James Barry (owner/operator)
James has been athletic all of his life. From his beginnings in youth sports, to high school to prep school to college until now, James has always found a way to stay in a competitive environment. Back in 2014, James was 315 pounds. Depressed, overweight, bad habits, you name it and he was dealing with it. He started to research how to lose weight. After dropping a few pounds and getting below 300, he stumbled (rolled) into crossfit red bank in red bank New Jersey. He found a welcoming and comfortable community of people that helped him push his way down to 215 and into his first obstacle course race. Things began to heat up. Through great trainers and great people, James was on his way back to the arena of athletics and found the world of triathlon racing.
James trained 7 days a week with 2 a days twice per week. He was the fittest he’s been in a very long time. After a few successful sprint triathlons, a few 5k’s, an olympic distance triathlon,a GoRuck challenge and some other events, James decided to go for Ironman 70.3 Miami in 2016. Training started. Long days, early mornings, clean eating, sacrifices, ocean swims at 6am (shark feeding time), running (He still hates running), learning to ride a bike properly, James was on his way. October 23, 2016, that morning, James was about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. All the training was done. Energy was high. Miami was full of high level competitors ready to attack this course. The swim was in Biscayne Bay. For those that don’t know, google “sharks in biscayne bay”. Just don’t do it the hour before you’re supposed to be jumping into the bay and swimming 1.2 miles. James lined up with his age group. They jumped in the water. The cannon fired and off he went into what he felt like was dead into the current. He made the first turn. The current wasn’t subsiding. He makes the second turn and the current was pushing him out and off course. James swam as hard as he could. All of a sudden his legs cramped up. It was all arms from here. He made the final turn dead into the current for about 300 meters. As he gets to the exit, he looks at his watch and sees he had just made the time cap, 1:08:47. As he exited the water to a cheering crowd, a volunteer comes over and asks for his timing chip. He asked why and they said he didn’t make the cut off. At that moment, he was supposed to hand over his chip and walk to transition to pack up and go home. He failed. Instead, James took off running!! He ran past the now loudly cheering crowd towards his bike with volunteers chasing him! He didn’t stop. He grabbed his bike, jumped on it IN TRANSITION, which is a big no no, and tried to get to the bike exit. He was met by a few of Miami’s finest and a handful of volunteers. After an incident we would rather not publish on the internet, James got off his bike, grabbed his things and went back to his hotel. James had failed and failed in poor fashion.He missed the cut off by less than a minute. He didn’t start his watch until he got past the start line. He was in the back of the pack and let everyone clear out before swimming. End result = Failure.
A few days after the the big blow to his ego, James signed up for another 70.3. This time it was in his home state of NJ. He decided to get right back to training. Away he went once again. Nothing was going to stop him this time. He swam, biked, and ran harder and faster than the last training cycle. He learned about mental toughness. He learned about controlling his mind. He learned more in 10 months about himself than he did in his entire life leading up to that race. James had drive. Not motivation, drive. He wanted to cross that finish line. There was no physical or mental pain that was going to stop him. September 17,2017, James lined up once again for a 1.2 mile swim start. Nerves were high. It was a self seeded start so you choose the time you think it will take you and you get on line with others at your pace. In the crowd he saw a familiar face up by the 30 minute group waiving him over. “Get your dumb ass over here with me! if you think you’re going to swim that slow you will swim that slow! get up here and try to keep up with me.” the familiar face said. James lined up with the 30 minute group. Now in panic that he was going to get embarrassed and swam over, his mind took him to a dark place. His buddy looked at him and said “the worst thing thats going to happen now is that you get smoked by the fast swimmers and you’re swimming alone between groups. You’re welcome!”. At that moment, the fear was gone. Those simple words changed everything. James approached the start, the horn blew, he jumped in and swam 1.2 miles 31 minutes faster than his previous Ironman 70.3. Calm and cool, stroke by stroke, James got more confident. Coming out of that water with hundreds of people behind him was a true feeling of accomplishment. He went on to ride his bike, and hit the road for the run. All of a sudden, it all started to come apart. Mile 1 of the run, James’ legs locked up. He literally could not move his legs. Excruciating pain of muscle cramps had taken over. James was literally walking on his heals just to move. Another competitor noticed his agony and ran over. He gave hime some salt and electrolyte mix and told hime to drink water. Medics came to retrieve him from the race. James refused. He would not stop. Unable to walk, let alone run, James kept his “no quit” mentality. 5 minutes later the cramps started to loosen up. James could walk like a normal person again. He pounded some more of the mix and some water and kept moving. His legs finally loosened up at mile 6. James slowly jogged the rest of the 13.1 run. As he came up to the finish line of Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City, he teared up. As he crossed, he realized that he had the “no quit” mentality deep inside him and never knew. It was an emotional moment of self reflection. There was no big celebration after the race. No big group of friends and family waiting for him. He went down there alone. But at the finish line waiting for him was his heart. His heart pushed him through the race, through the pain, through the fear. His heart showed up when his mind went dark.His heart gave him that “no quit” mentality and pushed him through the finish line. The whole drive home up the Garden State parkway, his mind wanted to remind him of the pain and soreness, but his heart refused to allow that darkness in.
