Inside the Mind of a Race Director (Part 2)

If you’re looking for inspiration and deeper reasons for doing triathlon, look no further than this podcast. Steve DelMonte joins us again and is as fired up as ever. (Podcast embedded).70DelmonteIG

Steve DelMonte is a full-time Race Director. He has incredible passion for the sport, but he’s more concerned about athletes enjoying their lives. We get into a lot of things with Steve, including: planning a race, cancelling a race like Alcatraz, changing the swim at Wisconsin, dealing with upset athletes, and getting the most out of your race. It’s a great and inspiring conversation that will have you ready to get outside and fall back in love with the tough parts of triathlon.

– Cancelled Swim at Escape from Alcatraz
– The story behind Escape the Cape
– Why they really changed Ironman Wisconsin’s swim start
– How race directors should treat their athletes
– Working behind the scenes with city leaders, businesses and churches to secure swim, bike, and run courses
– What it’s like to have two races in a row cancelled by weather
– Race insurance
– Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City news
– How to race with gratitude and excellent thoughts on how athletes can better enjoy their day

Learn more about Steve DelMonte at www.delmosports.com
Follow Steve on Twitter: @DelMoSports
Please subscribe to Crushing Iron on iTunes
Comments or questions: CrushingIron@gmail.com

C26 Triathlon Camp Information

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Nashville, Tn
C26 Triathlon Camp
July 13-16, 2017

Swim location -Anderson Road Beach
*pictured above 

Skills that will be taught and demonstrated include:

  • Dealing with anxiety
  • Sighting
  • Beach and mass swim starts 
  • Swimming in a straight line
  • Cornering buoys 
  • Breathing  techniques 
  • How to deal with swimming in a crowd
  • Drafting
  • Entry and Exit
  • Fast wetsuit removal
  • OWS specific technique 
  • How to train in the pool for OWS
  • Plotting your course 

*will offer group and 1 on 1 sessions Fri/SunScreen Shot 2017-05-31 at 9.00.10 AM
Cycling location – 
Natchez Trace Parkway
*pictured above 

https://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states. It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. Today, people can enjoy not only a scenic drive but also hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping along the parkway. The Natchez Trace is a designated cycling route allowing cyclists to have the entire lane and cars are encouraged(mandated by law) to pass only in the other lane. 

We will begin at mile marker 441 of the Trace and you can expect challenging hills, rolling terrain, perfectly paved roads, long downhills and great scenery. We will spend the majority of our Saturday on The Trace. We will work on your position, climbing, descending, pace lining, and most importantly we will get in a lot of awesome riding with plenty of elevation gain. These are the absolute safest roads you will ever be on. Full SAG support will be provided along with extra hydration at the rest stops. 

**depending on time and demand we may make our way to the lab to work on more cycling specific skills on Friday afternoon 

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Running locations:

– Percy Warner Park (top) 

– The Infamous “Lab” (bottom)

We will have run workouts and run clinic in the LAB on Friday afternoon after our long open water session.  We will start the clinic by going over form, dynamic movements, strides, the lunge matrix, posture, and more.  After a good warm up and some one on one time we will conclude the clinic by heading out on the connected greenway to work on our new form and log some easy miles.  Saturday we will have a real treat as we descend onto Percy Warner Park for some post-ride miles. Again, here we will have a quick form check-in and then run on some of the most beautiful paved trails that Nashville has to offer. 

Itinerary- 

Thursday – 6:00pm-9:00pm 

Dinner/Meet and Greet/Live Podcast with Q&A from campers

*Location TBD

Friday————————————————————————————-

 6:30am- 9:30am

Open Water Skills at Anderson Road Beach

9:30am-1:00pm

Break

1:00pm-2:45pm

Run clinic and workout at THE LAB

3:00pm-4:30pm

**optional bike skills work at THE LAB

***We will get together that evening for dinner

Saturday———————————————————————————

6:30am-10:30am

Cycling skills and long ride on Natchez Trace

10:30am-12:00pm

Break

12:00pm-2:00pm

Run workout at Percy Warner

2:00pm-4:30pm 

Break (NAP)

5:00pm-6:30pm

Presentation and Q & A on race strategy, execution, nutrition with Coach Robbie and C26 Alumni Elyse Gallegos. Elyse is a multiple 70.3  Worlds and Kona qualifier who currently races for Team Timex.

