I’m the subject of Jake’s interview — on how I became a pro triathlete!
Jake Taylor hosts a very cool podcast called 5GQ: 5 Good Questions, where he’ll feature an assortment of authors to talk about their books and life’s work, and answer five or more good questions he poses. What an honor to be on this show amidst Jake’s luminaries from the world of high finance and corporate leadership. Jake is close friends with Warren Buffett and a noted financial professional based in Folsom, CA. Okay, he’s not really close friends with Buffett, but he did hang with him in college (as the winner of a contest he was afforded this opportunity) and leveraged that opportunity into a career. Jake’s first book, The Rebel Allocator, is a novel dispensing business advice about the allocation of capital.
FYI: Jake’s wife is the one and only Lindsay Taylor, Ph.D., all-around Primal Blueprint queen bee, ketogenic ironman triathlete and recipe whiz. She worked with Mark Sisson for the recipes in The Keto Reset Diet, The Keto Reset Instant Pot Cookbook, and The Keto Reset Diet Cookbook.
Jake and I did something super cool: we tested out his novel idea to conduct a podcast during a hike! Yep, we donned portable equipment and hoofed it for a 48-minute conversation. Essentially, Jake started out by asking me one good question, and I took it and ran with it: “So, how did a kid from Southern California become the number three triathlete in the world?” Answer: I was too small for high school football, cut from high school basketball (albeit an LA City championship program at Los Angeles Taft High School), so I ended up running and running, till I got hurt from too much running and started swimming, biking, and running, until I became King of the Desert. Hopefully, you will appreciate this different flavor of show, which is syndicated on Jake’s 5 Good Questions podcast channel.
What would the world be like if we read books instead of TV? [01:27]
Jake asks Brad about his athletic journey. [07:32]
Just because you’re a competitive due and go to full speed, it does not equate with success. [15:01]
Learning to be a cyclist, led Brad to triathlon after being a runner. [17:20]
After graduating College, Brad found himself working in a skyscraper!! [21:30]
Pure motivation helped his commitment towards his goal. [24:26]
When he achieved success, he started to be consumed by it. [27:31]
When you attach yourself to the outcome, you lose all perspective. [31:38]
How does one set an official Guinness record? [32:26]
Brad’s experience on breaking the record, taught many lessons. [41:37]
When high jumping, the significance inside for me to have a competitive drive to want to improve height over the bar from the last time and, by doing so, define the aging process in one small way. (Brad) [44:54]
Running a professional athletic career is like a business. [48:34]
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:00 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author, an athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 01:27 [00:03:53] The following recording is a hiking podcast put on by the industrious and clever Jake Taylor of Folsom, California young financial business leader, aspiring author, writing about the fascinating subject of the proper allocation of capital and resources by an organization. And Wow, something we never really think about including many top organizations, but such an important thing for anyone. Even the allocation of capital and your family. Who’s going to do the dishes tonight? You know what I mean? Anyway, Jake had this wonderful idea to expand on the theme of his existing podcast called five good questions,5 G Q, and what he does is he interviews authors.
Brad: 04:42 He’s read their books, he’s completely knowledgeable about their whole deal, gets them on the show, picks five good questions, and they go deeper. He’s a big fan of reading. His email@example.com. All spelled out mentions the stat that the average American watches five hours of television per day. What would the world be like if we dedicated one of those hours to reading books instead? I don’t know, but I’d like to find out and that’s an opening statement for the five good questions and at the bottom, think about this. If you pledge even 20 minutes a day to reading a book, you’ll get through 35 books in 12 months. Imagine how much smarter you’d be one year from now having read 35 books. Uh, this is an interesting insight that I’ve heard elsewhere that uh, some of the great business leaders and most accomplished people on the planet, uh, attribute a lot of their success of their knowledge base to reading books.
Brad: 05:39 And it’s such a lost art these days because we have so much digital stimulation, nonstop entertainment options, books fall by the wayside because a video is so much more compelling and easy to relax into and watch with less effort. Well, what a great mission by Jake and here he is kicking off the new direction for his podcast, which is to get people out hiking outdoors where we’ve heard of research stating that the brain becomes more creative, more relaxed, maybe better able to pull out interesting insights in a conversation. And we can all reference that when we go running with our buddies, when we get out there on the trails or go for a hike up to the high peak on the Appalachians or the Sierras and have a great bonding experience with our hiking partners. And we talk about things that we might not necessarily be as inclined to open up about when we’re sitting in a noisy, happy hour bar.
Brad: 06:41 And I thought it was pretty fun. You can hear the rhythmic pattern in the background and that’s the feet walking on the hard scrambled trail here around Folsom lake. And the show starts with Jake teeing me up with one good question. How did a kid from the Los Angeles, California area grow up to become a champion triathlete? Boom. That’s all Brad needs. Here we go. So enjoy some of my story. Hope you can gather some inspiration from it. When I talk about my athletic background and journey, I’m always trying to tie it into a relevant insight for the listener to cultivate that pure motivation. Get over yourself, all that fun stuff. And this show is a simulcast on Jake’s channel. So go over there and check out his podcast. Five good questions. Thanks for listening.
Jake: 07:32 Hey, this is Jake Taylor and your host of the world’s first interview hike cast. We dive deep as interesting people take me on their favorite hikes. So if you’re ready for something a little different, throw this on, get outside and come take a hike with us. Today we are going for a hike with one of my favorite characters, Brad Kearns, Brad as a podcast host, a New York Times bestselling author at Guinness World Record holder and the former number three world ranked pro triathlete in the world, star for authenticity. Brad has never afraid to be himself and I love that about him. I hope you enjoy this hike with Brad Kearns, but first, please save a spot on your shelf. For my first book coming out later this year, it’s called the Rebel Allocator and it’s a fictional coming of age story about a young man who learns about business and life from an unlikely teacher. Imagine Thorndykes the outsiders meets the Karate Kid. You’re probably saying to yourself, fiction. Really Jake, my goal was to give you everything you’ve learned from a good nonfiction book, but wrap it in an entertaining story. Look for it to come out later this year and now without further delay, let’s get outside.
