Balls On The Line ⚾️🏈🏀

In Blog, Hustle Podcast by Eric Byrnes

A few weeks back, we took a family vacation to Hawaii so Tarah could ride her bike & compete in the Honu 70.3 Half-Ironman as part of a relay team with fellow HMB coastsider badasses Tina (run) & Karen (swim)…

I shipped my bike to Kona so I could enjoy a few epic Queen K Highway rides but by no means was I even thinking about racing… I was barely a month removed from the 106 mile world record golf event, and outside of a couple super short sessions, I had not swam or ridden my bike since the Let Them Play Tri Across America, which ended 8 months earlier…

Then on the way over to the island, Tarah suggested that I “hop in the race” if I could get a spot…

Hop in the race???

You don’t just hop into a race like this… This is a half Ironman that just so happens to be an absolute BALL BUSTER. The ocean swim is beautiful, but there is a lot of people and a lot of moving water on a swim course that is notorious for having SLOW times… The bike is a gorgeous 56 mile out and back on the famous Ironman World Championship course, but the route is challenging and the winds can be BRUTAL… As far as the run, put simply, it is the most difficult half Ironman run that I have done… About 50 percent of the run takes place on the grass of a golf course which sucks the energy right from your legs… The heat is so unbearable that oftentimes you will see runners incapacitated by heat exhaustion, dehydration and cramping… Safe to say, race day medics are always incredibly active.

So to “hop in” a race like this without specifically training for it would be asinine…

Then, I was reminded of the Daily Hustle and The F*IT List

I was reminded of how I continually preach that things don’t always have to be perfect, and we all need to learn to put ourselves into vulnerable positions… I was reminded that we need to learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable and that life is education and EXPERIENCE… Then it slapped me in the face and grabbed me by the nuts at the same time…

If I don’t practice what I preach, who the f*ck am I to tell you GO HARDS anything. 🤦‍♂️

F*ck IT… I was ALL IN.

When we got to Kona, I immediately signed up for the race then hit an open water swim session to make sure I still had the ability to stay afloat. I then went for a short spin on the bike to make sure everything still worked properly, and 2 days later, I toed the start line of the Honu Ironman 70.3…

The swim was spectacular but spectacularly SLOW too…  A normal half Ironman swim will take me between 30 and 35 minutes… This one took 40. 😅

As soon as I took off on the bike, there was an immediate climb and right away I noticed my back tire rubbing the frame, which I then dealt with for the entire 56 miles. Because I was not trained to ride and the constant tire rubbing, I was forced to put out WAY MORE effort than I would have liked to… 56 miles later, I completed the ride in a decent 2:33 time, but I undoubtedly paid the price. As I tried to get off my bike, both legs cramped and I would have tipped over had a volunteer not been there to catch me. First thing the volunteer said was…

“Oh my… Hopefully you are just doing the relay and don’t have to run.”

My response… “Nah… I don’t have to run… I GET to run.” 🤗

After sucking down a mustard packet to get the legs working again, I took off on the run and could not feel my feet for the first mile… By the time I got to mile 3, the reality of the heat began to set in and by the time I finished the first loop at mile 6.5, I was miserable…

Never mind, I was F*CKING MISERABLE.

Then at about mile 7, I was deep into the Pain Cave, and instead of bitching about how uncomfortable I was or how awful my times were compared to previous years, I decided to fully embrace the SUCK for all of its worth… Sure it seemed like every muscle in my body was on the verge of shutting down and I felt like I was sucking air through a damp paper straw, but I immediately thought to myself this is the PROCESS, this is the STRUGGLE and this is the PAIN that lets us know we are still ALIVE… The reward isn’t some bullshit medal that I was going to get at the end of the race… This is the F*CKING AWARD.

I finished up in 5 hours & 18 minutes, 20 minutes slower than the last time I raced Honu, but to be completely honest, I didn’t give two flying rat f*cks…

This race wasn’t about a time goal or chasing a qualification spot… This race was about laying my ball sack on the line and figuring out what I was capable of accomplishing on limited training… This race was about the EFFORT, the SUFFER and the realization that in order to truly LIVE our lives, we must let go of trying to make everything perfect.

The ironic thing was that I finished 14/150 in my age group and because of the roll down process, I qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France in September…

Every now and again, I guess it pays off to put our BALLS ON THE LINE. 🤷‍♂️

Happy HURTIN,

EB