Ask The Coach Podcast

Ask The Coach Podcast

On today’s Crushing Iron triathlon training podcast we hit on a ton of topics for the beginner and intermediate triathlete with our new “Ask The Coach” segment. These are questions (or versions of) we see all over the internet. This is one of our favorite podcasts to date and we cover learn answers to the following questions.

  • What is a threshold test for the bike and how does it work…why should someone do this?  Explain power meter??
  • I’m having a tough time getting back into swimming… other than prescribed workouts, what do you suggest to get back into the groove?
  • A lot of people have a hard time training for hills because of where they live….what would you recommend for both the bike and/or run?
  • How do you deal with the mental aspects on the bike and run?  Do you prepare your thought process beforehand?
  • Regarding apparel…. what do you look for when you’re buying a new kit?
  • What about supplements… do you take them?  Why do you take the ones you do?
  • Let’s talk about dry land training for swimming….
  • Would you compare your first Sprint to losing your virginity?
  • FB question:  Since headphones are not allowed during the race itself, I’m assuming that training without headphones would be wise. Opinions?
  • FB question: I have been training six days a week, but I want to make sure I’m training right. What training plan does everyone recommend? Even though I’m a 140.6 first timer I don’t want to train as a beginner. I am ready and willing to put the time and work in, but want to make the most of my time.

Please subscribe and comment on iTunes and email your questions to:


What Do I Eat?

The other day I got a text from a friend asking what kind of a diet I was on for triathlons.  I sent back a picture of a can of vegetarian chili and said, “Tonight, it’s this.”FullSizeRender-3

I guess my diet is a bit of a dirty-little-secret in some ways.  I’m not afraid of pizza or even fast food a couple times a week, but of course there’s always a price to pay.

It’s funny, too, because I think nutrition is everything.  I am nearly 100% convinced that a solid diet (along with exercise and a good spiritual practice) will take care of most modern day ills.

I’m a big believer that inflammation is the root of most of our our problems, including things like depression and anxiety.  And the best way to reduce inflammation is to be on a alkaline leaning diet.  But I’m not scientist or nutritionist, I go by feel. I also listen to a lot of podcasts,  so I guess I like to regurgitate alternative facts.

My overall dietary habits can be summed up like this: I try to eat at least one solid meal a day, and by solid I often mean tuna from a can on bread with butter, steamed broccoli, and . . . that’s about it.  It can vary, of course, but I’m pretty simple and did have pizza tonight.  I also drink a lot of water and try to mix in a spinach smoothie during the day.

In general, our relationship with food cannot be understated.  But, unfortunately I have yet to find a clean handle on my diet, and know just enough to be dangerous.

That’s why we have brought a Registered Dietician onto the podcast today.  It was interesting to hear her philosophy, which I will describe as balanced and thoughtful.

We talked about everything from the best way to change your diet, how to keep is simple and steady, along with things like how to better access body fat for energy, ketosis, and challenges with body image.  We also get into race-day nutrition.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the podcast on Triathlon’s 4th Discipline, Nutrition, featuring Lizzy Miller.

De-Mystifying Swimming

De-Mystifying Swimming

Without question the biggest mystery for triathletes in training, is swimming.  The fact that you literally cannot breath half the time can be tricky, and the fact that drowning is a real possibility probably doesn’t help.

When our breathing gets out of control on the bike or run, we instinctively know how to slow down without fear.  But slowing down in the water isn’t as natural.

In each of my first four races I slowed to either a breast stroke or started treading water to catch my breath and slow my heart rate.  There are not many feelings worse!

That’s why I made it my mission to get that anxiety-piece out of my triathlon-puzzle.  I became obsessed with learning how to relax in the water.

The biggest breakthrough came when I committed to swimming every day for two straight weeks.  I didn’t go long (usually between 1-2,000 meters) but the repetitive nature of my practice made a huge difference.

I naturally got faster, but I really think it was because I was more relaxed. Being “tight” in the water (and land for that matter) is my biggest enemy.