Jake: 08:40 I’d like to hear the story of how I did a kid from southern California, ended up becoming the number three triathlete in the world. And what did, what was the story of how did you get, like how’d you even get into triathlon? Cause it’s not like, it’s not like a typical sport where here like, Oh I they have basketball at school, you know, after and you get to play and you learn if you like it or not. So how did, how’d you get into triathlon?
Brad: 09:04 Okay, let me push stop here cause I don’t want people to know this necessarily. It’s top secret. Okay. That red button, just push that. Okay. So that’s off. Alright. So, uh, I was a little kid who loves sports, was pretty competitive and did all the stuff that you do in that we had the YMCAs, had a year round sports program where you were on the same team but you did four sports like football, basketball, soccer and track. And that was just all kinds of fun doing these things. And then, you know, I’m in LA and headed to a large public high school, Taft high school. Go look on Wikipedia, f notable Taft alumni, NFL guys, NBA Egos, Hollywood, you know, stars, ice cube, the wrapper, Justine Bateman, the actress, Robin Wright, the actress, you know, it was a big time deal. So when you go off for the sports team there, and I went out for the football team my first day with my buddy JB and we walked over and saw these guys coming out of the locker room for practice and we’re like, God Dang the verse that he goes are a huge man. Look at those guys. And then the coach was like, can I help you? I’m like, yeah, we’re going to go try out for the B team. Where’s the B team? He goes, this is the B team.
Brad: 10:21 And he’s like, what do you want? You know? And I’m like, ah, I want to know where the cross country team practice meeting and he answers like down the stairs and the lower field. So that was my football career ending on the spot because in middle school I was like a superstar quarterback on the flag football park league where you’re in with kids your own age. And I was young for my grade. So I was like, you know, um, in an inappropriate competitive setting and having all kinds of fun scoring touchdowns, thinking I was going to take that to the LA city, Albert k scholar, 3000 students. In fact, our team Taft played the number one ranked team in the nation banning high school, which is a legendary program down in the harbor area. And we lost 65 to 10. It was the absolute slaughtering and um, you know, completely out of my realm.
Brad: 11:06 So I was pushed over to endurance sports, which is I think the story for a lot of kids, uh, in high school. You know, trying to train to find a way to make a name for myself and do something besides sit in the stands. And so that then led you to cross country, which was more, and I wasn’t really into at Jake I for some reason. It was kind of additional illusion with running. I did a few races in the summer and just got burnt out. You know, it was a pretty good runner in middle school. I won the races and then I got to high school and I was kind of going into the bathroom when we crossed the street from campus and I’d hide in the bathroom until the team passed. And then I’d go home and jump on my trampoline and eat food. So that was my workout.
Brad: 11:52 I just didn’t want to be there. I was just kind of,
Jake: 11:54 but then you’d go run the races?
Brad: 11:55 So I went to the first race and we got bused across the city down to San Pedro and you know, there’s 120 freshmen and sophomores on the starting line for a two mile race cross country and Peck Park San Pedro. And I won the thing pretty easily, so. Wow, okay. I guess I better take some interest in this sport and uh, you know, it was like the, the feedback that you get from a little success is helpful, but it took a while, like for the real devotion and the focus to kick in and it helped. My friend Stephen Dietch, Stephen Kobrine, great friends today, you know, we’re lifelong buddies from this running experience in high school. And Mr Dietch was, you know, number three in the nation in 10 K as a high school student.
Brad: 12:40 He ran a 31 20 he later went on to all American UC Riverside. He competed for the United States of American and the world junior cross country championships. So this was my sidekick in high school and this guy drove us like a dog. I mean we just, we were driven like a pack of dogs to try to keep up with this guy who had no, you know, he was like a Cyborg. He had no, there was no pain, there was no discomfort, no suffering. It was just like, hey, let’s go, you know, and we’d do a crazy track practice with intervals and a very difficult session. And then he’d call up at 6:30 and say, hey, come on over. We’ll jog down to the yogurt store and get a treat. And so we’d go over there or wherever we’d start and we’d run five miles at a very brisk tempo pace because that’s just how he ran every single workout.
Brad: 13:26 So I had like the role model and the perspective of like if you worked really, really hard, um, this is, this is the path to, you know, to compete at the highest level. So a year and a half after I started running in high school, um, I was in the National Junior Olympics finals in Lincoln, Nebraska. Uh, I was ranked 12th in the nation in my division for 1500 meters. That’s like the mile. And then in high school I made it to the state finals of California in the mile. And uh, that was all fun and games. And then I was looking forward to a collegiate running career. I was headed to UC Santa Barbara and I got there and just got destroyed, sick or injured five seasons in a row. And it was just going into this competitive setting with a bunch of other young guys, not a really healthy competitive environment either.
Brad: 14:13 I remember one day the coach had us in the bleachers and said, well, okay, there’s, there’s 21 guys out for cross country. That’s great. By the way. Only seven of you will travel and get the sweatsuit. And get to have that, you know, experience actually be on the team in a Badass. Yeah. I mean you’re, you’re, you’re welcome to run in the home meets, but the traveling squad, the you score points, those are the guys that count, right? It’s like a being on the bench practice squad. Yeah, the practice squad. Um, so, you know, I pushed myself really, really hard. I did whatever they said and whatever they asked of me cause I had that competitive drive. Um, and that just served to destroy me. So that was like my insight or my first, um, checkpoint to developing the training theory and the philosophy that I dispense to other athletes and have done so for, you know, 30 years of coaching and participating.
Brad: 15:01 It’s like just because you’re a competitive dude and you know how to push the gas pedal or squeeze the throttle to full speed does not equate with success in anything, especially endurance sports. It’s just going to crush you, you know?
Jake: 15:13 So how did you start adding the bike and the swim lane? So you’re a pretty good runner, like maybe had some natural proclivities to being a good runner, but that always doesn’t necessarily translate into biking or swimming.
Brad: 15:25 But that’s true. And same with the swimmers, like, um, a lot of them just tried, try to go for triathlon and they get injured and, um, the guys who are runners cannot, cannot float in the water. Um, so what happened was I, you know, so disillusioned with the running experience that I remember my last straw was getting diagnosed with a stress fracture. So again, another season was over.
