JESSE: One of the things that it just stuck in my mind so much about my talk with Chris is that I've had my own kind of struggles with, like I wanted to be professional triathlete, and I'm just not fast enough, especially in the swimming aspect. It's like,you can get close to going to these, they're called elite development races, if you don't, I'm talking about where, top three progress. And it's like, one year, I was 30th. And I made a bunch of progress. And then the next year, I was a minute and a half faster at the sprint race, improved in each three disciplines, still 30th. So, like-- BRYFUL SUN: Yeah, there's a lot of variables that go into it, too. JESSE: Yeah. So, it's like, I struggle with that myself. But the thing that stuck with me that Chris said and you've taken away, like other kind of skills from that whole period of your life, is Chris said nobody cares, whether you're a second or whether you won. Like, they want to know, like your parents or your friends they love you, they want to know that you're fine and that you're happy. So, it's like, I think I still struggle with a little bit. But it's good to see like, somebody like you, like you are even closer, by taking away those kind of intangible lessons from that. When really, like Chris said even if you won Olympic gold, what do you do after that? BRYFUL SUN: Yeah, ?? 1:35> human, not in my opinion, you're not a better human, you’ve obtained that goal, and you're self fulfilled. And that's something that I wanted. And I mean, there's still a part of me that wants to achieve the ultimate goal of that magnitude. But the most important thing is that you're healthy and that you're happy while doing it. Because if you won Olympic gold, sure, you'll have some fame, you're not a better person because of it. But if you're happy while doing that, you get that self fulfillment and ye you're benefiting your life for you know, and that's what matters. But now that I do triathlons, I’m combining my strengths in swimming and running from the past, and I'm happy while doing it. There's no point during the day when I'm like okay. There's no point in overall week, yeah, I have to reword that a little bit where I'm like, I really just don't want to do triathlons. The overall standard, or mindset for me is I love doing this or there's times in the morning when it's 4 am and my alarm goes off to hit the pool and I’m like, gosh, why am I doing this? But at the end of the day, you finish the workout, especially I find for swimming after that morning, you're like, oh, wow, half of my day, workouts are completed and I'm working towards this goal. And I love doing it. And it's good, that I was able to have an exposure to swimming and running beforehand. And it just served as the basis to be the best triathlete that I could be for myself. JESSE: So, I mean, you went through burnout, I think you mentioned with swimming through high school, like how do you avoid burnout now, especially as you're-- It sounds like you're doing two days with triathlon. BRYFUL SUN: On average, right. JESSE: Yeah. So, I mean, I've gone through that schedule for several years, and I backed off because it got to be a little bit much for me, everybody has different tolerances, like there are pros that do 20-25 hours a week, and tolerate it. But you know, how do you avoid the burnout now, with juggling all three sports and you know, probably putting in a significant amount of hours? BRYFUL SUN: Right. So, I just like to preface it by saying I'm not putting it anywhere near 25, 20-25 hours. I probably put in 15 something, in that area. JESSE: Yeah, but I mean, that's still substantial for somebody with a full time job. I mean, the pros can do it because that is their job. BRYFUL SUN: Yeah, exactly. So, to answer your question, I mean, I think that some of it has to do with my background, the fact that I just was for swimming, I was in the pool, 20 plus hours a week, sometimes close to 30, and then for track, same thing. I burned out with those sports, because I had nowhere else to go. You know, like, if I'm swimming this many hours, my mind is like, okay, tomorrow, I have to do the exact same thing again. Whereas with triathlons, I find that I switched the sports up enough, to the point where if I swim, say, four or five times a week, then I don't have to be like, oh, look, tomorrow's the weekend and I have to swim again, to be the best swimmer, I can. No, I can just be like, I can put in a three hour bike ride and thoroughly enjoy it and rest easy knowing that I put in more than enough swimming this week. Maybe not enough to be a professional swimmer, but enough for me to progress my triathlon, as a whole, my speed in triathlon in a race. And that matters a lot to me because I'm able to switch it up not get bored with one sport and the fact that I love doing all three sport is just, it's a huge benefit to me as well. And I'm a person built on a schedule and a structure, very much so. And every week, I'd say, I either have to use a template from the previous week or rewrite the calendar to see what am I doing at this time. And the fact that I enjoy doing it matters so much because I check off each thing that I do during the day. I'll say swim in the morning, work. I’ll satisfy my work requirement, and then say, go for a bike ride after work. If I can knock down all of these requirements throughout my day, then I'm satisfied with how, I'll call it the logistical stuff done, and then I can have fun. And I don't really get bored from doing that stuff because I switch it up so much that I am getting an equal amount of each sport done and I'm still having fun while doing it. If you ask me the question, and I was feels like a pro track and field runner right now, I don't know if I'd have the same answer. Because I don't know if I could do 13-14 workouts a week with the same amount of time commitment and just do the same thing over and over again. I kind of get bored, sometimes with that kind of stuff. And just mixing it up, it does matter. So, that's what I love about triathlons. JESSE: Yeah, boredom is kind of interesting. I was thinking about boredom-- I think the way we often talk about boredom is like, a state of, like, non-creativity, or non-stimulation. But I think if you dig down in the boredom, boredom is