The Tenacious Triathlete: Brian Lilley


Brian Lilley is a Richmond VA age grouper who has improved rapidly this season.  He has an incredible unwavering positive attitude through his training and an amazing ability to balance it all.  When he's not racing you can find Brian supporting other athletes at most of the races in Richmond or organizing group training sessions or fun activities for his friends.  
Age Group: M 30-34
1.  This year you came back from an injury, accomplished you first half iroman, qualified for and raced in the prestigious USAT AG nats and PR'ed in every distance you attempted.   How did you achieve this?
At the end of 2012 i was without a coach, trying to train on my own and almost felt lost in my training.  I knew something had to change so i met with Michael Harlow and Kyle Pawlaczyk from Endorphin Fitness to discuss my training needs and options to see if we could work together.  After discussing i knew that Endorphin Fitness was the right place for me.  After a couple months we started building into a run phase of training at the track in which this is something i wasnt' accustomed too.  I informed Coach Kyle of my shin splints issue.  He observed my running form and gave me a few tips.  Within that very same practice he had corrected my form, shins weren't hurting during or after practice and my run splits had improved.  This had greatly improved my run performance throughout the year giving a 4 min 10k PR, 3 min 5k PR (run straight) and almost 2 min 5k PR Sprint tri.  This was a huge confidence booster throughout the year
I can't leave out Peluso Open Water swimming as the time, attention and perseverance to not let you give up.  I always thought swimming is swimming, until i realized that through Masters swimming you're using so many different muscles that i could tell was benefiting my regularly used triathlon muscles.  I'm sure that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but i could my tri muscles strengthing through swim.  I could go on and on about Peluso Open Water and their great program as their coaching staff provided more than swimming instruction, they also have broad knowledge of each sport that helped tremendously. 
Through great coaching, patience and amazing support from my team gives you that motivation to want to succeed!


2. How did you get started in triathlon and why have you stayed?
I used to be a competitive tennis player growing up and after serving in the military, that sport slowly withered away and i was without a sport/hobby to keep my Type A personality going.  After moving to Richmond almost 5 years ago i was looking for something to get involved in.  My Uncle who is an avid marathon runner qualifies for Boston has competed in triathlon ranging from Sprints to Ironman distance and i always found that intriguing.  I was at the YMCA and came across a poster about a beginner triathlon program through Central Virginia Endurance.  I thought that was a good sign and decided to join.  I went and bought a Walmart road bike and started with the 12 week program leading up to Richmond Multisports "Richmond Sprint" in October.  Although i started off too hard on the swim feeling like i was hyperventilating, not a great cyclist and felt like i was going to die on the run, the second i crossed that finish line i was hooked!! I went home and analyzed my results all day thinking about how i could improve.  To this day that hasn't changed a bit. 

3. A. What do you balance in your life outside of swim, bike and running? 
As much as i love triathlon i believe balance in life is key so you don't get too overwhelmed mentally in the sport.  Photography is a huge passion of mine as i've never been the creative person in school with any artistic or musical skills (yes even my Mother would tell me not to sing in the car while on road trips and it takes at least 6 beers and 2 shots for customers in a karaoke bar to allow me to sing :) I took a photography class during summer school and ended up spending 6 months in the dark room processing film and absolutely loved the variety and detail.  Most of all i loved how people felt when they saw their photo creating a happy memory.
I also love to travel and see different parts of the world and expand my views of culture seeing how people live, interact.  This gives me perspective and helps me to appreciate what i have even more because i'll admit i can get comfortable and lose sight at what i have.  I like to remind myself at how greatful i am for what i have and am able to accomplish.

B. Tell me about "Around RVA" and how triathlon played a role in launching it?
Triathlon played a huge role in creating Around RVA!  I've always had a passion for photography and love to go out and photography my friends racing.  After seeing how these vendors are charging an outrageous amount for photos and how most of us aren't willing to pay those prices, but want a memory of this race i decided why don't i take race photos and charge so much less?  From there that's how Around RVA came about.  When i started it i wanted it to be known that it isn't just about money, but how i want to create good lasting memories for everyone. 

4. What has been your favorite race to date?
My favorite race to date is without a doubt Naylors beach Sprint.  It is a small race put on by Richmond Multisports located at the Tappahanock river that i have now raced 4 years in a row.  What i love about this race is the diversity of the race conditions as they seem to be completely different each year whether it be the wind, rough water, hot, cold, etc.  I also love the scenery of the race course and i've made it a habit to tent camp each year.  Most people wouldn't recommend tent camping the night before the race, but i believe it's been good luck as the last two years i've qualified for AG Nationals at this race and keep PR'ing each year getting faster and faster.

5.  What motivates you in sport?
I love to race!  My goal each race is to beat myself from the previous year or previous race, etc.  I absolutely LOVE that adrenaline rush you get before the race when you're nervous, during the race after you get out of the pool running to your bike to hopping off your bike prepping for the run along with seeing your friends and teammates on the course giving you that motivation. 
I love everything about the race!

6. Which endurance related companies and/or groups have been most important to your triathlon success this year?
Endorphin Fitness and Peluso Open Water masters swim program have been key to my success this year as they've provided more than coaching.

7.  What is the wildest thing you have done (Tri related and please keep it PG).
After my first Sprint triathlon i was overly confident and excited so i signed up for Rumpass and Bumpass International (olympic).  I was not ready for this distance, first open water swim, but went ahead and raced it anyway.  I had to stop mutliple times during the swim, hurt on the bike and started cramping on the run, but i didn't quit.  It was an experience to say the least and a great learning lesson.

8.  What are your endurance sport related goals for the upcoming year and beyond?
(1) another shot at the half iron distance getting stronger on the bike and better understanding of nutrition prep for the run
(2) race Sprint AG nationals and see how i pair up with the top athletes i would love to qualify for Team USA in the future

9.  You always seem to be leveraging the social aspect of the sport and planning and participating in fun events.  What is the most fun endurance sport related event you have done and what do you most look forward to in the upcoming year?
Although this isn't tri specific, i feel it has a lot to do my personality in regards to my way of thought towards anything in life. A friend of mine and i were playing pool one morning and ended up playing for hours. We had joked that their had to be some time of Guiness Book of World Record for billiard playing and we should break it. After looking up the record we told people that we could do it and all we heard was "no way you can do it, no way." Of course our Type A personalities kicked in and said "oh yeah, we got this.' We submitted all the paperwork to Guinness World Record and received word to set up a date. For 53.5 hours all we could think of was how people didn't think we could do this and how we were't giving up. I believe endurance has always been in my blood and giving up is never an option. We ended up breaking the Guiness Book of World Records for Longest Billiard Marathon play. 
I look forward to Sunday Brunch runs at friends houses!  Nothing better than a good sunday run with food and mimosas afterwards.

10 .  Do you have any triathlon Bucketlist goals?
(1) Train for and complete 1 Ironman
(2) Qualify for Team USA once