So today the OGREs are heading out to do a little weekend run. Just a ~200 mile kog from Chattanooga to Nashville with 10 of our friends. How did this happen? Because someone asked. Was there thought or planning that went into this? NOPE! Welcome to the life of an OGRE. Sometimes, you just have to say “screw it, sounds like fun”
Why did I do an Ironman? 13 months ago, after my brother Dru did his first Sprint triathalon said he wanted to do an Ironman. “Ok” I responded. “You don’t have to do this,” he said. He was right. I didn’t have to do it, I wanted to. Maybe there was a little competitiveness with my older brother, but I told him, “I won’t finish before you, but I will finish on the same day.” We are close in age, but were not so close for a number of years.
In 2008, I quit smoking and started wogging (just enough jogging to avoid calling it a walk). One year later, my cousins convinced me to sign up for the Kentucky Derby Half Marathon. I had never run a mile. One year of training later, I cried at the finish line of a half marathon. My cousin Dorothy and I decided to try a marathon. Seven months later, we completed the Outer Banks Marathon together. My mom and dad were there at the finish. I cried again. One or two marathons per year satisfied my fitness needs. Not too fast, not too slow.
Dru did athletic things when we were younger and had the natural ability. In his teens and twenties he rode. This past year, in training, we saw that he is a damn good cyclist. However, his thirties were no kinder to his middle than mine. I’d like to think my journey inspired him to start running. And just as he was getting up to a couple of miles, I called one morning with a free entry to a 10K the next day. “ok,” he responded. “You don’t have to do this, ” I told him. “I know. Pick me up at 6AM?” The photo of us running that 10K together will still be up in my house when I am very old. That day, we decided to run a marathon together. Disney marathon sounded like a good idea.
In November 2012, we ran Rock and Roll Savannah full. Ed, Dru and I went down together in Ed’s 40′ RV. All three brothers together was amazing, we have to do it more. The day before the marathon Dru reminded me that he had done 100 mile bike rides, the marathon would not be so bad. We ran side by side until mile 18. He was hurting, but we were ahead of the 5 hour pacer. When the pacer passed us, I got antsy. “Go. I’ll be right behind you” Dru admonished. I went. Dru finished nearly an hour behind me. I did not like that feeling. Dru did not want to marathon again. I left him behind to serve my own goals.
2 months later, Disney was worse and, in every way, better. I had run the half marathon the prior day for my “personal” race. We were running 26.2 together. For the fun. For the pictures. All of it. Our families, including Mom, Dad and Ed were all down for this trip. Dru tweaked his ankle at Mile 10 of Disney. In pain, the last thing Dru needed was his little brother bouncing like a chihuahua panting, “How you feeling? Need anything? Wanna run? Wanna walk? Wanna put a foot in your brother’s teeth?” for the next few hours. Instead of staying by his side, I talked to everyone within half a mile of Dru. I asked them why they were running. I was inspired by their stories. I coached spectators. They were happy when I moved on. I serenaded fellow runners. We stopped for every photo together. I ran the bases in Wide World of Sports. I rode Everest with my brother in the middle of a marathon. We hugged our family in the street. We had the time of our lives. Dru swore off marathons. He lied. We did Savannah in 2013 and 20 14.
So in Summer 2014, Dru’s friend Dave gets Dru out for a Tri. A little sprint Tri in July. Dru decided to do an Ironman. I mean, why not? How hard can it be? Queue the prior conversation… Apparently, if we volunteer for IMChatt in 2014, then we get dibs for entering 2015. At 6 AM after a day of helping runners at mile 13 of the run that looked like they wanted to die, we stood in line for 364 days of anticipation. A couple of questions I asked during tis line included, “So, how far will we race?” and “it costs how much?”.
12 months later, I became an Ironman. 144.6 miles sounds like a lot of steps, but for me , it was just one of many
As anyone that has ridden with the OGRE’s will already know, we do advocate the use of helmets, particular on the roads in a ‘sport’ or ‘recreational’ usage, but we fully agree that mandatory helmet laws for all bike usage, including path, and transportation uses are counter productive to expanding bicycle growth and usage, as well as having no discernible statistical value in reducing head trauma occurrences. Yes a helmet can reduce the amount of damage in an accident, but the use of a helmet also increases the risks cyclists (and drivers) take while wearing them.
Either way, read the article. Good food for thought.
