Saturday, July 3, 2010

Today I met Herb Brown!

Today was a makeup swim. I don’t typically swim on Saturdays but I needed to make up this swim and I am glad I did. There was a young fellow there, who had light freckled skin. You can see that he was once an athletic male and that his hair wasn’t always white. It was likely strawberry blonde or red when he was in his prime. His skin showed his age but his enthusiasm for life told a different number. There was one lane open and I asked the 74 year old swimmer if he wanted to share this lane. He agreed and we both began to prepare for our workouts.

I carry my swim gear in my New Orleans 70.3 bag because it is perfect for my swim gear. It is also a reminder of why I take that bitterly cold first plunge into the pool. He asked if I did New Orleans Half Ironman and I proudly exclaimed (likely with my chest poked out just a bit) yes and it was a tough day. His reply wasn’t something I was expecting to hear. He congratulated me and told me he was in taper for Ironman USA (Lake Placid)! WOW! That is a tough course! Last year the average bike speed was 18mph. That is a far cry from other courses that average 22-24mph. Ironman Lake Placid it notoriously hilly; or at least that is what I am told.

Yeah big deal right, anyone can taper for an Ironman. Yeah except I was talking to someone who was making his SECOND trip to Ironman USA after completing it last year! “Herb Brown…You are an IRONMAN!” Mike Riley said 16 hours and 25 minutes after the cannon fired on that 2009 summer day in Lake Placid, NY.

When he walked into the swim area he was greeted by another swimmer which confirmed this guy is a regular. He was a very personable guy. One of those guys you don’t forget when you meet them. Im sure I could learn a lot from this “old man.” I’m certain he housed stories from the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam just to name a few. Yet the one thing I would have LOVED to hear about would have been his experience at Ironman Lake Placid.

I once heard the announcer on an Ironman Kona broadcast say in order to make the “Impossible”--“Possible” all you have to do is remove the letters “I-M”—IronMan! Herb Brown is an Inspiration!

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