Journey of an IRONMAN, Part 1!

October 10, 2017

One month ago I heard those words, “Brent Rauch You are an Ironman!” No words can describe this journey entirely, but there is no doubt in my mind that it wasn’t all about the end, it was about the entire JOURNEY! It’s time to share with you a little about this story now that I’ve had time to reflect…


I am grateful and thankful to many people along the way especially my wife, Bridget, who was “all-in” support from the day I signed up through the finish line. It was a big sacrifice for us to dedicate 9 months of training and more to complete a life-long goal. For this reason it has been helpful taking the past month off with minimal activity and time to rest. Starting tomorrow, I get back into a rhythm of physical fitness with a new focus, something much different than 140.6 miles. The new aim is to maintain the weight I attained through training, all the while increasing muscle fitness and endurance to lean up a little more. This will take a focused diet and a consistent routine with varying activity. I’ve received so many compliments and encouraging words along the way in regards to the change in my physical appearance, and I too have noticed how for a number of years I had taken my health and fitness for granted. Now is not the time to let it go. I’ve got to be reminded that was actually the auxiliary goal of preparing for and competing in an IRONMAN. This is where I began and knew that it would be something to celebrate even if I didn’t finish on September 10. This is why I made this Journey about More Than an Ironman! Here’s a glimpse of a message I shared with many others via a cape I wore race day.

21586919_932737989160_2226437546870890880_oDidn’t know I was such an artist, eh? And yes, that last box was checked, see it in this video. The Journey is so much more than the finish line and I knew that this perspective is what I needed to carry with me. On Thursday night before race day I attended an event, an Ironman Wisconsin Legend, Fireman Rob, shared his biggest advice to “Enjoy the Journey” during a little Ironman Story Telling with the Voice of Ironman, Mike Reilly. Interesting enough, that just happens to be part of my life motto “Put God First and Enjoy the Journey.” They also mentioned the fact that a very small percentage of the world’s population even step to the start line and no matter what happens, we’ve already done something great. I had no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy it 21743613_932735728690_1642615354212051867_omost if I reminded myself of these things each mile along the way! So much so I had these words written on my arms so that I could see it throughout the day. No matter what challenges we take on in life, these words can really help anyone and I hope they can be an encouragement to you today and always!

It wasn’t just these words that were encouraging, there were many others who shared in this journey to Madison and to the finish line. I can’t thank them enough for the ways in which they challenged me to keep going, helped me reach new goals, endured long days on the bike and simply helped me prepare for what the race day would be like. It all started with having a couple friends who had already signed up before me: Jay Johnson, a great friend from high school and Brian Breuner, a friend from church. Then there were a number of others I got to know 21458177_10214142443666059_6747270594977934539_othrough a training team I was invited to join via Jay, Ironworks, many of whom had already competed in Ironman Wisconsin in previous years. Here we are getting ready for our pre-race swim. Through the training months many from this training group found their own way to encourage me and shared great insight in preparation. Even in the final days leading up to the race and the final build up any last minute tips and help were exactly what I needed to feel confident that I had done all I could. The cool thing about having the training group and friends who were competing, including another friend from church, Brad Hiatt, is that we knew that we weren’t in it alone. An important message to carry through life’s big challenges.

In the midst of the crowds of people we have to also thank our good friends Ben and 21752613_932737949240_2869146893946811650_oHillary Lindell who hosted us on race weekend, providing a home and great meals throughout the weekend, taking Bridget to the great spectating spots and simply being great encouragement through the entire process. When it was all said and done they were right there cheering me into the finish with Bridget. It’s no doubt that this is what friends are for, to share in the journey in special ways. They’ve truly been a special part of this journey in our trips to Madison for a training day middle of the summer and for race weekend. A big thank you to all of our family and friends!

