Food for the Soul

Well out with the MBA, in with the Ironman training! Not that it wasn’t there before but holy cow has it ramped up. I am now training at an hourly equivalent to a part time job, but don’t ask me how I’m doing it because I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Mostly, I don’t really sleep or relax, I eat constantly, and the rest is just a blur. My excitement consists of watching movies for mindless entertainment while either spinning on my trainer or stretching before collapsing into a helpless pile of goo in my bed for what is a laughable amount of sleep before waking up for another round in the morning. It must be May…

I’m not one to shy away from challenges or intimidating circumstances but my gosh, Ironman is beginning to cast a dark, looming shadow. The more I talk about it with people the more I wonder to myself WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING TRAINING FOR THIS THING!?!

I was recently explaining the race to some friends and was trying to put it in context for them in relation to our lives in Reno. Basically, I will swim across Donner Lake, bike to Sacramento, and then run to Fernley. Gah, the panic is slowly trickling into my head as I’m becoming more in touch with the sheer magnitude of this kind of event. Frankly, it’s overwhelming even just reading about strategies for surviving the race because everyone has their own opinions and strategies for success. Some suggest eating a gel every 20 minutes, another camp fully supports eating PB and J while drinking chocolate milk, some bring Twix and Snickers in their bags, and yet others swear by a strange mix of guava juice, monkey fur, and ketchup. Sigh…

I only know a paltry handful of people who have completed an Ironman, not more than three, that’s pretty daunting odds if you ask me. That means the chances of me being the only Ironman someone knows is also pretty high. Better not let the expectations weigh me down. Oh the pressure, I love it!

The similarities between 2011 and 2013 are so far somewhat disturbing me. In 2011 I was gearing up for my first half Iron (70.3 miles) and this year is of course the full 140.6 excursion through Idaho. 2011 had me soul-searching to discover myself in the MBA program; 2013 has me soul-searching because I’m graduating. 2011 forced me into all kinds of fun adventures and 2013 has yet to disappoint me with a new dog, a new career, a new degree, a new camera, new social circles…


Food is what keeps us alive, fuels our body and our minds, and keeps us pressing on as long as we consume it in adequate amounts. The amount of food I purchase and devour is rather insane, but without it I would wither away (and often do as my friends can vouch). It’s a great source of energy but so are many other things in life:

  • Social interactions – I thrive on meeting new people, having engaging conversations, debating the strengths and weaknesses of superheroes, and just engaging my friends and people close to me at a personal level. It’s not energizing in the way that a power nap is but it’s fun exposing my brain to new things.
  • Good support – I will never forget the construction adventures with my dad as a little kid. He used to drive me around to various sites where a new bridge or parkway or other wonderful feat of human ingenuity was taking place and would talk me through how it all works together. Frankly, I find large-scale construction quite fascinating especially how it is all rooted in the supports that are put into place. Bridges need massive amounts of cabling, concrete, towers, arches, or whatever else to keep them up in the air while bearing a load, and roads need to be built so as not to collapse under thousands of cars driving over certain areas every single day. Our lives aren’t different; in fact, we take beatings on a daily basis which is why we must find support through those around us. Life is rife with stress, disappointment, and downers but it’s also packed with joys, wonderful experiences, and adventures of an epic proportion. Sometimes, we just need to view it all through a different lens…
  • Fuzzy pets – I have always had a soft spot in my heart for warm creatures dating back to my 6 year old self in Tennessee when I got my first hamster Rocky. I gradually progressed through the ranks with my Fuzzies and have finally arrived at a dog of my very own. Next time you see me, you should ask me to tell the story of how my parents replaced me with a dog the week after I went off to college. That’s always a hoot… Regardless, there’s just a great feeling coming back to creatures that look forward to seeing you.
  • Tools of the trade – I wouldn’t be a very good IT dude without a computer or a very diverse set of computer skills just like an artist would really suck without brushes and a slew of rainbowed pastel splotches on their palette.  A triathlete without goggles, a bike, or running shoes sure won’t get far, and an astronaut without oxygen, well, that won’t end nicely. We all gather tools for our chest in life and may use some of them often, and others rarely. Interestingly, it’s the collection of tools and how we use them that makes us unique and exciting individuals.
  • Mental perseverance – My mad devotion to success in life and triathlon can only be explained by an inane locus of control, the ability to set ridiculous (yet achievable) goals for myself, and just an internal thirst for more, more, more! For whatever reason, my mental and emotional aptitude for success are thrusting me ever forward to June 23rd. The words “Russell Aaron, you are an IRONMAN!” will be well worth the grocery bill, taxing training, loss of sleep, sore muscles, and social outings cut short. It’s going to be a good year. Strap in!

The weeks are blazing by, and summer will be in full force soon. What had previously been a neatly laid out plain is quickly becoming a cratered pothole of craziness, beautiful weather, and no more school! Huzzah! Happy Friday to all and to all a good weekend!

Picture credit 1.



  1. That’s SO COOL Russell. From a wuss, I totally admire you and yes, think you’re a little crazy! Fortunately you have good taste in music….FOR THE MOST PART. LOL BTW, Rhianna’s “Stay” is #1 right now.

    1. Haha thanks! Not sure how I missed this comment :-) yeah, for the record I used to think you had good taste in music until you told me you listen to Rhianna … Such a sad day ;[

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