Do you find running, cycling or swimming hard?
I don't know if I fullly agree with this quote, but you might find Danaher's comments interesting. A New Zealand-born Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert, John Danaher is a teacher at the Renzo Gracie Academy and has trained many MMA champions including George St. Pierre and Matt Serra. In addition to being a champion mixed martial marts practitioner, John also holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy from Columbia University.
"The single definitive feature of the uberathlete is a sense of effortlessness in a world where most men grunt and strive and scream. It comes easy to the best, and what creates that? I think it's a sense of play. No fear or anxiety about their performance." -John Danaher, MMA trainer
For me, endurance sports are not effortless. Every push on the pedal, lap in the pool or mile on the trail takes determination. This may simply mean that I may not be an uberathlete. However, I've spoken with plenty of champions after races who limp on swollen feet and pant, trying to catch their breath. Some have even admitted anxiety at the start line because of the competition or course. This does not take away from their uber-ness.
I think what defines a great athlete is the internal balance one finds when he or she is in the middle of a competition or adventure. For me, I love the feeling of peace and quiet when your legs and lungs are pushing you forward and your muscles are pumping like an engine. You're in your element, you're exactly where you should be.