I arrived some weeks ago here to Texas, and I found out that half of my brother is missing. Well, perhaps not missing. Perhaps just left behind.
Right after I left for Armenia in 2009 my family decided to change their lives and get healthy. Since then they’ve been dropping pounds left and right. I went to my mom’s spinning class a few days ago, and on dry land she would have left me in the dust.
My brother took to triathalons. He has lost close to 100 pounds. In two years.
My brother’s the one in the yellow shirt below.
I’m not sure where the rest of him is, but no matter. He started running triathalons right after I started my Peace Corps service. Over two years he wrote me hundreds of emails, some of which included details on his training schedule, miles of running, miles of biking, and miles of swimming.
His first tri was the TriWaco, and for his tenth triathalon, marking two years in the sport, my brother ran the TriWaco again. This was a couple weeks ago, and this was my first time cheering him on.
See him there. No? Tiny green hat by the yellow bouy. He was out there, treading water for minutes before the race. I’m fairly certain I would have been done at that point. The whole lot of these folks climbed into the Brazos River for a long swim to start their Olympic distance race.
At this point these people have swam a full mile. They are still paddling. Upstream. I cannot even float that long. Women, men, old young, swimming up the Brazos. My brother hopped out of the water right after this point and didn’t stop to catch a breath. He hopped right on a bike for a 26 mile ride.
Can I reiterate that there was no catching of breath. At this point he’s still wet.
I waited with my parents, my sister, and my sister-in-law on the side of the road, sitting in lawn chairs. We took turns interviewing each other about Garrett’s race. I imagined he was out there in the zone, meticulously measuring his metabolism, gulping down an energy bar, reaching behind his seat for his stash of water, all this while whipping around his competitors and zooming around hairpin turns.
And then before I knew it, we were all shouting at the sight of his white bike shoes and black bullet helmet. My sister-in-law and I dashed with our cameras and bags hoping to make it to the checkpoint in time to see him start the final leg. I think I accidentally knocked a water bottle out of some guy’s hand (sorry, dude!). But I did snap this right before the 10k run:
I’m sure you are very exercise savvy yourself. I am not. In the last two years in Armenia, I didn’t see a lot of exercise. And I certainly never saw any long distance race. And then I get home to see half my brother swim over a mile, bike 25 and then run a 10k. He did all of that in 2 hours, 41 minutes and 35 seconds. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in constant motion that long.
You know, I went through a lot of changes over my two years in Peace Corps. I came home to find that so did my brother. He’s faster, fitter, and happier than I think I have ever seen him. And I am, quite frankly, astonished that he can do all this.
Brother, you are one inspiring guy.