After about 7 straight days of swimming I noticed a very simple thing: That first plunge into the water didn’t feel cold or weird or uncomfortable.  My body had adapted, and I really think that’s the biggest win you can have as a swimmer.

In today’s podcast we go back into the water for a follow up piece to “How To Not Suck At Swimming.” Part 2 takes a closer look at swimming technique, and more importantly ways to remove the mystery.

Coach Robbie lives and breathes open water swimming and he’s back with another round of great insight to becoming faster, stronger, and more efficient in open water.  Topics covered today are:

– Proper breathing – How and When
– Body Positioning and how to get it right
– Hand entry and exit – How and When
– How to deprogram from bad advice, including workouts that get you there
– How to structure a swim week of workouts
– Should you join a Master’s Team?
– Swimming square and why you swim crooked
– A big announcement from Coach Robbie
– Which country has the second most Crushing Iron listeners

If you feel you’re getting some good information, please subscribe and review on iTunes.

What Art Teaches Me About Ironman

I have been watching a lot of films lately.  Partly because I’m editing one; but more importantly I’m trying to be more patient, disciplined, and mentally prepared in life — and training.  It’s not easy in the day of Social Media.

When I was preparing for my first Ironman I would eagerly log onto Facebook for the inspirational posts.  There was always a flood of workout recaps and this either made me feel guilty or gave me motivation.

But I have become increasingly frustrated with this strategy.  The real stuff is inside us, not cloaked in headline chatter of strangers.

Serendipity often presents itself if we’re listening and last night I was blown away by a documentary on performance artist, Marina Abramovic, who pulled off one of the more incredible feats of mental strength I have ever discovered.  For three months, she sat in silence for her exhibit “The Artist is Present,” at the Museum of Modern Art.

Talk about patience.

This is how her installation is described on the film’s website:


Marina Abramovic Artist is Present

Talk about discipline.

What captivated me most was how the people reacted to Marina’s energy.  By the end of her exhibit people were sleeping outside MoMA for a chance to sit in the chair across from her the next day.  She gave each person her full attention.  Her eyes pierced their souls and many described it as a healing experience.  The only place Marina could go, was deeper into the moment.

I mean, can any of us sit in silence for 10 minutes, let alone 9 hours a day for 3 straight months?

Talk about mental preparation.

How did she prepare for this?  The film didn’t focus much on methods, but there was an omnipresent stream of anxiety leading to her exhibit.  It reminded me of my preparation for Ironman, which more or less centered on the unknown.  Would it be the end of the world if she didn’t finish, no, but the potential was very real.

Somehow, Marina had to prepare for the unknown.  Sitting in silence for three months can only happen one moment at a time.  Focusing on the end by guiding the current breath in the right direction.

The Hardest Part

On the surface, her feat was exactly the opposite of an Ironman.  We travel 140.6 miles, she didn’t move an inch.

But those hours she spent sitting on a chair sound exponentially more difficult than racing a triathlon.

For me, moving is the easy part.  Patience, discipline, and mental preparation are the real challenges.




Chasing A Swimmer’s Dream – Guest Blog

By Robbie Bruce – Lead Performance Specialist at RX Endurance

I could list all the wonderful things my mom has done for me but I believe signing me up for “swim lessons” before I could walk was one of her greatest gifts.  I have loved the water ever since.

I feel more comfortable in the water than with my feet on land, actually.  Mom also told me that no matter what, always do what makes you happy and do not be afraid to fail.  Ever since I could swim I’ve dreamt of wearing a USA parka and standing on the podium listening to our anthem being played, and crying like a baby with tears of joy.  I think representing your country is the greatest honor in sports.rev3-knoxville2013-free-dsc_0384smaller

I swam 6 days a week for my entire life until I was about 14.  I broke a lot of records and swimming was my life for a very long time. I actually remember the day I quit.  I was in the middle of a kick set (probably why I hate kicking so much now ;)) and I was kicking as hard as I could, yet, I could not feel a thing.  No pain.  No nothing.  I actually did 4×50’s crying.  Trying to kick so hard with no feeling.  No mental pain and my legs did not hurt.  I felt nothing because I had nothing.  Swimming was no longer fun for me.  I did not want to be at practice nor did I want to race.  As good as I was and as “promising” as people told me I was.  I got out of the pool that day, walked up to my favorite coach and told him I was done then called home to break  the news to my parents.