Are you ready for the details of race day? You may not get the full story as I am still remembering some of the details and I’m sure over time some details will fade while others will come back to mind. Waking up early in the morning for something big, something fun, something unique has never been an issue for me. The alarm clock sounded at 4:15am and it was time to prepare myself, a little wake up shower, followed by a nice little oatmeal breakfast and coffee. I gathered the final equipment I needed and then headed out the door to the venue with Ben. After arriving to downtown Madison, I made the drop off of my special needs bags and then made way to the bike transition for one last air up of tires, bottle drop off and final gear check. A couple more things in transition were done before I met up with the Ironworks team for a team photo before we headed to the start line to meet up with Bridget, Ben and Hillary. Before we knew it, my wave was gathering in the corral as we prepared to enter the water. Two waves of athletes started before my wave and then just before 6:50am while floating in the water the countdown began and we were sent off on the 2.4 mile swim.

The water temp was great, the surface was smooth and the water was somewhat clear which means it couldn’t have been any better conditions for a swim. I settled into a rhythm away from the pack of fast swimmers off to the side a bit and kept a comfortable pace. As we traveled buoy to buoy, I couldn’t help but notice we were constantly surrounded by others. It was never too bunched up, nor did I feel as though I was constantly running into others. For those who haven’t done triathlons, it is nice to have space to swim and with 2,500 triathletes in the water, I didn’t know what to expect. At the first turn I made sure to carry out the tradition of Ironman Wisconsin by shouting “MOO” and as intended on the back stretch near the 1/2 way point I stopped to take in a view of the terrace and State Capitol. While I tread water and looked in, the sound of swimmers was quite peaceful out in the middle of Lake Monona and it reminded me that it wasn’t only about the destination. I noticed multiple swimmers that I tended to swim alongside for segments and I knew that I was swimming at a good comfortable pace, one that I found consistent through training. As I headed in from the last turn, we got to a point where you could see the moss and weed from along the bottom which gave me a sense of the ground I was covering with each swim stroke. It was something that I was mesmerized by and made me feel like I was flying in the water. I had set a goal of 1 hour and 30 minutes and ended up out of the water in 1 hour and 23 minutes. I felt good and after the wonderful volunteers helped remove the wetsuit, I ran up the helix which was lined with spectators. I couldn’t help but getting them going, encouraging them to cheer on others!

I made the transition with no hurry, making sure I got all my equipment on, cape included, and was prepared for the long trek on the bike ahead. As I ran out of the transition I saw another team member going in and gave a big shout. After collecting my bike off the rack and 21463136_932735743660_4141025371904483913_nrunning down the transition level, I couldn’t help but notice a friend who was spectating on the bridge and a friend who was volunteering in transition that I was able to say hi. Then as I arrived at the mount line I hopped aboard the rocket ship knowing that I wouldn’t be back for well over 6 hours. I saw a few friends, Breuners and Klingensmiths right away as I started and they gave great support. I had everything I needed and the cool morning air helped me dry off quickly as the sweat started not to long into the ride. As we made our way out of downtown Madison along a few trails, through a park and past an arena, I found myself quickly engaging other athletes in conversation with a quick hi and sharing encouraging words. I knew that was my hope for the 6 hours to pass, was to be sure to encourage and greet others along the way. The way out of Madison is known as The Stick and this was one section of the ride I hadn’t ridden yet, and I found that the bumpy roads caused for many lost water bottles which became hazards in certain areas. I let the first 10 miles be easy, getting into a rhythm wasn’t needed immediately and I needed to make sure I knew my game plan for nutrition. As I was riding alongside many other athletes we made our way out to the two loop section of the course on our way to 112 miles total. All I could think about at the start was who I would see along the ride, then simply prayed that I wouldn’t have any issues that would keep me from finishing.







More than an IRONMAN, Part 7

September 6, 2017

Well here we are in the final week and the final days before the big race. I’ve done a lot of challenging things in my life, but none will compare to what’s ahead this Sunday! At this point I’m ready and truly looking forward to a day full of swimming, biking and running. There will be so many people cheering me and the 2,499 other athletes and my hope is to bring encouragement to as many as I can along the way! I try to live by this motto, “Put God First and Enjoy the Journey”! So fellow triathletes, let’s Enjoy the Journey!

