Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nose and Toes


A really good friend of mine, Dr. Basmati, is a pediatric craniofacial surgeon.

What does that mean?

He takes little kids that are born with significantly misshapen skulls and does amazing surgery that makes them look very normal afterward.


The process is pretty extreme…they roll down the face…they cut off the bones, reshape the bone and then put it all back together again…pretty serious stuff and he is really good at it.

I work on the stuff that helps put everything back together so we do have a professional relationship aside from our friendship…

AND…for any of you that know me…no matter what…

I pretty much have to be a smart a$$ all the time :)

Lots of times I would talk with him just before one these cases or just after and when we were done talking or right before we hang up…

I would say…

”Hey wait man…(pause for effect)… don’t forget…”

“Don’t forget what?”

“Nose and toes, nose and toes, make sure you put the head on the right way this time.”

And I would giggle…ok laugh…pretty hard as he would get pi$$ed.

His response every time – “ohh whatever dude” click – I think his phone cuts out sometimes :)

I have pretty much stopped doing this now after the speaker phone incident and I really do want to keep my job :)


In almost any sport that involves movement, one of the 1st things you try to learn is lead with your head.

Whether that is a front flip off a diving board, a back flip on a supercross bike or a handle pass to blind ralley in kite surfing – lead with the head.


Triathlon is no different except the movement begins with getting your head and your toes pointing the same direction – mentally and physically.

For Ironman distance racing this is not an option – it is a requirement. The day is simply too long and the grind will break you down if you don’t have your head fully focused and pointed toward the finish line and the reasons why you are doing this lined up like sand bags on a bank of a cresting river of self doubt.


There is one question, one silly little question that can unseat all the fitness in the world and it can unravel even the toughest of athletes if the answer is not burned into their brains.

The question that rattles the nerves of endurance athletes everywhere…

“Why am I doing this?”

The answers vary from person to person – with goals and times and causes... but rest assured....

You NEED to have an answer…and you need to have it before you begin your day.

You will (sometimes over and over and over for 10+ hours) ask yourself this same silly question and if you struggle even momentarily for the answer- stutter or stammer or doubt…the sand bags will start to crumble and the rising tide of doubt will crest the banks.

Like a biblical act, the gods of all endurance sports will hear this siren to the heavens and they will rain down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who see fake the funk…and you will know you are not worthy…as they dispatch Vincent Vega to choreograph the monkeys dancing in your head :)


(Sorry - I love Pulp fiction – one of the best movies ever made :))

So – all around the block to get to this point…

You have to know why you are doing this to yourself…really…know why… and make it something worthwhile as this point is as crucial as long rides and t-runs.

I was lucky enough to have my epiphany in May of this year and it kept me motivated to train VERY hard for the whole summer.

As I got closer and closer to the race, my inner demons decided to show and question my resolve and motives.

Lucky for me…I had the moment…this moment of clarity…recorded and the day before the race – I watched it…

All is right with the world again…and demons are dispatched… silenced and my purpose reestablished…

This is not my race report…I will bore you with that next week…

This is just a prequel to the saga with the real chapters to be written in a few weeks.

I am very happy to have accomplished 1st goal and plan on enjoying every minute of the victory lap…

I missed my goal time by a little...I missed my place by one...but overall...I am content - my bread pudding still is great :)


Now I am focused on some shave ice with Bone...


Noses and toes aligned at the start and all the through to the finish :)

1 comment:

Libby said...

congrats on IMLou Shawn! been meaning to write you, awesome and inspiring performance. it gives me the chills to watch (online) someone perform to their potential. great stuff, seriously. enjoy every second of your kona build and the best shaved ice ever on october 8th :) thanks for inspiring us all :)