What Do You Love?

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”  – Charles Bukowski


It was October of 2010, and Tim didn’t know it, but in four days he’d be dead.

He was drunk and screaming at me through his phone, “Love, Love, Love!  Goddammit, life is about love!”

I couldn’t disagree.

He’d been through hell and back more than once.  But Tim was was abundant with a precious resource, passion.

He took chances and learned some tough lessons. He made a lot of mistakes but faced his challenges head on.  Now, it was cancer.

He was fearless, but afraid of himself.

In the end, it was people who killed him.

People, who couldn’t live with his brutal honesty.  People, who refused to accept their faults and hid behind a mask.  People, who couldn’t return love in the same proportion that he dished it out.

People, like me.

He was my best friend and while he had an uncanny ability to laugh in the face of disaster, he wasn’t laughing that night.  He felt like he’d let it all slip away.  Like he failed at life because he couldn’t find enough love.

We chase money, thrills, and ego, but what is any of that without love?  And not just love in the traditional sense, but for everything we do.  To waste life chasing illusions that leave us empty is an awful way to live.

We bottle anger or fear, unable to forgive because of personal agendas and insecurity.  We want to control instead of love.

I’ve been thinking about that conversation since the day he died and finally believe I have grown enough to let go of what’s been in my way.  I will no longer fight empty battles for the sake of it.  I will no longer hate in the name of public opinion.  I will no longer judge someone before walking in their shoes.

It’s all pretty obvious and starts with love . . . of yourself.

3 Triathlon Articles of the Day

3 Triathlon Articles of the Day

Here are three quick articles (and a short video) about swim, bike, and run to get you in the mood for something other than sex.

SWIM – Here’s a sweet swim drill that would certainly build your confidence for the Ironman Wisconsin Swim Start.

BIKE – I hesitated to post this one because the title is “How to Become A Cyclist” and the first tip is “ride more frequently.”  My first thought was, “Wow!  That is great advice!”  But, then I remembered that’s similar to the schlep I was doling out the other day.

RUN – This is an awesome article for 3 reasons.  One, it’s offered as a way to heal/strengthen your achilles (my nemesis).  Two, it’s run cross training, which I love.  Three, it has me thinking about getting a heavy bag for my garage again.

3 New Workouts (Swim,Bike, Run)

Here are three new workouts for you.  They are also listed with others under the “Workout” tab.  Enjoy.

SWIM – Oly Race Pace

3 x 200 as odds swim, evens single arm, 10 rest

Main set:
3 x 200 high tempo with paddles and t-shirt. 20 rest
6 x 100 oly race pace, 10 rest
12 x 50 as odds fists, evens sprint. 15 rest

2 rounds.

200 Warm Down

BIKE – Stand/Sit

Warm Up:
5 mins
5 x 20 sec sprints, 40 secs easy. In tough gear.

Main set:

hills or tough resistance
5 x 1 min at 45rpms all out, 30 secs easy in between each one.
5 mins easy

6 rounds. Odd rounds seated, evens standing.

2 x 4 min steady at cadence of choice

Rest of ride easy.

RUN – 10K Pace Repeats 

10 mins Warm Up

Main set:
10 x 30 sec steep hill bounds. Get height and distance per stride and maximum muscle loading.

Jog back each time.

2 x 1/2 mile repeats at 10k pace on flat. 2 mins easy in between each one.

2 rounds.
Cool down to make 1:30

The Secret of Effective Undertraining

Do you think you would get better at playing piano if you practiced 30 minutes every day, or for 4 straight hours once a week?

Ever since I started training for Ironman, I have been obsessed with figuring out the best way to prepare.  This morning, that quest continued as I wrote blindly on the topic and my thoughts kept coming back to one thing: repetition.

Last year I went into Ironman Louisville severely undertrained by Ironman standards.  My actual time was 12:40, but I honestly believe an 11:30 was well within my grasp if I would have hydrated better on the bike.

I didn’t follow a typical Ironman training plan.  In fact, these were my longest training days for all of last year:

Swim – 3,000 meters
Bike – 4 hours
Run – 12 miles

For the last month, all I did was bike and swim . . . a lot.  I swam around 1,500 at lunch, then biked for an hour or two in the afternoon.  Nearly every single day.

Going into Louisville I felt very comfortable in the water and on the bike.  And while I hadn’t run (do to an injury) much, I felt oddly at peace about the prospect of running a marathon.

My every-day swim and bike workouts were short, but very focused.  I worked hard on my form in the pool and pushed myself with intervals and aero training on the bike.

Going into Louisville, swimming and biking were second nature (sort of like going to the coffee shop these days) and I had very little fear.  I didn’t have long distances under me, but I had something more important, great command of my effort.

The run, of course, was ultimately my demise, but I refuse to believe it was about my legs or conditioning (over-heated core, soaking wet feet and blisters is another story).  Endurance was never a part of my life growing up, but sports built running into my DNA.  By nature, running’s not intimidating because I have a deep understanding of how to do it any day of the week.

And, I guess that is the entire point of this post.  The more comfortable you are with swimming, biking, and running, the less effort it takes.  For my money, shorter, good-form-repetition is far more valuable than bad-form and exhausting distances.

Ironman Louisville Run







Forced Change and Motivation

This morning, NPR enlisted a panel of college newspaper editors from Dartmouth, Virginia and Vanderbilt for a discussion.  All of them seemed anxious to change the world and their immediate focus was sexual assault and racial diversity on campus.  They were adamant about finding and implementing a solution to these seemingly never ending problems.

Their conversation reminded me of a Charles Bukowski quote I have on my wall:  “You begin saving the world one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”

It doesn’t matter if it’s campus behavior, social ethics, or triathlon training, substantial change rarely, if ever, happens when it is forced.  Fear, threat, or rules are bad places to start changing the world . . . or yourself.

You have to go inside and let it happen.

Three years ago the energy and newness of training consumed me and I forced my body to the limits.  I was genuinely motivated by the fear of not finishing my first Ironman.  I would not be embarrassed!  And, while it worked in the short term, I quickly learned there has to be a deeper, long-term reason for tangling with these challenges.

I’ve realized this process can’t be about false confidence–it has to be authentic.

It can’t be just for your body, mind, or spirit; it has to be all three.  They are interconnected (much like swim, bike, and run) and if one doesn’t get enough attention, the recipe falls out of balance.

For years I have tried forcing things I don’t like out of my life, whether that be too many sweets, negative thought patterns, or staying up late.  But that’s the wrong approach.  It’s more about flooding my life with good, consistent, and meaningful patterns and letting the bad habits leave on their own.

Swim, Bike, Run Reading

I’m gonna start pulling 3 articles (a swim, bike, and run) every couple days that I think are pretty good reading.

Here’s one on designing your swim training around your “test pace.”  Also, check out the Crushing Iron podcast on how to love swimming.

Here’s an article on 5 Ways to cross train for cycling.  (Is it just me or is it sometimes hard to find the rest of the article when they hide the “next page” in a jungle of ads?)  Or, check out Crushing Iron’s satirical list of 10 Favorite Things About Cycling.

Work on your running stride with these three video drills.  And, here’s a little post on how I overcame my disdain for running and eventually proclaimed it “king.”