Brad: 15:47 And uh, soon after that I borrowed my brother’s bike. He’s six, three and a half. I’m five, 10. And, um, I rode from campus, uh, to my parents’ home in Los Angeles. It’s 103 miles with no training. I just said, you know what? I’m going to do this triathlon thing. You know, it was on the map. People knew what it was. Um, I did a fun one in high school, so I, I had actually finished a triathlon before. I said, no, I’m going to compete in triathlons so I can heal my leg. While I bike my butt off and learn how to swim too.
Jake: 16:15 So that was another, it was almost like a survival thing. Like I have this competitive juice, but just only running is too much, uh, like a single thing that might lead to injury. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna try to balance that out a little bit with some more different like modalities.
Brad: 16:31 Yeah. Give me a, give me a new goal, man. Yeah. And so when I finished that ride, it was just the greatest sensation of like, I do have hope and a future and I’m not beholden to this disastrous experience that I had as a runner where, you know, it was my identity throughout high school and into college and now I’m an injured runner. What the heck stat, that’s a guy that’s like, you know, going to college parties and drinking alcohol. It’s like, that wasn’t me, you know, but I was forced to the side line, so I had to, you know, recalibrate quickly. And so it was wonderful to have the sport triathlon there. Um, I participated as amateur, uh, in while I was still in college and had some, had some fun and some decent success in, in the 19 and under division. And I remember one day, uh, hearing, you know, out and about on the campus that there was a bicycling team.
Brad: 17:20 So I joined the biking team and learned how to ride in a pace line and I won the time trial championship for novice writers in the California state collegiate, uh, bike, uh, meet where they had races and time trials. Um, so I had some, I had some good ability in cycling that it was just from aerobic conditioning. And then,
Jake: 17:39 yeah,
Brad: 17:39 some people can, um, you know, pick up cycling. Well, I picked up swimming pretty well because I was a swimmer as a kid just in southern cal, you know, going to the beach or swimming in pools was part of our life. So, um, I was, I was pretty well adapted and I loved it and it was a great challenge. And Oh, I remember hearing that, uh, while I was at UCSB, I was a senior. Now that this guy, Jim Brady was a student at UCSB and he was ranked fifth in the world on the u s t s circuit, known as the most powerful cyclists out there. He was behind like Molina and Tinley and the legends of the day in the finish cause he was a big guy but he, they, they claimed that he was, you know, the strongest biker. So I looked him up in the student directory and I said, Hey, my name’s Brad, I’m an injured runner from the cross country and track team and I’m doing triathlons now. I want to do some bicycling with you. Can we go on a ride? Do you want to ride bikes together? Cause actually, and he goes, no.
Brad: 18:36 And I’m like, what do you mean man? You get to like, I don’t ride with anyone. I go, I’d love to join you. It’d be fun. And he’s like, no, I don’t ride with anyone cause no one’s fast enough to keep up with me. And you’re like, okay, challenge accepted. I go, hey, how about if I start with you and if you drop me off, I’ll leave. You know, like I just want to see what you’re up to and learn. He’s like, Eh, Nah. So we’ve, we met each other as one of the UCS,B group rides. So there’s, you know, 12, 14 guys in the pack and you know, I said, hey, it’s Brad. I called you on the phone. Oh Hey. You know, and so now we’re in this pack and somehow we arrive. It’s a double paced line. So those listeners that don’t know cycling it means like the bikers are drafting and two different rows.
Brad: 19:20 So there’s four guys on the left, four guys on the right. Imagine this, this pack of eight sailing up the road. And when you’re in a pack like that, it’s, you can go really fast because you share the workload and you don’t have to go into the wind for more than a minute. And then you, they call it peel off or drop off. And then the guy in second place is now in first as you drift to the side and then catch your place in the back of the pace line, they call it. So we found ourselves at the front of the pace line together and these, these prickly cycling guys are very traditional and they had their perfect clothing and they want to have the exact same miles per hour for the whole ride. And you go for one minute and then you peel off and the next guy goes for one minute and we got to the front and we just like, I cut it, I gave him a little look and we just put the gas on so hard.
Brad: 20:03 And these guys behind us are like, Hey, slow down. It’s time to peel off. It’s time to peel off. Hey, back off a little bit. And we just went for it. Neither one is going to give in. I mean well we were doing it together, right? Cause we’re side by side with not like drafting, but we just said let’s just go and uh, you know, 10 minutes later I glance over my shoulder again and the, the UCSB cycling team has gone and it’s me and this guy. And so we’re just pounding. And finally we get to the top of the hill and he goes, okay, I’ll let you ride with me, but you have to teach me how to run cause I keep getting passed in these, you know, he’s on the world circuit getting passed by real runners and I’m like, deal, we’ll go to the track, I’ll, we’ll do some workouts.
Brad: 20:43 And so, um, I got exposure to like top level world guys while I was still in college. It was like, you know, the, um, what was the book Malcolm Gladwell where he’s talking about these opportunities like Bill Gates got to work on the night shift at the world’s largest supercomputer at the University of Washington and gain valuable exposure, r
Jake: 21:01 Right?
Brad: 21:01 That kind of thing.
Jake: 21:02 Outliers.
Brad: 21:03 Yeah. Emilio de Soto was on campus at that time training. Tom Gallagher, who was another world ranked guy, was on campus at that time training. I didn’t know those guys then, but the vibe was there. I mean we had this killer bike team and I was all set up to go and succeed in triathlon. And then a great tragedy occurred in my life at that time. And that was that I graduated from, from college, and so I was thrust out of the nest.
Brad: 21:30 Oh my gosh. I mean it was like if you don’t know UCSB, Google it, you’re riding your bike around in shorts and a tee shirt. It’s a bicycling friendly campus like UC Davis. So you’re, you know, you’re going to the beach when there’s waves, you’re going to class when you feel like it. And I was just riding my bike around Santa Barbara all day, having a great time enjoying nature and the challenge of competition. And then I found myself commuting an hour each way in rush hour traffic Los Angeles to a high rise downtown and being an accountant, staff auditor for the world’s largest accounting firm. And that was like, Holy Shit, where did I go wrong? Exactly. Yeah. I’m asking myself these, these existential questions like what am I doing here? I’m in a fricking basement of a high rise in all day, a new employee training and everywhere I look, all the guys around me have these big smiles and like did you see the compensation package?
