A Great Birthday Workout

So, it’s my birthday and I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do.  I’m a free man, the world is my oyster, and I had all day to put it together.

I thought, and thought, and the one thing that kept coming into my mind was, “I want to go swimming.”

But, it’s a perfect day and the thought of going into a pool didn’t sit well.  Then, I said to my growingly indecisive self, “Yes, I will go to the lake!”

It sounded good on the surface, but I reasoned:

A.  I would have to dig out my wetsuit and constricted swimming under a hot sun is not what I had in mind.

B.  Nobody would be there and knowing my luck I would get caught in a patch of seaweed and drown on my birthday, giving the local news a great story to run for the next 3 days and, frankly, I’m not in the business of helping the media make money off my pitfalls.

So, I blew off the swimming idea because I also reasoned it’s getting close to Halloween and there would likely be some weirdos lurking in the woods to steal my pull buoy, or worse, chop it into pieces with a machete.

Then, I thought, “Hmm, I really enjoy Mountain Biking, maybe I’ll take a stroll through the Shelby Park trails.  A nice, easy spin through sprawling natures.  I would observe the changing leaves and embrace the piercing sun.

For some reason, it’s hard for me to take it easy.

I decided instantly that I would attempt my 666 ride.  6 miles on trails, 6 miles of hills, then 6 miles back on trails.

It’d been a while and pushing through tall grass was a little tough, and honestly, I transformed 666 into something like 2-3-4-2-6.  Don’t ask.

It was probably an hour and a half and since it was still my birthday, I though, “Hell, I’ll turn this into a brick.”

I took a similar route, and wound up running 5 miles.  An 18/5 brick and it felt . . . . . . . . . . . . . like shit!

I wouldn’t say I’m in awful shape, but something is missing and it’s mental.  My head just isn’t in this plan.  I mean, it’s my birthday, and that’s what I chose to do?  Hmm.

It’s been a slippery slope lately.  All of the Ironman (x2) is burned off and now I have to find another form of motivation.  One that opens up my heart.

So, with that in mind, I’m really looking forward to meeting some good friends at the Pharmacy for burgers, fries, and hopefully a lot of laughs.

Thanks for the birthday wishes and, especially supporting this wacky blog.  On Wisconsin!

UW Boxing



Triathletes Are Insane

We are not accountants, lawyers, or thieves.

We are not a swimmers, bikers, or runners.

We are not triathletes.

And we are definitely not our thoughts.

I love endurance sport because it rips away pretense.  When you’re at mile 20 of an Ironman run, “thought” drills to that exact moment.

We evolve or die.

Fear no longer consumes us.  We exist.  Shallow desire fades away.

Validation isn’t necessary.  We are at our worst, which makes us our best.

We are stark raving mad, and recognizing that is the first step toward remaining sane.

Ironman Louisville Run


My 2015 Race Schedule

What’s that saying, “An idle mind . . .?”

For the last couple months, I have been trying to slow my life down, but starting a new solo-career has been a major source of stimulation.  In the process I have “let go” of training a bit. I’ve been focused on yoga, easy swims, and an occasional jog.  But there comes a time when you have to glance at the map.

With that said, we’re going to wrap the bus in Crushing Iron logos and hit the road, but where will we be?

The Crushing Iron Bus

Ironman Chattanooga is in stone.  That will be my A-Race, but there is no “A” without building the foundation.

I’ve been toying with the idea of redemption at Ironman New Orleans 70.3 but, I’m not sure it’s going to happen.  They’ve made some changes to the race, which I like, but it’s a long ways to go to get your ass kicked in April.

The last two years I’ve done the Rev3 Olympic in Knoxville and that pattern will continue under the Challenge Knoxville title on May 17th.  They also offer a half, but at that point in the season, I’d rather leave myself wanting more than struggle to finish.

Muncie is also on my radar, but I’m hearing rumblings of Ironman St. Louis 70.3 in June and that is much more intriguing.  Muncie is a fine race, but I still have St. Louis demons I need to exercise from the 1982 World Series when the Cardinals stole one from my Brewers.

