15 Seconds of Courage: Night Of Champions

"You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage.  Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery.  And I promise you, something great will come of it."  Benjamin Mee 15 seconds of courage that's about all it takes to get yourself on that stage where you then show off all that crazy hard work you put in, those long hours in the gym, the frustrating diet you had yourself on, those low carbs, lack of fat, and of course the orange spray tan.  It seems like a lot of effort, dedication, and hardwork for just 15 seconds however it is what comes after those 15 seconds that makes it all worth the while.  This article is about a man who 16 weeks ago had 15 seconds of insane bravery and had something amazing come out of it.

16 weeks ago my husband and I decided to start prepping for the Night of Champions which is a body building competition put on locally by GNC here in Spokane.  This would be my third competition and his first; with myself competing in bikini and he competing in men's physique.

16 weeks ago was the first set of 15 seconds of courage my husband showed and it won't be the first exhibition he displayed.  For those of you that follow me both here and on Instagram (@ktl_bowker) you may already know that my husband was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 16 years ago this coming February, for those of you that didn't know this well you do know :).  While he has never once in his life used his Diabetes as a crutch to not do something making the decision to compete was a big one as we knew it would be a little more difficult (though the complete knowledge of how it would pan out was unknown).

So 15 seconds of courage and he was all in, 100 % dedicated and ready to give it his all. tricepsNow let me tell you  my husband is a man who LOVES his carbs and his sweets.  He will have a bagel for breakfast, bagel for dinner, treats every night, and a cinnamon roll loving kinda dude; mind you he was still healthy just had an appetite for his low impact carbs.  Those had to go away and be replaced with oatmeal, chicken, rice, salad, and fish.  In those first couple weeks of prep the hardest part was probably that he had to start eating about every two hours, something I love to do but for him not being a fan of eating made this difficult.

Men are very lucky in that they start doing something such as leaning out/building big muscles/or getting a six pack and it just seems to happen. It sure went this way for Brandon; what seemed to be within weeks his six pack started showing and he had noticeably leaned out.  Prep got a pretty tough the last bit of August and then in through September as we had our wedding, our honeymoon, and then Brandon was traveling almost the entire month of September.

It was here that I noticed his second set of 15 seconds of courage.  At this point it would have been really easy for Brandon to just say well I'm traveling and they are providing all this good food I'll just not go to the gym and I'll eat what they serve because well that is the easy thing; but instead he stuck with his plan.  He would stay up late to get the workouts in, or get up early, bring his own food, or managing as best he could because it was what he signed up for and he wasn't going to only give it 50%.  It was here that one of the many reasons I married this man stood out; his dedication and drive to be the best that he can be and inspire others to do the same.

pre race

By the time September rolled around Brandon was already down somewhere around 11 lbs and was taking noticeably less insulin to get himself through the day.  This is where I think he becomes outstanding. On October 4th as we were sitting in the hotel room after my marathon he turned and said I don't think I've taken any humalog (being his fast acting insulin) since yesterday.  At that point Brandon's body had done something it hadn't been able to do since he was 15 it went almost a total of 48 hours without having need a manual dose of insulin in order to regulate itself.  Brandon went on to go somewhere around a total of 4 days without having to take insulin and ended up decreasing his insulin usage by about 75% throughout the entire prep.



Watching my husband throughout this prep brought to light the strength, spirit, and faith that he has within him.  No matter what the day brought him, whether it was a crazy low that left him foggy for hours, or the packing of his meals that he knew he had to eat during his work luncheons, or the being on the road all day just to get home and head off to the gym to lift and cardio he always did it.  His drive to finish what he set his mind to doing even though it was proving to be a lot harder than anticipated helped to keep me going through the last bit of prep even though I can tell you I did not want to be doing it anymore.

While Brandon will say he did not do well on stage I can't help but 100 % disagree with him because in mind he won months ago.  He won when he had the courage to decide to do it despite not totally knowing how to manage it with his diabetes, he won when he kept going through seriously long travel days, he won when he would push through the foggy lows that he woke up to so that he could get his cardio done, he won when he went 4 days without having to take insulin, he won when he dropped his insulin usage by 75%, and he won by continually showing others that when you set your mind to something you can be the greatest you can be.  I have no doubts in my mind that my husband destroyed the competition because while we don't know everyone's story I know his, and in my opinion his is the greatest.

Day of Competition

For any of you that have competed before you know how insanely crazy the day of, and even the couple days leading up to it can be.

Check-ins where Friday evening up at the venue and with 400+ competitors it was a bit of a mad house.  Thank goodness for the greatness of Ribic Productions who made it as smooth as they could for as many competitors as there were.  Post check-ins we headed off to get our Ooompa Loompa tans on then off to home to eat a little bit and go to sleep.  The day before competition was a bit of a rough one for me as I spent most of it with a very sensitive (to be politically correct) stomach that left me over depleted and very tired.


Morning was an early start as I had the make up lady coming to do my make up at 7:30 am and Brandon had to be at the venue by 8:00 for a start time of 9:00.  Brandon was competing in two classes (both novice and open) and myself was competing in bikini open; that being Brandon was in the morning show and I was in the evening show.

It turned into a very very very long day that wasn't completed until around 11:00 pm when I went on stage for the finals.

While it was a fun day and we are both blessed to have gotten to share it with not only each other but our amazing friends and family that came out to support us and/or compete with us (as Brandon's work out buddy competed as well).  I don't believe that either of us will be competing again for a bit.

Now that the season is over we are both very much looking forward to enjoying being married and doing the things that we love.  Due to prep falling right when we got married we haven't been able to do what we love to do (as much because being together basically accounts for all that we like to do).

It is also time for me to switch gears and get back to training for what I really love to do; triathlons and marathons.  My racing schedule is all set up for next year and with the CdA Ironman on the books its going to be a fun packed training year.

There are those people in your life that make everything just seem a little bit better and my husband is one of them.  I can't express how proud I am of him and all that he accomplished throughout this 16 week journey.  It had its ups and downs for sure but at the end of every single day he made the decision to never give up and to keep pushing the boundaries of what he thought he could do.  The strength he pulled on to get him through prep, whether he believes it or not, carried into every person he met and I know continues to carry through all those that he meets.  The reason I know this is because he has done it to me, his strength kept me going and continues to keep me pushing every day.

Congratulations to everyone who competed this past weekend, I know how tough competing and prepping can be and so blessed to have been able to share the journey with my amazing husband.