Dylan Bowman podcast episode

Dylan Bowman: Overcoming Setbacks And Injury

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About this episode:
In this week’s episode, Hillary interviews North Face and Red Bull professional ultrarunner Dylan Bowman and talks with him about the tools and methods he used to deal with multiple setbacks and injuries.

Guest Bio – Dylan Bowman:
Dylan is a professional ultra runner for The North Face and Red Bull, living in Portland, OR. He’s a longtime disciple of CTS coach, Jason Koop, who’s guided his training since 2013.

Read More About Dylan Bowman:

http://www.dylanbowman.com/

https://twitter.com/dylanbo

https://www.instagram.com/dylanbo/

https://www.facebook.com/dylanjbo/

Episode Highlights:

  • Dealing with long term injuries
  • Fostering a positive outlook
  • Reconciling your athlete identity with your identity as a person

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.


Episode Transcription:

Hillary Allen:

Okay, hey, Dylan. Welcome to the Train Right Podcast.

Dylan Bowman:

Hilly Goat, it’s good to chat with you. We’re a world apart in some crazy times, but it’s good to hear your voice.

Hillary Allen:

I know. You actually squeaked out with one of the only performances or races that happened this year before the coronavirus pandemic kind of shut down the racing world.

Dylan Bowman:

I know. We’ve been kind of joking about how it felt like I finally caught a break, and that something sort of was… happened with good timing for me, and it felt like it had been a long time since that had occurred, and I’m really happy I was able to squeeze in a race before all this madness has sort of unfolded around the world with the coronavirus. But, yeah, recognizing that I was very lucky, and I’m very grateful that I did have the opportunity to race, because who knows when the next opportunity is going to be.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah. And so this, actually, is like a perfect segue into what I wanted to talk to you about this year… or, well, in the past few years, I guess. So you just raced Transgrancanaria, right, and you… I mean, it was an amazing performance; you got third. That was a really exciting race to watch, actually.

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah, it was great. I finished third, as you said. It was a race that I had wanted to go back to since I did it the first time back in 2014. That was really my first international race experience, and I made pretty much every mistake you could possibly make as a pretty inexperienced runner on the scene, and certainly, somebody who was not equipped with the tools necessary to be successful in European-style racing… and so, that 2014 experience was really a humbling one. And I’ve always wanted to go back for some redemption, because it ended up being probably one of my worst performances ever. I did luckily finish that year, but it was not a proud finish; it was a pure survival-type race.

Dylan Bowman:

And, yeah, going back this year made sense with my calendar, and… yeah, I was really happy to pull off a solid performance again. It had been a little while for me after a year of hardship and injury, and sort of redeemed that first race experience that I had on the island, and, yeah, just feel like I’m getting close to being back in real shape. It was pretty [crosstalk 00:02:57].

Hillary Allen:

I mean… so, I know exactly from experience how much a race that can be after a year of injury and hardship. But before we get into that, can you tell me some of these rookie mistakes that you made, because I mean… I joined the North Face team the year after you did, and I was dipping my toe in European racing, too, but holy crap, European racing is a different level! It’s so different from U.S. racing.

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah, yeah. So, just to sort of run through a few of the mistakes that I made… so, this is 2014, like I said; it was the first year of the Ultra-Trail World Tour. I had won the Sean O’Brien 50-miler in, I guess… when was that? It was in February of 2014; that was a Golden Ticket race, back before the Golden Ticket races were 100K distances or longer. So, that was a really great run for me, a performance I was really proud of.

Dylan Bowman:

And then, it was, I think, just a few days later that I got the invitation from the Ultra-Trail World Tour to come to Transgrancanaria as a result of my win at Sean O’Brien. Now, those races were only separated by like three or four weeks, so after a really hard 50 mile race in Southern California at Sean O’Brien, I’m the type of person that I usually need to have a bit more rest in between, so that was mistake number one. I ran a really hard 50-miler, and then sort of jumped at the opportunity to race in Europe, even though the races were really close together and I didn’t have ample time to kind of recover, and then sort of train specifically for the demands of Transgrancanaria.

