Administration and Finance Focus




It has been an incredible journey for Bob Browand. Not only does our UH Director of Parking and Transportation demonstrate prowess when facing parking challenges, he also meets adversity with fierce determination outside of the UH campus. On May 21, 2011, Browand completed his fifth Ironman challenge at the age of 56.

Browand started out as a sprinter in high school and said he thought “distance runners were out of their minds.” He frequently biked while growing up and decided to try out the MS150, a cycling fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He then became inspired to try a triathlon after watching a friend complete one but said first, he had to learn to swim.

“I was hooked after the first one,” he said.

After several triathlons, Browand stepped it up a notch and went for the supreme challenge: to complete an Ironman. During an Ironman challenge, athletes complete a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.4 mile run. In November 2005, Browand registered for Ironman Florida 2006. But his attempt was cut short with an unexpected, serious setback.

“Despite my best intentions, the journey almost never got started,” he said. “One month after registering, making my travel arrangements, buying a new tri bike and related equipment and clothing, I was rushed into surgery after an exploratory procedure for a double bypass.”

After his recovery, Browand wasn’t ready to toss in the towel. He got back up and began the vigorous training necessary to prepare for the Ironman.

“There’s a saying in Ironman that it’s not the race, it’s the journey. And boy is it true,” Browand said. “The race itself is the icing on the cake, but the training is where the blood, sweat and tears are. A typical Ironman training plan lasts between 20 and 36 weeks, and during that time you will train 10-20 hours a week, swim 137,500 yards, bike 1,923 miles and run 306 miles. That doesn’t include the time spent on weight training, yoga, Pilates and stretching. But the most important part of training is recovery and listening to your body.”

Eleven months after his bypass surgery, he completed his first Ironman with a time of 12 hours 37 minutes. Then he went on to do another the next year and two more the year after that. His fifth was last month at the Woodlands for the Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas. Browand said he began serious training for this year’s challenge in mid January. In an average week, he would swim 3 to 4 days, bike 4 to 5 days and run 3 to 4 times. Fridays were rest days followed by long training days on Saturday and Sunday ranging from 2-7 hours. However, this time around he said he almost packed it in after his motivation faltered and life issues began interfering. But Browand said the support of his friends and co-workers, Kathy Tran and Jerry Do, kept him going.

“Without those two in my corner, I wouldn’t have made it to the starting line,” he said.

Browand began the IMTX 2011 on May 21 with a swim through Lake Woodlands alongside over 2,100 athletes.

“I was kicked three times in the face and was pulled under water several times,” he said. “The swim finish is always the most gratifying. From there you go into Transition 1 where you get ready for the bike.”

The bike ride traveled through the hills north of the Woodlands. Next up was Transition 2 to prepare for the run.

“My run started out strong but the lack of training caught up to me at mile 10. I pressed on and finished the race in the time I had expected, 13 hours and 17 minutes. And Team Browand (Kathy and Jerry) were still there to cheer me on at the finish,” he said.

Congratulations to Bob Browand for his perseverance and hard work to complete his fifth Ironman!