Brad: 22:19 You just see the 401k how generous that is. They match after 12 years and you can do it on a little bit. And I’m like, Oh my God, I’m like sneaking triathlete magazines in and folding them open inside the employee, the new employee hire manual and just wondering, you know, it’s a great path if that’s your path and good for those guys because they got started on wonderful careers, but it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t my destiny. And so I had that
Jake: 22:41 and you knew that right away.
Brad: 22:42 I knew that on day one. Yeah. I mean, I remember we had our first four hours of training and then we got break for lunch and part of the training was like, your voicemail access is this code and then you punch in your code. And so this guy was out of the payphones in the hall checking for voicemail. It’s was like, really, dude, you’re going to have some clients calling you after four hours of training. It’s like, come on, get over yourself as they say on my podcast.
Jake: 23:09 Yeah.
Brad: 23:10 But I lasted 11 weeks and then I got up the courage to have a meeting with my boss and announced my retirement from the firm. And my intention was to pursue a career as a professional triathlete, which I informed him of that. And he goes through and he said, you know, you’re welcome back here anytime. Cause they just spent like thousands of dollars training me and I was bailing probably the earliest bail out they’d had, you know. But you know, leaving that office building downtown that day as March, uh, March 20th of 1986 or something. You know, that was again one of the greatest feelings that I was finally free to pursue my own dream. You, I as a young kid, I was only 21 and it’s like, why not go for it?
Brad: 23:53 My parents supported me. They said, well that’ll be a really fun year for you to go try this.
Jake: 23:57 This is like your gap year basically.
Brad: 23:59 Exactly, yeah. Again, I got out of the, I got out of the suit and that very weekend, two days later I rode a hundred miles again, no training cause I’d been working for three months and just, you know, pushed my body really hard and got immersed into, you know, my new goal. And then I met guys like Andrew McNaughton who’s another top pro, one of the top pros ever. He was based in the San Fernando Valley as well. So of course we found our way to each other and trained together for many, many years. But I had that, you know, supporting environment and open road ahead to try to go for my dream on the pro circuit. The, the first year was really amazing and what happened was, you know, this, this state of mind and a perspective that I was in was what I considered to be the ideal peak performance state.
Brad: 24:46 I had a pure motivation, which means that I was doing something because I loved it and I absolutely was committed to the process. I was not overly attached to the end results. I didn’t have my self esteem on the line like I did as a runner. I was just happy to be out of the high rise and doing something fun and also just consumed by the challenge. And I would talk with Andrew on the phone for, for two hours after we trained together for four hours about bicycling parts and how wouldn’t it be fun someday to, you know, to get fast enough in the swim to hang with these guys on the bike and then blah blah blah all day long. It was just so much fun. And so I’d go out to the races and I’d get 12th or 17th or 21st or 24th or ninth or, or sixth if it was a tiny little race.
Jake: 25:30 And so what, you are better over shorter than
Brad: 25:33 I was all doing short distance stuff.
Jake: 25:34 Well, no, but I mean like your ranking was would be better on a shorter one. Yeah. There there’s no relative.
Brad: 25:41 I was completely anonymous. Right. So I’d, I’d go to these races, I did a couple of half iron man distance that first year, but generally I was just this guy who was filling out the pro field, which you didn’t have to qualify back then. You could just say, yeah, I’m pro, I’d be, I hate to go to few minutes behind the best guys, but every time I raced I’d have something positive to take away. And I’d studied the results and say, well look, you know, my running split was fourth best in the entire race even though I got 13th.
Jake: 26:09 Right.
Brad: 26:09 Look at that potential. I have to build on that. Yeah. Gee, if I hadn’t lost the pack in the swim, I possibly could have stayed closer on the bike and had a chance to show off my fourth runs. But, so I was, I was knocking on the door. No one knew about it except me and Andrew. And we support each other’s goals and in the background and anonymously and know, but we’re having a great time. And so nothing ever swayed me from making the best decisions in training, being patient with my progress, taking what my body gave me each day and nothing more because that’s the best way to train. And that’s the biggest mistake that endurance athletes make is they, they get all serious about themselves and say, well, I’ve got to do 60 mile bike ride today cause I got a race coming up in seven weeks,
Jake: 26:49 even though they feel sick already or whatever. Yeah.
Brad: 26:51 Like all these signs, they’re saying, dude, don’t be an idiot and they’re an idiot. And so I was like this purely trained athlete with no coach, no technology, no heart rate monitor, no wattage meter, no Fitbit. Um, and if I was tired, I’d head out the door and I discover in eight minutes, like I kind of feel like crap today I’m going to turn around and go home. Yeah. And it wasn’t a big deal to me either. I wasn’t like depressed cause my workout didn’t happen. It was just like, oh I’m tired.
Jake: 27:17 And then do you feel like that time period was like the, was that more fulfilling than that? Even when you had quote unquote made it like, and were like, you know, really pro and in contention every contest? Like was that a more fun time period? Cause I’ve seen that happen a lot in different domains where it’s like the beginning part, the start up phase.
Brad: 27:40 Yeah. It’s like we’re writing code together all night. .
Jake: 27:43 Exactly. As opposed to now sitting in board meetings type phase of for business, let’s say. Uh, is, was that your experience?
Brad: 27:51 I, my answer would be it’s kind of like parenting, you know, where the younger years more fulfilling than the teen years. Yeah. And it’s like the answer is it’s, you can’t compare it because it was different and they both were beautiful in there. Everything was beautiful in their own way. Even my worst years when I was a big shot and getting my ass kicked, which was, there’s nothing worse than that. Like you work so hard, you make it up to this pinnacle in a career setting. You’re vice president, you’re not going to get demoted to mail room if you’re vice president no matter what. I don’t care about your drinking problem in your prostitution, in, in the, in the conference room after hours, you know you’re not going to get, you’re not going to fall. Disgracefully well maybe you will if you do that stuff. But the point is you build on most careers, but in triathlon, no one cares what my ranking was or how much money the sunglasses are paying me to wear they’re just kicking my ass cause I’m, I’m falling apart in my careers ending. But going back to the storyline, you know, that first year and tapping into that resource, what happened was at the end of the year, like the, you know, the final race to close the season, um, I upset the number one ranked athletes in the world, the number one duathlete and the number one triathlete were facing each other for the first time. And everyone was wondering who was going to win. And I stole the show from these guys and it was a complete nobody crossing the finish line at first place. So at that point, my life changed and all of a sudden it was like, oh, okay, I have a career here.