Sunday (Final Day)————————————————————

7:00am-9:00am

Open Water Skills Refresher and workout

9:30am-12:00pm

Group long run!!!!

12:00pm- 

Depart home a faster, fitter and more confident triathlete having established friendships that last a lifetime!

Cost:

C26 Athletes and/or Alumni – Before June 15 – 250.00   After June 15 – 285.00

C26 Forum Members -Before June 15-  350.00   After June 15 – 400.00

All other athletes – Before June 15 –  400.00    After June 15- 450.00

*Please send payment via Paypal to AllieLBruce@gmail.com to reserve your spot. This camp will be capped at 20 athletes. 

*If you can only attend a portion of the camp please email me for a quote on a pro-rated registration fee

*if you have ANY questions at all regarding payment or different options PLEASE do not hesitate to email me at c26coach@gmail.com . All inquiries are welcome.

*We have another camp tentatively scheduled for Aug 3-6. If you are interested in attending that camp please email us. 

What IS included:

– All workouts, instruction and presentations

  • Dinner on night 1
  • SAG support and nutrition
  • a 30minute session w/ Coach Robbie to go over topics of your choice.

*if you need assistance choosing the right hotel or would like to be put in contact with some of our local athletes for a homestay please email me at c26coach@gmail.com

What you should be comfortable completing:

  • Swim approximately 500-750 meters without stopping or 10-15 minutes of continuous swimming.
  • Can complete an “endurance” ride of at least 2:00
  • Run an easy 1:15-130.

Who should attend?

This camp is going be filled with both beginner athletes and seasoned veterans. One of the special aspects of this sport that I love is the diversity among athletes. We can all learn from each other. We all started as beginners. I think it is incredibly beneficial for beginners to see where they can get and also for the veterans to remember how far they have come. It all comes full circle.  No one will be held back nor will anyone be pushed inappropriately beyond their abilities. If you are looking to get in some more volume, with instruction, feedback, and meet some other amazing people along the same journey then this camp is for you.

Best,

Robbie Bruce

The Bond of Sport

The Bond of Sport

By Mike Tarrolly

image3
Pete and Me at one of many Badger weekends

It’s probably impossible for a college athlete to understand the impact they have on an older generation, but I think I may have figured out a way to put it in words. Last week I lost one of my best friends, Pete, and I’m almost certain we wouldn’t have been as close without Wisconsin Badgers basketball.

Pete and I were in the same dorm our freshman year at UW-LaCrosse . . . way back in 1981. He was on the basketball team and we were as tight as it gets, but after a year he transferred to UW-Whitewater where he eventually played on their NCAA Division 3 National Championship team. This was in “the days of home phones” (that were usually disconnected) and while we promised to stay in touch, we didn’t.

Three years later I went to Whitewater with our college “club team” to play in a lacrosse tournament. I’d never played the sport and after 2 games of getting my ass pummeled, our team shifted to party mode.

After 6 hours in the bars we landed at a house party. At 2:00 in the morning I was filling my beer when in through the back door comes . . . Pete.

I said, “What the hell are you doing here?”

He said, “This is my house!”

He’d just finished bartending and I’d unknowingly found his kitchen.

We promised again to stay in contact but fell out of touch aside from a few random encounters. Fast forward to about 5 years ago when he reached out on Facebook to see if I wanted to go to Indianapolis for the Big 10 tournament.

I jumped on the offer and it turned into a run of great memories, including two Final Fours, that won’t be forgotten. The main thing I’ll remember is lots of laughter.

Pete’s buddy was a big donor at Wisconsin who hooked us up in a big way. Pete and I always joked about being “high rollers” and got huge laughs from something as simple as putting on a ticket lanyard, or seeing  someone like the Wisconsin AD, Barry Alvarez hanging in the hotel lobby. “Yeah, Barry’s playing it cool, but he knows we’re big time greasers.”* Or this time (much to his chagrin) when I had to photo bomb Bo Ryan to get his picture. IMG_9361

I’m not gonna lie, we often acted like we were still college freshmen on these weekend jaunts. Somehow we got on this thing about zooming our phones to take unflattering pictures of opposing team’s fans. One of my favorites was the sulking Iowa fans wearing Carhartt hats sitting next to us that talked shit all night until they lost.