Dylan Bowman:

And then, the other, and I think more significant, mistake that I made was… because of some other travel that I had in between the two races, I didn’t show up on the island until about 24 hours before the race started.

Hillary Allen:

Oh, my God, Dylan, no!

Dylan Bowman:

I mean, for people who have been there, it’s a pretty serious trip… pretty hard travel to get to the island of Gran Canaria off the coast of Morocco, and that really long trip, combined with big jet lag and having, basically, only 24 hours to get ready for the race… basically by the time the gun went off and we were sent off into the night, I was feeling just completely drained and exhausted, and I remember just going up the first climb that night and just being like, “Oh, no, this is going to be a long, long run.”

Hillary Allen:

Oh, no!

Dylan Bowman:

So those were the two major mistakes that I made… just sort of like feeling like I was obligated to go do it because I had been invited, even though it didn’t really make a lot of sense with my calendar; and number two, just not really appreciating the travel. So, I learned a lot from it, and now, basically since that race, I’ve re-tooled how I travel for international races, when I arrive, to give myself the best possible opportunity to have some energy come race day.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, I love that. And that’s also one thing I admire about you, even pre- and post-race… definitely… is how hard you chill. It’s just another level, Dylan. It’s so great.

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah, I’ve been in that mode now for, I guess, like two and a half weeks since Transgrancanaria, and I’m starting to feel a little bit lazy in quarantine. It’s a good time to rest. It’s a good time.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, I know, right? Yeah, it definitely is a good time to rest. And so, were you actually coached at that point, because I know now you’re coached by Jason Koop, correct?

Dylan Bowman:

I was coached at the time. Jason and I had started together probably five or six months before, and that run that I mentioned at Sean O’Brien was, probably at that point, one of my best runs ever. It was a Golden Ticket race. It was really competitive that year. And so, yes, I was really sort of falling into the whole Jason Koop program and really committed to it. And of course, it was all my fault that things didn’t turn out well at Transgrancanaria just because of the logistical mistakes that I had made.

Dylan Bowman:

And in fact, I think he may have actually advised me not to make the trip out there, but I just, again, felt obligated to do it because I had been invited, and who turns down a trip to the Canary Islands?

Dylan Bowman:

So, we were working together at that time; it was in the very early stages of our relationship. And now, we’re, I guess, like six and a half years into working together, and yeah, Koop is my biggest supporter, my biggest cheerleader, and somebody who has helped me more than anybody else in my career.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah… I mean, he’s such a great guy. I mean, I remember just even in one of my races, he was just a total surprise; it just somehow showed up on the course, and I gave him a big hug. I was like, “Oh, my God.” He draws it out of you, just makes you go places you never thought you could.

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

But yeah, so, I mean… now, this is, what, six years of you racing Ultras?

Dylan Bowman:

I mean, since then. This is 10 years total of me [crosstalk 00:08:55], yep.

Hillary Allen:

So, I’m going to ask you this question to start, because what makes you… I feel like, especially over the past few years, maybe it’s been up and down, of you really questioning why you run and why you want to race these extreme distances? What is it about running, and running for long periods of time, that you love?

Dylan Bowman:

Well, I don’t know. I mean, as you know, Hillary, I’ve always been an athlete. We sort of share our sort of non-traditional upbringing in the sport, and that’s always sort of been what drives me, what motivates me, is just pushing myself, being competitive. I think there’s a lot of value in just putting yourself on the line, and that’s sort of like the nature of sport, of just sort of testing yourself, putting yourself out there, exposing yourself to challenges, and there’s really no better sport for doing that on a deep, deep level than ultra-running.

Dylan Bowman:

And so, when I found the sport after my collegiate lacrosse career had come to a close, I was living in Aspen at the time, and so, it was naturally a really great place to train. And immediately, just like a lot of people who find the sport, I just sort of fell in love with the daily practice of going out and running in the mountains.