actually like anxiety, it’s anxiety about something. If you get bored with running, you're anxious about doing the same thing over and over again because kind of along with that, there's no extra stimulation. This kind of comes up with like, various fields in psychology, which is one of my undergrad disciplines, but like humans, love novelty, just new stuff. I mean, look at like, fashion and anything like that, we just like different. So, I mean, I guess it makes sense that you're much more satisfied switching between hitting the pool to go on a bike or run, and then variations within each of those disciplines. BRYFUL SUN: Absolutely. JESSE: So, you stopped swimming in high school, then you start running track? Did you run track like as a club activity, or did you-- BRYFUL SUN: No. So, when I was in the Air Force Academy, I was there for - during the year, I ran track, do one with them. So, I actually started my track career a little bit during my senior year of high school, late junior year-senior high school, towards the time where I was burning out of swimming and I wasn't improving. I realized that maybe I could use some of my endurance if I could be a good runner, just experiment a little bit. And I improved a good bit through high school, I got to decent times, near the cusp of where colleges would start looking at me. And then on my, that was with cross country, and then I started doing track during the summer. And I just I got really quick, I progressed really quick in the mid distance events. And they started getting recognized by some of the colleges for track. And I applied to go to university at Air Force Academy, and also spoke to the coach there. And he was interested ran with them when I joined and got put on the team. And I was 800-1,600 meter runner there for a little bit. But the same thing with swimming, I couldn't improve past a certain point. I got to that 99 percentile and just burned out after a little while and track was really hard on me. Swimming you know, it's really hard to get injured in swimming even as a professional. Just it's a low impact sport, virtually no impact sport track was different on me. Since childhood, I've had bad knees, had bad Achilles, and I was injured for a good part. And to this day, it haunts me because I have to really worry about my knees and my joints and stuff like that. And running is just, I can bike and swim non stop the whole week. But if I run more than four or five times a week now, and I do more than two fast workouts a week my knees are done. And I'm out for I'm out for a month if I'm not smart about my running, and-- JESSE: I'd be nice to see some video of you running and see if, like how your form is. I think being an 806 like 816 ?? 11:01> you have pretty good forum. But I'd be curious to see that and see if we could diagnose maybe what's going on with you. BRYFUL SUN: Right you there's a little bit of stuff based, on you know, visits to the doctor and you know, podiatrist, things like that. There's a little bit of genetics going on, you know, my form based on my coaches in the past and present, my form is decent, I have a good foot strike, good arm movement. But from genetics, my right Achilles tendon is actually a bit shorter than my left Achilles and it causes severe stratum IT band all the way to my LCL. All of that stuff is affected because of my-- JESSE: Yeah, I mean, the whole system. One thing that-- I think that's something people underestimate is like one thing gets out of line, if you don't take care of that, in your case, like, you can't take care of it, it is what it is. But like, if you don't take care of it, it starts to affect the whole chain all the way up. BRYFUL SUN: Exactly, yeah. And it started off just like affecting my heel and Achilles a little bit. And I kind of just dealt with it through college, and then but eventually I got to the point where I finally actually injured my LCL a little bit after I graduated and was off running for the most part for the whole, probably from December all the way to April, May, which was really, it was a bad time for me because that's 33% of my score - for triathlon. And I definitely lost a bit of fitness as a whole from that. But I see that looking back this goes back to the mental thinking positively on things. You know, it wasn't the worst injury I could have had, it wasn't a career sport ending injury. And I'm a lot smarter now because of it. In college and high school when I ran, I warmed up, but kind of ignored some of the coach advice that all dumb amateurs ignore about not cooling down properly, not stretching, not icing; I never did that kind of stuff. But now, I am a stickler about everything stretching, warming down, cooling down even to the point of eating right, about nutrition and stuff that it could affect it. So, I see that as a learning event. And hopefully now that as my body gets older and more prone to injury, then that learning experience can prevent me from having an actual, like, catastrophic injury that ruins my entire sport. JESSE: So, I mean, what-- here's something maybe, if you could talk to that, like high school you like, what do you say to that kid? To convince him to do what you're doing now? BRYFUL SUN: Yeah. I was extremely stubborn as a high schooler I still am now so, I have no guarantees that he would listen to some future me. But I tell him just because the coaches assuming he or she's a good coach, they have lived through that experience for through their athletes and perhaps themselves as well. You know, some of them were swimmers, some of them are ex track athletes themselves, and they know what they're talking about. And as, a high schooler, and even in college, like you just want to get better, you just want to keep getting faster, and you see stretching, cooling down, warming up, that's a waste of time, right? Like, how is this making me faster? It's not, it's just wasting my time. Like, I already - my five hours in the pool today. I'm just going to go home and play video games or talk to my friends now. I don't have time to stretch. And I'd give a high school me just a collage of my injuries that I've experienced over the years from not doing so and hopefully, that's enough to convince previous me to be like, okay, I'll put in the literally 20 minutes