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Secrets of Success

The Snickers Story

As many of you know, this summer I realized a yearlong dream when I completed the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon.

The Ironman distance is not for the faint hearted. The 140.6-mile journey requires each athlete to complete a 2.4-mile swim; a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run in succession within a 17-hour period.

It is a race where athletes push themselves to a variety of mental and physical limits.

The day featured many memorable moments. One moment that stands out is the one I’ve dubbed –

The Snickers Story

And here begins my tale.

When you’re exercising for over 15 hours as I was, your success depends on a carefully designed nutrition regimen in order to stay properly hydrated and nourished throughout the long day.

My nutrient cocktail was a high-tech, low-tech mix that ranged from electrolyte tablets and low sugar “goo”gels to the good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich–AND a Snickers bar.

To lighten the weight for each athlete during the bike portion of the race, each of us had a “special needs” bag that we could access after the first 56-mile loop. In it you could put spare tubes, fresh clothes and anything special you wanted to eat. My bag had those items as well as the biggest Snickers bar one could possibly buy.

As I began the 11- mile climb into Lake Placid that signaled the end of the first loop, I began to think about my Snickers. By the time I got into town and was given my “special needs” bag, all I wanted was my Snickers. I put it in one of my back pockets of my bike jersey and began the second loop.

About 20 minutes later, I decided it was time. I lovingly removed the bar from my pocket and gazed at it. “It’s time for my Snickers,” I thought. I was about to begin unwrapping it when I remembered that in another minute or so I was going to begin a 7-mile descent where I would reach speeds of close to 40 mph. As I decided it would be a good idea to have both hands on the wheel, I reached behind to put the bar back in my pocket.

Well I thought it was my pocket. As I was putting it back, I missed the pocket and the Snickers bar slipped away.


There it was bouncing up the road like a little log. I couldn’t stop–not with hundreds of bikes screaming down this one-way route. I wanted to holler back “ Somebody eat it! I didn’t touch it! It’s really good!”

“I dropped my Snickers.” “I can’t believe I dropped my Snickers!” That was all I could think about for the next ten minutes. I really wanted that Snickers.

I was so bummed out until a little voice came into my head. It said, “Listen. If the worst thing that happens to you during a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run is you lose a candy bar, you’re going to have a pretty good day. So why don’t you stop the whining, shut your little pie hole and get your head back in the race.”

Which I did.

And you know what? It was the “worst” thing that happened that day. I didn’t have a pretty good day. I had great day! (I mean there was that blister at the end of the marathon and the little issue of hypothermia at the end of the race, but we don’t count those.)

The Lessons

As I began to reflect on the Snickers story, I realized that we all “drop our Snickers” from time to time. We make mistakes, experience problems, deal with disappointments and have expectations that don’t get realized.

How we handle these situations determines in large measure how we approach the rest of the “race” that day.

We either focus on the Snickers bar or focus on the larger race. If we are able to overcome temporary negative feelings, focus on the positive and have a sense a humor, we can change the way we deal with almost any situation.

So what do you plan to do the next time you “drop your Snickers?”

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