Brad: 29:13 I’m not going to be delivering pizzas forever, nor going back to the accounting firm cause I’ve just shown, yeah, I, I’ve, I’ve arrived at that level. I’m not going to stay there and necessarily, but I can do it. I believe in, I believe now it’s a, it’s a real dream, not a, not a whim. Okay. Um, and so what also happened with, uh, enjoying this immediate success was pretty soon I started to, um, get consumed by it. And do all those things that I described the opposite of where I did attach my self esteem to the result. I forced things to happen that weren’t naturally meant to be because now I was an important guy. I had a target on my back. The other athletes wanted to take back what I’d taken from them, especially the number one guys in the world. You know, this is no funny business.
Brad: 29:59 When someone does a magnificent upset, they’re very good sportsmanship. They shake my hand and Scott Molina gave a great quote in the magazine after, after I won two races in a row and whooped him and he said, they asked him, what do you think about this guy Kearns? And this is my hero. This guy is, he’s called the terminator. He’s the winning his triathlete of all time. You know, he’s like a legend in his day. And he said, well, you know, Kearns is a good athlete and he had a great couple of races, but let me tell you something, if he wins again, he’s going to be puking at the finish line. And I remember reading that pool quote, it was a highlight quote in the magazine article and you could see like today, this is 30 years later, I still get the goosebumps. Cause when I read that I honestly freaked out and all the perspective changed for me on the spot because I realized the significance of this guy.
Brad: 30:48 All I could do was, you know, dream about being near him at the finish to overhear his conversation. That’s how much of a legend he was. I’m not going to race him because he’s too good, but I’m going to appreciate him from afar and just work hard and try some day to, you know, uh, come within five minutes of him and now he’s not only after me, but he’s throwing down on me. So it was, you know, that’s when I started to make mistakes, force things to happen, rush things, feel the pressure and then consequently struggle until another opportunity for recalibration came, which was basically, you know, getting my ass kicked a few times after being a surprise winner in my first year of the, of the circuit. So, you know, over time I had to learn, you know, to build that positive approach, stay, uh, committed to the process, get over myself again and again.
Brad: 31:38 So even if I succeeded, I wasn’t going to be all haughty about it. Like athletes aren’t other sports, you know, we have to get up and work pretty hard. Even if we’re on top. And like the guy who just won the super bowl, we can go party all winter. So it was, it was a great journey because you learn these lessons and you take them forward into all different areas of life, especially career, parenting where you can get all caught up and being a helicopter parent, and I hope I’m, I’m gonna talk to the coach and see if my boy can get on the A team instead of the B team because he’s got more potential than these other guys. And you just go crazy immersed into a deep attachment to the outcome to where you lose your perspective. And when you do that as an athlete, you get the most rudest awakening and lesson slap in the face more so than probably other careers or other realms, you know, like, yeah, some hard to have.
Jake: 32:26 You can hide your ego and a lot of other places like, like on the sidelines of the soccer game, hey wait, it’d be a team player, Drew and you scored three goals. Fantastic. Yeah, let’s transition to today now. And was it like a couple months ago you set a Guinness World Record, which to me is so awesome that, that I know someone who’s actually out there making a legit attempt at a Guinness World Record, uh, fully sanctioned. So tell me that story that the little, you know, ins and outs, like how do you, what do you have to do to make it an official Guinness record and what was it that you did and how did it go?
Brad: 33:05 Right. You, you set it up nicely because, uh, it’s no funny business setting yourself up for an official attempt. Just like Joey hotdog, you know, he’s got, uh, the camera’s there and the, the officials watching with their, their red coats and charting down that the hot dog is actually proper length and he’s got the bun that’s not chopped up. And so I saw this amazing video on youtube last winter by this gentleman named Steve Jeffs from Great Britain and it was the fastest hole of golf ever played by an individual. Uh, the one single hole, the fastest single hole with the important parameter being that it had to be minimum 500 yards length. So a par five. If you’re a golfer, you know that that’s one of the longer holes on the course, 500 yards. I mean, that’s over a quarter mile. So yeah. Um, so you already have to run a quarter mile built into this. Yeah. So I saw this guy set this record. There was a 161,000 views on the video, so it’s gotten around. Of course, a thousand of those views are mine. So there’s really only 160. I was captivated because I play speed golf. I’m a professional competitor on the, on the circuit. I’ve placed top 20 in the world championships three times.
Brad: 34:15 And this is a wonderful sport where you have a proper golf tournament where they keep your score and they also time you over the course and they added together to get your speed golf score. So for example, my best tournament, third place in the California professional championships, 2017 I shot a 78 in 47 minutes. So my speed golf score, it was 125 and the winter was 19. He shot par and 46 minutes or something. So that’s how the sport is played as you’re playing the entire course and had that other element of running quickly to the ball and carrying a handful of clubs. So this was kind of an offshoot of the proper speed golf competition where this guy just did one hole. And if you look on youtube, you can also see, um, there’s these groups of PGA tour players trying to break the record for a relay race for the fastest hole where one guy’s waiting in the fairway and runs up to the ball as soon as it’s hit.
Brad: 35:08 One guy’s waiting on the green to putt as soon as the ball is advanced to the putting green. And I think England beat Italy and they set the record and did it in 30 seconds. And Ian Poulter was one of the players noted ro. So there’s two different Guinness records. Yeah. This guy Steve Jeffs man, he put it out there. This video is beautiful where he gets dog piled at the end by his family. They’re so excited that he, he broke this record and so the standing record was a minute 50 a to play the single hole of golf. I’m like, you know what, I can sprint. I do sprint workouts all the time, right? I’m a pretty good speed golfer. I’m top 20 guy. I’m going to go out there tomorrow night and get my stopwatch and just bust out a new record. Of course it’s not official.
