It’s a little after 4:30 on a Wednesday morning, and while the rest of us are sleeping comfortably in our beds, she is heading into a lake to swim and train for the next few hours. Never mind the fact that she just overcame a panic attack minutes before her first few swim strokes. She is focused and committed to preparing her body and mind for the biggest and most intense athletic competition she has ever done.
It’s been a year since she started training and completed her first half Ironman triathlon, and now Breann Meyer has begun round two of her training as she journeys toward completing a full Ironman competition.
You might be curious to find out just HOW and WHY she stays committed…. Spoiler alert: It’s her passion.
How would you define passion?
Passion clearly is the driving force behind Breann’s motivation for what she does when she trains for and completes the Ironman competitions. Breann describes passion as something that “energizes everything in your being.” When training for the Ironman half triathlon, Breann discovered that passion is a requirement for the sport. There are mental and physical challenges that one cannot get through without that clear passion.
“[Passion is] something in you that just makes you have that much love, that much feeling, that much drive and force inside of you….that it just makes you continue on doing what you’re doing.”
At what point did you realize that you were passionate for the sport?
Breann originally thought to herself, “I could never do that.” Having run a few smaller marathons here and there, Breann never really had her sights set on the official Ironman Triathlon. However, one day a work friend challenged her with the possibility of doing the competition. “I threw out all excuses when Jake approached me and I said, I’ve never done a triathlon, I don’t have a bike….” But the undiscovered passion deep inside Breann gave her the courage to take action.
It was October 2017 when Breann completed her first half Ironman triathlon, and the possibility of a full Ironman triathlon became even more of a reality. “When I woke up there after the half, and I was just laying there- like “I’m not sore at all…and if I just do this on my training and change this on my training…I’m gonna make it through the full…I’m gonna do even better and I’ll be able to finish the full”
She goes on to say “…after you’ve been through it, it gives you that passion to get out there and do it…if you felt the way you felt and you want to beat this time—that give you the passion to go out and push even harder, and train even harder, and run more miles and don’t give up and just keep going…”
Of course, there were some challenges that got in the way of Breann pursuing her passion. For instance, not being a morning person and having to wake up between 4:30 and 5 in the morning to train when the rest of the world was still sleeping. Additionally, having a family and balancing it all out. Breann attributes a lot of her success to the support of her husband, Matt, who helped take care of their 6-year-old daughter while Breann was away to train.
Then, there were the mental and physical challenges. “Having mental and physical breakdowns and trying to recoup from that to overcome it and push forward, and knowing that you can do it and go out there the next day to do your swim…[was a huge challenge].”
During the training process for the half, Breann suffered from knee problems that made it even more difficult to push through. She spent time in physical therapy and had to have her knee wrapped in order to compete in the competition.
It’s no secret that there were also mental challenges that Breann had to overcome. A fear of the lake was one of them.
“It’s crazy because your body can handle more than what your mind thinks you can…your mind goes against you constantly…”
An anxiety over swimming in the lake posed a problem for Breann while training, and she had to face her fears as she succumbed to panic attacks and mental breakdowns while preparing for the Ironman competition. So, while Breann was training her body physically for the triathlon, she was also training her MIND to ignore the doubt and anxiety that came with certain aspects of the competition.
“I had to get past my excuses [and challenges] for why I can’t do it…once I got past that, I was like—I can do this….I WANT to do this!”
“I went from ‘I will never do this again—no way—not a chance—this is not happening’—to waking up the next day, and being like, ‘I’m doing a full…I want to do this, I can do this’…and that’s just the passion in that”
Breann’s biggest support is her family and specifically her husband. Additionally, Breann surrounded herself around a support system of friends and peers who were on the same journey as her—training for the Ironman competition. “Going into something you’re not comfortable with, something you don’t know anything about…having the support of Jake to help me—how to change a tire if I get a flat and show me that, ‘cause I would have no idea…but having that support made it that much easier to help me out.”
She also found support in her family and friends during the competition when things got physically and mentally tough for her. “When you run past friends and family…it pushes you… but that just helps you because your mind is over it…your body is over it. But, when they cheer you on, it’s 5 seconds…but those 5 seconds means the world and it makes you feel like ‘alright, If I make it through the next 6 miles, I’ll get to see them again,’ you know…and that pushes you even more…that was a big support.”
Why do you compete in Ironman competitions?
At first response, Breann’s answer was “for myself, accomplishment, to challenge myself.” However, when reflecting on WHY she really does it, her answer landed on her daughter Maddie. “..You know you want to be a role model, right? So, whether it be school that you finish…this is also something big [that I’m doing] for her to see…she sees my dedication and sees my hard work and then she sees me finish…and she can see an outcome to all of that.”
Breann said it best—
“Your body can handle more than what your mind thinks you can.”
Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and winning the battle over your inner voice’s negativity and doubt. It takes drive, intention and passion to really go after your dreams…whatever they are. When it comes to getting started in a physical feat like a triathlon, Breann has figured it out. Your body is stronger than you think…ask Breann.
About Breann Meyer
Breann Meyer is a Phoenix-born and raised working momma in the Banking corporate world. She has a 6-year-old daughter, Maddie with her husband and reside in northwest Phoenix. She is an avid photographer who loves being creative and expressive during any down time. During her downtime and when not training, Breann spends time with family, taking Maddie to her extracurricular activities and being an awesome friend! You can follow her on Instagram @bresimjourney or her YouTube channel HERE.
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