When you are training for a goal, it is great to have a hero, an icon. When I was training for the Seattle to Portland 200 mile bike ride, Lance Armstrong was the man. I could imagine that I was riding a leg of the Tour de’ France. When I was training for a triathlon and focused on the swim, I channeled the extraordinary Dara Torres and how she left all those “young uns” in the dust. As I train for the Boston Marathon, I’ve decided my new hero is speed skater Apolo Ohno. I don’t feel obligated to justify my training crush, but when you hurt all over and think the training isn’t worth it, every bit of motivation helps.
1. He’s fast. There’s a reason that they call it “speed” skating.
2. He’s focused. Once he finds his line, nothing stands in his way.
3. He’s an opportunist. His success relies on finding every window, door, and opening.
4. He can dance. Pure strength and grit is impressive, but combined with grace and elegance it’s a lethal combination.
5. He can jump. His impressive training regimen with plyometrics makes “thunder thighs” a compliment of the highest order.
6. He’s got soul. November may be Movember with the return of the moustache, but any guy that can pull off a soul patch and look studly has my vote.
7. He’s built to last. Finishing the 2011 New York City marathon in 3 hours and 25 minutes at age 29 is a feat in and of itself. I remind myself that I'm just 30 minutes behind him even though I’m 22 years his elder.
8. He’s humble. Watching him cheer on the contestants on “The Biggest Loser” he had complete focus on their accomplishments rather than the fact that he is the most decorated American Olympian to date.
9. He’s a hometown boy. There is nothing better than cheering on someone from the Pacific Northwest. We grow them different out here.
10. He’s easy to look at. Handsome, cute, built, great smile. What more can I say.
So find a hero and train vicariously. The worst thing that can happen is that you might be motivated to run fast, be focused, seize the opportunity, jump your way to a fantastic conclusion, work not only your body but your soul, endure, inspire others, find greatness in your own back yard, and the best part: you might just turn a few heads in the process.