This chapter is more like an open letter to my kids an idea that I got from my athlete, the guy who did the solo ironman. Which by the way, he did another one, can you believe it? That is pretty wild right? 3 ironmans in one year with 2 being solo. As his coach I told him, that is wild so let’s do it, because life is about following your dreams!
Back in at the of 2003 when I had my first real crisis I stopped to ask myself: what life was all about? That is when I heard the iron maiden song Wildest Dream. That was like a whisper in my ears like this “Joy is your birth right”. But what was my joy? I was so numb that I didn’t even know what my joy was, but I knew one thing, as a kid I wanted to be a professional athlete. Everyone told me it was impossible because I had no talent as a kid. And now, I was 260 pounds, drinking daily, and smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Would that be even possible to pursue such an wild dream? Well, I thought so.
That is when I felt in love with ironman and decided to pursue a kids dream. For me was more about the journey of becoming a pro athelte than actually winning. Yes I wanted to win, but that was not the main goal. The main goal was to find my joy in life, specially because I was not willing to do everything to win, such as drugs or drafting in a race. My thought was if I ever win anything needed to be clean. During my ironman years I started to question a lot of things, after all do you want a better therapy of hours and hours of exercise just you and yourself? Add metal and punk rock to the mix and we have the closest thing to a perfect therapy.
After awhile doing ironman and also doing therapy I started to find my real joy. I realized I had more kids dreams to fulfill and those dreams were much much deeper in my soul, because that I had to face a much bigger demon. As I learned in my ironmans, and told all my athletes, you need to face your demons. I also learned in my own experience that when you are in hell become friends with the devil, and that is what I did.
After 18 ironmans I realized it was time to move forward. When I asked my therapist what innerchild had to do with depression and she answered “everything “. I didn’t think twice, I knew it was time to complete heal my innerchild. It was time to pursue my other kids dreams which consist in:
Learn how to play all iron maiden songs in the guitar.
Learn how to sing.
Have my own talk show.
Write a book of my story.
Have a blog related to music.
For me was never about fame or money, was always about happiness. Happiness is about pursing a dream and following your heart. That day in 2003 I just choose to make a change towards my happiness. Success for me is about exceeding your own limitations, is going above of what you thought it was possible. You can shoot for the moon because if you miss you will land in the stars.
For me being a punk is about following your dreams, and choosing happiness over the same old story. After all joy is our birth right. In numerology 666 simply means:
666 the number of the beast for me is the greatest song ever created in human history, that’s why I starting with this one.
All that being said, what I want to teach my kids and hopefully other kids through music is to follow their dreams; and to choose love over fear.
I’m gonna organize some changes in my life, I’m gonna exorcise the demons of my past, I’m gonna take the car and hit the open road, I’m feeling ready to just open up and go And I just feel like I can be anything, that I might ever wish to be, and fantasize just what I want to to be, make my wildest dreams come true I’m on my way. Out on my own again I’m on my way out on the road again, When I remember back to how that things used to be, and I was stuck inside a shroud of misery I felt I disappeared so deep inside my self I couldn’t find a way to break away the hell When I’m feeling down and low, I vow I’ll never be the same again, I just remember what I am, and visualize what I’m gonna be, I’m on my way. Out on my own again, I’m on my way, I’m gonna break away, I’m gonna break away, I’m out on my own, I’m out on my own, gonna break away, breaking away, I’m on my way, out my own again, I’m on my way, out on the road again, I’m on my way, out on my own again, I’m on my way, I’m gonna break away,
I must confess I am loving 2020 because my life started to make sense, and as I said I found my why. I always believed in crisis, I mean crisis bring the best out of us. Because there is no way around it, you have to face it in order to survive. That is why I truly believe crisis brings in the best in us, we have to change, there is no escape.
During my healing process that includes lots of music, skateboarding, singing, guitar/bass playing and my monthly therapy sessions I realized that Religion is the biggest bully of all times at least with me. That is what my book is really about. I love the topic spirituality/existance but I hate religion because put most people in a box, a depressive box of unworthiness. That why for me in that topic there is a thin line between love and hate. Spirituality is about love and unity, however what religion teaches is hate and separation. Unfortunately I never had a chance to say my side of the story, I was shut off by Religion and that cause me a great amount of pain and anger.