I never swam year-round again but I did choose to swim summer league for my club.  It is much more laid back and fun.  Every Tuesday in the summer I would line up against old teammates still dedicating their lives to swimming.  I would hop on the blocks with baggy swim trunks (dude, I’m about 16 right now and Speedos are frightening) while everyone else wore skimpy Speedos.  I still had guys that were “rivals” and have always been competitive so I always wanted to win.  We would race and some of my proudest moments were dusting them with my board shorts on.  I even remember swimming next to them on purpose until then end before I floored it for the win.  Swimming was fun for me then.  It was laid back and I wanted to be good because it was in my heart and not because it was on the schedule on the fridge.

Fast forward pretty much 1/2 my life and the past few weeks I have had the itch to go after my dream again.  I did not train very well swim wise but cranked off a 55:00 and obviously came in under prepared for Swim the Suck but managed 20th against some Olympians and All-Americans.  Kind of dawned on me after that race when the Olympic gold medalist and race winner walked up to me and said, “Have you been ninja training?  Because if you haven’t and ever decide to train we will all have to work harder.”  I took it as a nice “aw shucks” compliment at first but as the weeks have progressed it’s changed.  Is 33 to old?  It might be.  I think its worth finding out.

Swimming for me now is different.  It is not the black line at the bottom of the pool, it is the open water and the freedom it gives me.  Hell, swimming with our training team 3 days a week at the lake has taught me more about swimming than the 10 years I swam year-round.  I love it.  I know that some people think I am some awesome swimmer but I am not.  I have the ability yes.  But I have not performed, trained, or ever 100% focused on it before in my life.  Couple that with wanting to and having a passion for it I believe I finally have the recipe I have always needed.  Too late?  Maybe.  It’s time we see.robbie profile

I love the sport of triathlon and everything about it.  I will compete and participate in triathlons as long as I can.   I also love open water swimming and believe I owe it to myself to finally find out.  Find out if I have what it takes to make the US Open Water National Team.  Wear the Red. The White. And the Blue.  Am I behind the 8-ball when it comes to training and likely age?  Hell yes I am.  I’m okay with that.  I think it favors me actually. It is fresh and new.  I have the heart now and I truly believe I have the talent.  I admittedly have always slacked on my swim training because it came so easy. Shame on me.  I know. Wont happen again, I promise.

For 2014, I have decided to focus 100% on trying to qualify for the US Open Water National Team.  I will likely still do a few shorter triathlons but no Ironman races for me which was tough to swallow. You know I want to go back and dominate the IML course (and I will). In a very appropriate twist of fate. My qualification race is the day before IML next year so their is no way to try and do both.  So, I am going with where my heart is.  I can assure and promise you I will still be totally immersed in the sport of triathlon, the training it takes, training improvements, coaching, etc.  So please do not worry. In fact, I think this year might make me the best coach I have ever been.  I liken it to working in a restaurant for a long time and just not enjoying eating the food.  My training will be fresh and my coaching will be better.

imageMy venture wont likely lead to me lining up for the open water event in 2016 at the Olympics in Rio for the chance to win a gold.  Will it lead to me being named to the US National Team?  I feel like I have a shot. Weather I end this journey with a gold or some red/white/blue attire, if I merely find out I just did not have what it takes to get there.  Either way I will go to bed knowing I went after a dream and at least know it wasn’t in the cards, OR I will go to bed every night knowing I made that  dream a reality just by taking a chance.  So if you need me tomorrow and I don’t answer your call, text, or email  immediately, I will respond within at least 1.5hrs.  I will be busy in the pool working on a dream I had almost a 1/4 of a century ago with the same joy and vigor  I had when I dreamt it.  Dreams never die.  It is your desire and belief to go for those dreams that fade first.  Don’t let your dreams die one second before you do. Go all in.