So, St. Louis looks like a lock if it shows up.

I’m sure I’ll be tempted to do The Music City Olympic in August, but if I do anything in August I will likely do USAT Nationals in Milwaukee and stay with my brother.  His apartment is just a few blocks from transition and I will be poised to own the weekend on Crushing Iron after a cold-blooded-blogging-rejection by USAT in 2014.

Then it will be off to Chattanooga where I hope to be mentally and physically ready to push for a Kona slot in 2016.  Considering I’ve never been lower than 30th in my age group in an Ironman, there is a ton of work ahead of me.  I’ll have to knock an hour and a half off my best finish and I’m not sure where that will come from, but after watching Chattanooga this year, I can probably get an hour or so from the swim alone.








Dealing with the Off Season

I don’t know about you, but my body gets a little beaten up over the course of a triathlon season.  For 95% of my life I haven’t done these things, and I still feel a constant nag to rest.

It’s like hibernation theory and I am ready to snore.

I was noodling around and found this article about 5 Off Season Rules on Competitor.com that has some nice points.  Here’s a summary:

1.  Their first rule is don’t run a marathon in January.  Their basic point is that doing long distance training in your recovery season is a great way to get injured or burned out.

2.  Focus on short/intense workouts.  They say volume is easy to add back in later and now is the time to boost your power and lactate threshold.

3.  Gain Weight.  The point being when you train at a heavier weight it makes you stronger.  They even go as far as saying eat ice cream sundaes before bed.

4.  Swim, swim, swim.  They argue that swimming is usually the weakness of most triathletes and the best way to perfect the most technical sport is to practice.  The suggestion is to swim every day for 10-14 days, which I completely agree with because it worked for me (though I did it “in-season”).

5.  Hit the weights.  “You’ve spent the season breaking down the house, now it’s time to repair it.”

For me, this sounds like a good plan.  One of my major goals for this off season is to create muscle balance, so I plan to at a ton of yoga into this mix as well.  And of course Little Debbie.

Ironman Little Debbie




My Latest Video

My Latest Video

Here’s something I did for the Middle Half in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  I’ve done their videos for the last few years and it’s always a good time/race.  I ride around on a mountain bike and pick up all these shots in about two hours.  Feel free to give me a shout if you put on a race and would like a good/affordable video to remember/promote it with.  The awesomeness that is Lanni Marchant won the woman’s overall with a time of 1:16:56.  Men’s winner, Patrick Cheptoek, at 1:06:23.


            FEMALE OVERALL (1st, $500; 2nd, $250; 3rd, $150) - Course Record Lanni Marchant 1:15:32 (2013)
                             Ovrl  Sex
Place Name                    Plc  Plc Age   Time   Pace City & State 
===== ====================== ==== ==== === ======= ===== ==================
    1 Lanni Marchant            9    1  30 1:16:56  5:53 Chattanooga TN 
    2 Emmy Chepkirui           12    2  26 1:18:21  5:59 Hardin KY 
    3 Amanda Dunne             20    3  31 1:23:00  6:20 Murfreesboro TN 

            MALE OVERALL (1st, $500; 2nd, $250; 3rd, $150) - Course Record Micah Tirop 1:05:43 (2010)
                             Ovrl  Sex
Place Name                    Plc  Plc Age   Time   Pace City & State 
===== ====================== ==== ==== === ======= ===== ==================
    1 Patrick Cheptoek          1    1  28 1:06:23  5:04 Bowling Green KY 
    2 Justus David              2    2  27 1:07:12  5:08 Murfreesboro TN 
    3 Scott Wietecha            3    3  33 1:07:29  5:09 Hendersonville TN

KONA Hangover

I watched the Ironman World Championships for 6 hours on Saturday and have been on the road doing video work (I’m available for hire) for the last three days, so I haven’t had much time or desire to think about triathlon.  BUT, I have been shooting video at a health club, and one of the employees qualified for KONA next year, so I’m starting to feel the fire burn again.

Last night, after we finished shooting, I had my first taste of water jogging, and it was pretty damn cool.  I put on this vest and ran about 8 laps.  Let me tell you, even though I felt and looked like a complete doorknob, it is a legit workout.