 

We’d even do it to each other and the whole point was to create the anti-glamor-shot.

Me at the losing end of Pete's "extreme close up"
Me on the losing end of Pete’s “anti-glamor-shot”

Another year Pete was telling anyone who would listen that I was an “arm-wrestling-champion” and I promptly lost 10 matches in a row to older men.image4

The second time we played Kentucky in the Final Four at Indianapolis, Pete and I were jacked. We sat with our other Badger buddies Pack and Marty and it was a tight game. At one point Wisconsin made a couple questionable moves and Pete was getting hot under the collar. I looked at him and told him to “RELAX and QUIT CRYING” while I made that “crying move” with my hands on my eyes. We didn’t talk the rest of the half. Well, Wisconsin came back and won that game, and over the next couple years I’d randomly open my text messages to this pic.IMG_9359

There were hundreds of moments like that on our Badger trips and if I had a chance I’d thank guys like Josh Gasser, Ben Brust, Nigel Hayes, Sam Dekker, Frank Kaminsky, Bronson Koenig, and dozens of other Badger basketball players helping make them happen. It was in large part due to them that two, once-young-college-buddies, were re-connected and became tighter than ever after 20 years.

We always looked forward to the weekend in Indianapolis (or Chicago) and the trips delivered some of the best times of our lives. Win or lose, Pete and I cultivated a deep and real friendship with no boundaries. We went to watch kids play basketball and it gave us back our youth.

Jerry Jones in the background at Final 4 in Dallas.
Jerry Jones in the background at Final 4 in Dallas.

That 5-year-reconnection-mark was also the time when I was beginning my life transformation through triathlon and Pete was a huge supporter. He was there for three of my Ironman races and even drove 7 hours to Muncie one time for a half. I think it inspired him and his support surely inspired me.image5

I’m sure a lot of players don’t understand the vigor of some “older” fans, but the simple answer is, it’s a common cause that creates some of the most important and enjoyable memories of our lives. I love Wisconsin basketball, and I definitely love me some Pete. RIP, buddy.image7

*Greaser was a term we used for having big money.

 

Finding “Peak Performance” with Brad Stulberg

Our 59th Crushing Iron podcast is out and we interview health and human performance writer, Brad Stulberg. Brad co-wrote “Peak Performance” with Steve Magness (an earlier guest on the podcast) and these guys hit a home run.

When we started the Crushing Iron Podcast, our goal was to find passionate people and help inspire others in triathlon and life. We didn’t really know what we were doing, but obviously something is connecting, and having guys like Brad and Steve share their incredible insight is thrilling.

PEAK PERFORMANCE – BY BRAD STULBERG AND STEVE MAGNESS

41peNvWGh8L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“Peak Performance” is a manual for modern life. Brad and Steve combine scientific evidence with eloquent storytelling to explain many things we may already feel in our gut but don’t quite understand.  They take a deep dive into the theory of STRESS + REST = GROWTH and deliver clear answers on how to be a better athlete, along with a more focused, productive, and purposeful human being.

Coach Robbie and I highly recommend the book to anyone who is looking to find another level in their performance or get to the bottom of bad habits that derail your progress. The book is out June 6th, but we’d like to encourage you to help these guys by pre-ordering if you think this is for you.  Here’s the pre-order link with some cool giveaways.

Below are some quotes and notes I pulled while reading this fascinating book, “Peak Performance.”