The journey of the last 7 weeks has been great, pushing to the limits, then tapering and resting the body. Last week I felt as though I had another level of energy and this week has been somewhat the same, with lower miles and lighter day workouts. It’s all a part of the plan setup by a great coach, Loran Storts, from IronWorks Athletics. Stick to the plan is what we were reminded of time and time again. It would’ve been easy to feel as though I needed to catch up certain weeks, but then again some of the weeks you just had to adapt and adjust to the conditions and circumstances faced. I feel pretty darn good about how training has gone and as it is with anything, there is always room for improvement. My main focus has been staying consistent and building on what the previous week had in store, knowing that the cumulative effect of sticking to the plan would help me feel as I do today! EXCITED, FIT and RESTED!


Alongside this final stretch of training, as many of you have been reading, I’ve embarked on a journey that is making it about “More than an IRONMAN“. I hope to encourage others to be involved in supporting dreams, organizations, causes and those in need. So the story goes that each week I’ve invited others to pledge to donate or support a variety of things and perhaps inspired you to consider helping in some way. God nudges us throughout life and that is my prayer that in some way at the end of this journey it would have impact on more than just my life. That yes, Lord willing I’ll be an Ironman, but also I’ll have helped others financially. The blessing only multiplies by encouraging and inviting others into partnering with Bridget and me each week in giving financial support. So how are you being encouraged?

Week 1 : 182.15 miles = $91.08 to Justin Thorn’s Family
Week 2 : 187.80 miles = $93.90 to Adam and Cassidy Purdy Navigators Ministry
Week 3 : 160.30 miles = $80.15 to The Book Mobile
Week 4 : 136.10 miles = $68.05 to Meals from the Heartland
Week 5 : 117.55 miles = $58.78 to Iowa FCA Camps
Week 6 : 74.24 miles = $37.12 to Iron Phi on Behalf of Steve Good

Now for the final week. The total miles will include Sunday’s big race and this may be the best opportunity for all to really make an impact. Week 7 is a choose your own adventure! What organization, cause, dream or need is God calling you to meet? Have you been delaying or just not getting around to it? Now is the time to commit to sharing what God has blessed you with so that lives can be changed!

The miles this week will rack up to approximately 187 miles. So think about how you’d like to partner in giving and make the commitment. Then come that moment that I hope to celebrate crossing the finish line, I’ll know that it is for more than just being an IRONMAN! My hope is that it was to help change lives. One thing is for sure I’m excited to help others and it’s been encouraging to know that the miles have counted for something other than my personal pursuit. So here’s your opportunity! Comment below and give a link to your organization. I’d love to highlight stories of how we are helping others!

$0.10 per mile = $18.70 to your cause
$0.25 per mile = $46.75 to your cause
$0.50 per mile = $93.50 to your cause

Let’s make a difference together!

More than an IRONMAN, Part 6

August 28, 2017

The big weeks are over and big miles out of the way. Last week led to a great 117.55 miles and the need for new bike wheels(ouch). Now we settle into rest and final prep mode! Nonetheless, the miles still count for something great and I’m excited that this week we will invite you to consider partnering with a great cause that’s been a mission of a friend Steve Good. His mission to support the Iron Phi mission, to strengthen the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and the impact it has on the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease through the fundraising and athletic efforts of its members, has been an encouragement to me. Each year Steve takes a running trip to raise funds and I was encouraged to start a journey of my own when I had a chance to run with him on one of his earlier trips. The journey is continuing and this year I decided to do something very similar by inviting others to partner…thanks Steve Good for your Iron Phi Story.


Let’s band together and support his efforts to raise funds to fight for a cause. This week’s totals will be nearly 86 miles and for this reason I might encourage you to up the ante a little. Steve’s goal is to reach $23,000 this year and he is $500 short.

Would you consider partnering at either of the following levels:

$0.25 per mile = $21.50
$0.50 per mile = $43.00
$0.75 per mile = $64.50
$1.00 per mile = $86.00

Perhaps you’d like to support the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease and join in the journey of making the efforts and miles of athletes count. Thanks for your support along the way. Next week is the final week and we will invite you to also consider what big way you might impact the lives and dreams of others! Here’s to journeying together!