Brad: 35:50 I figured I’d give it a shot. So I go out there the next night and I get to the last hole, which is a 500 yard par five Bing Maloney course, Sacramento. And I start my watch and I actually do pretty well even though I’m running a pretty fast tempo, much faster than I would in a tournament.
Jake: 36:07 What club were it? Did you use?
Brad: 36:08 I had a few clubs, you know couple of clubs? Yeah. And so I got up there, boom, boom, boom, hit some good shots, put it into the hall, stop my watch, two minutes and 12 seconds. And I’m like, what the heck? Yeah, that’s 22 seconds behind the record. And I go back and watch the video again and again and I’m like, what is this guy like an Olympic sprinter or something you’ve seen the whole mixed thought I was going fast. So I went out the next night and I said, okay, I got to run full speed.
Brad: 36:36 Now forget this. So I went full speed. But in going full speed, in my haste, I hit a couple of sideways shots. I had to go get it and lose a little time. Losing a little time. Of course. Oops, I missed this short putt cause I was rushing. It stopped the watch to 13 so now I go home and I dig up this guy’s email from the speed golf registry and I’m like, dude, what is the story? First of all, awesome performance. I love your video. How did you do it? What’s going on here? Cause I tried and, you know I’m way behind. Yeah. He said, you know what? I practiced that hole hundreds of times over and over and over all summer to know exactly where to hit the ball in the right spot and where I needed to place my ball so I could put it in quickly.
Brad: 37:18 And you know, good luck. Super great sportsmen, like all Great Britain and Australian athletes, you know, they’re all about the sportsmen, sportsmanship and competitive lifestyle. None of the posturing that you see in America, sorry, Americans, get over yourselves. I mean, that’s happens a lot.
Jake: 37:32 Yeah.
Brad: 37:32 So it was a longterm project. I worked and worked for many months. I decided to apply the wonderful peak performance skills of, you know, analysis, problem solving strategy. I made it optimization choice to go with one club. Cause uh, Jeffs had a bag where he’s taking clubs out, putting them in like we do in a tournament. You need clubs that go play the whole course. Right. But for one hole I said, you know, I’m going to go for broke here and try to take a chunk out of this record by just using a three wood so I don’t have to drop a bag.
Brad: 38:03 I don’t have to pick up a bag, I don’t have to fuss with anything. But I do have to get good at these weird three woods shots where I’m bunting a 20 yard shot on the ground to get that final shot to the green. Yeah. And then learning how to putt with a three-word. So that was the fun process was like to kind of optimize this record, attempt with innovations and then repeated exact specific practice. Like the, what’s the book? The talent code. You have your coil, um, Malcolm Gladwell talking about that specific practice. 10,000 hours steps. Yeah. So I put in a lot of dry runs and preparation time. And then the part that you alluded to when you ask the question is like, Oh yeah, you want to go break a record. It’s not about just doing a youtube video and showing everybody, hey, I break it.
Brad: 38:49 The formal attempt has to be approved by Guinness. So it’s a 12 week application process where you have to submit all these guidelines and evidence and then when you finally get approved for the attempt, you have to have 12 people out there to watch. You need official witnesses, you need official timers, you need official still photographer, you need an official videographer. Uh, you have sworn statements that uh, at least one of the people didn’t know you prior. So it’s not all your buddies out there, like not verifying correctly. You basically need like a notary basically. Yes. On Record Attempt Day, May 8th of 2018 at Bing Maloney, um, the pressure was on, man, it was a big difference from me trying on the last hole tonight by myself right before dark. My girlfriend’s sister and her husband Sean and Maria drove three hours from ready to support my ‘record attempt.
Speaker 1: 39:38 Sean’s going to be the official timer because he’s retired CHP and he has the expertise, timing vehicles or whatever else, criminals, I don’t know. So I had my team set up and it was like the significance of the attempt was on me seeing I’m renting all these golf carts and they’re closing down the pro shops or the guy can be the official witness and so forth. And so that day I had a great, a great attempt and I did a minute 40 so I took 10 seconds off the preexisting record. Um, which, you know, I attribute to all my practice, just like Steve Jeffs achieved his record using the three would only was a huge boost and then I hit every shot dead straight and went after it
Jake: 40:18 on your first attempt.
Brad: 40:20 That was my first attempt, which was also key because when you’re sprinting full speed, you’re allowed multiple attempts. Guinness doesn’t care. And if you, if you hit a bad drive into the trees, you can say, oh, I’m starting over. And you know, that was all aloud. But my very first attempt I just went forward at full speed and that’s when I got the record from hitting the ball straight and just keeping, keeping that strategy. I did hit a couple of crappy shots where I stubbed one but it went straight and then I hit the other one. Good. Right. But, um, I was, you know, afterwards thinking that wasn’t perfect. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. I broke the record when I started to get the competitive juices flowing and
Jake: 40:55 you just feel like you left some seconds out there on the course.
Brad: 40:57 Maybe I could try again. And I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to rally the same people. I mean one one trip from Redding in back is enough for Sean and Maria. So I decided I’ll do it in la, in front of my mom and Dad and son and uh, cousin and uh, my, my childhood buddies down there, the men and boys who are stars that the youtube video that you’ll be directed to watch. Super exciting record or tip number two. And that one I like to talk about because I felt like I send it to a higher plane of existence and I was in the flow state like I’ve never experienced before. I mean it was, it was manually
Jake: 41:32 even like all the other things that you’ve done, this was, yeah, because this is slow, you know,
Brad: 41:37 this is so precise and technical and so fast moving that you don’t even have time to think. And what happened was at this course in la called Woodley, I basically hit four perfect shots, made a birdie and lowered the record to one 38 so I hit, I hit a great drive, I hit a great second shot, I hit a very delicate third shot, 20 yard chip that bounced on bumpy grass, jumped onto the green and then just poured toward the hole to about six feet from the hole. And I raced up there and knocked in the putt with a three wood. And so like the odds of executing all those difficult shots for me, I’m a good player, but I’m not, you know, yeah. I’m not a PGA player that can do fun stuff. And, and magician tricks with with my, with my three wood. So it was just like the best practice shot I’ve ever taken times four, you know, really all coming together and full speed sprinting to where my, my heart’s in my throat. Yes. So the other optimization of the record was that I trained my brain to just run up to the ball and hit it when generally you want to catch your breath and get settled and look at the target,
Jake: 42:41 right.Make a good shot,
Brad: 42:42 crazy stuff that there’s no time for that when you’re starting to try to lower that record more. So that was a great celebration. You could see I was a little pumped up on Youtube.
