concussive syndrome. He suggested that I was perhaps just a bit tubsy. After ripping him a new one, we got along great, and I agreed to coach him!
Todd recently completed his first Ironman in Wisconsin. That’s not why he gets the award. He was to the point of being anal in his training— extremely accurate with all prescribed workouts, never doing more or less than what I asked of him, and religiously providing data so that I could track his progress and make adjustments when needed. That’s not why he gets the award. Todd busted through the 11hr barrier on his first attempt, coming through in 10:55, finished in the top 7% of his age group, and was rock solid in all 3 disciplines. That’s not why he gets the award.
Three days before the event for which he had prepared all year, he realizes that his bike frame is cracked. He’s traveling to the race in two days. We didn’t have much time to discuss options, and it didn’t look like the manufacturer would come through. Luckily, another local athlete lent him a bike within about 36hrs and he had JUST enough time to get it fitted and to get on the road.
Now for some of you who may be reading this and don’t ride bikes, you may not understand the significance of riding a borrowed bike — on your “A” race for 112 miles, no less! It’s like wearing someone else’s underwear, sleeping in someone else’s bed, or kissing your brother. OK I don’t even have a brother, but it’s what comes to mind when I think of uncomfortable situations (unless you’re from West Virginia).
We had discussed his race plan down to every calorie he would take in and when. We had reviewed his accuracy and his performance in training to date. We had discussed coping strategies for all of the things than can go awry during an Ironman (there are too many to plan for– better to plan for how to DEAL); adapt and overcome!
We had not, however, discussed a contingency plan for riding a borrowed bike.
But Todd, despite this last minute wrench thrown in, could not be shaken.
I tried to remain calm and not convey my concern. I knew how incredibly hard he worked for this, how much he and his family (it’s never a lone journey) had sacrificed for his big day, and how much he dedicated to his training and preparation. The bike is the longest portion of the race. And coming from a collegiate swimming background and having done a few marathons, the bike was the the one big area of opportunity for us, and we couldn’t afford to screw it up.
To say that Todd took this in stride is an understatement. He took the cards he was dealt with and played one badass game with it. Perhaps he had some doubts and concerns, but the important part is that he did not let those concerns impede his ability to do what he had trained to do, and to STAY ON COURSE. Sure, he’s an Ironman now, displaying his physical strength on race day, but what got him to the finish line so successfully was his mental strength and ability to truly adapt and overcome . . . and not get caught up with the crap he couldn’t change.
BadAss Spotlight #7 . . . You can crack his frame, but you can’t crack his resolve. The power of his positive attitude was tremendous, and another example for the rest of us that the sky is only falling if we say it is.
Jon is a LEGEND!
Please read on to inspire feelings of inadequacy. Click here: THE GOLDEN YEARS
Our Atlanta multisport community, and especially Team Sport Factory, is pretty proud of one of our own: Physical therapist, Coach, & Athlete Jen Henry. At every Ironman race, an “Everyday Hero” is crowned among the participants– someone who goes above and beyond and is usually doing something pretty cool in their community. Jen is that person. And that’s why she was the Ironman Everyday Hero for Ironman Louisville . . . and of course the extra-cool, honorable Badass Spotlight #5!
Jen and her copilot (husband Curtis— an “Everyday Husband Hero!”) are doing great things here in Atlanta, and I’m one of many people who are proud to call them friends. CHECK IT OUT HERE.
Ironman cut Jen a check for $1000 to the charity of her choice (My First Bike), and gave her a free entry for another Ironman next year. The donation is great, but Ironman has a whacked-out idea of a “free vacation,” wouldn’t you say!? What’s wrong with a nice 4-day cruise instead?? Just sayin’…
Congratulations, Jen! Keep up the great work.
As if she needs my little blog’s spotlight to shine. This woman is the coolest.
My favorite local mom/triathlete/badass teammate Lisa Marshall rounded up some girls for this one. I was a little miffed at first to be included in the “we can do anything at any age” email. I mean, is 32 really in the “old” category? But then I shut up when I realized who the email was about: Dara Torres. The woman could be on the cover of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful issue. Instead, she has accomplished far more gratifying things in her swimming career.
Dara Torres came to the ATL to speak and sign books at The Carter Center downtown on Weds night. I didn’t have a chance to read her book before the event, but I’m looking more forward to doing so now. Unfortunately she didn’t speak too long, but she did answer a couple of questions in a way that I respected and understood. One person asked, “What do you do when you get nervous before a competition?” She thought about it for a second and said, “Well, the butterflies are good. And they’re normal. But really, if I have done all of my training and worked hard leading up to the meet, I know that I’ve done everything I could do to be prepared.”