Dylan Bowman:

But yeah, I mean, I’ve never struggled with finding reasons why. As I said, that’s always been my default. The things that really bothered me during my year of injury wasn’t like a lack of motivation to get back to it; in fact, to the contrary, I was so motivated… I so wanted to be running, and my physical body was not allowing me to do so, and it caused just a lot of emotional stress too, as you’re really familiar with with your history of much more severe injuries than I was going through.

Dylan Bowman:

But it’s something I think that people don’t… or maybe just discount a little bit, of just of like… when those things are out of balance, when you so desperately want to be out there and your body won’t allow to, it just is such a hard thing to deal with, and especially when you put a lot of other sort of unnecessary stress on yourself, like feeling like you’re letting other people down, your friends and family and sponsors and stuff. Yeah, it was just a tough thing, but the motivation part has never been a problem for me. It’s always been balancing that with how my body and mind are feeling.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, and so… I mean, I completely agree. For me, it’s never been an issue of motivation. It’s just something I truly love, so it’s something I can’t even fight with. It’s just a question of, okay, I’m going to work towards that goal, it’s going to happen. But it’s a little bit different when your body kind of needs a kind of a forced recovery period.

Hillary Allen:

And so, I mean, you’ve had several strong performances. So, 2019… I mean, that wasn’t your best year. We’ve talked about this before, but where did this start, and kind of take me through it, because I think 2019 dealt you some pretty crappy cards?

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah, well, so… I’m glad you asked, and I hope I can answer it in a way that won’t take an hour, but… going back even a little bit further to 2018, I had a really, really great season that year. I won Tarawera and UTMF; I got second place at TDS [crosstalk 00:13:07]

Hillary Allen:

But let’s rewind that a little bit. That was amazing. 2018… let’s take UTMF, Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji, and TDS… those are my two favorite races to watch. You were racing all out with Powell for UTMF, and you passed him in the last, what? 400 meters? Maybe not that strong… but, yeah, and then TDS was like a nail-biter. It was a really competitive, amazing year.

Dylan Bowman:

Right. Yeah, and so, at TDS, that was also one of the closest, I think, long-course finishes ever. The podium there, after 13 and a half hours of racing, was separated by 90 seconds, so we were literally sprinting through the streets of Chamonix trying to beat one another. So, those two race experiences were two of the most powerful, amazing days of my life, and they’re separated by four months. Both were performances I was super, super happy with; super proud of.

Dylan Bowman:

Tarawera was also a good race for me; again, winning that race for the second time. I had an awesome day doing an FKT project with Red Bull in the Lost Coast of California. And so, 2018 was just a year where everything just clicked and I really felt like I had everything figured out. I sort of felt that I could take the strategy that I employed in 2018 and just copy and paste it every year going forward, and I was just never going to have a bad race ever again.

Dylan Bowman:

And it was weird, because like… at the end of that year, I’m also renegotiating all my contracts with my sponsors, and everything is just going really well for me… and for some reason, I just sort of fell into this rut, just fell into this kind of emotional hole where I just lost track of where I was. I sort of just totally went the opposite direction, where everything seemed to be going great for me, and for some reason, I was just feeling kind of horrible.

Dylan Bowman:

And it wasn’t long after that that my physical health started falling apart. So, first, my first race of 2019, the year that you originally asked me about here, where things were not great… was at the Hong Kong 100K. Because the North Face 50-miler had been canceled the year before due to wildfires, I sort of just transitioned my focus and energy to the Hong Kong 100K. I flew out there, and first day upon arriving, just got ridiculously sick with some sort of traveler’s bug.

Dylan Bowman:

So, I ultimately tried to run the race, even though it was clear that I was not equipped for a good performance; ended up dropping out after like 25 miles. And then, I was going to do a [inaudible 00:16:13] with our friend and North Face teammate Mike Foote, and again, race week, I got ridiculously sick; this time, with an upper respiratory thing, like flu-type thing, rather than a stomach thing. But I’ve always had this just amazing immune system, and to start out 2019 by getting bed-ridden sick two different times in… separated by like six weeks or something… right before competition… I sort of was just chalking it up to bad luck and bad timing, but clearly, there was something else kind of going on.

