The Blog

The Blog

Throw Away the Dice and Be the Long Shot You’re Praying For

Did you see the Kentucky Derby a couple weeks ago?  It was one of the most amazing races I have ever seen, as the 50-1 underdog, Mine That Bird, pulled off the second biggest upset in the 135-year history of the event – as the announcer said, “an impossible result.”  Just consider some of his stats:

  • He was originally purchased for $9,500.
  • He was the second-longest shot to win in the history of the Derby (50-1).
  • He had a 1-32 record in starts at his home track in New Mexico.
  • He was transported in a horse van pulled by a pick-up truck driven by his owner (with a broken right foot) for 1,466 miles from New Mexico to Kentucky while all his competitors traveled in luxurious horse trailers and their owners in private jets.

For those who witnessed this year’s Derby, over 150,000 in attendance and an anticipated 14 million television viewers, Mine That Bird was last out of the gate.  He was last at the quarter mile.  He was last at the half mile.  He was last at the three-quarter mile.  And then it happened – Mine that Bird EXPLODED past 18 horses in 21 seconds to pull off one of the most amazing sporting feats of all time.  He crossed the finish line for a stunning upset, 6¾ lengths ahead of his next competitor.  Like millions of others, I was stunned by the impossibility of what I had seen.

The Kentucky Derby is a rite of spring.  Just like Mother’s Day and graduation ceremonies, it is requisite in this season of new birth and fresh starts.  Spring is a time to turn the page and begin a new chapter.  What’s the next chapter in your life story?  What does the future hold for you?  Like the owners of Mine That Bird, are you praying for a long shot victory?

This article is dedicated to each one of you who feels like an underdog some of the time or all of the time – in work, in wellness, in love or in life.  My message to you is to turn the page, start a new chapter, throw away the dice and BE THE LONG SHOT YOU’RE PRAYING FOR.

May 7th marked the start of our Biggest Winner Contest at Fitness Quest 10.  Twenty-seven teams of 5 people have just “left the gates” on a six-week health, fitness and weight-loss challenge.  As participants have come through our doors to sign-up and weigh-in, I’ve met so many people hungry for a fresh start and hoping for a victory.  Maybe this describes you…

Take the Challenge. People all around the country will read this article, and those of you outside of San Diego aren’t able to participate in our Biggest Winner Contest.  Don’t let this stop you!  Be a virtual participant and start working toward YOUR PERSONAL VICTORY.  For our official contestants, the prize money may be motivating, but in this health and fitness contest, everyone wins.   Keep reading for my tip sheet of ideas that will get you started and keep you going on your path to be the BIGGEST WINNER!

Set your goals high. Have you set lofty goals for your life?  There are countless small steps on a long journey and if your dream isn’t inspiring, how will you be motivated to chase it?  I’ve had many clients through the years who have participated in marathons, half-marathons, triathlon events and the like.  For some, the goal for the first race is simply to finish.  It makes sense for beginners – to finish any of these events is a major accomplishment.  But for seasoned triathletes and runners, “to finish” is completely uninspiring.  They race to achieve their goal time; they race to WIN! In the same way, the elite athletes I work with don’t dream of just showing up at a game.  They dream of victory and then work to achieve it. What’s your dream of the future you – a healthy, fit and successful you?

Surround yourself with positive feedback.  Surround yourself with positive people who support you, encourage you and give you the feedback you need to make it over the inevitable bumps in the road.  Become part of a support group or Mastermind; sign up for a local community event that organizes participants into teams.  Our Biggest Winner contest was designed to provide motivation, accountability and positive feedback to the contestants.  Regardless of how you do it, seek out positive people in your life, share your goals and open yourself up to support from others.
Overcome fear. Mine that Bird passed 18 horses in the last quarter of the race.  He also did the majority of the passing on the inside rail where many riders are afraid of being thrown from their horse.  Jockey Calvin Borel stated, “I’ve been thrown over the rail… If you’re afraid, you’re in the wrong game.”  He went for it and the rest is history.  How is fear paralyzing you in your life?  How is it holding you back?  Are you letting fear rule you?  Overpower your fears with the courage of your convictions!

“Stay Hungry.”  Champions want it more.  It’s that simple.  I have to believe that Mine that Bird just wanted to win that race more than the others.  He was prepared, he was conditioned, he had a good “team” around him, he wasn’t afraid, and he wanted to win MORE.  When he took off down the last stretch, a chill went through everyone watching.  That horse was “hungry” to win.  Champions of all sorts have “it” – the hunger, the desire, the passion – the need to be the best.  What do you “hunger” for?

Do something crazy to “shock your world.” What can you do to shock your world – or at least shake it up?  I like the metaphor of turning a page and starting a NEW chapter.  They key word is NEW – not the same old you, but the new and changed you.  Start with something small and build on it.  Try a Pilates or yoga class to augment your strength and cardio workouts, take a healthy cooking class or experiment with vegetarian dinners one night a week, invite your spouse or a friend to take a walk in the evening, take a family day and go on an outing (Yes, that may actually shock them!).  Stand up and say, “I’ll try that.”

Well, you’ve “left the gate” and you weren’t born yesterday – you see the obstacles in your path.  We both know the journey will be tough, but I want your story to be every bit that of Mine That Bird.  Victory does not come easy.  Regardless of your current obstacles, challenges, or special needs, you must stay focused on your goals.  It’s your dream and YOU are the one chasing it. I will continue to encourage you to make your health and fitness a major part of your journey, as it will ultimately help you to get where you want to go.  I will encourage you to stay “hungry” and never let fear rule your life.  I will be on your “team” and nourish your spirit with messages of inspiration and hope.  But, when all is said and done, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO MUST BE THE LONG SHOT YOU’RE PRAYING FOR. 

There’s a champion in you – I’m bettin’ on it!

Todd Durkin is a 2 Time Personal Trainer of the Year and Founder of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA. He trains people from all walks of life, but is best known for the work he does with over 25 NFL Superstars. He trains the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Alex Smith, and Donnie Edwards amongst others. His expert staff of 30 trainers, coaches, and massage therapist/bodyworkers perform over 400 weekly sessions and help educate, motivate, and inspire the world to greater levels of health & fitness. Todd has 17 DVD’s on fitness & sports performance and has been featured in many national magazines and media outlets. His ezine newsletter “TD Times” is his way of connecting clients, trainers, coaches, colleagues, and friends from all over the world. He can best be reached via his websites,, or by using the contact form below: [easy-contact]

Similar Posts