Jake: 42:50 It’s amazing that you were, that that like everything coming together and hitting, you know, your best shots only took two seconds off. Yeah, no one’s really, yes.
Brad: 43:00 I studied the video and I realized like my great third shot was a kind of above and to the right of the hall. So I had to run up to the green, pivot 270 degrees with my body and line up this putt. And then sink like a six foot putt, but a six foot putt takes four seconds to drop. So you’re almost, you’re almost as fast hitting a couple of extra shots as long as they’re dead straight,
Jake: 43:25 happy Gilmore style,
Brad: 43:27 Hockey style. But there’s a very fine line, like I proclaimed on a speed golf podcast, I go, this record can be broken. You’re going to get it, you’re gonna have to get a birdie. There’s no way you’re going to be wasting, you know, those, those shots. Uh, getting a par or bogey, I got a bogey on the first attempt in Sacramento and that’s where I, you know, I picked up the extra couple seconds. So you know, we have an Olympic silver medalist in the speed golf ranks. His name is Nick Willis from New Zealand. And so Nick Willis can run a flat out quarter mile, probably 10 seconds faster than a 53 year old has been like myself. But that 10 seconds will be grabbed back very quickly if you hit so much as one, even mediocre shot. It just, it just the time the time goes. Yeah. And then you’ve got to learn to use one club. Cause if you want to drop and pick up carbs, you’re going to lose time too.
Brad: 44:16 So that’s fun man. It’s packaging the, the old story from triathlon. I should add that like, you know, I’m so far gone from being a professional athlete and having that consuming my life. Now I’m an ordinary guy. I write books, do podcasts, raise kids, you know, yeah I have have life. But I feel like it’s important to have something getting you up in the morning and having a little bit of that edge continuing for the duration of your life. And it doesn’t have to be something important. I, I’ve, I thought it was fun that I could, I could go for this Guinness record and have Brian MacAndrew make a kick ass video and a brag about it and show it to people.
Brad: 44:54 But, um, you know, my other passion is highjump and I go to the dead empty stadium, no one there. The bar is hidden underneath the canvas. I uncovered the pit and I jump high jump. And I feel like when I’m in that, in that mode, I feel like I’m in the Olympic finals and that the stadium’s full with 50,000 people watching this old guy try it, try to high jump. So it’s like the significance inside for me to have a competitive drive to want to improve my, my height over the bar from the last time and by, by doing so, you know, define the aging process in one small way. One small leap for mankind and Brad Kearns. And that’s about it. But it gives me, it adds a richness element to my life even though I’m not totally consumed and obsessed with it. And in fact no one is watching when I’m high jumping and I’m still screaming when I cleared the bar and I exit the pit and I am overjoyed that I did something that was fun.
Brad: 45:53 So it’s different than being on the circuit and coming around the last corner in some metropolitan city and there’s thousands of people clapping for here comes the winner of the race. And that’s pretty cool too. But just like you asked that other question about what part of my triathlon career was most, um, you know, everything has that, that beauty to it especially, um, you know, winning a race does not suck nor succeeding in any other area of life. But it’s also those small moments where you learn a lot about yourself from failure and from recalibrating, especially as a parent, you know, I’ve seen, um, I’ve seen my kid, you know, make a great achievement and pass the advanced placement test and congratulations you, you know, you’re a, you’re going places in life and then I’ve seen them, you know, get punched in the face by life and have a lot of struggle and suffering and disappointment and I can’t do much about that as a parent.
Brad: 46:49 But, you know, offering my support and maybe a choice word or two of perspective at the right time with the right timing, you know, that makes me feel valued as well. Like I did something important.
Jake: 47:01 I think that’s one of the things that I’ve always admired about you is that your, you have a really, I would say high intrinsic motivation compared to a lot of people and like, you know, Warren Buffett’s talked about this a lot about being able to follow your own inner scorecard. And so if you are a person that needs other people’s validation, I think that that’s gonna just be a harder life in general if you’re here’s already politely said. Yeah, I mean if you’re somebody gets is kind of running their own race in life, which I would say that like that’s one of the things that I really admire about you is it, I think you’re, you’re a really good example of that. I think it’s just a more fun journey and just a, I think it’s a great example to set for your, for your kids as well. Hey,
Brad: 47:44 Thanks. That’s a compliment. I’ll take it. I feel like I’m maybe a blend of the various elements and I also don’t mind, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m very purposeful when I’m promoting myself and let’s say my accomplishment because I feel like I have a chance to motivate and inspire others. So maybe part of me does have an ego and I want to see my number of views increase from my world record thing. But I also know like if someone put that up for me, like Steve Jeff did, yeah, that guy changed my life and gave me the most beautiful goal to pursue. And so what he did was, you know, a personal challenge and a personal achievement got dogpiled by his family, but he also made the world a better place because now and since that time, other guys who are going for this record and putting up their own youtube videos and it’s just fun to promote the sport of speed golf.
Brad: 48:34 So, um, I also learned as an athlete like halfway through my career that maintaining this modest disposition and this, this grace that’s overly manufactured at times because you want to be seen as a good guy,
Jake: 48:49 right.
Brad: 48:50 It’s kind of bullshit at certain times. And so, you know, I had to wake up halfway through my career like Harold Abrams in the at Academy Award winning movie, Chariots of Fire. I remember when he was writing the reports into the newspaper to try to get more publicity for sprinting and Olympic, his Olympic dream. And he’d say, uh, submitted by a special code respondent and or the Abrams one, the a hundred beat as again in Oxford in a record smashing time. The chap was far ahead of the pack and he’d send these stories into the paper and was part of the movie that then it would get printed in the newspaper. And people started knowing. So I decided like I had to run my career as a business and promote the crap out of myself because other guys were doing it better than me that were slower than me and it was eating me. You know, it was eating me alive to know that I’m winning the race with my sunglasses and the guy who got seventh, who’s better at shmoozing and better at sending clippings in a him pictured wearing their glasses is getting four times as much money than me. And it’s like I had to understand the economic realities of like, you’ve got to hustle, you’ve got to promote yourself. You’ve got to carry yourself as a professional and not be a bad ass. But the false modesty and the fake self deprecation, I’ve talked about this before with you about podcasts, hosts or podcast casts are like, well, you know, I only have 3 million Twitter followers.