Dylan Bowman:

And then, not long after that, I broke my ankle when I was running, trying to get ready for [inaudible 00:17:02]. And then, got back into training too quickly, developed a really bad Achilles tendonitis in the same ankle that I had broken; then, as soon as I could no longer run because of that injury, got on my bike, crashed my bike, separated my shoulder, got a concussion. And it wasn’t until then that I finally hit pause and said, “Okay, there’s clearly something else that you need to deal with. You need to just stop.”

Dylan Bowman:

So, 2019 was definitely a very, very challenging year, but I’m finally feeling like I’m mostly through it, and with some retrospect, with some perspective, can start to see the outlines of the value in the experience. But yeah, I mean it was a low moment for me, and something all athletes go through, but something that’s really hard nonetheless.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, I mean, gosh, I remember just all of these things that kept on happening time and time again. I was like, “Oh, my gosh. Dylan, you’re not catching a break.” And I mean… I have similar experiences through injury. I feel that you have an opportunity to learn about what makes you you, what makes you want to keep going, and what makes you a performance-driven, just goal-oriented person, but what are some of the things… I think it’s different for each person… what are some of the things that you learned from going through all those hardships? It wasn’t just all… hopefully, just hard times, and you just wanted it to be over… but what is it that you actually learned?

Dylan Bowman:

So, I think first and foremost, it was the fact that I can’t wrap all my self-worth and how I feel about myself into my ability to perform while I was an athlete. It sounds very basic, but I have been an athlete my whole life. I’ve been running Ultras for 10 years at this point, and never really dealt with any injury, even going back to when I was playing lacrosse; I never missed a single practice, let alone a game, because I was hurt. And so, I was just not equipped with the tools of being a mature person when you’re dealing with injury and giving your body and mind space to heal.

Dylan Bowman:

And I think the reason for that was because my whole identity was wrapped up in it, and it was sort of like, “Hey, I just signed all these new contracts with sponsors who I know care about me and who I have long-term relationships with,” but when you sign new contracts, and then you keep getting hurt and you can’t perform, you sort of have this other feeling of like, “Oh, my God, I don’t deserve what I have. I’m a total fraud. Why are these people supporting me? I can’t even finish a race.”

Dylan Bowman:

And so, there’s a lot of levels to it, right? It’s sort of like, not only is your body not allowing you to do what you love, but you also feel like you have lost who you are, and that you’re actively defrauding people you care about by not being able to perform. And of course, this is all self-created; it’s all nonsense, and my sponsors went out of their way to send me notes of support and things like that, which I really appreciated, but it’s all self-created.

Dylan Bowman:

But that was really the main takeaway for me, is sort of like, “Okay, dude, first of all, you’re creating all this stuff in your head. And number two, this can’t be the core of who you are as a person, is your ability to run faster than people in races. You have to be cool with your day-to-day life independent of your identity as an athlete.” And so, it sounds, again, so fundamental, but as somebody who has been an athlete my whole life and really never dealt with injury, it was a pretty profound thing.

Dylan Bowman:

So, that was really the main thing that I have sort of gotten back to, is recognizing that I love doing this because it is who I am, it is what I love to do; I do love to compete, but that I like and love running independent of my ability to have good performances. It’s something that I love to do just for the pure practice of it, the joy of it.

Hillary Allen:

I love that.

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah, so, I would say that was really the major takeaway for me in the last year.

Hillary Allen:

So did you have any kind of practices that you did? For instance, when I was injured… I mean, I did this silly thing that I actually… I thought it was silly, but it actually made a big difference. I had this book, and it was like my journal that I would write down, “Oh, I’m pissed about this today,” or if recovery just seemed too hard, I just was like, “I can’t do this today.”

