What It Takes

If you haven’t already seen the documentary “What It Takes“, I strongly recommend it for your holiday wish list. 

What It Takes 

Four athletes. Four human beings.
Four stories. One dream.

Come behind the scenes for a year as these elite competitors train, race, rest, and experience the ups and downs of life, all on the path to the 2005 world championships.

Full-disclosure…. I know Peter Han, the writer and director of this film. I have no financial involvement in the film, but I am friends with some of the minor investors in WIT Group, LLC.

Peter asleep in car, after staying up all night editing What It Takes movie.

April 23, 2006 – Peter Han, writer and director of “What It Takes” sleeping in the backseat of our Mt. Si Relay Team Car after staying up all night editing the film.

“What It Takes” chronicles the 2005 Ironman season for four elite Ironman triathletes: Peter Reid, Lori Bowden, Heather Fuhr, and Luke Bell. For avid fans of Ironman, you already know the results of the 2005 season, and so you probably know in general how this season turned out for each of these athletes. I won’t ruin the suspense for any of you who don’t already know the outcome. But whether you follow the sport closely or not, I strongly recommend this film for any endurance athlete and any level. It is a truly inspiring story.

I got to watch a pre-release version of this film a week before my first Ironman. I had had a bad bike crash a couple weeks earlier and was suffering from a deep muscle contusion in my right bicep and several bruised ribs. I hadn’t been able to sleep lying down for a couple weeks, I was still very sore from my accident, and I was beginning to seriously doubt my ability to achieve my soft time goal for my first Ironman. I was in full taper mode, traveling extensively on business between Seattle and New York, feeling a little depressed from not being able to exercise, and almost questioning why I was going to even bother to compete. I admit it, I was down, and I needed a pick me up.

This movie was a perfect remedy!

Each of these athletes faced challenges during the 2005 season. Peter Reid in particular suffered through serious medical issues. The documentary provides very personal behind the scenes access to all of these athletes.

As I watched the film, and struggled with my own recovery and race preparation, I felt a real connection to the subject matter. I was particularly moved by the race day commentary by Heather Fuhr….

“There are some athletes that are going to be out here for 17 hours. Out of respect for them, out of respect for this island, out of respect for this race… I was going to finish.”

That quote in particular moved me to resolve to attack my Ironman and remember that it’s all about finishing… and that no matter what the outcome, I should be proud of my accomplishment. I kept these words in my head throughout my 12+ hours of Ironman… particularly as I hit mile 65 on the bike and bonked due to a 10mph headwind and improper fueling. I had negative thoughts building up in my head, the demons were telling me to quit, but I also had Heather in my head and she inspired me to keep going and reminded me that I owed it to every other Ironman to finish.


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