Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kona Post Race Thoughts


8 October 2011-

As I sit here on the plane headed back to the land of the “morning calm” (South Korea), I am headed back to reality.  The problem with heading back to “reality”, is that I don’t enjoy it.  What I enjoy is what I was surrounded by this past 12 days.  I was surrounded by my greatest supporters, FAMILY, and some great friends.  I have great friends back in Korea, but I don’t have my immediate family.  I was also surrounded by one of the most electrifying experiences in the triathlon world, the most talented triathletes in the world and I was among them.  It is the lifestyle that I have chosen over the past 3 ½ years, but it wasn’t until soaking in this whole experience that I realized that is what I want reality to be.  I experienced a similar feeling during the Tour de Korea, it is amazing to wake up every morning and do something that you love and enjoy.  Most people cannot say that when they wake up every morning, I WANT to be able to say that.

The reason I am writing this is I had a conversation with a great mentor of mine on Monday afternoon.  I called her in regards to some information about Team RWB (more to come on that in the coming weeks), from an athletes perspective.  She is the Air Forces top female triathlete and has won the Armed Forces Champs the past two years, and was last years female Air Force Athlete of the Year.  Her name is Kathy Rakel.  I have never met her, but she has been a great mentor to me, via email.  In talking about Team RWB, she asked me a question that others have asked before, but coming from her it opened my eyes.  She said something along the lines of “Your ultimate goal is to get your Pro card, right?” Those are big words coming from her, she knows what it takes, she knows how hard it is to get there.  She has done it, she is there.

My answer to her was what I think about chasing that dream.  It is only a dream right now; it is not realistic to think about that right now.  Another person’s advice I take greatly is Dev Paul, a fellow Slow Twitcher.  The best advice he gave to me leading up to IM Korea back in July was, “Brad, never think further than 30 minutes down the road during the race.”  Taking Dev’s advice I would let my mind wonder both during Korea and Kona, and I would think back to that great advice and when the mind would wonder that comment would come back into my head and I would re concentrate on what I had to do in those next 30 minutes.  Now when you think about it, an IRONMAN is 17 hours, if you want to be an IRONMAN.  Those “next” 30 minutes are only 2.9% of the race.  Why do I mention this, well let me explain……..

My answer back to Kathy is what I see as “reality”.  I told her, yes that would be a goal of mine but it is not an immediate goal right now.  I will evaluate that goal 3 years from now, why 3 years?  Well I have good faith that I can live to be 101 years old, and well 3 years of 101 years, is that magical 2.9%.  So taking Devs advice, I don’t want to look to far down this “race” of life.  I want to take it in small chunks, evaluating life as the curveballs come at me.  I can’t tell you where I will be in 3 years.  I will have the option to re enlist, possibly apply to Officer Training School, or get out and pursue a professional career outside the military.  Or if the next 3 years go well, and I continue to progress as a triathlete, I will at that time make a decision to pursue my Pro card.  But I am not looking that far down the road, YET ;)

Hopefully that answers the question that I have been asked in the past and the present about my future plans in triathlon and my thoughts on going pro.  I had a great race this past weekend, but when you look at the big picture, I was 225th overall, Craig Alexander beat me by an hour and a half, my age group winner beat me by 41 minutes and I was 32nd out of 96 in my Age Group.  I am not in a position right now to go pro, but with the right mentors and the right guidance by great people I believe I can make it there. 

There are just some variables that are out of my control, it is like an IRONMAN you just control the things you can, and if I continue to just concentrate on those 30 minute chunks I believe I can get there.  It seems like such a long shot for this mediocre high school athlete from Riverbank, to be aiming for the stars, but if you aim for the stars you fall to the trees, you aim for the tress you fall to the ground.  Dream big, and if you don’t achieve your goals, at least it is one amazing journey along the way.

(Just for clarification, I do think long term in terms of other life goals, but for sports/triathlon, I don’t look that far ahead ;).  I have been raised by great parents that have taught me to work hard and plan for retirement, which is one example of something that I look at more than 3 years down the road.)

1 comment:

Dave said...

Brad,
As a newcomer to your blog and your racing (I watched you cross the line at Kona online), as well as an Air Force member and a member of Team RWB, it would probably fit you well to join the ranks of RWB. You have the drive and heart not only for triathlon but for other aspects of life as well.

I'm new into the world of triathlon (finished my first IM in June here at Coeur d'Alene) - only been at it for two seasons, and had our first kid in January. I look forward to reading about your successes and likely collaborating with you on some information!

Take care,
Dave