Just a PSA, tonights ride from EH at 630 will be without any OGREs. Unfortunately, OGRE Dru is trapped at work and will be unable to lead the ride tonight.
Back when we started batting the idea of OGRE around, we really didn’t have a plan, it was more of nebulous idea. Over the last year, that idea has begun to coalesce into something more. What exactly “more” constitutes is something that we are really just now putting into action, but the ideas, well, it is time to share.
In the beginning, OGRE was just a place for the brothers to share their racing escapades, bike, swim, run and motorcycle. At first, OGRE was Old Guys Racing Enterprises. The problem was that really didn’t fit for long. As we really started to realize that, for us, OGRE was less about us, and more about the people we hope to influence, inspire and encourage, things changed. Somewhere along the way, that “Eureka!” moment occurred.
With OGRE, we really are not looking to just publish about our “Epic Adventures” but to use the adventures to learn, to teach and to encourage. All of the sudden, it was not Racing, but Random, because these things are crossing boundaries that simply are not just racing. For example, we run to run, not just to race. We love to bike yet we really don’t race bikes. It also leads to something that we are seriously looking into to go step further, an OGRE Jump Start program that is the equivalent of a Couch to 5k program designed for getting started on a bicycle.
But there is more. Remember that Eureka! moment? Yep, that one.
OGRE is not just us. Not even close. OGRE is a philosophy, a movement about movement. It might even be a religion, because to us, it is. Being OGRE defines who and what we are about more than anything else. It is founded on some very basic concepts.
- Live right
- Love others
- Respect yourself
- Don’t be a jerk
- Don’t be a selfish jerk
- Don’t preach what you don’t live
Sounds simple right? It isn’t. Far from it, this is really hard to do in practice, especially since these concepts are pretty broad concepts, so I guess we need to look at them a little more closely.
Ultimately, all of the others fall under this broad one, but we leave it here because in many ways, this one idea applies to every decision we make on the path of life. What does it mean though? It means that when an OGRE looks at a situation and chooses the option that is the “right” one, where right is defined as the one that doesn’t make them a selfish jerk, and best benefits everyone involved.
Something that is often forgotten along the way is that we have to love the people around us in order to truly learn to love ourselves and our lives. All too often, we get so mired in our own problems, that we forget that we are not islands. What we do, and how we behave directly impacts those around us. When we fail to love and respect them, we fail ourselves. Part of this means forgetting that things like race, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion or even food choices exists. These are not things that should ever matter.
Seriously, living the OGRE lifestyle means forgetting those biases even exist, and simply learning to appreciate others for who and what they are. If it helps, keep in mind our namesakes. We are not princes and princesses. We are the ugly, the fat, the swamp dwellers, and we are not only fine with it, we have embraced it. We are OGREs.
This one should not even need to be mentioned, but really, it has become one of the most important reminders. Along the path of life, most of us have been worn down. We have had every flaw exposed, diagnosed and those flaws have come to be a part of our identities. We have our warts, and in all of that ugliness, we have come to respect the people that have torn us town more than we respect ourselves. As OGREs, we have learned that we have to respect ourselves. From that respect, we can grow and rediscover our true selves, peeling away the layers of shame and ugliness that we have allowed others to cocoon us with.
Don’t Be a Jerk
Curiously, with self respect sometimes comes an arrogance that leads us to be jerks to others. Part of the OGRE way is to find the path to respect and confidence without being a jerk. Sounds easy, but in practice, not being a jerk is situational. You have to understand the people around you and temper your behavior and decisions around how your actions will be received by them. It is the little things.
In a household of all men, leaving the toilet seat up is a courtesy. Other men don’t want to sit on a pee splash seat, but at the same time, don’t want to have to flip it up to pee. On the flip side, in a household of women, that seat should always be put down after use. Again, courtesy that when applied in a reasonable manner is the very soul of not being a jerk.
Don’t Be a Selfish Jerk
In so many ways, this one, more than any of the others is the one that challenges most of us in out daily lives. We do a hundred little selfish things every single day. We don’t even realize them. No where does this show more than when we get behind the wheel of a car. Racing up, weaving through traffic, camping in the left lane. Pushing stop lights, rolling stop signs, and other behaviors are all actions deeply rooted in our selfish desires to reach our destinations quicker. The fact that most of these actions slow down those around us only makes them even more selfish.
