To Go Pro, Be Pro.
What does it take to succeed? You have to prepare professionally. In other words you have to be a pro. What do you need to have to be a pro? You need the tools of the trade - in this case basically rollerskis, helmet, poles, running shoes, good food and a comfortable bed. With the right tools you can act. You also need the right information - in this case training and recovery know-how. With the right information your actions can be right actions. These are things you need to buy or research, this takes time and resources. The most important thing you need however is the right attitude.
How do you get the right attitude?
Do you need to buy a book on attitude? Do you need to tack a 3x5 card with an inspirational saying to your wall? Do you need to attend an attitude adjustment clinic (aka: a butt whooping)?
No. Right Attitude isn't purchased on Amazon, it isn't tacked to your wall, it isn't something you check the mailbox for. And while to some degree you can learn it and earn it right attitude is really something you already have inside you. Being pro is a matter of making a decision: Are you going to be pro in every way every day... or are you training for 2nd place?
You have the ability to have the pro attitude right now. The choice is yours every moment, every day.
This decision can be a hard concept to grasp. To illustrate here is a Zen saying which also happens to be a Blond joke. I don't know if it was a Blond joke first, but I like to think so:
"The student is standing on the bank of the river. Across the river sits the master. The student yells over, how do I get to the other side of the river? The master yells back...You're already there."
To go pro, be pro.
These photos are of Liz Stephen and Alice Nelson in the Ave's Salt Lake - VO2 intervals and of Liz Stephen in West Salt Lake - double pole workout. West Salt Lake is John Aalberg's old training grounds. Aalberg trained out by the airport everyday on his lunch break from work prior to the 1992 season - that season he won every race at Nationals and placed top 15 at the Olympics. As you can tell it isn't the most scenic training area, not what one generally considers ideal training grounds, but that is really only a matter of attitude. As Sten Fjeldheim likes to say, if you want it bad enough you can train on the moon... Anyway the area is perfect for long, fast double pole workouts. John had a pro attitude. Liz has a pro attitude. So do you, make the decision.
(Vordenberg photos. Always wear a helmet while rollerskiing!)