  • There is nothing more gratifying or fulfilling than setting a goal on the outer boundaries of what we think is possible, and then systematically pursuing it.
  • David Epstein, a well-respected investigative reporter who covers doping, dug deep into the world of performance enhancing drug (PED) use among weekend warriors. What he found isn’t pretty: He says that some $120 billion are attributed to “anti-aging,” much of which is the peddling of steroids to middle-age men. This market is only destined to grow as baby boomers, with their disposable incomes and desire to stay young and competitive, grow older. Epstein sums up the sit- uation in the report’s title: “Everyone’s Juicing.”
  • Economists Daniel Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli found that 27 percent of Americans regularly work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 29 percent of Americans do at least some work on the weekends.
  • Resisting Cookies is a Dangerous game
  • Stress isn’t just harmful, it can also serve as a stimulus for growth and adaptation. But if the stress is too large or last too long the body fails to adapt.
  • Skills come from struggle
  • Growth comes at the point of resistance
  • “For 99% of us, effective multi-tasking is effective delusional thinking.”
  • “Instead of trying to calm yourself down, ‘reappraising your pre-performance as excitement’ is often advantageous.”
  • The good idea comes in the moment of rest.
  • How to warm up to give you the best shot at getting “into the zone.”
  • Be fully intentional on how you spend your most precious resource: time.
  • Is fatigue all in your head?
  • How people break through the limits of “self” and find the power of purpose through minimizing ego.
bradley-stulberg-bio
Brad Stulberg, co-author of “Peak Performance”

“Peak Performance” is loaded with insight and solutions that will help you get on your right path. I really like it because it isn’t a typical “self-help” foray that leads with a “trust us” attitude, instead “Peak Performance” explains “why” you feels certain ways, and how science has given us a roadmap to help you get more connected with your body, mind, and spiritual centers.

Here’s the podcast with Brad Stulberg, please spread the word on the Crushing Iron podcast if you enjoy what you hear. Follow Brad on Twitter @BStulberg

Solving The Healthcare Crisis

By Mike Tarrolly for Crushing Iron

It’s unbelievable how people can blabber for years without actually doing anything to solve a problem. Health Care is one of those things, so I thought I’d throw out a few thoughts on how to fix this mess.

The problem starts at the top, but I think the best way to solve it is from the bottom.

The combination of Congress and Big Pharma make Pablo Escobar look like a high-schooler selling weed on the corner. The money involved in this legalized drug ring is legendary and the only real way to stop it is by shutting down demand.

The body is dying to heal itself and but we continue to “hack” the symptoms.

In most cases it’s as simple as fertilizing the body’s landscape and letting miracles of nature happen . . . over time. Here are some ways I think we can do it while actually saving money on health care.pills

Get Real With Prescription Drugs

Doing Ironman races has taught me something very valuable: Pain isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Pain is a clue telling us something is out of whack. By taking the right steps, the human body can fix a lot of our pains. We can swim, bike, run, walk, and/or rest through it. Pain often goes away when you do good things for your body and don’t obsess over it. We don’t need to chase a pill every time our ankle, belly or head hurts. And don’t get me wrong, an occasional pill isn’t the problem, it’s what happens when that pill becomes our first thought.

Make Gym Class Mandatory for Life

We’re all wrapped up in having the government pay for health care, but I think they should take a prevention approach with exercise incentives. Can we incentivize exercise?  I know that’s a tricky one, but if we put some thought into it and employers got on board with flex-time I think we’d all be a lot happier and more productive. Besides, most people don’t work a full 8 hours anyway.

Make Water More Attractive

I realize some countries don’t even have drinking water, but the US has plenty. The problem is, it is often polluted with prescription drugs (see above) and who knows what else? There has to be ways to make out drinking water more plentiful and pure. Maybe installing filters becomes a tax write off. If the government is serious about health, this is one major step they can take to save them money in the long run. Water and sodium are the keys to creating electrical impulses in our body. If an organ or cell doesn’t have enough water, it becomes defective or dies. The body naturally protects the heart and brain first, but if dehydrated, other parts of the body suffer and eventually meet the scalpel of a hungry doctor who wants to hear nothing about water.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Alive 

I personally think lack of sleep is the cornerstone of our obesity problem. Poor rest is the beginning of the carb, caffeine and simple sugar cycle. You wake up tired, pound a bunch of caffeine, reach for a donut or two to soak it up, then grab a Snickers and Coke in the afternoon. I know because I’ve been there (and often still am) but I also realize it’s a problem. I know when I’ve slept well because I will literally forget about coffee and sugar for the first hour or so. I’ve learned the best way to combat this cycle is to exercise more than normal so you’re actually tired when you go to bed.

