Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Post IMAZ Thoughts Swirl

The clouds have lifted.

May 5, 2012 did more damage to me than it should have ... mentally. It really is silly. This whole pursuit of the perfect way to DESTROY one's body and actually get a kick out of it.

I see more clearly what this whole journey is about. It's not just about getting a fitness routine. It's not about improving your overall health. I truly believe it is about finding the dark recesses of the brain and deciding once and for all what do to do minimize those dark areas.

Wait! What? Don't try and wax philosophical here Bryonman.

I'm not. I am also not trying to make long-course triathlon into some "solve all problems" medicinal journey to the top of the mount. What I am trying to say is that I believe that I had a defeatist attitude prior to getting into multisport. Everyone that does a race or a training day that goes to the edge of their abilities KNOWS that there are moments of true soul searching. My favorites in the past three months have been those eight or nine hour days on the bike. Being all alone with no one watching and STILL keeping pace and time is a true victory of the human spirit. When that darkness creeps in on those days I have now gotten to the point where I grab on to it and explore. I want to understand why I have negativity. More importantly I want to be able to empathize with other people that I know that dwell in the negative far too often.


Because there is a VERY SHORT LIST of people on the planet that we get to say TRULY care about us. In the past, I firmly believe that I was very selfish in that the caring was not really a two-way street. "My name is Bryan and I am a self-centered egotist." My short list of people cared about me deeply and I don't think I cared enough about them in return. I know most of you that actually read this drivel would vote for that statement and call it gospel. That previous Bryan is fading ... even amidst all this self-centered endurance obsession.

Here are some things that happened on Sunday that noted this change.

1) During the swim ... I was starting to get frustrated and felt I wasn't covering enough water to make the cut-off. Then I started thinking about my dad's friend Richard. Richard was an athlete and a very nice guy too boot. He and dad knew one another for 58 years. Richard would have loved triathlon. He never got a chance to compete. He passed away from cancer last month. This crushed my dad - which in turn crushed me. "Swim this out for someone else man. This is bigger than you. Get it done. Stop whining."

2) During the bike ... my favorite part (I know - surprise surprise) ... I am typically balls-out like Jo Jo the circus boy. Literally two minutes before we hopped into the cess pool for the swim Barry Tait walks up to me and says "You know what you need to do today? Back off that bike so that you have something left for the run." I admit now that I had a dark moment right then. Bullcrap - I thought I am going to hammer this bike course. Then I embraced the darkness. Barry does not deserve this disrespect. So almost in the same moment I went from "don't you tell me what to do" to "Hey wait - you aren't even supposed to be here today so why not try something new?" So I did as Barry suggested. I was originally going to ride a 5:15 which is well within my ability. I ended up riding a 5:40. Barry Tait is about 90% of the reason that I managed to push 190 lbs. to a sub 12 Ironman. I won't forget that.

3) Fighting against my urge to hammer the bike the entire 112 miles I watched as many of my fellow 'competitors' blatantly broke the drafting rules on the bike. I admit that I wanted to get in on the energy savings. I entered another dark zone and almost joined a big group. I refrained. It made it tough to pass these huge groups of squids but it was also gratifying. Let me get this straight fellows - you are all drafting and I can still manage a pass while sitting up and eating? I will chalk that one up to hard work on the bike this year.

4) On the run I only remember one dark moment. The rest of the time I felt fresh enough to chest bump gorillas (irony), moonwalk through aid stations and yell at teammates and friends. The dark moment was about mile 14. My stomach started churning - similar to the "big release" churn at St. George. I wanted to stop and walk. One cramp doubled me over but I was STILL passing people. I passed this older lady while bent over in pain. She asked me if I was okay. I grumbled something and kept running. About a minute later the pain stopped and I slowed down just enough to tell her thank you for asking if I was okay. Then I started thinking about Carrie. I started thinking about how much she would love this if her knees and feet would allow her to compete. I got a surge of energy from that did not stop until Tuesday night.

Sidenote: Being a sucky swimmer has advantages. I passed approximately 1,558 after I emerged from the water. If I'd been passed by that many people after the swim it would have been mentally exhausting.


  1. Hey Bry - don't give me too much credit brother; this was all you man. Really proud of you.

  2. I can't really think of any other way to think about this Baz ... yeah - I dug deep but not without some good last minute advice.

  3. Congrats on your race, Bryan. Liz and I couldn't be more proud.

  4. Thanks John & Liz - you two are next.