In the entirety of my lengthy career as a journalist, I found this interview to be the most challenging, and certainly the least rewarding. The darker, negative side of Bryan, despite being three days away from his first Ironman, seemed to be anything but excited. Personally, I’m pretty pumped.
Bryan J. Rollins: Bryan, welcome to the blog of Bryan J. Rollins. We really appreciate you taking the time.
Bryan J. Rollins: I’d appreciate it if you stopped pretending that this wasn’t compulsory.
Bryan J. Rollins: Listen, a little cooperation would really be appreciated.
Bryan J. Rollins: Okay, we’ve lived together, or more accurately we’ve been the same person for 39 years. You should know me well enough to understand my issues with authority.
Bryan J. Rollins: So, why are you doing an Ironman?
Bryan J. Rollins: I’d prefer “racing an Ironman” or “running an Ironman” to the phrase “doing an Ironman.” People might get the wrong idea. Or the right idea. But I’d like to keep any ideas to a minimum.
Bryan J. Rollins: Answer the question.
Bryan J. Rollins: There you go, aspirating my issues with authority. But I’ll give you a freebie and answer the question. I’m racing in my first Ironman because I want to find out what I’m capable of. I wanted to set an example to others of what a transplant recipient could do. I wanted to give you an answer that made you feel good and then pull the rug out from underneath you. I’m mostly doing it because David Miller Iron-bated me into doing it. Yes, that’s a word, and not a dirty one. Iron-bating is when you claim you are going to do a Ironman, you talk someone else into it, and then you bail. For additional references on Iron-bating, see also “Bressie, Tom.” Are you happy? Is this going to help your click through rates? Why don’t you go check your blog dashboard to see if someone else has been dumb enough to read your blog in the last four seconds.
Bryan J. Rollins: We’re not done with the interview yet, so I couldn’t have posted anything. And you’re an @$#%.
Bryan J. Rollins: The phrase “takes one to know one” has ironic meaning at this juncture in our conversation.
Bryan J. Rollins: Alright, Ironman Arizona is less than one week away. What is your biggest fear?
Bryan J. Rollins: Being sexually ravaged by a giraffe or a rhinoceros.
Bryan J. Rollins: Rephrase: What is your biggest concern about the upcoming Ironman Arizona race.
Bryan J. Rollins: Same concern. What could be worse during the race ? I probably wouldn’t be able to run after that.
Bryan J. Rollins: New topic. What has the 10 months of training taught you?
Bryan J. Rollins: First and foremost, Facebook really annoys me. Second, I don’t like being one-dimensional, and the schedule kind of forces you to minimize what’s in your life. Third, I have really missed swimming, and I’m going to focus a lot more on swimming. Fourth, I hate interviews by smug yuppies.
Bryan J. Rollins: Is there a second Ironman in your future?
Bryan J. Rollins: Nope.
Bryan J. Rollins: Care to elaborate?
Bryan J. Rollins: Nope. You could have saved two words on that last question.
Bryan J. Rollins: But you will still do triathlons?
Bryan J. Rollins: I know for a fact that you’re intimately familiar with the notion of obsessive-compulsive, and our shared general neurosis, and the requirement for stoking the Rollins ego fire with highly combustile fuel for the self image. So Yes. Now starting asking some creative questions or I’m going to start punching myself in the hamstring.
Bryan J. Rollins: Since you brought it up, some people have questioned your choice of racing in a Ironman, in light of previous patterns of self-destructive behavior. OUCH. OUCH! Okay, okay – new question. What were the biggest changes to your daily life during training?
Bryan J. Rollins: I ate six meals a day. I went through at least 12 sets of workout clothes a week. I now consume 25-40% of my calories from powdered substances that I drink out of bottles while swimming, running, or biking. I go to bed before 10 PM and I get up at or before 5 AM. I walked away from having a normal social life. Travel became difficult because I had to squeeze in workouts in strange locations and times. I spend large amounts of time being repaired by massage therapists and physical therapists. I am a now horrible conversationalist because all I experience is wake up, eat, workout, eat, work, eat, work, eat, workout, eat, sleep. I think iron-distance triathletes need half-way houses to re-enter society, once they stop training so intensely, because their life has been consumed. Either get busy living, or get busy dying.
Bryan J. Rollins: I assume your last quote was my cue to remind our readers that The Shawshank Redemption was a much better flick than Forest Gump.
Bryan J. Rollins: Smartest thing you’ve said so far.
Bryan J. Rollins: I’m going to quit while I’m ahead. I’ll refrain from thanking you since you don’t deserve it. I hope we never have the chance to do this again.
Bryan J. Rollins: Good luck on your race. Apologies that I won’t be able to make it.