Hillary Allen:

But I would write down affirmations, and there was one that I kept on reading to myself, and I’d be like, “Okay, believe that your best athletic days are ahead of you.” And some days I would read it, and I’m just like, “Oh, my gosh, this seems silly that I’m reading this, because it doesn’t seem true,” but I would say it to myself anyways, and by the end of it, then I was just getting super excited. I was like, “Yeah, Hill, your best athletic days are ahead of you.”

Hillary Allen:

Was there something like that that helped you get through kind of the hard times?

Dylan Bowman:

So, first of all, I want to tell you that I have been sort of saying that to myself since our conversation on my podcast where you sort of brought that to my attention. I think it’s just such a cool thing.

Hillary Allen:

Oh, that’s amazing!

Dylan Bowman:

A couple of weeks ago, I was like, “Aw, Hillary, she would say my best athletic days are ahead of me.” Got to have that belief. And [inaudible 00:23:30] something that’s so hard to sort of come by, because, again, it just feels fake.

Dylan Bowman:

My wife is very much into this kind of mind-body connection sort of thing, so she would encourage me to do things like that, write down things, and even more so, just be careful about the words that I put out in the world and what my internal dialogue is, right? Because I was constantly just like, “I suck. I’m a fraud. I’ll never be back. It’s over for me” sort of thing. And when that’s your constant internal dialogue… and sometimes your external dialogue… yeah, it’s hard to make any progress, right?

Dylan Bowman:

So it took a lot of convincing for me to really do much of that stuff, and I can’t say that I was really writing down affirmations, but I definitely did start to get more careful about the way that I was talking to myself, right?

Hillary Allen:

Yeah.

Dylan Bowman:

And so, this mind-body connection thing, I think, is super, super important, and doing things like that are, I think, a huge underappreciated way to sort of… maybe not accelerate your return, but just sort of take some of the emotional baggage off your shoulders that you’re dealing with during these times of injury.

Dylan Bowman:

And so, yeah, doing everything I could to sort of… yeah, to relieve some of that burden that I was putting on myself was ultimately what helped me turn the corner. And so, for me, I was going to therapy and doing my daily meditations; just talking to friends and family who had been through similar things. And really, I think, that was the core of what helped me kind of come back or come out of it, because really, like I said, at the end of 2018, before any of those injuries, I really just felt awful internally.

Dylan Bowman:

And looking back, I’m convinced that that was the core of my physical problem, too. When your internal life is not good, I think your physical body is much more vulnerable to things like getting sick during race week and breaking your ankle, not being able to recover well. So, that’s really been another major takeaway for me, is you really have to pay attention to that internal life, and just sort of emphasize that as much as you do your physical fitness.

Hillary Allen:

Oh, man, I love that, because I was going to ask if… I mean, I know you’ve only had one race this year since all those injuries, but do you notice a difference of kind of practicing that, of having the opportunity to practice the positive mental talk? And do you see that translating into your ability to train and perform in races now?

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah, totally, and I think that’s something that I knew internally before all this stuff went wrong, because I’ve always had the understanding that it’s not usually when I’m training the hardest that I feel the best as an athlete, you know? It’s always when I’m training pretty hard, but that my life is in balance outside of running, and my day job is going well, when I’m interacting with friends and family a lot, when my home life is going well and in balance… that’s when your physical body, I think, is most able to have these just incredible sort of physical performances.

Dylan Bowman:

And so, that, I think, is something that I’ve always kind of understood, but it definitely has come into sharper focus now that I have finally been through a little bit of adversity. And I feel so funny just complaining about injuries to you, who has been through so much.

Hillary Allen:

Oh, no!

Dylan Bowman:

It is crazy. In the grand scheme of things, I had a pretty minor ankle break. I mean, it’s almost been a year now, and it’s still a little bit of a problem, so it’s not like it was minor. But in the grand scheme of things, there’s people who have been so much harder stuff, but still, it felt totally life-crushing to me at the time. And so, I think… yeah, just sort of having some perspective and focusing on that internal thing, I think, is really, really important.