James learned a lot about himself that day and the weeks and months to follow. He has taken everything he has learned over the past few years and applied it to his training. He has helped other achieve their goals while pursuing his own. He has trained with some of the best, as well and beginners. In his mind, he knows he can learn from both seasoned veterans of sport as well as beginners. Everyone brings something to the table. In 2019, James will once again go for Ironman 70.3 with new goals and new training. Exciting things are happening. Stay tuned for the next evolution!
From James Barry:
Most people want to challenge themselves. Most people don’t know how. They set themselves up for failure. They sign up for a 5k or some kind of mud run. These events are fun and sometimes exciting but are you getting the test that you want out of them? Are you putting in training that sets you apart from the masses? Most likely not. The truth is, anyone can run a 5k or do a mud run. That’s not even scratching the surface of your ability. We don’t give our bodies the credit they deserve. Think about how many nights you’ve gone out and ate a 3000 calorie meal and slammed down a bottle of wine or a few cocktails. You’re putting your body through stress the same way you would exercising only you’re doing harm and not good. Imagine if you were fit enough, both physically and mentally, that you could have those nights or days and it has minimal effect on you. I’ve been fortunate in my life to spend time with some of our countries best warriors. These are the most finely tuned humans in existence. There is nothing they can’t do. Jump out of a plane in the middle of the night at high altitude and land 2 miles off shore and swim with 100lbs of gear on them? No problem. Sneak into enemy territory and achieve an objective without anyone knowing they were there? No problem. Run 13 miles in the sand with boots and soaked sandy clothes on? No problem. Get through the worlds most difficult military selection program? No problem. Go out and have a 3000 calorie meal, drink all night til 2am wake up at 6 and go for a run? No problem. How the hell do they do that?!?! First and foremost, they believe they can. It all starts with the mind. Not the brain. The mind. These are two different things. Your brain is a machine that has no personality. Your mind is the obstacle builder and dream crusher with a massive split personality. What sets the worlds elite apart from everyone else, is belief. They have trained their minds to work for them not against them. This allows the body to do the work it’s capable of doing. Getting your mind right is the first step in achieving anything in life. Our bodies are absolutely insane when it comes to capabilities. Self healing, growth, processing out toxins, moving blood and oxygen, digesting McDonald’s. Our bodies are machines that are hard to break if your mind is supporting the effort. Focus on your mind and your body will follow. Of course there are “health issues” that may hinder ones ability. However, most people just sit there creating the issue instead of proactively combating the threat. I look at exercise like I would “sneaking behind enemy lines and capturing or killing a target”. I want to kill heart disease before it tries to attack me. I want to kill cancer before it grows and spreads. I want to kill obesity before it starts to creep up on me. These are all of our enemies and we have the biggest and most capable arsenal to use against them. Our mind and body. Start training your mind to allow your body to put in work. Build your machine. Tune your engine. Sharpen your skills on a daily basis. Do this now and you’ll never be out of the fight. Do this now and victory will become routine. Do this now and show yourself and the world that you can stand up with the best and be proud of every aspect of yourself. Do this now and carry on to the next evolution.... always moving forward!