Now, did you know that my best iron man ever was racing with anger released in a positive way. That was the race I did against my brothers. I love them but I hate the fact that I was smaller and got beat up all the time. However, in an ironman race we are all equal, and that day my goal was simple: to beat them in the race with as much as spare time as possible. Yeah, I used all my anger to a good thing, to have the performance of my life, a performance that made my career boom as an athlete and coach. What’s best is that was during the race and nobody got hurt, well maybe egos got hurt,but that is ok. I felt relief but took me awhile to understand why that was my best race.
Now when it comes to religion I have been bully for 40 years, I tried many times to approach and have conversations. Real deep meaningful conversations, but I was never received with an open heart. Which sounds crazy, because it should be the opposite. Up to 2020 I had hopes in 2 Religions, not to join but to listen. The 1st was spirtism and the 2nd new age type of thing. However 2020 showed me different again. Around June 2020, in an instagram live where it was a new age subject I said something about rock and roll I was received with an really weird vibe. A judgmental one, so I was ok, for that reason I am out. Then yesterday I made a comment in a famous YouTube channel about spiritism, and I was received the same way, with the same judgmental vibe. It was weird because in both times I came from a loving place being true to myself, making a true statement and in a polite manner. Once again I was received in a judgmental way.
One thing I learned is that with bullies you have to fight back, but in a smart way. Religion have been bullying me for years. They didn’t even stop to hear me, they took my voice and I got in trouble for it. Now I need to make my voice heard for my own healing and for that I am telling my story, a book that Religion will try to burn. Now what do I do with all that anger built? Do the same thing that I did in the ironman against my brothers, use my anger to build good. That is when Rock-it-ology was born.
The name Rock-it-ology came from the song Rock-it from Motörhead. The lyrics says it all, Rock and Roll saved my soul and Lemmy’s got it. Inspired on that was what made want to share the story and use my anger to something good and since life is like an ironman race. I will let it out in this life, cause I am not carring this for the next one. What you do in this life echoes in the eternity so I will fight the evil forces of religion, and remind kids about unity (love). Think about it, I will leave an story with true conisidences, like a prophecy, with music to wake up the inner child feeling (inner punk). This way just like in this iron maiden song, when is my time to go heart will die and my soul will fly forever. Truth is you can burn a book but you can’t shut a thinking mind. Genius or insane? I now think I am a genius, or I am the fallen angel and I am here accomplishing my mission.
Now is a matter of time, of Religion going down, I mean kids just need to be remmeber of who they are and what they came here for. They will shape the world the way they want too and kids are naturally born punks. Like I said is not about me, is about my kids and the world I am leaving for them. I won’t lie the older you get are harder it is due the baggage, but it’s possible. You just need to be willing to get out of the matrix. Meanwhile I will keep fighting back because I won’t sell my soul. The truth is the more I do it, the better and more loving Dad I become, because heals me and allow me to fully presents with my kids and less time between the walls of unworthiness.
They will shape the world the way they want too and kids are naturally born punks. Like I said is not about me, is about my kids and the world I am leaving for them.
For me it all make sense now, is all about Roots and Attitude (thanks Sepultura). The roots here are going within, however going within means going to your darkness and that is painful as fuck, but very rewarding. Attitude is punk, meaning facing your demons. Just remember light needs darkness to shine, is all connected and its all about balance!
When a person turns to wrong, is it a want to be, belong? Part of things at any cost, at what price a life is lost At what point do we begin, fighter spirit a will to win But what makes a man decide, take the wrong or righteous road There’s a thin line between love and hate Wider divide that you can see between good and bad There’s a grey place between black and white But everyone does have the right to choose the path that he takes We all like to put the blame on society these days But what kind of good or bad a new generation brings Sometimes take just more than that to survive be good at heart There is evil in some of us no matter what will never change I will hope, my soul will fly, so I will live forever Heart will die, my soul will fly, and I will live forever Just a few small tears between someone happy and one sad Just a thin line drawn between being a genius or insane At what age begin to learn of which way out we will turn There’s a long and winding road and the trail is there to burn There’s a thin line between love and hate Wider divide that you can see between good and bad There’s a grey place between black and white But everyone does have the right to choose the path that he takes I will hope, my soul will fly, so I will live forever Heart will die, my soul will fly, and I will live forever I will hope, my soul will fly, so I will live forever Heart will die, my soul will fly, and I will live forever The thin line between love and hateThe thin line between love and hate
Have you ever thought of doing an ironman solo? Meaning, no race just you and you for 140.6 miles? Well, let me introduce you:
Name: Ari Varon
Profession: Run my own business, sell products into the market in China, sell Israeli technology into China.