However, things get even more complex when we start telling or worse, enforcing, our opinions onto others. Think about the times we are driving in our cars, get angry at the behavior of a selfish driver and then we enforce our unhappiness upon the next driver that does that thing. You know, waiting in line to turn and that other driver whips past the line cutting in at the last minute, so you close the gaps to keep the next one from doing it? I see it every single day when I am driving around town.
Don’t Preach What You Don’t Live
Seriously, how hard is this? You would think it would be easy, but it seems that this is the single hardest concept for most people. This very post has been written and deleted a dozen times in the last year, simply because it is preaching a lifestyle that we choose to live, but we really don’t like preaching it to others. That simply isn’t the OGRE way. You can choose to follow suit, but that is your choice, but it also means that you don’t preach it, you live it.
You have more can than you think you can – favorite shirt
Don’t drown, Don’t Crash, Don’t quit – my own mantra
Remember your why – favorite sign
Scott, You are an Ironman! – my favorite sentence. A 5 word sentence that I did not really care about before race day.
I assume every Ironman has asked themselves during the race why they are putting their body through this pain. I know most of the pain is a lie that my brain tells my body to make me quit. My brain tells me I am done long before I am really done; but this I have learned during training, “I have so much more can than I think I can.” And more importantly, I “get” to do this. I have close friends battling Cancer from hospital rooms. My wife could not make the trip because she had to take her mom to ICU on Friday. My wife wants me to finish. She does not want me to repeat this investment for a while… “What investment?”, you ask
Money? Oh damn, this game is expensive. $700 for the entry fee. Join a team, $150. Oh, that bike won’t do. Low end tri bike $1400. GU, Carbs, Protein, Shoes, Helmet, etc… Hotels, training travel, training races… Oh my.
Time? Tuesday after work run. Wednesday after work bike. Saturday long ride. Sunday run. Daily lunch exercise. Tired all the time
I am a swimmer. I did not swim competitively when I was young, but I grew up with a pool in the back yard. As it happens, recreational swimming and distance swimming are not the same. Lots of pool time, not enough open water time. I could have trained harder.
I am not a strong rider. I don’t love the bike, more to the point, I don’t like cars. In metro Atlanta , there are few places to train hills and avoid cars. Thank goodness I spent the money to buy a team. Training weekends on the bike were so much better in no drop groups. I trained and whined. I could have trained harder.
I am a strong runner. I like to run. There is a reason I have done 8 marathons since I quit smoking. I switch on my audio book and disconnect my brain. I picked bike hours over run hours. I could have trained harder.
The entire week before the Ironman, I was a nervous wreck. Concentration was impossible. I am not a fan of the extra hotel night of Friday Check-in, but getting to Chattanooga finally let me breathe. I could focus on the fun and the fun with my brother. He trained harder, but shared the nervousness. It was me and my team, together for whatever. Everything about the weekend was about the event. Friday was check in and dinner with the team. Dru and I ran the hilly 5 miles of the run course. Saturday was a test swim in the river and bike check in. Early to bed and Sunday to rise will make this man stronger and done with this Tri.
Dru and I were at the Courtyard beside the Ironman village, so we were able to check our bikes and get body marking done with time to head back to the room for Hotel Room poop. I do love a nice private poop. The swim start is actually part of the greenway run course later. A mile of athletes waiting for an epic day means long lines at the porta potties. The official water temp meant that wearing a wetsuit was optional, meaning the wearing a wetsuit disqualified you from age group awards. Dru opted to swim without his wetsuit. I choose buoyancy. Wetsuiters had to go last, so I gave Dru a hug and wished him a great race.
Once my feet hit the water, the day was on. I have never loved open water swimming. Something about bumping into others keeps me from getting into the “zone.” It took a couple hundred yards to get a good google seal. Eventually, I got settled into a groove. I had a number of course resets and looking for open areas to swim, but 2.4 miles has never gone so fast for me. The TVA limited the current, but 3 days of rain made for favorable waters. As the finish came into sight, I took a break and relaxed; I had to tell the volunteer kayaker that I was just warming the water. It beat waiting in a pottie line. Don’t drown – Check 1:05 Swim
My shorty wetsuit made for a simple transition. I stuck to my nutrition plan and stuffed my face as I ran my bike out. Dru and I had come up 3 weeks before and rode the bike course. I knew this course would not beat me, only riding too fast would beat me. I planned to keep my average at 15 MPH. 3 weeks of taper had me feeling good and staying under 17 was a challenge. I made it to the first aid station at mile 20 before another bathroom break. Fortunately, there was no line for rest stop one. Finally, I felt I was really on my way. 116 miles on the bike is monotony. I did not have the breath for chatting. Thank yous for the volunteers and “on your left” broke up the day. The ride is beautiful. The hills are not hell on the ride. The most exciting moment of the ride was the Pros passing me like I was standing still on the turn on to Hog Jowl Road. My biggest fear was knocking into one of them and ruining their race.
