I was driving back from a race with a couple of friends recently and the conversation turned to what the difference was between success in an event and disappointment. In the context of this conversation we acknowledged that success can take on many forms. For some success is as black or white as a win, for others it’s improving upon a personal best, beating an age group rival or simply making it to the finish line. And while many conversations I have about success in endurance sports has to do with fundamental training and physiological principles, this chat quickly graduated to the intangibles. How some athletes seem to embrace the heat of battle, can suffer innumerable small defeats in a race while continuing to subject themselves to pain comparable to a non-anesthetized root canal, and, even more these are the athletes that find themselves successful more often than not. What’s going on in the head of these athletes that drives them to suffer an extra 4 seconds to bridge that gap or hold that wheel, stave off a charging sprint or fight tooth and nail for every last second over the last few kilometers of a run? What is it they are channeling and what can we all learn from them? […]