New Open Water Swim Race In Tennessee

New Open Water Swim Race In Tennessee


There’s a new open water swim race this Fall in Knoxville called, Bridges to Bluffs 10K Open Water Swim. One of the founders is Blaik Ogle who was on one of our first podcasts is now back with Jessi Ringer and last year’s Ironman Florida winner, Jack McAfee, to talk about what it’s like putting together a brand new swim race.

Since it’s the first year, there are tons of logistics. We talk about how the idea originated, what steps they’ve taken, what’s left to do, why it’s different than other open water races in the US, and how racers can get a 50% discount on open water swimming plans from Crushing Iron.

We also get into an mind-blowing story from Jack McAfee who had major bike issues at Ironman Chattanooga and followed up 5 weeks later with THE WIN at Ironman Florida. Not age group win, but overall.

He takes us back to Chattanooga and goes through what happened, why he almost quit, and how “running mad” saved his race. I mean, who else spends nearly an hour not moving on the bike and gets 5th in their age group?

Here’s Jack’s Finish at about the 5:18 mark, though it doesn’t show him tripping over the tape like he said he thought he did.

Here’s a little bonus for Open Water Swim Lovers. This documentary is about a guy whose dream it was to swim across the Pentland Firth, which happens to be some of the most treacherous water on earth off the coast of Scotland.

Turning To Triathlon When Life Turns On You

Turning To Triathlon When Life Turns On You

A while back on the podcast we started asking for stories from listeners. What got you into triathlon? Why do you love it? How does it make a difference in your life?

We knew people were listening, but really didn’t know how (or if) we were connecting. Then we got an email from Ross Kaffenberger and it pretty much defined why we keep doing the podcast.

He said he loved listening and left a review on iTunes, then unceremoniously dropped a link to his blog, “Out and Back.” The next day I read his latest post and was blown away. Robbie said the same thing, and we made plans to get him on the podcast.

His words were heart wrenching and optimistic at once. I’ll let Ross tell the story, but it crystalizes why I think so many of us get into triathlon. It’s either to get us going, or keep us going. In Ross’s case, it has been both, and I’m really happy we’ve connected.

He’ll be doing my favorite race, Ironman Wisconsin, and he unveiled the incredible reason why in this podcast. If there’s any doubt triathlon can have a profound effect on our lives, please listen to this podcast and follow Ross on Twitter: @rossta

Running And Forgiveness

Running And Forgiveness

Most people I know have done something stupid, disturbing, or against the law. I don’t hold it against them.

But why is it so hard for us forgive? And why would I open a triathlon blog post with something so intense? Well, because, occasionally the things I see and feel on a run brings out strong emotions.

Here’s what happened.

I was about two miles into a five miler, and struggling. It usually takes me a bit to find stride, but between allergies and being out of shape, I was digging deep to get this run organized.

Then I saw a woman walking toward me with her dog.

I was breathing hard. My right knee and left ankle were giving me noticeable pain. But, about twenty yards from the woman I made a conscious decision to get my good mood in order and flash the most congenial smile I could muster.

As I closed in, I thought of rainbows, sunny beaches, and a deep love for strangers. I glided toward her with a relaxed and genuine smile in hopes of receiving something similar in return.

She never even looked at me.

About 2 minutes later, a couple walked toward me and I repeated the entire process in vain. They walked right by, both with their heads down.

That’s when I went into this internal dialogue about whether or not people are even actually happy. I know, it’s a stupid thing, but I really do wonder about that a lot. We’re so distracted by shit these days, that the connectivity piece seems lost. And I’m actually one of the worst isolationists I know, so I get it.

Then I started seeing familiar chalk writings on the pavement. Someone actually goes to the greenway and writes things like: “Run” “Walk” “Dance” “Smile” “Stand on your head” etc. on the ground and it always cheers me up . . . and I wonder what kind of person does this?

I passed a couple more people who didn’t look at me, then, out of nowhere, it started pouring rain as I approached a guy running my way. He had his head down, and I pretty much threw in the towel on a hello, but as he got close to me, he not only smiled, but gave a big “thumbs up.”

This rain runner gave me hope as I made my turnaround to head home.

Then, Dan Bern’s “Wasteland” came on my iPod. For a while it was my favorite song and somehow fit the mood perfectly as I trudged through the downpour.

I saw men with dreams like the ones I’d had
Beg quarters outside the 7-11
Till it got so they didn’t affect me anymore
Then the mailboxes I’d passed ‘cept that sometimes
I’d put something in the mailbox
I’d had the wind at my back
Now I felt it cold in my face
And for an awful long time now you were the only one who ever Called me late at night and I really never noticed till after
You stopped calling and the emptiness, silence got so heavy

It’s a pretty depressing song on the surface, but it gives me hope for some reason, and about 4 minutes in, he crooned this lyric just as I realized the rain had washed the chalk affirmations from the concrete.

And I watched TV and read the papers and listened to the radio
And made all the fancy scenes and said all the right words
And wore all the right clothes and knew the names of the hip people
But I still felt out of touch so I stopped watching TV
And reading the papers and listening to the radio
And making the fancy scenes and saying the right words
And wearing the right clothes and knowing the names of the hip people
And I felt more out of touch than ever but I didn’t care anymore

Sometimes I wish I didn’t care anymore, but I do. I care about triathlon. About being the best person I can be. And I care about others and their happiness.

But why is it so hard for us to forgive?

Last year I raced at Ironman Wisconsin which about 45 minutes from where I grew up. For months I tried to express how much I wanted a childhood friend to come watch me race. Share my accomplishment with me.

He promised to try to show up, but in the end, didn’t make the short trip after I drove 9 hours to race in his backyard. It did bum me out, and I had a hard time forgiving . . . for about one day.

We’re in this together. IMG_8112Learn, love, create, travel, try new things, meet new people, don’t smother others with negative energy, and forgive.

Dan Bern’s Wasteland

Don’t Suck At Open Water Swimming

Don’t Suck At Open Water Swimming

Many of you know of my up-and-down history with open water swimming anxiety, so today’s topic always piques my interest. It took me back to my first Olympic swim which nearly convinced me to quit triathlon while I was ahead.  I wrote about it a long time ago and here’s an excerpt that will give you some insight to my struggles.

The gun went off and 40 over-achieving men jumped on my back.  I fought for my breath and my strategy went from relaxation to survival.  Primal screams pierced my ears and I think they were all coming from me.  I let the pack race away and unzipped my tri-top so my heart would have more room to beat.

By the time I got to the first buoy, I was a humbled and frightened man.  I stopped in the water and gazed into the distance, then to the starting the dock, then the second buoy.  I faced a major decision while I treading water in this dirty river.  Cold rain fell on my swim cap like a Chinese water torture and each drop reaffirmed what an idiot I was for trying something so far above my capabilities.

The full post is here.

In today’s podcast (embedded below), we cover every issue I (and maybe you) have struggled with in open water. Here’s some bullet points on what we cover.

• Pre-race rituals including a great way to prep for cold water
• Getting mentally stronger
• Wet suit chest pressures
• Controlling your heart rate
• Dealing with contact
• The importance of warm ups
• How to not worry about what’s under the water
• Training for congestion
• Why stroke turnover is king
• Positioning for a floating start
• How to train harder than the race
• How to use a sandy beach to make you stronger