1-On June 21st you decided to do a solo ironman since most races was cancelled due to covid-19, can you tell us why? (please tell distances)
Corona Stops Competitions, Not an Ironman.
I finished a solo IronMan Distance triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) on June 21st. It took me a moment to decide to do it, 3.5 months to train for it and just over 13 hours to finish it.
When Corona started shutdowns and restrictions I had just signed up for an official Ironman competition in Austria July 5th, 2020. I was therefore faced with a simple choice, let Corona dictate my life, or take control of my actions despite Corona. I started losing my desire and motivation for training at all, and I didn’t like that. So it was either find a plan B or basically realized I was on the path to stop training.
Truthfully, it was not such a daring or glorious decision. For me, it was part of listening to my inner self, not letting the fear of goal setting set me back and believing that anything and potentially everything is possible if we stop telling ourselves no.
I won’t say I wasn’t afraid to set the goal of a solo Ironman. But with the onset of lockdowns and travel restrictions, I preferred to do something rather than just complain that Corona canceled my competition.
So why… I train alone anyway so a solo Ironman seemed better than none at all.
2- was that your first ironman?
My first Ironman distance triathlon was the Israman on January 31st, 2020. Taking place in Eilat Israel, it is considered one of the toughest Ironman distance competitions because of the intense uphills on the bike (2900m elevation gain) and the intense downhill on the run (10km with over 700m downhill).
After completing the Israman, I wanted to have the experience of an Ironman Branded competition. I have heard much that the group experiences is exceptional. So I set my goals on a European competition, not far from my home in Tel Aviv Israel.
3- how did you get into the sport? And why ironman?
I slid into triathlons accidently and naturally; Ironman distance by just not stopping.
January 2019 I made a resolution to get off the couch and run 5km in under 30 minutes by my birthday March 30th. Although a true goal, seemed to achievable to be a good new years resolution so I upgraded to a Sprint Triathlon. A friend of mine who had done a few 70.3s told me – anyone can do a sprint, set your goal for an Olympic length and I literally told her, no way that’s way too much.
Early march I did the sprint triathlon, March 26th I upgraded to the Olympic length. I then set my goals for a 70.3 which I did June 20th. It was in the last 10km of that 70.3 that I decided to go for the what I had previously thought was impossible, the full Ironman. I realized, not only was it no longer impossible, it was totally achievable.
I then followed the dear advice of the one friend I knew who had done an Ironman (3X IM finisher). Understand that a 70.3 is different beast than a full Ironman and get a coach. I then searched coaches with IM experience for people on low carb diet and the first person I contacted turned out to be the perfect fit – IM specialist with an emphasis on family first.
A bit of background on why a 5km seemed a decent goal. I was born with a club foot, short Achilles tendon. I had surgery at 6 months with the doctor telling my parents, without the surgery he would never walk, with the surgery he would never run. But my parents never told me that. I started running when I was 10, was on the athletics team in high school, special forces in the Israeli Army. All with constant issues with my ankles and recurring problems with injuries.
December 2003, when training for what I hoped would be my first Marathon I hurt myself so badly I couldn’t walk for 3 months and never could run again without injuring myself.
I gained weight, up to 102kg (230lbs). It was only after a conversation with a friend, a runner who was telling me about a 21km run he had, did I realize I wanted to run again. I decided to lose weight so I could run, I figured I needed to get to 85kg or less. I stopped eating grains and sugars, gradually lost weight and at 85kg, decided to run the 5km.
4-You also end up organizing a kids run, how did that happen? And why?
The kids run was definitely one of the highlights of the entire day, that alongside with actually finishing the Solo Ironman.
The Kids run was initiated and implemented by my son’s school, though I made the medals, shirts and kids run logo. Eventually, kids from beyond just my son’s school joined, and we had almost 100 kids joining me in several starts during the run.
I truly intended for the day to be a solo event. All logistics and everything. I realized I did need the help of one friend at the aide station during the second half of the run. For the second half of the run I planned to put an aide station in a single location, one person there, and have myself do 2 km loops (1km in each direction) to simulate an actual race with an aide station every 1 mile or so.
That friend happens to be the most talented guy I know in almost everything. During my training I came up with a logo including the slogan Corona stops competitions, not an Ironman. He turned it into a very professional logo.
When I finally had the guts to tell my wife my plan I showed her the logo and the slogan. She was really touched by the Corona aspect, not letting Corona stop us. This was in the heart of the lockdowns for us.