Aqua-jogging was the big buzzword at Kona because the winner, Sebastian Kienle, spent the last month or so before the race training his run in the pool.  In fairness to me, I’ve been intrigued by this exercise for months now and started doing it in my above ground pool in hopes of being the “Kienle of Louisville,” but it didn’t quite work out as well.


In other notes, Coach Robbie had some highs and lows with his Kona predictions.  It looked like calling Daniela Ryf the winner was a rock-solid pick until Mirinda Carfrae shot out of a cannon again around mile 22.

He picked Kienle second, which was a pretty good call considering his injury and poor performance at Worlds a couple months prior.

I made a huge mistake by not lobbying harder on Ben Hoffman.  I’ve been a big fan since he won Wisconsin the day before I signed up to do my first Ironman and promise to follow in his footsteps with a second place finish next year at the ADPi Sprint Triathlon in Murfreesboro.




Ironman Chattanooga Tribute Video

Ironman Chattanooga Tribute Video

Here’s another in my growing list of Ironman Tribute Videos, this one from Chattanooga.  I didn’t make it to the bike, so hopefully the swim and run suffice.

The guy after Mike Reilly (The Voice of Ironman) raced in the very first Ironman, allegedly in cut off jean shorts, so I thought he deserved some special video love.

Special thanks to Brad Garrison for helping me pick up shots from the Swim Start.

I’m available to do something like this for your races, so feel free to email me mtarrolly@gmail.com.

Note: Video is cut to “The Man” by Aloe Blacc (more info on this below) from his album “Lift Your Spirit.”  (Vimeo and YouTube versions below).



The first time I heard “The Man” by Aloe Blacc was in Dallas at the Final Four.  I was culminating my childhood dream of watching the Badgers play for the National Championship.

We went to the Jerry Dome about 5 hours early and spent much of that time at a Pep Rally, where they unveiled a preview video showing Wisconsin player highlights cut to “The Man.”

My first thought was, this dude totally ripped off Elton John’s “Your Song,” and I kept expecting him to say, “And you can tell everybody . . . this is your song,” instead of “I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man.”

I don’t think I heard it more than once or twice since Dallas, but it really stuck in my head.  I’m not sure about the bridge where it goes into long and drones about how he really is the “maaaaaan,” but it may be growing on me after hearing it 50 times.


Kona Predictions 2014 – The Men

Written By Coach Robbie @Bruce_RTB

In 48 hours the worlds greatest triathletes will vie for the title of Ironman World Champion and people like me will be glued to their laptops watching the drama unfold.

Although I am more “excited” to watch the women’s race at Kona, momentum from a much-hyped men’s race at 70.3 Worlds has carried over the the big island.  The men’s race seems almost impossible to predict because of a ridiculously deep field.

Having said that, here is my shot at making the impossible, possible.

