Triathlon: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Triathlon: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Triathlon is a process.  We start with blind exuberance then evolve.

There’ve been many times when I’ve reflected and cringed.  I used to “say” I was doing it to become a better person, and that’s somewhat true, but not in the beginning.  I was doing it for my ego.

I wanted to feel a new excitement in my life . . . to feel relevant again.

It was a re-kindling of an earlier life in sports.  I was moving, thrashing, and looking in the eyes of my competition.  It fueled me like nothing had in years.  And I think that’s natural.

But, it was just the beginning.  After several months, and certainly after my first Ironman, the thrill wore off.  I was staring at emptiness in the mirror.  What now?

Well, “what now” was another Ironman that I felt obligated to do a year later.  A lot of it had to do with the fact that I had a blog and created a monster I didn’t want to tame.  The other reason was because I thought triathlon was the key to reviving my life.

Right before that second race I quit my corporate job of 14 years.  I was finally free to pursue the life I wanted and triathlon was right at the center.  And of course that was the problem.

Triathlon isn’t my life, but it’s definitely a vehicle for getting me to where I want to go.  That’s the challenge, and today I had a great discussion about that topic with my coach.

It’s all in the new podcast embedded below.  It’s a very open and honest discussion, which reminds me of something that would make my good friend Dr. Oz proud.  (You can read the semi-hilarious story behind this Dr. Oz interview here, and read Dr. Oz’s response to my post here.)

Below is the podcast where Coach Robbie and I talk about how we started, how we’ve evolved, and how we believe triathlon will fit into our lives in the future.

The Good: Friends, family, Fitness.
The Bad:  Ego, Arrogance, Excess.
The Ugly:  Regret, lies, and suffering.

Triathlon: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Top 10 Crushing Iron Blog Posts

$650 for Ironman and All I Got Was . . .

Ironman Wisconsin Swim Start Video – 2013

Mom Figured Out Why I’m Doing Ironman

How I Will Cut 25 Minutes Off My 1/2 Marathon Time

My Ironman Wisconsin Race Report 2013

How You Can Swim Safer and Faster In Triathlons – Guest Blog

Swim The Suck Race Report – Guest Blog

Ironman Louisville Spectator Report

Gulf Coast Triathlon Race Report – Guest Blog

My 5K Face Off With Dr. OzCMWkona Oztshirt


All-Time Most Popular Crushing Iron Posts

I feel like there may be a lot of late comers to Crushing Iron, so I wanted to share a list of the most popular posts:

Mom always dominates Ironman reading and she hit a home run here.

My Mom Figured Out Why I’m Doing Ironman

This is Kevin’s dramatic recap of Ironman Louisville

Intense Motivation from a Guest Blogger

Allison recounts her first half Ironman at Gulf Coast

Our “Plus One,” Allison, Guest Blogs Her Gulf Coast Half

My prediction for my second ½ Marathon in New Orleans

How I Will Cut 25 Minutes Off My 1/2 Marathon Time

My head to head battle with Daytime’s favorite doctor

My 5K Face Off With Dr. Oz


Now, these are some of my favorites that aren’t necessarily at the top of the stat counter.

My neighbor and I are pretty tight, but he clearly thinks this Ironman training is nuts.

This one is for dog and cat lovers (or haters).

My response to people who are following my “little running journey.”

From the beginning of my training, Swimming with Little Old Ladies, is an eye-opener.

In an effort to secure early season sponsorship, we went straight to the top with, Beyonce’ Knowles, Meet the Fab Five

The Kid Inside is potentially the origin of my love for triathlon.

If Running Clubs Were Gangs is a spin-off of the cult classic, The Warriors.

Dr. Oz Responds to My Blog

I certainly didn’t need more proof that Dr. Oz is legit, but recent actions have firmly cemented his place in my Rational Celebrity Hall of Fame.  He started by delivering a 6 am 5K in Las Vegas, which was an iron clad excuse for me to escape Casino karma, then followed all of that by responding to my race summary:

Oz here to commend you on forcing me to risk my life in an effort to hunt you down in the blistering heat. I am proud that my pulse came back so quickly after the ferocious race, but have foresworn egg white omelets after reading your piece. Plus the yolk has all the biotin to give my hair more shine and body anyway.

Now, let me tell you why this is a big deal.  I work in marketing for a local television station and half the time I can’t get a reporter to answer my email.  And here’s Dr. Oz, a legend of daytime television taking time out of a busy life to respond to a hackneyed blogger who lives with his mom.  (Well, not really, but she is coming to visit on Sunday with a block of 10-year-old Wisconsin Cheddar, which I am not sure would be on Dr. Oz’s preferred list, but mom says it’s fine as long as I don’t shovel it down like I used to do with her beef stroganoff, which shouldn’t be a problem because I pretty much eat tuna from a can).