She secretly showed the logo to PR person. The local news decided to do a mini-documentary on the day of the race, a positive story of news to share during the Corona lockdowns. Then the school heard about it and started the race. Then the Israeli sports organization who runs the Israman heard about the event and put an article out before the race and covered the race during the day.
I will never forget the evening when she told me about the news deciding to cover the race. She said: please don’t kill me, I know you want this to be just us, but the news wants to cover the race. My first thought was: that is exactly what I don’t want, but since it shows that my wife is truly supporting me in her way, it is the best gesture ever. Honestly, my second thought was, why would the news want to cover it.
But the kids run provided almost a 100 kids with a true taste of using sports as a means of excellence in the midst of the Corona pandemic. For me, running with the kids during my race provided a new level of meaning to any event that I could ever participate in.
5-How was your preparation during the pandemic? And how you manage kids, work and training?
KIDS FIRST! I believe that kids and family come first. For me, everything I do revolves around my kids and my family, including how I build my professional life and time with the kids. My wife is an OBGYN resident at the leading hospital in Tel Aviv. She is an AMAZING mother but works a lot. I fill in at home.
During the lockdown I would use trainer in our backyard and we were allowed to run around the block so I did a bunch of loops and internals and elastic strength training to simulate swimming since no pool or beach was allowed so I just hoped that things would calm down enough before June 21st to allow swimming.
The process was amazing! My three boys are young (8, 5, 3.5) The kids were with me while I was on the personal trainer, they ran loops with me and they did the core strength exercises with me. Truthfully, seeing how I could get them truly excited about sports and training was an initial goal of mine and a sincere push to keep training. They kept on asking me when I was getting on the bike that day, or when they could go running with me. That “together” as well as being a positive role model for my kids is a sincere motivation for my training.
6-What was the difficulty training during this period? To be honest, I enjoy the training. My coach, the best in the world!, guided me through the process very well. For me the training provides me focus, achievement, inner quiet as well as time to let all the noise of life flow out so I can be true to myself. I tell people that when you are in the middle of a 3 hour bike training session, or even a 1 hour internal session, you don’t have the energy to waste on lying to yourself. So, in training your thoughts can actually be pure, if you let them.
Almost every week when I got my training schedule I would think, there is no way I can do that sequence, that session so many times in a row. But each week as I let things think in, started to let my mind and body flow and not my instinct to stop myself go, things just worked out.
So the difficulty in the training is honestly all mental, its to stop stopping ourselves. It’s to believe in ourselves, it’s to stop listening to all the people who call us crazy. The rest, just works itself out.
7-What was the hardest part during the solo ironman? In every long training session as well as during the Solo Ironman itself I always have a – what am I doing this crazy thing moment. But I define endurance as just not stopping. So I just don’t stop, and those moments pass.
The truth is, there were a several things that could be defined as the “hardest” part. The run was harder than I thought from step one and throughout. I had practiced the transition before, even during the 30 Celcius+ heat of the Tel Aviv Summer. But for some reason I couldn’t get my head in the right space to push for a quick time. It was only at the end of the run, the last 10 kms that I realized why. The time I finished in didn’t matter, just to finish. While every step hurt, it was actually when I was running with the kids, even once, walking with my youngest son who said, Dad walk with me that I realized, those moments were what makes the entire run worthwile. Had I been pushing to finish fast, I would have missed those moments. The funny things about an Ironman, it was after I finally realized that, at km 32 of the race, that I started to finally feel comfortable and pick up the pace without really needing breaks.
But the idea of an Ironman for me is making impossible possible. Taking a big red line of “impossible” and separating it into a bunch of little light green lines that you can achieve. Both in the training as well as in the logistics and in life.
Logistically I had to plan every single aspect down with lots of backup. 10L of water with me for the bike, all the nutrition, backup and equipment if I had a flat tire, places to ride on various amounts of wind (sometimes up to 26km an hour pushing against you).
But since I had lots of time to think and prepare during the longer training sessions, it all worked itself out.
8- Did you think about quitting? If yes, what made you keep going?
Never about quitting per se. Almost every time about stopping, I guess there is a slight difference.
For me all goals are personal, all challenges are with yourself and the competition is to make yourself better not beat somebody else. So it was always an inner self moment, and that helped keep it pure.