Iván Raña, 35, Spain @ivanranafuentes
Ummmmmm Who? Yea, thought so. Think… anorexic Johnny Depp, ladies. Yep. I am going with this fleet-footed Spainard this year. Rana has had a solid 2014 season coming off his 6th place Kona finish last year. He has proven he can swim with the front pack and run with anyone. The problem last year was the bike as he gave up huge chunks of time to the top 5 at Kona. Encouraged by his legit bike split at Ironman Austria earlier this summer I believe he has what it takes to be the “2012 Pete Jacobs” of this year. Rana will lie in the weeds on the bike and then methodically make his way through the top 5 on the run. Thus, I am going with Rana for the W. 
Sebastian Kienle, 31, Germany @SebastianKienle
Kienle comes into Kona oddly enough with a big “?” What the heck happened to the defending 70.3 World Champ at Worlds last month? His shockingly lackluster 18th place finish have some wondering if this German freight train is battling injury or illness this late in the season. The consummate professional, Kienle made no excuses after 70.3 Worlds and has seemed calm and confident in Kona. I have no clue what kind of shape he is in but just can’t believe a guy with his ability and bike prowess is due 2 flops in a row. I predict Kienle “flips the flop” and snags second this year barely holding off a late charging Frodeno.
Jan Frodeno, 33, Germany @janfrodeno
The dude rocks and is the “hot ticket” this year for the Kona win. He looked incredible at 70.3 Worlds last month and ran like Mercury earlier this year at IM Frankfurt after suffering 3 flats on the bike. Is that enough though? How seasoned does he feel at the iron distance AND his first go at it on the Big Island? If I wasn’t already going with Ryf (a Kona virgin) for the women’s victory I might have pulled the trigger on Frodeno taking the W. After all, some of my guy friends have a massive man-crush on the guy and I straight up worship the his run stride. He’s a freaking gazelle. Anyway…. Love the guy. Love his athleticism. Love what he does for the sport. Won’t win it this year. Frodo takes 3rd.
Frederik Van Lierde, 35, Belgium @fvanlierde
The defending champ. A heavy favorite again this year. Can he repeat? For sure. The guy has it all. He is calm, collected and his precision-like-approach is something everyone should aspire to. Really, there is nothing to not like about this guy and he doesn’t seem to have a weakness. Maybe its the underdog in me, but I am picking Van Lierde at 4th like I did Rinny. It is incredibly hard to repeat in Kona and I just believe 2 new champs will be crowned this year. If FVL does pull off the win I will stand and applaud. Love watching him race.  
Bart Aernouts, 30, Belgium @bartaernouts
What does a race best marathon split in 2013 translate to for Mr. Aernouts this year? By most accounts the conditions in Kona last year were more “favorable” than usual. I think tougher conditions make this man’s weapon even more lethal on Saturday. Barring a repeat of his dismal 57:XX swim last year I predict a jump into the top 5 for this Belgian improving from his 8th place finish last year. However, if he pulls one out of his rear and swims a 53-54:XX you may see him set up for a top 3 finish. Past results say 5th. I will stick with that. 
6.Andy Potts, 37, USA @Andy_Potts
7. Nils Frommhold, 28, Germany @nilsfrommhold
8. Timothy O’Donnell, 34, USA @TOinTRI
9. James Cunnama, 32, South Africa @JamesCunnama
10. Bevan Docherty, 37, New Zealand @bevanjdocherty
Read Crushing Iron’s Kona Predictions for the WOMEN here.
Andrew Starykowicz
Andrew Starykowicz off the bike in Muncie

Bold KONA Predictions – The Women

By The Crushing Iron Coach

For die hard triathletes this is the equivalent of Super Bowl week.  All the hoopla and excitement culminates Saturday in Kailua Kona, Hawaii with the Ironman World Championships.

Triathletes all over the world will post up in front of their laptops to watch the world’s best compete.

Predicting the podium at Kona, and even the top 10 (OUT OF ORDER!) for that matter is a lot like filling out your bracket for the Final Four. Your chances are about zero.

Personally, I am more intrigued and excited to follow the women’s race this year than any other year in the past.  If you have not taken the time to familiarize yourself with the contenders here is a little cheat sheet for Saturday and some bold predictions on finishing order.

Feel free to weigh in on your podium predictions with the #CrushingKona!


1.  Daniela Ryf, 27 Switzerland @danielaryf

The 2014 70.3 World Champion. Daniela Ryf is still not a household name after taking the win at 70.3 Worlds last month but she will likely change all of that on Saturday. Ryf comes into Kona unbeaten this year and with the guidance and coaching of Bret Sutton she will be prepared both mentally and physically. With her ITU background she will be racing at the front as soon as the gun goes off. Winning on the Big Island on your first attempt is almost sacrilegious, until Chrissie Wellington did it. We all know how that turned out. Leanda Cave pulled off the 70.3/Kona double in 2012 and I think Ryf has all of the tools to pull off her own. Calm. Cool. Collected. I see Ryf taking her first of many Kona crowns on Saturday and a legend begins.

