Ironman Wisconsin was inspiring enough, but to be walking around with a camera and have random people grab me to say they read Crushing Iron blew my mind. One of those guys was Brad Garrison, who was with a big support group, and ready to tackle his first Ironman. He yelled out, “Crushing Iron!” and that moment landed him in this Ironman Wisconsin Swim Start teaser video. Below is the story of how watching Ironman, then going on simple run became the catalysts for making Brad believe, anything is possible.
Sportscry and Inspire for the Rest of Your Life — Brad Garrison
Having been a fan of “Crushing Iron” for quite some time, it was an honor to meet Mike Tarrolly at the top of the Monona Terrace helix prior to the start of Ironman Wisconsin on September 7, 2014. Being a recent resident of Nashville and East Nasty runner, I knew of him through, Daniel Hudgins, another one of the “Fab Five.”
I jumped at the opportunity to guest-blog and offer a brief glimpse into my journey to become an Ironman, hoping to offer some inspiration and insight related to my pursuit of such a challenge. I vividly remember watching in amazement as my brother, Brian, became an Ironman at Lake Placid in 2011 amid the unraveling of my marriage. Witnessing his journey caused me to turn to running which helped alleviate the stress of my divorce, the hatred I had for the person I was divorcing and the City of Madison where we had moved together. This was the beginning of a positive change in my life.
Brian and Crystal, his wife who became an Ironman at Louisville in 2010 while they were dating, became a source of inspiration for me, not only to begin running, but throughout my journey. Had they not displayed a potential for challenging their limits, I might not have known that I could find happiness in movement, and in challenging my own limits thus making positive life change. It’s the journey and transformation that’s really awesome. Although much of the training for Ironman is directed towards a once unfathomable goal of 140.6 miles within a single 17 hour period on a particular calendar date, it’s the incredible emotional change that occurs over that period of training that is truly remarkable, awesome, and inspiring.
I will tell you that I thought Ironman was impossible for somebody like me. Compared to my brother, I’m four years older and have always been a little shorter and quite a bit thicker. If you look at pictures from 2011, I wasn’t what could be described as athletic. Brian has always looked fit, so the fact that he became a runner and transformed into a triathlete and an Ironman wasn’t terribly surprising, but I remember thinking he was crazy and that only “fit, athletic people” were capable of taking on such challenges.
The impossible started becoming possible with a simple jog on August 20, 2011. That simple jog led to running. Running led to friends. Friends led to biking. Biking led to interest in triathlon. Interest in triathlon led to swim lessons. And after spending 2013 trying to put it all together, 2014 became the year that I would become an Ironman!
That’s what’s great about running and triathlon. You don’t have to look athletic or be any certain size to begin making forward progress. You only have to be inspired to start moving forward, and through that movement, you can find further inspiration.
Training provided days when the thought of 140.6 miles seemed somewhat attainable, usually followed by humbling days where the idea of biking the 112 miles alone seemed completely insurmountable. That’s what’s awesome about the relationship between the human body and the mind. The body is willing and able to respond to crazy ideas that the mind has, once the mind has been afforded the opportunity to strengthen its capacity for challenging fear, limitations, and negative thoughts.
While working to train my body and mind, I also learned the power of “#sportscry.” Have you ever felt #sportscry? Maybe you’ve experienced it when you watched Rudy or Miracle, when you crossed a finish line for a PR that you worked hard for, or witnessed a “physically challenged” athlete cross a finish line. Perhaps you felt #sportscry for a friend or family member like I did watching Brian become an Ironman in Lake Placid, as it typically anoints itself related to the accomplishment of a goal or hearing an inspiring story. #sportscry truly embodies everything that running and triathlon has meant for me and is a connection I feel towards my fellow athletes, becoming a personal mantra that I even wore on my tri kit for Ironman Wisconsin.
Ironman’s slogan is that “Anything is Possible” and it truly is. It’s also said that once you swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles, you can “brag for the rest of your life.”
What I hope is that I will never forget my motivation and inspiration to begin moving along on this emotional journey to become an Ironman and that instead of bragging to others, I can channel the power of #sportscry to inspire for the rest of my life. I hope you’ll do the same!
Tweet me about your own #sportscry experience at @BradleyGarrison
Kansas City, MO
Ironman Wisconsin 2014 Finisher – Bib #1684