More than an Ironman, Part 5

August 21, 2017


Here’s to the final 3 weeks!  ONE of the primary goals in this process of preparing for an Ironman was to trim down. I didn’t know how it would play out, but I’ve found that at this point I’m 30 pounds down from my start weight and feel good! I haven’t been at this weight since early college years. It is always great to have more than one win along the way and I’ve found that with encouragement and the challenge by others I’ve been able to accomplish one goal even before race day. Here’s to being reminded of what scripture calls us too in Philippians 1:27,

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.”

Thank you for encouraging me and asking questions along the way. Now WE push forward in the final weeks of training focused on remaining healthy and getting rest to be ready for race day. There are still miles to complete so we don’t lose the fitness trained for, yet there is nothing more to gain by pushing it in the final three weeks. For this reason we will see a total of 131.75 miles approximately this week.


This past Friday Bridget and I had the chance to help park nearly 1200 cars for the Solheim Cup to raise funds to support campers attending Fellowship of Christian Athletes(FCA) Central Iowa Camp. The past two summers we’ve spent time alongside other coaches encouraging student athletes in their faith journey and development of skills. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting some great coaches and families from Iowa and surrounding states. It also has been amazing getting to meet athletes excited to spend a week growing in faith alongside community, sharing in the joy of competition in their sports. There was plenty of joy in the competition this past weekend at the Solheim Cup which many were able to experience in Des Moines.


All this to be said, we are excited to invite you into helping support the fundraising efforts of FCA Camp by providing experiences for student athletes as well as the continuing ministry throughout the year across the state. You can decide how you would like to support FCA here.

We encourage you to pledge to donate per mile as follows:
$0.10 per mile = $13.18
$0.25 per mile = $32.94
$0.50 per mile = $65.88
$0.75 per mile = $98.81

Your donations make a difference and I hope my journey can encourage you to help others. Here’s to changing lives along the way! I’d also invite your prayers for health and rest as we close in on the Big Day!


More than an Ironman, Part 4!

August 16, 2017


This week we shift our focus to nutrition! The biggest week of training is upon me with approximately 215 miles we are tasked with honing in on a nutrition game plan according to coach. As a result, it only seems appropriate to encourage others to consider how they too can focus on nutrition, perhaps individually but more importantly that of others. Since it’s inception, I have supported Meals from the Heartland in a variety of ways. In a couple weeks the 10th Annual Hunger Fight event will no doubt save thousands of lives. So as I continue this journey to make my miles count, I’m excited to fund meals for thousands of people and help provide the nutrition needed for daily life.

Meals from the Heartland has been a growing organization that provides many opportunities for people in our community to package dry good meals that are sent around the world to a variety of partners who distribute the meals in their communities. It’s a way for people of the Heartland of America to use our resources to provide for a basic need, nutrition. A couple years back I actually saw the impact of meals packaged here in Iowa on the lives of homeless in Gallup, New Mexico. While away on a mission trip we took a group of students to serve a meal at a church where we were serving meals packaged back at home. Couldn’t help but bask in the moment that revealed the impact many have had on many lives around the world.

So it’s your turn to have an impact. As I put in long miles this week it is going to help knowing that each mile can result in saving lives and provide basic needs. To package one meal it costs $0.20 and for many of us we are spending near $5 per meal or more if we eat out a lot. So consider how saving on a meal or two this week could provide for others. When we look at how many meals will be packaged in the upcoming week at the event, there is no doubt that we have a chance to impact lives. Perhaps you’d like to make a financial gift, but there are also many opportunities to serve and I would encourage you to consider both.

How will you participate?

$0.10 per mile = $21.50 = 107.5 meals
$0.20 per mile = $43.00 = 215 meals
$0.40 per mile = $86.00 = 430 meals
$0.50 per mile = $107.50 = 537.5 meals

If you decide you’d like to be a Packager at the event, you will provide nearly 200 meals in an hour. Take a team of 7-10 and you will package 2,000 meals for others. Either way you decide to participate you will have an impact. Thank you for helping support the journey to becoming and Ironman by making the miles count for something more!

More than an Ironman, Part 3!