2.  Jodie Swallow, 33, Great Britain @jodieswallow

Is this the year for Swallow? Coming off a 2nd place finish at 70.3 Worlds last month Jodie Swallow comes into Kona in excellent form. Im still not sure why she does not get more attention and maybe that has to due with her injury plagued 2013. Who knows? What I do know is the that you can bet she will be at the pointy end of the field All. Day. Long. I predict she will be leading the main pack on the bike for the majority of the day and will do the lion’s share of the work to put a large gap on the “runners” of the field. She is one of my favorite athletes to follow and I think she finally nails it in Kona coming in 2nd.

3.  Leanda Cave, 36, Great Britain @leandacave

*Disclaimer– This pick is probably heart over head. 

After an injury plagued 2013, Leanda Cave seems to be rounding into form at just the right time. She is coming off a solid win (validating her Kona spot) at Ironman Sweden and a very sharp looking win at Cozumel 70.3 in Kona-like conditions. She has proven she knows what it takes to crack the “Kona code” and I think she comes into this race with a chip on her shoulder. The video of her finishing Kona last year a disappointing 12th, stood out most to me. It was a long year for her and you could tell she hated not being at the top. I think she races with revenge on her mind and snags a podium spot at 3rd.

4.  Mirinda Carfrae, 33, Australia @Mirindacarfrae

The defending champ with quite possibly the most beautiful run stride on the planet is the heavy favorite to repeat this year and although it wouldn’t shock me one bit if she ran her way through the field again this year, I have my doubts putting her a top the podium. She most likely will not make the first pack out of the water and thus miss the “freight train” out to Hawi. If the forecast holds it will be very hot and windy and possibly lonely for Rinny as she pushes to give up as little time as possible. She can probably afford to give up 10-14 minutes on the leaders but I dont think she cuts it this year. Rinny finishes just off the podium in 4th.

5.  Heather Wurtele, 35, Canada @TeamWurtele

Full disclaimer, I have zero objectivity on this one. No one in the women’s field seems to conduct herself better on and off the course than this towering Canadian. She is talented and always races smart. In Kona, patience and intelligence can trump fitness and talent on the world’s biggest stage. Wurtele showed last month at 70.3 Worlds she can race with this best and sent a message with her excellent run split. Im not convinced this is her year to crack the top 3 BUT she will be prepared, race smart and I hope she rounds out the top 5. There is nothing to not like about this pro so do yourself a favor and pull for her on Saturday. I know I will.

6.  Rachel Joyce, 36, Great Britain @RJoyce09


7.  Meredith Kessler, 36, USA @mbkessler


8.  Corinne Abraham, 37, Great Britain @CorinneAbraham


9.  Caroline Steffen, 36, Switzerland @Caroline_Xena


10.  Liz Blatchford, 34, Great Britain @Liz_Blatchford

Kona Start List 

The Ironman Announcement Nobody’s Waiting For

As I left Ironman Chattanooga, four thoughts clanked in my brain:

1.  “Rock City” was a great host and I loved the vibe.
2.  The run course was legit and had great spectator support.
3.  The bike times seemed out of whack.
4.  The swim was disappointing.

Number four was a big one.  It wasn’t as much the times as the effort (or lack of) the swim seemed to induce.

Triathlon is about the delicate balance of training for three sports, not two.  The swim should have an impact on your bike and run.  And when someone can literally float the course and make the cut off time, I’m not sure what to think.

Then, I thought, who the hell am I to criticize a 2.4 mile swim for being too easy?  Some days it’s all I can do to walk my dog around the block.

It’s one race, on one day, and shouldn’t be compared to others.

I was 90% sure I wouldn’t race Chattanooga next year.  But, as I drove to Nashville I couldn’t let go of how much I love Chattanooga, how great the crowds were, and how sweet it is to have an Ironman in your backyard.

So, after a night of pondering and numerous text discussions I decided to take the plunge. There will be no sitting around in a Badger hat . . . I will be racing Ironman Chattanooga.

Maybe they will make the swim a zig zag so you have to corner a few buoys or something.  And, knowing my luck, it will be about 15 degrees hotter with no cloud cover, so the challenge will arise later in the day.

Either way, I am pumped to be racing an Ironman so close to home and hope my friends and family see the value in a Rock City vacation.

Ironman Chattanooga Swim