Food Is Not Medicine . . . But It Is

I saw a post recently touting things like Avocados, Celery, and Spinach as “Medicinal Food” and I almost puked. I can already see it coming, they are turning food into medicine so they can sell it for more. I retweeted it with a scoff because, I mean, how long have we known food is the best medicine? I kinda feel like I’ve known that for, oh, 40 years? Who doesn’t know that we are what we eat by now? It’s ridiculous and I’m not sure where the problem is, but the food most people eat (including me often) isn’t even food. Here’s the thing, though, I realize eating “right” all the time is difficult, especially when changing your diet in a major way, but the body is an amazing machine. I just think if we maybe ate less, drank more water, and had some fruit and vegetables on occasion we’d all be better off.

All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe

Ahh . . . take a deep breath, man. If you listen to the podcast, you know I’m a big fan of Wim Hof. He’s done some amazing human feats. He’s run desert marathons with no water, climbed Mt. Everest in shorts, and sat in a tank of ice water for nearly two hours while raising his core body temperature with mentally induced adrenaline. He claims most of them are possible because of his deep breathing and cold exposure practices. In essence his philosophy is to get the most possible out of the human body and he says oxygen is the key. It’s about getting oxygen into all your cells to make them function right. I don’t want to paraphrase but he’s doing it all with science and they are now proving breathing exercises and cold water therapy are “curing” many modern day ills. His style can be intense, but even deep, purposeful breaths do wonders.

Don’t Let Health Bankrupt 

Personally, I think most of this country has a major drug addiction problem and it’s fueled by doctors who have to make tremendous amounts of money to pay off med school. And of course health insurance is the biggest of businesses and the cost to insure families (or yourself) is insane. Can we start with a way that insures we’re not going bankrupt is something serious like some kind of accident that requires surgery happens? I don’t want to go into disease because I think that whole thing is out of control and much of it can often curtailed by the above points. I’m talking about the real stuff like saving lives in the moment. Bike crashes, whatever. Can we get that part covered?

All of this sounds nice, but as many of the wisest people have said, “If you want the truth, follow the money.” I’m not really sure these are realistic solutions unless a boat load of money can be made with a preventative approach and I’m pretty sure there’s more profit in pain killers than water filters.

The only real solution to huge problems like this is to start with one person at a time. And usually, that one person winds up being yourself.

———-
Please subscribe to the Crushing Iron podcast on iTunes

Benefits of the Negative Split

By Mike Tarrolly

Everyone seems to be fascinated by the Negative Split but it’s almost as rare as the Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat.

negative split or the action of negative splitting is a racing strategy that involves completing the second half of a race faster than the first half. It is defined by the intentional setting of a slower initial pace, followed by either a gradual or sudden increase of speed towards the end of a race.

A negative split seems fairly manageable during stand alone bike or run races, but when you mix the concept into a batch of triathlon, it seems silly. Especially the thought of negative splitting and Ironman marathon.

I'm guessing this guy didn't negative split.
I’m guessing this guy didn’t negative split and he’s running with a phone.

The reality is . . . we probably deceive ourselves of our real capabilities. I know I do.

For most of my Ironman marathons, I’ve gone in with a 9 minute pace goal.  But I invariably start the race at a 9 minute (or less) pace for the first couple miles. Then, that slowly deteriorates into something closer to 10, then over 10 and I wind up running a 4:20 (which is a 10 minute pace and I’ve done it three out of 4 times).

The other problem is, I’m likely not in shape to run a 9 minute IM marathon. I say that because I think the best I could do in an open marathon is about 8:30, but for some reason I think I can run a 9 minute pace after 112 miles of cycling?

I should probably focus on getting my IM marathon under a 10 minute pace and to do that I should start at 11 minute miles for the first three then inch it down. I’ve proven going out fast doesn’t work in 70.3’s either. Starting below 8, only to scratch and claw for 9’s toward the end.

Anyway… in today’s podcast we take a closer look at why we know a negative split is the right approach, but screw it up every time. We also look at ways mental approaches to give yourself a better shot at going out slow. Enjoy!

New Open Water Swim Race In Tennessee

New Open Water Swim Race In Tennessee

NEW PODCAST –  

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