Muhahaha, I've taken over Paul's blog for the day... #takeoverthursday
Guy Meets Coach
I'm Lisa and I have been Paul's Coach, confidant, and mostly FRIEND through his journey to be.
He wants me to share with you, my journey to be... which for me, has always been to be ME. But I want to share more of who Paul is and maybe who Paul is to me.
I met this guy at a cafe in Bay St. Louis after a mutual friend of ours encouraged him to reach out to me. I think he was terrified. I think he thought, oh man, this is the big league, I'm meeting with a Coach, I don't know what I'm getting into; perhaps, I'm not good enough for all of this or I don't deserve this... and quickly all that doubt was on the chopping block!
Now, what I encountered was this big guy with big dreams and only a little bit of confidence. I was BIG excited for this challenge!
Call it coincidence, call it fate - our lives were meant to connect!
The next few months were a journey. Sometimes Paul was easy to work with, sometimes difficult. He had major ups and major downs. Sometimes he wanted more and gave less while other times he wanted less but was giving more. The man doesn't really have a middle ground. He is either ALL IN or ALL OUT. I never questioned his ability to reach his goals though and I don't think he ever questioned my ability to Coach him...
We met on several occasions to train, to chat, to vent and to discuss. Phew, I remember a 100 mile ride together that even though I wasn't quite ready for (in distance), I was on a mission to pull Paul out of his comfort zone. We were both whipped! Another ride on the trace I remember CHASING him for miles (he doesn't know how hard I worked to keep up!). THESE are the powerful legs I know you have, I remarked later. Paul can't always see his superpowers.
Anyway, as time went on and Ironman training brought us closer, I also got to know his wife, Peggy whom I just adore and other important people in both of our lives.
My favorite training day was running together in Paris. I met Paul and Peggy for an overnight in Paris in 2018 and we ran 5.5 miles one morning. A STRONG encouraging 5.5 miles!
My second favorite was seeing him on the run course at Ironman WC in Kona. He picks me up for this giant bear hug and I really thought he was going to break me in half! What a lift in every sense! And the biggest award was the man behind the medal at the finish line (p.s. it was Paul!). Now that I think about it he both lifted me up AND caught me <-- the Coach becomes the Coached
Ironman TexasI always knew he was stronger than he believed and he proved it on May 14, 2016. He won't count this day but I was there, I saw it all unfold, and I know how hard he worked to get there. Maybe it's not an official finish, but Paul crossed the Ironman Texas finish line and they announced, Paul, you ARE an Ironman! He was a few minutes past the 17 hour cutoff.
I'll never forget that day! I came sliding in sideways in my RV after driving through storms, dashed to the IM run course and can you believe it, came face to face with Paul! He was not good. His words, "I'm done". Piss on that! Not on my watch! The next 14 miles I stayed with Paul, yelling, begging, convincing, cheering, rationalizing, anything I could say or do to keep him going. Joined later by others, we all finished together.
Since, Paul has been on a mission to finish an(other) Ironman in the allotted 17 hours. We have continued to work together as well as he with another Coach.
The Real Deal
Paul has something inside of him that many of us know well: struggle. He has the similar devil on one shoulder filling him with doubt and the angel on the other filling him with glory. He wants huge things for himself and somedays works incredibly hard for them and somedays hits snooze 17 times.
What he doesn't always realize is what an incredible inspiration he is to us. He's so afraid that he will let us all down that he doesn't see how elated and proud of him we already are.
He has taught me so much as a Coach, as an athlete, and as a human in general. His strength and bravery to try try again, to continuously step out of his comfort zone, to challenge doubt...
His commitment to be "the fat guy" finishing an Ironman is empowering. It's motivating! It strengthens our commitment that anything truly is possible!
I know how hard it is to toe that line knowing I will finish. Can you imagine toeing it knowing you might not? That's the kind of fear that Paul battles and does it anyway.
He feels the fear and does it anyway.
Ya see Paul, I love this idea of you writing and sharing! I love that you will reach deep inside of you and lay it all out in front of yourself. I hope you will see it as clearly as I do.
Paul already encompasses all the characteristics that he wishes to be: to be healthier, to be a better athlete, to be an Ironman, to be; and to me... he already is.