Hillary Allen:

I think so, too, and I mean, I think it’s kind of like… I feel like runners, as a whole, as a community… what makes it special for ultra-runners is, even if you’re not running the same pace, if you run an Ultra and someone runs a 100-mile race, and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I hit the wall, or I bonked so hard,” it’s like… people know what you mean. You’re like, “Oh, yeah, I was hallucinating,” or, “Yeah, I just cried on the side of the trail.”

Hillary Allen:

I mean, it’s the same thing for an injury. It’s like you’re kind of part of this club, almost. It’s like it doesn’t even matter if you have the same one. I feel like it teaches you so much if you just allow it to, and I mean, I just think it’s… I don’t know. I mean, it’s not pleasant when you go through it, but it’s actually kind of like a really cool opportunity to learn about yourself and take those things moving forward.

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah. Yeah, and I’m sure, for you, it’s allowed you to have such a different impact on people than you would have if all you had contributed was just pictures of you on a podium.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah. And that’s not even why we run, I feel like. This is a question… because I heard you describe of the reason why you want to run, and why you’re an athlete. It’s not about… you don’t have a problem with motivation, but it’s just a part of you, right? And so, as you’re kind of getting back into performing… and obviously, that’s part of racing… racing, certain days you can test yourself… test yourself, but then also test yourself against other people.

Hillary Allen:

But is that one of your main motivations of why you wanted to get back after injury, or was it like you more chasing this kind of freedom and connection to yourself again?

Dylan Bowman:

What do you mean? So, was my motivation just to get back, or to perform well? Is that what the question is?

Hillary Allen:

Yeah.

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, I guess, just because… I mean, I think performances… like you said before, these performances, they make you feel great as an athlete and like you’re unstoppable, like these magical moments… like you said, the best two days of your athletic career; one was UTMF, and then one was TDS… are you chasing those, those actual moments, or do you think those can come from something else, like not just a performance?

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah, I think this is a really important thing. So yeah, I am chasing those. I do want to do that on a deep, deep level. I still want to race. I still want to compete, and I want to do it for as long as I can. And I turned 34 yesterday; I’ve been running Ultras for more than 10 years now, and I still feel the motivation and drive every day to train and get better, and I still want to have amazing performances on big stages against the best athletes. Yeah, that is still what I really want to do.

Dylan Bowman:

And yeah, that was kind of part of the whole injury process, too, is like… I was 33 last year, and it was like, “Well, that’s not terribly old in the grand scheme of being an endurance athlete,” but you definitely start to feel like, “Okay, I’m not young anymore.” And it gives you sort of a different urgency of like, “Okay, I can’t be injured for a year. I feel like I’m in my prime. I don’t want to give up this time.”

Dylan Bowman:

I think, yeah, the more important thing is to not let that be the only drive, and to make sure your motivations are pure, to just get out the door and do your workout because you enjoy it, not because you want to have great performances. And that was, really, what was missing for me, was… all my drive was last year was like, “Oh, shit, I am not worthy of the support that I get from my sponsors because I can’t race, and I’m getting older. Is this the end for me?”… kind of thing.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah.

Dylan Bowman:

And that’s what made it so hard. It was because the competitive part of it was really the only thing I was focused on. So yeah, I think that’s been… kind of like what I was going back to saying earlier, of just sort of decoupling my love for running from my identity as being a good runner… so yeah, trying to balance those two things is really, I think, the key here, of, “I do still want to compete. I do still want to have my best athletic days ahead of me.”

Dylan Bowman:

But if that’s not going to happen, I can’t be completely miserable. I have to be just totally cool with life as it is.

Hillary Allen:

I think that that’s a really honest and amazing perspective, because yes, of course, we want to compete. It’s not all just butterflies and whatever. I mean, I love to run, and I could be even… maybe people just perceive me as like, oh, this happy-go-lucky person who just loves to run and look at bugs and things… but when I start on the start line, I want to compete.

Hillary Allen:

But no, I think that that’s a really honest answer, and I think it’s also a really healthy perspective.

Hillary Allen:

So I think what I want to end with is, let’s talk about this concept of the comeback, the comeback tour, Dylan. What is this?