A friend of mine had told me that the game of Ironman is nutrition. Gatorade Endurance on the course, Base Salt and GU, put me in great shape. I had peanut butter crackers and more sport beans in my 56 mile bag. I also had a packet of Chamois Butt’r. Never before have I applied napalm to my balls, but to prevent further damage… One final pee break at the final aid station and I was homeward bound. My tailbone was on fire. The last 16 miles hurt, but I finished. I admitted that the bike and me were breaking up. We had some good times, but she was breaking me. Don’t crash – Check 6:52:42
My half distance race (70.3 miles) had taught me that the tri kit zipper would bounce and draw blood on the run. I hated not wearing my team gear, but my bike to run transition included a compression shirt that I was incapable of putting on. Another big volunteer “thank you” for helping an old man dress. Another coating of body glide and I was out for a run. Only one goal left, don’t quit.
As it happens, I am a strong runner; but I did not have a run plan. I started at a 10 minute mile and figured I would run until I couldn’t. Then I would walk. Then I would run until I couldn’t. Then I would walk. Repeat. This was a recipe for injury. I got lucky. I got lucky that I had a team. At mile 2, I found Tara from my Endurance House Team. I asked Tara about her run plan. “Run 3 minutes at the top of every mile. Then speed walk.” She was certainly speed walking. A 14 minute mile walk pace meant a 12 minute mile average. I decided to stay with her until 13 or so. “Or so” became the rest of the night. Thank goodness for teams.
Scott, you are an Ironman. The 5 words I did not care about for 20 or so hours on Sept 27. Somewhere around 8 PM, those words started to matter. There was a sign along the course, “Remember your Why.” Those words were never part of my “why” but they were part of my finish. As we crossed the bridge for the second loop, I could hear people finishing. I could hear people becoming an Ironman. I wanted to finish this step of my journey. Scott, you are an Ironman became part of “don’t quit”. Dru and I would do this together.
At mile 21 we found another teammate struggling. Lee joined us in our now 13:30 minute mile pace. Together, we made a plan. Tara, me, then Lee. We would each hear our name and those words. I would see my children. I would miss my wife who was home with her mother in the hospital. As my feet hit the IM carpet, I threw my arms in the air. My kids tell me I ran by too fast for them to get a video. “Scott from Georgia. You are an Ironman!” Yes, I am. An amazing volunteer walked me through the finish activities. He delivered me to my children. I was stinky and sweaty and hugged them anyway. I swore I would cry, but I didn’t. I was happy and proud. Dru found me and hugged me. I was so proud of him. Mom and dad found me. They were so proud of their sons. They also had Mellow Mushroom. I would have picked Mellow Mushroom over sex at that moment.
The Ironman was harder than I thought it would be. Constant motion for 13 hours and 54 minutes was exhausting. My pain was not so bad. My teammate Tara had saved me with a manageable run, I might have been able to finish 20 minutes faster, but would have resulted in injury and that demoralizing loneliness of miles 18-21 on the run. After a little rest and relishing the joy, we headed to the hotel. I showered in my full run kit. It needed washing anyway. I told my kids I was heading back to the finish line. I had to be there to cheer for the midnight club. It was an awesome experience. Finishing was hard for this 42 year old. I never worried about the clock. Cheering for men and women whose “all” was dangerously close to a DNF was awesome. Find the video of the man who finished at 11:59:59. The true story is that he paced in the man before him; however, the drama of his finish matched the day. The day is everything that every man and woman has to give.
I love that I am an Ironman. I loved the weekend with my brother. I love that my family was there at the finish. I love that my team made my day. I love asking Dru, “what’s next?” I love know that more epic shit is in our future.
Dru, you and your brother Scott became Ironmen as part of a life of epic shit. Keep doing epic shit!
But yes, I know the EH rides are done for the season, but I’m not ready to hit the trainer yet. So EH route, 630, from the usual departure zone. Bring your lights, you will need them.