Last One Out

Adam Bruderly
June 19, 2023

“Hey, do you want to grab onto the kayak?”

These words echoed in my ears as I struggled through the swim portion of my first Olympic distance triathlon. There I was floundering in the water, struggling to breathe, and flopping between a bad backstroke and freestyle.  I lifted my head and painfully realized I was the last one in the lake. Initially, my first instinct was to grab the kayak and quit, as my inner voice urged me to do so. Despite the sense of humiliation, I kept going and ultimately finished the race. In retrospect, that experience represented a pivotal inflection point in my life.

At that moment, I did not fully comprehend how participating in this local triathlon and experiencing an array of emotions would fundamentally shift my perspective on fear, uncertainty, and unlock the rewards of stepping out of my comfort zone. Not long after my wife and I moved 2,000 miles away from our families for the first time, triggering many of the same emotions of my first triathlon experience. It was during this period that I signed up for my first Ironman.

While I was floating alongside 2,500 other participants prior to the start, that familiar feeling and question resurfaced.  This time I heard it in my head … “Hey, do you want to grab onto the kayak?” No thanks.

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