Dylan Bowman:

So yeah, the revenge tour that’s going…

Hillary Allen:

Revenge tour! Sorry, not the comeback… I’m the one that hates the word “the comeback.” The revenge tour… what is this revenge over?

Dylan Bowman:

A concept that I sort of started to think about at the end of 2019 when I was finally starting to feel the momentum shifting in my life, and feeling like I was coming back into kind of feeling like myself again after so long feeling lost in the world. It’s a tribute to my experience playing lacrosse in college, because in my freshman year, we were ranked number one, we were undefeated, playing into the postseason… and right before the National Tournament, we were disqualified because two of my teammates were academically ineligible.

Hillary Allen:

No!

Dylan Bowman:

So we were disqualified from the National Tournament, being the number one ranked team and undefeated throughout the season. And yeah, granted, two of our players were academically ineligible, but we really did feel like we had been robbed, right?

Hillary Allen:

Yeah.

Dylan Bowman:

And this was my freshman year. And then, the next season, we just had this anger and swagger about us, where every game, we just brought that just feeling of being robbed, and just had this wild emotional kind of continuity among the team… of we really were very committed to one another, felt like we had something to prove. And it’s difficult to describe, other than to just say it was a magical season.

Dylan Bowman:

To give you an idea of sort of our attitude and disposition throughout the year, we wore all black uniforms for all of our home games, and instead of walking onto the field with our university flag, we walked onto the field with a pirate flag… like a skull and crossbones… and all of us are in our black uniforms, hooting and hollering, and just feeling really like we’re a team and we have something to prove.

Dylan Bowman:

Ultimately, we were able to win the National Championship, and it was just an amazing rollercoaster of a season, and especially having been through what we had been through my freshman year, it was just so freaking cool. But what we called it… we called it the revenge tour, we called it the Haters Revenge Tour. Yeah, and it was successful, and sort of that attitude and that emotion, I think, is something that I kind of want to embody this season… is just sort of like… not necessarily like having that anger, but just of like having that drive and that feeling of, “I’m not done.” This is what I want to do, I’m 100 percent sure that this is what I want to do, and I’m going to leave no stone unturned in service of those goals.

Dylan Bowman:

And part of the concept was going back to races where I hadn’t had my best performances, including Transgrancanaria. So, part of the revenge tour was like, “Okay, we’re going to right the ship. We’re going to go back and redeem ourselves at places where we didn’t perform well in the past and take our revenge.” And I know that word might rub some people the wrong way, and I want people to know it’s not… it’s more of an attitude rather than an anger.

Dylan Bowman:

It’s… yeah, anyway… something that I’ve been thinking about a lot and want to sort of carry with me this season.

Hillary Allen:

And for seasons to come. I love it, Dylan. And yeah, if you need any… I’ll be your wing woman for that swagger to the start line… so, I like it.

Dylan Bowman:

And just to give it a tiny bit more context, at Transgrancanaria, my coach, who we mentioned here, Jason Koop, who I have an amazing friendship and relationship with, flew all the way out there to support… not only me, but [inaudible 00:40:23] other athletes.

Dylan Bowman:

So I’m at the first aid station and he brought a skull and crossbones pirate flag with him; and so, at the aid station, he was holding it up.

Hillary Allen:

Oh my gosh, that’s amazing.

Dylan Bowman:

Yeah, it was great, and then North Face has made me a backpack with the skull and crossbones on it. So yeah, it’s an attitude that comes from my history of being a lacrosse player, and something that I want to sort of carry with me this season.

Hillary Allen:

Oh, man. All right, well then, if any of you listeners that are out there at these races… let us bring a pirate flag for Dylan. That’s so awesome. I love it.

Hillary Allen:

But thanks so much for being on here, Dylan, and it’s always such a pleasure talking to you, and… yeah, thanks so much.

Dylan Bowman:

Hilly, thanks so much for the inspiration. You are the best, and it’s always fun to chat, and I hope you stay safe and healthy in quarantine.

Hillary Allen:

You, too.

 


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