9- did this event changed you in any way shape of form? It has only been a week since I finished so I am only starting to realize how it changed me. I think it changed me in two core ways: first, always make the impossible possible. I implement that now in every aspect of my life, with my kids and with my work. I am not sure what my next big goal is, but once I identify the idea that is a bit scary at first and seems impossible, I will know I found it. Second, inspiration. I realize this is the first thing I can think of where people have come to me and told me I have inspired them to do better, be better and achieve more. That is a tremendous feeling. That is something I want more of, helping other people be better at what they do. I am not sure exactly what that means in practice, but I am finding out.
10- did this quarantine changed you?
To be honest, the quarantine in Israel was a very positive time for myself and my family. First of all, its all about attitude. As soon as we understood that quarantine was on the way, we decided to use the time to strengthen our family. Also, my wife is an OBGYN MD at the Tel Aviv hospital so her hours are normally crazy. During quarantine, she worked, on what we call the frontline, but she was also home. As a family, we had time to bond, to play, to train together and overall, to be together. So if anything, it changed us as a family in very positive way.
11-anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you Coach! Your Zen perspective towards training and life has changed my attitude towards life and created the confidence in myself to not only finish 2 Ironmans in less than 5 months, but more importantly be a better person, father, partner and push for excellence in all fields.
And thanks for only telling me you thought I was crazy for planning a solo Ironman, after I finished.
12- what touches your soul?
The way people told me my solo event inspired them, that has touched my soul in ways I never felt before. Not in a pat myself on the back type of way. But they told me that their kids will always remember the event, they went to sleep with the medals, they were proud to have been in an Ironman race themselves and they now believe they can do it themselves. The inspiration that gives people, that touches my soul and I want to keep on doing that part again.
13- an example on how not to be an asshole:
Not being an asshole is an attitude and way of life. It is something we have to remind ourselves in every action that we do. With three young boys, there is a lot of challenging going on in my house. When my kids challenge me, I have to remind myself to be strict, but fair. Never to lie, not to be an asshole. But the only way not to be an asshole is to believe in yourself, have confidence and be respectful in ever thing that you do, all day every day.
A few years ago Rirou was tired of racing ironman and he felt the need to change and do something more meaningful. Rirou always heard that he had an ability to reinvent himself, even though is not really about reinventing himself, is more like a rebirth.
Rirou created this blog to share his journey with the hopes that might one day motivate someone. The whole idea of the blog is to talk about all aspects of life, specially mental health, music and fatherhood.
This week completes one year that Rirou joined school of rock to start learning a life time dream: Learn how to play the guitar and sing. Not only that, Rirou had an idea of creating punk rock songs for kids.
“It’s a rebirth” Rirou
Yes, is true Rirou transform himself. Well, he likes claim “it’s a rebirth”. On Saturday 6/13/20 the very first Rock-it-ology Punk rock song for kids got ready and Luke approved.
Rirou decided to launched his very first song next Sunday 06/21/20, his 40th birthday and father’s day. Stay tuned for the Rock-it-ology very first single this Sunday.
Speaking of father’s day, have you got your Rocker Dad shirt yet?
Also, check out the schedule of the blog in case you like the story.
Why chewbacca Monday? Well, it’s kind of motivation Monday, but since I stopped shaving my body I realized I have so much hair that I am like Chewbacca. Sorry is too much information, but its the reality.
The #6 punk rules unfashion thyself is the most punk rule of all, it’s simple and very efficient. And no, it has nothing to do with clothing, well maybe a little bit, but not entirely. Unfashion yourself is more about an attitude than anything else.
Rirou was always about attitude, like you wanna do something go for it. Many considered radical, and it is, but it works. Rirou claim if he was not radical he would not have never achieved what he did. He might be probably right on that, life is about attitude, and that Rirou had a lot.
The attitude is simple, is basically going after of what made you feel good. Quite simple, but the collective matrix teaches you fake it until you make it. It is just like this:
Feeling good is NOT about perfection, is quite the opposite. Feeling good is doing stuff with purpose, and a purpose for you. Not to impress anyone expect you. Yes, it is all about you, because life it is how you feel. However, that does not give you the right to be an asshole. Always remember the first punk rule.
The attitude is simple; be real. Sounds simple, but being real comes with the good, the bad and the ugly and most people cannot handle that. That is why “quick fix” sells like water. We all know quick fixes don’t work and that real solutions is painful, but if you want to escape the matrix you have to go through the pain. Like Rirou said to all his clients, the demons and the dark side are your teachers.
During this COVID-420 quarantine Rirou was unfashion himself more and more and the punk force was just growing on him… Like master Yoda once said “Do or Do not, there is no try.”