IMG_0070Even though I had fun with the Las Vegas 5K race summary, I really did get the impression that Oz is a good and level-headed guy.  Other than his jewel crested massage table, he was every man’s man.  And judging by the attention he got from women, I can easily confirm he has no problem with the ladies either.

If you didn’t know better, Oz was just a normal dude out barnstorming his way through the streets of Vegas while late night gamblers staggered their way back to nowhere.  Race logistics are no joke and he rolled with all the punches, including the sketch PA system someone lined up for the awards ceremony.  He even followed it up with a blog post of his own that includes a few stellar pictures of his new 5K rival.

So, in between celebrity interviews and the pressures of helping turn lives around, Dr. Oz takes time to acknowledge the Fab 5 on the Crushing Iron blog.  Pretty cool.  And now, let me be the first to acknowledge that his hair was indeed full of shine and body.


My 5K Face Off With Dr. Oz

Going to Las Vegas in the middle of Ironman training has its pitfalls.  Asking for directions to the nearest lap pool gets a lot of strange reactions, and most suggested I opt for a lap dance.*

I was knee deep in debauchery, searching for a sign from above.  Guidance in the form of a supreme being . . . and on day 3 of the trip, my prayers were answered by Dr. Oz.

I was in Vegas for work as part of a television conference.   Syndicated programming stars, like Oz, often show up to build a connection with marketing directors of local TV stations so we’ll drop loads of promotion for their shows .  Some stand up front and talk, but our favorite TV doctor dove head first in the murky mix by hosting a 5K.  A rare opportunity fell to my lap in the form of a showdown with one of the most important television personalities of our time, and I was not about to lose.

A lot of people questioned whether or not Oz would actually “be” at his race, but those doubts were quickly erased when he emerged from the clearing smoke of a fog machine on a custom massage table.  IMG_0070As you can imagine, this was more than a little intimidating to a formidable challenger like me, but I anticipated he would face countless pre-race distractions . . . and I was right.ozinterviewI sat peacefully in lotus position near the “Wheel of Fortune” slot machines while he navigated countless interviews.  Then, as the throng of runners (nearly 100) made their way down the escalator, I made my move.  I was quite sure nothing would throw him off his game like a quick “selfy” with a strange man in black glasses.

IMG_0082But my strategy had zero effect on the unflappable purveyor of good health.

Oz shot off the starting line like a Vegas debtor running from the Mob.  Suddenly I was out of my element.  It was 90 degrees at 6 am and my late night did not mix well with the heat or the onslaught of television cameras.  Oz defied the odds by setting a blistering pace while navigating the Las Vegas strip with the familiarity of an MGM concierge.

We darted up a flight of stairs, into a hotel, over a bridge, then down two stories of steps back to the boulevard.  He was cooking with gas, but I had him in my sights.  When he reached the next corner, I saw confusion in his eyes as he contemplated the next move.  There was a major obstacle right in the middle of the race course:  A murder scene.

Oz gathered his bearings and swung the route to the right as naturally as baking an egg white omelet.  I closed the gap, and by the time we hit a red light, I was right on his heels.  We waited patiently while staring at the home stretch.  For one brief moment we made eye contact.  Sweat dripped from our brows, and we shared an undeniable reciprocation of tenacity.  Only a tattered sidewalk and sweltering heat stood between me and a victory over Oz.

The light turned green and he left a trail of dust fellow racers.  The mood was now clear, Oz was here for one thing . . . victory.

Two other ambitious runners joined as the four of us crushed the final turn and headed toward the red tape.  Oz made a hard right and turned on the jets.  His arms pumped in flawless cadence and I was suddenly struck by the moment.  All the fame, fortune, and accolades meant nothing.  Oz was a competitor and was not going to lose to some hungover filmmaker from Nashville.

I chased with all I had, but it was not meant to be.  Two other guys and Oz crossed the line while I staggered in defeated.  But Oz was not there for prizes and deferred to officially declare me the 3rd Place winner.  He was clearly intrigued by my unwavering passion and graciously offered me this post-race interview.

AND . . . here is a video I put together that includes highlights from the race, including my internal struggle as I realized Dr. Oz meant business.

AND FINALLY . . . here is the new trailer for the inspiring Crushing Iron documentary I’m working on that documents the quest of me and four other normal guys changing their lives by training for Ironman Wisconsin.

*  Thanks to Frank Green for this line.  And no, I did not partake . . . as far as you know.