Lukus Klawitter M.S

Hello Endurance Fam, we are just a few days out until athlete Kenny Brighton takes on ten Ironman’s, ten days in a row.  Since beginning working with Kenny just over two years ago, I would never have guessed we would be in this current situation.  After a few months of working together Kenny came to me with the idea of this race and how much it excited him.  Honestly, when he brought it up, I thought it was a long shot anyways. Well, after a properly developed race resume and interview with the event committee, I got the notification from Kenny that he was in… Now, DecaMan takes place in Hawaii, two Ironman races on each of the five islands.  The original date was to be August of 2020, Covid pushed it back to May of 2021, and then again to August 2021.  Frustrating to say the least Kenny demonstrated more composure and resiliency to the constant changes in training plans and adapted each time with a positive mindset.  Kenny and his wife Ali are also expecting two weeks before the new date of DeccaMan August 2021.  Therefore, knowing that those two events would not coincide, and being the honorable man that he is, he developed a plan to create his own DecaMan event beginning April 27th in Deerfield Beach, Florida. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? (Work, interests, hobbies, favorite food etc.)

  • I am the Director of Philanthropy for a cancer research foundation, meaning that I work with a range of different donors and partners to fund the research we facilitate. When it is not a global pandemic, I travel frequently for work, but now I am based at home. Outside of work and training, my main hobby at the moment is spending time with my wife and getting ready for the birth of our first child. Coming from an Italian family, my favorite food is my mother’s eggplant parmigiana. Beyond that, I am a huge fan of an under-baked cookie (gooier the better) and cereal (honey bunches of oats)
  • Why DecaMan, what about this specific event lit the fire?
  • The unknown. I have no conception of what this experience will be like. I’ve done nothing that is even close to this, and I’m very interested to see just how far I can push—physically and mentally. And, I am at my best in my day to day life when I have a huge challenge in front of me that requires full commitment, and this fit that bill—and then some.
  • What were some setbacks you experienced in the lead up to today and how did you overcome them?
  • Like everyone, my main setbacks were pandemic related. Not being able to swim regularly, not being able to access the gym for strength training and changes to my work schedule all impacted what was initially a very well planned out training schedule. Overcoming these required me to accept that this was the new reality and then getting creative with my coach (Lukus) to do the best we could within this reality. This included doing more mobility to keep limber for swimming and getting the equipment I needed to maintain strength work at home. I also experienced a knee-cap fracture during this period that was a significant set-back with running. But, with the help of my coach, we created a bike focused block that was incredibly effective at increasing my FTP and overall bike fitness.

Explain what a typical week looked like for you when having to combine a high-performance life with a large training load?

A typical week was busy to say the least. An average training week was around 20 hours. And, with my schedule, if I didn’t complete the sessions before work, they were most likely not getting done as the evenings were often filled with unplanned calls and meetings. So, I was up, basically daily, at 4am. I would do both sessions back-to-back. Then, I would work for the full day and then fit in mobility/strength in the evening, around calls and meetings. Then, on the weekends, we would do up to 10 hours on a Saturday and typically 4 on a Sunday. I tried to get these sessions done as early as possible (sometimes starting at 1am), to maximize the time I had to spend with my wife.

What was your favorite part of the training experience, what was your least favorite part?

– favorite part was watching my fitness grow. I am doing things, in all three disciplines, that I could never have imagined myself doing two years ago. More specifically, my favorite thing has become long (8 hour or more) indoor trainer rides. While they initially scared me, they have become almost cathartic—a great way for me to spend time with myself—and to watch all the content the internet has to offer. My least favorite part was how long this process has worn on. As COVID continued to push the race back, what was at first a multi-month commitment, became a multi-year commitment. Definitely more than I bargained for. But, with already having committed so much, once the event was postponed, I could not just walk away.

What have you learned about yourself during this time?

I learned that perspective is something that is completely within your control. Prior to this experience, a 4 hour Zwift ride sounded like a death sentence and felt as though it lasted for 4 days. Now, after doing an uncountable number of 4 hour rides, and many of greater length, I have changed my perspective. Now, 4 hours seems like a quick spin. Same with swimming. Wile 8,000 yards of continuous swimming was once daunting, with the changed perspective that comes from doing it multiple times, it is now just another day in the pool. 

What is your main goal for this event?

The main goal is to finish. I have no time goal. I simply want to have the fitness and mental strength necessary to meet the challenges that come up during each individual day, no matter how hard or how easy that day’s Ironman might be.

Anything else you would like to add?

I need to give a special shoutout to my wife. She has been incredibly supportive every step along the way. I also need to give a significant amount of credit to my coach. He has engineered a program that has not only grown my fitness by leaps and bounds, but has also been dynamic enough to remain effective in spite of everything the pandemic threw at us.

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