August 7, 2017


After the first two weeks of final preparations, I’m learning a lot about how to stay committed to training and balancing life. Things have come up that are out of my control when it comes to weather and physical challenges. All the best plans and intentions can be impacted by so many factors, this results in adjusting daily activity accordingly. Last week I came up a little short in miles, but still had my longest ride ever at 122.5 miles and completed a 2.4 mile swim event, Swim the Bridge, which means I now know how I should feel before hitting the bike for 112 miles and time to expect! Another great thing to highlight from last week is the power of prayer in healing! My friend and sister in Christ, Jen Segar, prayed for me during our Holy Spirit and Healing Prayer Service with students last Wednesday. She mentioned she sensed someone in the room had a pain in their leg and butt area that needed healing. Sure enough that was me and since this time I have not felt the lingering hamstring pain I’ve had for a few years on and off, that is aggravated by working out and often is felt while sitting in a car for an extended period of time. Since last Wednesday I have worked out quite a bit and traveled to KC and back to visit friends. Praise God for His healing power!

This week began with a 4 mile run and the target is 170.25 miles with a little lighter week after the past couple. This week’s miles will be dedicated to a local outreach opportunity called the Book Mobile which is a mobile library that a friend and teacher in our community, Joy DeJong, was inspired to start to share her love for reading with kids in Ankeny. There was a story recently covered on our local news station,

We also collected thousands of books as a part of our mission during Vacation Bible School in Ankeny that will help provide so many people with the gift of reading. I’m excited for the impact that encouraging kids in our community to read can have on the future as so many of us have found reading to lead to great things. Yes, sometimes reading can be tedious and not a joy for some, but if you are like me over time you may have found a love for reading specific types of stories, books and more. Perhaps you love reading and want to share this gift with those that may not have the regular opportunity or access to the library as the news story shares. Let’s partner together in spreading the gift of reading in the community and supporting the dream of making books more accessible during the summer and beyond.

If you are interested in supporting the Book Mobile with a financial donation, please let me know and we’ll get you the specifics on how you can make a donation. This is a new non-profit and your support will provide the basis to continue building the dream laid upon Joy’s heart and supported by many in our community. You can email me directly with your interest and I’ll send more details. What amount will you consider?

$0.10 per mile = $17.03
$0.25 per mile = $42.56
$0.50 per mile = $85.13

I really like the idea of supporting the reading of our future leaders through each mile this week and will say this truly has been a great way to talk about many different causes with family and friends, as well show support to a variety of causes.

Thank you for keeping up with the journey and for your encouragement and support along the way! Let’s impact others together!

More than an Ironman, Week 2

July 31, 2017


This week we continue the mission to make miles count for more than just the goal of becoming an Ironman, rather to support causes through each stroke, pedal and stride! So today the More than an Ironman journey continues into week 2 of 7!

Our family members, Adam and Cassidy Purdy, are following the call to be on staff with an organization named The Navigators( The organization grows leaders in ministry to share the message of Christ across the world, and they are being led to minister on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Missouri. The call to be on staff means they are responsible for raising financial support to carry out the ministry and live in the community to which they are called. For this reason, Bridget and I have chosen to expand the network of support through those we know. We believe that supporting the dream of our family members is something worth sharing. So many people have dreams and we have the opportunity encourage you to support the dreams of our family members. For Adam and Cassidy, The Navigators ministry at Northwest Missouri State had great impact on their lives through the relationships formed and mentors who have led them in their journey with the Lord and together. The mission field at Mizzou is great and opportunities to spread the Gospel are numerous. We are hopeful that we can encourage them with our support and invite those of you interested in supporting their mission to join us in getting them started!

You can support Adam and Cassidy through prayer and give financially here:

This week I am scheduled to train for approximately 195 miles…of course this depends on pace and pain management. I’d appreciate your prayers for knee and hammy pain to disappear. But here’s what I’d encourage you to consider giving:

$0.10 per mile = $19.50
$0.25 per mile = $48.75
$0.50 per mile = $97.50

What will you pledge? Send me a text to 515.371.9252, an email to, comment below or message via Facebook. I’ll then check back at week’s end with final amount and encourage your donation.

Today, we made the donation of $95 to last week’s cause after 182.15 miles of training! Supporting the Thorn Family’s medical expenses: