It’s not always easy to come up with a new blog, but some days they fall right in your lap. I woke up to a text this morning about Racer K from our coach:
“For the sake of the Fab 5 +1, +2, I’m going to heavily edit Racer K’s Athlete of the Week write up because he talks ALOT of shit.”
I was confused because I had already awarded Racer K Crushing Iron Athlete of the Week right around the time he was East Nasty of the Week. So, he’s won yet another award?? Yes, he has. The coveted RX Endurance (our training group) Athlete of the Week has now been added to Kevin’s growing list of accolades.
Following is Kevin’s story and how his perspective on Ironman has shifted this year. He talks about what he’s learned and how training with a group of people dedicated to giving their best effort has impacted his life. I have witnessed Kevin ride a roller coaster of training emotions and can honestly say the most impressive and inspiring thing about Kevin is that, no matter what circumstances he faces, he is always ready to work, and in constant pursuit of improving, both in training and in life.
RxE Athlete of the Week- Kevin Gammon (Racer K)
This week’s athlete of the week is one of our more intriguing athletes, Kevin “Racer K” Gammon. In many areas Kevin has come as far as any of our athletes since the beginning of the year. His swim especially has transformed into a strength rather than a weakness due to his hard work and determination. We have shared a few CTJ rides together on the Trace where less than 10 words are spoken. He often keeps to himself but when he speaks you should listen. I asked Kevin to write about whatever he wanted and this is what he had to say…..
“It drives me crazy when people ask me to write about myself. When coach “asked” me to write this up my mind went in a million different directions. I didn’t want this to be your typical biography write-up because I already have a few of those out there. Luckily, after a short run it became glaringly obvious what I actually needed to type about. My journey with Robbie and the athletes of Rx Endurance has been centered on motivation. The past 8 months have been more mental in nature than physical. I believe that any progress I’ve made this year has been in my mind first and body second. Motivation is a tricky thing. Everyone’s motivation is different; there is not good measure of motivation. Worse, it can be fleeting and hard to repair when damaged. You can’t just “give” motivation; it has to be a spark from within. And yet it is the most important thing an athlete can have. Let me tell you where my motivation comes from and how RxE helped change it.
I started my trip seeking “things.” There are a lot of athletes out there, and I was one of them, that race “for the medal.” I have a wall full of them. I also wanted the magnet on the car. It is neat to be able to sit around and tell people you finished an Ironman. That can get you more free beer than you would think. A lot of people are like this and I’m not going to be the one to say anything is wrong with it. At least not on Facebook. Personally speaking I’ve found that if finishing was enough then I seldom improved. I just… finished. When I started working with Robbie I was still in this phase. That was, if I remember correctly, around last December.
Then you add in the people. The people at Rx Endurance are amazing. I can’t say enough about them and you will love hearing their stories. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than fighting with Mike at 6:00 a.m. trying to beat him to the buoy and back. My competitive history with Jim is well documented. I know it all sounds cutthroat. The reality is everyone in the group is very supportive of each other but we have a very healthy competitive attitude. Bragging rights can be great motivation. It’s no longer about the things, it’s about how you compare to others. This works great for a while and you can make leaps and bounds this way with the right competition. This is where my motivation came from and it was very limiting. What if Mike has a bad day? Do I still give 100% and pass him by or just enough where I can still give him a good elbow and take it easy? I think if you judge yourself based on the abilities of others then you lose the ability to define yourself. You’re really missing out.
The next thing in the mix comes from coaching. It doesn’t come all at once. It’s a more subtle influence and I think this has been the best benefit from my time under the RxE umbrella. Over the long months my training has become less about the things outside and more about me. What can I accomplish and what can I achieve? What else can I learn about myself along the way? My friends have become support and not competition. I really don’t care about the medals. I just love the sport. The actually race day is just a date on the calendar, I have no intention of stopping when its through. I want to be the best athlete that I can. More importantly, I want to be the best person that I can and live true to myself. I want to grow physically and mentally. Training for this Ironman and with this group of people literally changed my outlook on life. Motivation doesn’t increase in a linear fashion. I’ve had several bumps in my road (where coach promptly jumps in, I swear he has a freaking radar) but in the end I have never been this motivated to succeed.
Forget the medals. Forget the competition. Look inside yourself and run your own race. Always give 100% and don’t be afraid to fail to reach your goals. Everything else will work itself out. Just have a little faith. That’s where I’m at now. A big change from December. Totally worth it.
That’s my RxE story. I look forward to showing my growth this September at Ironman Wisconsin.”