Brad: 50:08 It’s not not that many compared to Lebron James, but I do my best and my humble following. Well, we’ll hopefully gain some insights and inspiration to me. It’s like F you dude, you know, just just acknowledge who you are saying, I’m really glad to be on this ride. I’m working hard to help others and it’s fricking awesome. You know? So yeah, I’m trying to kind of blend those uh, attributes to where I can be as authentic as, as possible and everyone should know that I’m a goofball and I’m, I’m working on getting over myself. That’s why I named my podcast. Get over yourself. It’s not an in your face to the listener. It’s like, Hey, let’s take on this challenge together. Where my main message coming from all that time as an athlete, it was like if you cultivate a pure motivation, that’s when you’ll have the most happiness, fulfillment and even competitive results.
Brad: 50:58 And that’s what’s so cool these days. Like all these business leaders are now expressing this evolve mindset. It wasn’t there 10, 20 years ago, 10 20 years ago. It was like Warren Buffet’s smart. He buys stocks that are undervalued. He keeps him forever. You should too. Don’t be a loser and sell your stock when the market dips and that’s all we heard. Yeah, we didn’t hear about Mary and Sergey at Google deciding to turn down untold riches for many years because they want to build a better search engine and nothing would folk keep their focus away from that goal, not even early.com riches. And so, um, as astute listeners know those guys were on the sidelines until like they went public in 2004, four years after they could have become billionaires. Of course the story worked out well for them, but they were so not about the money.
Brad: 51:44 They were about the journey and about the quality of the product. And now you see guys like that left and right who are getting their due in society as you know, truly successful in the right way. Seth Godin and all his little newsletters, you know, always with that evolve mindset rather than you will crush it if you just, you know, follow my peak performance. Tony Robinson’s getting a little heat now because his stuff is maybe a little dated where you know, it’s not all about you puffing up your chest and um, you know, coming across with, with fake, uh, you know, fake arrogance or ultra masculinity. Yeah. Yeah.
Jake: 52:20 One funny fact about Google that I always, I always think about is that, if I remember right, they were the 17th or 19th search engine on the market, so it wasn’t like ask jeeves.com. Yeah, there was ask Jeeves, there was lycos, there was Yahoo,
Brad: 52:36 Altavista
Jake: 52:38 I mean they weren’t, they were a late to the party, relatively speaking. Um, so just goes to show you if you, if you do make a better product, which they did and they focused on, on the quality, not so much rushing things. That’s kind of one of the, one of the interesting things I’ve struggled with a little bit in studying silicon valley from afar is this idea of move fast and break things. Um, which fetishizing failure like, oh yeah, I, I was embarrassed by this product. I launched it so quickly. Yeah. And, um, I just, I’m not sure if that’s right. Like to me, I, I appreciate the idea of getting feedback from your customers before you spend too much time or money on something. Yeah. Just to get a validation, a reality check that what you’re doing is going to be useful, but at the same time, like to be so fast that you make a lot of mistakes. Uh, you know, and if you could kind of look at Facebook right now is running into a lot of problems because they’ve been so fast and not really thought about a lot of the ethical problems that, that they’re creating. So it’s, you know, this idea of move fast and break things to me is sounds good, but I’m not so sure. It’s like always the best advice.
Brad: 53:45 Well, I guess it, if there’s nothing better and there’s no gps map available and you’ve got the first one and it’s not perfect, okay. Put it out there. But if you’re moving fast because your stockholders are looking for, you know, or your, your, your capital investors, you know, that part is disturbing because I think we have that impure influence in, in the world right now, the consumerism and the, uh, you know, the, the need to produce a profit, just like an athlete who’s getting paid to wear someone’s apparel. And so you go and trained because you feel indebted to the person rather than staying committed to, you know, someday maybe that athlete will turn out even better if they have the time of the patients, the NBA players that Lonzo Ball, the Lakers needs knee surgery. Finally, the summer, guess what he was in and out of the lineup four times over the year with a bad knee. Why don’t you just shut that guy down in December so he can heal his fricking knee because he’s 20 years old and he’s got 14 more years. But they don’t think like that. They just think, well, let’s see if he responds to advanced treatment and complaint next Tuesday. They treating them like, uh, like dogs instead of athletes and business entities that are multimillion dollar assets. They have no concept of that because they’re too consumed with winning next week, you know, and Oh, by the way, the Lakers sucked anyway.
Brad: 55:00 So who cares if he’s in or out of the line? Yeah. So the guys that have that same with business leaders who have that evolved approach and don’t want to put shit out there that they know is crappy. Hopefully that’ll be, that’ll be a nice counter to the, uh, extreme examples that you talk about. Yeah.
Jake: 55:18 Well Bradley, I appreciate you coming on a hike. Oh my gosh. A lot of fun. What a fabulous experience. I’m happy to hear some of the backstory about your, especially your early triathlon days because we’ve talked a little bit about it, but I’ve kind of always been wondering and it’s like, it’s nice to just take the time out to get into like the real stories. That’s right. I mean, it’s fun to talk about too. And I think I tried to, um, you know, draw those, there’s a lesson to dry out of it. It’s not just reminiscing at the, at the bar over the races that uh, that you won or lost. Yeah.
Jake: 55:52 Hey there. It’s Jake again. I hope you enjoyed this hike with Brad Kearns as much as I did. If you liked this height cast format or maybe even want to take me on your favorite hike, shoot me an emai at firstname.lastname@example.org all spelled out. Lastly, be on the lookout for my first literary effort, the Rebel Allocator coming out later this year. Hopefully I’ll see you on the trail soon.
Brad: 56:16 Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at email@example.com and we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars and it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to. Thanks for doing it.