Alumni Spotlight: Porter Bratten '08

Me, Myself, And TRI

It seemed like yesterday; sophomore year at Webb, and Bobby Kleinschmit says to me: "Portez! Let's do a triathlon!"  I was unaware of the endurance sports junkie inside me about to be unleashed, and consented.  Training ensued, and let me tell you, the stimulus and response model works.  Triathlon awoke inside me a competitive bloke I never dreamed existed.  In the ensuing years, triathlon grew to be an anchor and mainstay in my life.

Today, I see triathlon from three angles: competitor, coach, and race director.  I've competed in 30 races, including two Ironmans.  I've founded races on opposite coasts of the country, and I coach folks who, like me, accumulate more miles on bicycles than automobiles.  Add engineering, and I feel my perspective is unique. Engineering enables the mind to manipulate the world to overcome limitations imposed by nature (floating steel?); triathlon enables the body to overcome the limitations imposed by the mind. 

In the beginning, completing an Ironman seemed as inconceivable to me as an aircraft carrier would've seemed to William Webb.  As an engineer/triathlete, I see a constant in both fields: The only limits are self-imposed.  In other words, without setting aside the laws of physics, anything is possible.  I've seen men without legs complete Ironmans, and I've seen ships whose capabilities defy the imagination. 

Tomorrow, I invite you to defy a self-imposed limit. Whether that involves sweat or spreadsheets isn't important; what matters is exploring your potential.  In the immortal words of the winged goddess cum basketball player: “Just do it.”