more each day, to actually listen to the coaches advice the age old advice, stretch, do smart stuff. Don't just sprint your warm up or cold down and then be done, which I did way too many times. And especially with running, not listening to the coach for post/ pre workout stuff. You know, having a little bit too much fun in college, not sleeping on time, all of that stuff plays a role in getting injured. And now, I'd hoped that-- I know, I'm more intelligent about that stuff now. But I feel like if younger me saw what could happen and the bad things that could happen to your body by not listening it that he would change his mind. But yeah. JESSE: What a great answer, man. It's like, it's so, dumb. You know, you get older, you have different experiences, you have different perspective. It's just like people said all the time, you may have heard your parents say it, I'm sure my parents and then people that are our age when we were younger like, if we're 15 and they're like, I'm 30 now. They're saying the same thing that's like, oh, if I just knew now, then like, but it's like, how do you transfer that down and actually convinced that kid get in there -. So, that's a great answer. So, kind of before we are recording and talking, you're talking about being in Auburn and then being at Georgia Tech, and you just mentioned being at the Air Force. Can you give me a timeline of all these-- BRYFUL SUN: Yeah. It’s kind of-- there’s a lot of different places going around. So, I graduated high school 2012 and then I went straight to the Air Force Academy afterwards, did basic there. And left after a year I transferred out, didn't like their force life. And then was in Auburn in 2014 for one semester. And I loved Auburn, but it really was kind of a stepping stone to get to Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech was always one of my top picks, even in high school, if I wasn't going to go to the Air Force. So, to preface it a little bit, I currently work as aerospace engineer, and I did aerospace throughout my college career. And Georgia Tech was one of the top ranked aerospace University. So, I really wanted to go there. So, I was at Auburn for one semester. And then December, winter of 2015 is when I transferred to Georgia Tech. JESSE: Okay, So, just solely academic, or were you able to do any kind of running or anything there? BRYFUL SUN: No. So, after the Air Force, and during and while at Auburn, I kind of did no sports at all. I just like-- it was actually a pretty tough path to able to be able to transfer to Georgia Tech. They had a pretty stringent transfer policy at the time and I really wanted to make sure that I could get in. So, I just kind of like hunkered down and focused myself and nerded out for one semester at Auburn, got like the highest grades I've ever gotten in my life, and then made sure I could transfer over. And then at Georgia Tech, I kind of missed the super competitive scene. But I had lost enough fitness in track and running at that point where I could just barely walk on to the track team. And my mindset, this sometimes can be considered a bad thing for me, but I'm extremely competitive in the sport specifically, not just my mindset, and I didn't really want it to be like the bench for not really race and like I was always on the relay team for swimming and track stuff like that. And I knew I wouldn't be able to be that good anymore. So, I looked to triathlons. It's funny, I had actually done a couple of triathlons previously. And the way I was introduced to the triathlon team was, I was wearing this USAT jacket that wasn't actually even mine. So, I met this pro triathlete while running track and it was so weird, but it's just the odd conversation. But he's like, “Hey, I really like your jacket. Do you want to trade?” And I had so, many track and field jacket I was like, “Yeah, sure. Why not? I'll take your USAT jacket, even though I have no idea what that is. So, I just took the jacket. It was super comfy. So, I wore it around and at Georgia Tech, one of the girls on the team was like, “Are you a pro triathlete? Do you race triathlons?” I'm like, “Not really.” I guess that's what this is, huh? And that's how I got introduced to do it. She said, “Oh, yeah, you should come to our interest meeting and stuff.” So, I got introduced to the team and I instantly fell in love with the sport. You know, aside from the fact that the cycling portion is far too expensive, I absolutely love the sport. I afforded what I could afford as a college student and then just got into it, started going to all their workouts. You know, the swimming came back pretty quickly. The running I was a lot smarter because I was injured a little bit and then the cycling, you know, I'll go ahead and say it. I think Georgia Tech's just being around the country and seeing what their college clubs, even the actual NCAA sponsored, call triathlon teams now in the college like Georgia Tech's got some of the roughest bike workouts out there. Like there is one point where it was Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, Tuesday and Thursday, at the very least, at 5:30 am. So, you'd have to wake up at 4:45 5:00, brought back nightmares of like do you like college and high school training. But we would wake up brave that Atlanta traffic and bike anywhere from 40 to 60 miles with intervals in between three mornings in a row. And it was not an easy route, like this is a hilly course, there's at least 1,000-2,000 feet of water if not more of elevation gain. And not to mention in the middle, you're doing interval workout. So, yeah, I mean, I'll throw it out there like Georgia Tech triathlon team I'll have to shout it out a little bit. You guys are doing these bike workouts, you guys are killing it. 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Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 11 - Bryful Sun - INVEST IN YOURSELF - Part 2 of 3
One of the things that it just stuck in my mind so much about my talk with Chris is that I've had my own kind of struggles with, like I wanted to be professional triathlete, and I'm just not fast enough, especially in the swimming aspect. It's like,you can get close to going to these, they're called elite development races, if you don't, I'm talking about where, top three progress.