• I NEVER MADE THE OLYMPICS.

    Sometimes we overshoot, and sometimes we underestimate.

    That’s okay. The most important thing is setting your sights on something.

    I’m going to share the story of two goals I set for myself- one that I never achieved, and another that looking back almost seems silly- and how they both paved the way for progress.

    At a young age I was the fastest kid on the playground, soon participation ribbons turned to city medals, then an Ontario medal or two.

    The next step is clearly the Olympics. Well, in my head it was.

    In grade 9 I was a fast kid who made OFSAA in the 100m & 200m.

    At the end of the summer I took the advice of my coach to move up to 400m and immediately saw some success winning an Ontario silver medal in my very first race over the distance. I could see this was the right decision.
    In grade 10 I decided to experiment with the 300m hurdles. In all honesty it was to get away from a friend and rival of mine- Dan Brandao. We were in the same club and training group. He was  a year older than me but born with a late birthday so we ran in the same division.
    Oh, and he also won EVERYTHING he did. Multiple OFSAA medals, 400m under 15 national record, and so on. I could get A LOT better, and I’d still be second.
    So I took up an event he wasn’t in.
    In my first race I broke the city record- normally not a huge deal. But it was set by a guy who went on to win OFSAA in the same year. This was good…I had an Ontario club medal, but OFSAA was an entirely different animal.
    Anyway- that year I became obsessed with track. Learning the races, training my ass off, and starting to lift weights.

    I set a goal to qualify for the Olympics. I knew 2008 in Beijing would be my best shot.

    Well as the story goes, I never did make the Olympics. I never even ran for Canada at an international meet.

    But I did have a lot more success for a bunch of years after I set my sights so high.

    I beat some people I probably shouldn’t have, including a couple of junior national champions, youth national champions, and a Commonwealth decathlon gold medalist. Some of those guys were just plain faster than me- but there was a time when I truly believed my mind and my heart would not allow me to lose because I had such bigger plans. Most of the time it worked.

    I never made the Olympics- but did I fail?

    Now- the other story.

    When I started CrossFit in 2009 the resources were scarce. I didn’t even know affiliate gyms existed. Bumper plates were nowhere in sight. Even instructional videos were tough to find.

    Here I am trying to learn how to snatch in the back room of a Gold’s Gym with metal plates…
    I remember posting fail videos on the CrossFit.com message boards trying to get some tips and learn how to improve. I got a few people that saw something in me, and said if I could clean up some technique that I could eventually snatch 185lbs.
    A HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE POUNDS!? I’m literally just trying not to die right now.
    But it did make me believe in myself a little more.
    Someone who was clearly more experienced than me was telling me this was possible.
    So I set my sights…
    150lbs started going up consistently. Then 160, 165 and 170.

    I bought a decent bar and some bumper plates as soon as I had the money and almost instantly hit 180lbs. I lost my shit! I was so excited. Closing in on my lifetime goal… meanwhile all of 6 months had gone by.

    As this story goes, I clearly set my sights very low. In 2015 I snatched 275lbs- a wee bit above the 185lbs I was so ferociously chasing.

    Was I wrong in setting that goal? Of course not. And in fact with each stepping stone (200lbs, then 225lbs, and so on) I kept thinking to myself “wow…that was great, but I think I’ll eventually be able to do more”

    Set a goal.

    Be relentless in working toward it.
    Even though the view from the top is cool, the climb up the mountain is the real experience.

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