She also talked about how she stays motivated. She does it by breaking down her efforts into short term and long term goals. She’s a big goal-setter— a common thread among high achievers. She wants to nail those goals, and that drives her to chase them down. Keep chasin’ em, Dara. Those young girls are swimming scared!!
Dara is a total badass. I can’t wait to read her book.
By the way, check out the gun show below. Nice arms, huh?!
I do a lot of my training alone due to different schedules and time constraints. I don’t mind it, and can usually stay on task pretty well. But this week, I needed someone. I’m not talking about the physical push; I really just needed the mental push. I needed someone to make me laugh and keep it light. That’s what gMoney Mike is for.
I met Mike in 2005 when I sent out an email on our N.ATL Triathlon listserv, asking if anyone else was going to Brazil for the Ironman. Mike may curse that fateful day when he emailed me back, because he hasn’t been able to get rid of me since! We had a blast in Brazil together, and he even tried to act tough when I cried on the beach before the Ironman, scared out of my mind for what we were able to do. Turns out he was more scared than I was! We’ve done a bunch of races together… and the road trippin’ ones are always the best. He rode his motorcycle down to Clearwater in 07 with Tooker to support my race, had a blast in Jekyll Island in 07, and we even roughed it in some ghetto hotel in Ensenada that I accidentally screwed us with for the Baja 70.3 in 06. Again, sorry about that one.
That’s me on the right, swatting Mike on the butt with my Polar strap as he crosses the finish line in Jekyll Island (07).
It’s been a great friendship, and he’s one of the most sincere, hilarious people I’ve ever met. I love him to death. AND LADIES, listen up . . . Mikey “Gmoney” is also SINGLE. SO- Giddy up… and send all applications my way!
Last Sunday’s debacle of a training day left me in a big mental slump. Since my efforts to ditch the next race were unsuccessful, I knew I just needed a good friend to get me through it. Mike met me a few times this week, to run with me off the bike and for a long run at race pace, and it never ceases to amaze me how much stronger we are with someone by our sides. I don’t usually train with other people, but when I do, I notice a huge benefit.
The biggest challenge is just not laughing while you’re running. He is constantly cracking me up.
Mike is my BADASS SPOTLIGHT because he’s a badass friend!! I honestly don’t care how fast he can run! Hope you all have a friend like Mike in your life. Thanks gMoney!!!!
It’s been a while since the last installment of my favorite category: The Badass Spotlight.
Mike Lenhart is a personal friend to many people in the Atlanta area and beyond, and I’m lucky to call him one myself. He is an inspiring guy with his heart and head in the right place… always interested in helping others, with a solid plan and the drive to pull it off. Last year he started a successful organization, Getting2Tri, and he is currently nominated to win some dough through the INSPIRING SOLES AWARD that will help continue funding this amazing program. Mike doesn’t believe that disabilities should keep people from participating in athletic events that we all enjoy so much.
PLEASE take 2 seconds to vote for Mike HERE. Come on, this is one vote that can help a lot of people and really matters. Post it on your blogs. Send the email to friends. At least vote!
I will paste below the letter from Mike, which does a great job in explaining his efforts. THANK YOU, MIKE, for all you you do to help and inspire others.
Today, I need your help and it’s as easy as the “click of the mouse” and as simple as forwarding this message to your friends and family. As founder of Getting2Tri, I have been selected as one of five semi-finalists for Outside Magazine and Croc’s Inspiring Soles Award. The first-ever Inspiring Soles Award recognizes everyday athletes dedicated to inspiring change and involving others through bold athletic endeavors. I need your vote. You can cast your vote online at www.inspiringsoles.com from today, Nov. 20, 2008 through Jan. 9. 2009. Since it’s a “one person, one vote” process, I need your help to spread this message to as many people as possible in the next 40 days.
What does your vote mean for G2T? The winning Inspiring Soles Award winner will receive a $25,000 donation for Getting2Tri, a full-page profile in Outside Magazine, a Public Service Announcement (PSA) ad for G2T, a Crocs shopping spree and a trip to Santa Monica, Calif. Your vote is worth this much to G2T! And while voting ends in January, the winner will be announced online in February 2009 and in the April issue of Outside Magazine. It’s my hope that through this process that G2T’s efforts (the efforts of our team, our athletes, our coaches, our supporters) gain the recognition it deserves. While I am humbled by the achievements of the fellow semi-finalists, I cannot help but think of what this could do to support our efforts to serve more physically-challenged and help them get to the start and cross the finish line.
You can see for yourself, just what a difference G2T makes for others:
Founder and President
The Getting2Tri Foundation, Inc.