Saturday, August 11, 2012

"The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday"

[Watching the Summer Olympics finally made me want to publish this...]

"The only easy day was yesterday" is a motto of the Navy SEALs.

This idea applies to my own life as a triathlete, as it does for many athletes, because it doesn't matter how hard my workout was yesterday - that was my "easy day." Today, I have to train harder and push my limits even more.* I chose this motto as the title of my first series in which my dual passions for TRIATHLON and PHOTOGRAPHY collide.

I picked up my camera on a random June morning in 2010 and called that "Day 1." My goal was to make a photo on every training day. The idea was simply an exercise: let's see if I can make interesting / beautiful / compelling images during (what often feels like) my daily training grind.

Since Day 1, exciting things have happened in my athletic life. I have raced my fastest Olympic Distance Triathlon (2:15:37). For the first time, I worked with a coach, who helped me reach my goal of a sub-60:00 10 Mile. During this time, my “daily training grind” has taken me to amazing places - some I wasn’t sure I would ever reach.

The images in this series are meant to give a little glimpse into my life of multi-sport training. I had a few self-imposed rules as I started shooting this project, but they evolved as I made more images. The training itself is usually quite fast-paced, so many of these images usually capture the calm moments just before or after the workout. Often you'll see me, my wife, or other friends reveling in that feeling of accomplishment that fills an athlete after a hard workout. These are the moments that athletes train for.

The only easy day was yesterday.


Day 1: 6/4/10: Tempo swim.


Day 2: 6/5/10: Long ride. Calm winds, but a few sprinkles.


Day 3: 6/6/10: Relaxing in the shade after a long run. Last long run before next weekend's oly tri.


Day 5: 6/8/10: Sarah coming to the finish of her first Time Trial.


Day 8: 6/11/10: Easy open water swim to get ready for tomorrow's race.


Day 13: 6/16/10: Foot still really sore, so just did some weights at the Y.


Day 15: 6/18/10: After icing my sore foot in an icy stream in southern WI while camping with my in-laws.


Day 19: 6/22/10: Dangling my feet off of Stout's Island pre-swim.


Day 20: 6/23/10: Celebrating my first non-wetsuit open water swim of the year with a post-swim cannonball.


Day 22: 6/25/10: Chatting in Square Lake after taking Matt for his first open water swim.


Day 26: 6/29/10: Sarah running intervals at dusk as I stretched on the in-field.


Day 34: 7/7/10: First lap around Square Lake without my wetsuit. Beautiful swim.


Day 37: 7/10/10: After a 1-mile open water swim in Lake Monona with 50 other people
in the location of the Ironman Wisconsin swim.


Day 42: 7/15/10: Catching my breath after a long run on a hot evening.


Day 43: 7/16/10: Hot ride. Two bottles of water gone in no time. New fat-wrap worked great.


Day 46: 7/19/10: Collapsed on the porch after a hard, hilly tempo run.


Day 47: 7/20/10: Hopping in Lake Independence for an evening open water swim.


Day 54: 7/27/10: After Sarah and I finished our evening open water swim in Lake Mary.


Day 65: 8/7/10: Pre-swim.


Day 77: 8/19/10: On Summit Ave after a hilly (and sweaty) run.


Day 79: 8/21/10: View down the road after my foggy 7 mile run.


Day 86: 8/28/10: In an ice bath after a long run.


Day 112: 9/23/10: The back of my shirt after running fartleks down the middle of Summit Ave in the pouring rain.

* p.s. I don't actually believe that Navy Seal motto for triathlon training. I tend to get injured, so I'm a big advocate of rest.

3 comments:

Kelly Janowski

Love it. It's often hard for people not in the sport to wrap their head around working out HARD for a year for a single event, but this shows even the most unpleasant parts of what it takes to be great.

Jim Smith II

Steve - I mentioned this on FB, but wow, what a great series of photos. They share what an amateur athlete's life really is, while also being really inspirational. Just solidly done, and if you ever make a book, I'm buying one.

BTW - The anal-retentive in me has to say it... It's "SEALs" not "SEALS".

Steve Stenzel

Thanks for the "anal-retentive" correction, Jim! I fixed it... :)

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