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.


Why Do Ironman?

So, Racer K came out of nowhere and raised the bar for this blog and our training.  Then Coach confessed he’s been slacking.  It’s piercing honesty the world craves, and they delivered.  It’s also a tough act to follow, but I certainly can’t ignore it.

I’ve never been able to come to grips with my age.  No matter how hard I try, I’m always older than I think I am.  Maybe that’s what keeps me young.

I started my quest for endurance last January at age 48.  I couldn’t run a block.  My swim was more or less a breast stroke.  And my bike was hanging in the garage.  Now, just over 12 months later, Ironman is looming.

I’ll racing my first Ironman in the 50-54 category.  What the fuck?  In 2012, the gentleman that won that age group at Wisconsin checked in at 10 hours, 17 minutes, and 19 seconds.  I won’t win, but I will try, because that’s my nature.

I hear it all the time, “Wow, Ironman?  That’s amazing, why would you do such a thing?” And normally, before I can formulate an answer, the person who asked has drifted back to their own problems.  It’s natural, normal . . . very human.  And, as silly as it sounds, I have had a real struggle with being human.

A lot of times I feel like I’ve wasted big chunks of my life chasing illusion.  Something new to rub across my face while dreaming of the next conquest.  And it’s easy to say Ironman is another in a long line of illusions, but it goes much deeper.

Ironman training tears at the very fiber of my being.  It rips me apart and will slowly put me back together.  When it’s done, I simply won’t be the same person, and that is very exciting because frankly it’s exhausting trying to be someone your not.

I played baseball for years, and every time I stepped on the field I lived in fear.  Fear of failure, fear of not rising to the moment, fear of not being the best me.

In baseball you survive in isolation, even though you’re on a team.  If the ball trickles through your legs or you strike out with the game on the line, you stand alone, with no one to blame.  You instinctively pull your cap down to cover your eyes and drift far away from the beauty of the baseball diamond, which is now the ugliest place you can think of . . . and you never want to play again.

But it’s in your blood.

The team depends on you.  You depend on you.  Redemption awaits, and usually comes . . . if you show up.

The more you show up, the more people believe in you.  The more you believe in yourself.

On Sunday, I showed up for my third triathlon.  The fact that it was a “short” Sprint did not make it easy.  Distance is relative, and my stomach churned. I fought back the only way I know . . . by pounding emotions deeper inside.  Shoveling that fear into my psychological furnace and burning it for energy before the fire scalded my brain.

I filed around the edge of the pool and watched as other racers jumped into the water.  I watched them swim into the snake pattern of the ropes and quietly told myself to relax.  “Have fun” was the Fab 5 buzz phrase that morning and I quietly said it over and over to myself while the guy behind me rambled about some bike route he loves because it “seems like one of those roads where they would shoot car commercials.”

Shut the fuck up, man, I’m trying to have fun!

Of course, he was too, I just don’t quite know how to do it yet, but I will.

The swim was 300 meters, a fraction of my training distances, and for the first 100, I felt relaxed and alive.  When I pushed off the wall toward my 5th length (of twelve), I lost my breath and sunk into swim anxiety.

I wasn’t tired, hungry for air.  I pushed forward.  I kept showing up.  Then just before the tenth length, I decided to stop at the wall and stand on the edge to gather my bearings.

I’d never been happier to reach a swim wall and slowed to stand on the ledge. Hundreds of other athletes stood in line no more than two feet away and I wallowed in embarrassment.  I worried what they would think, even though none of them knew who the fuck I was, or likely cared.  But you know what?  I didn’t want to be a post-race “story” that people laughed about at Cracker Barrel.

My chest felt like it might explode and I caved to the humiliation.  I looked away from my fellow racers as I felt for the ledge with my foot.  But I’ll be damned if there was no ledge and I sank like a ton of bricks straight to the bottom of the deep end!  Now I was flailing like a baby bird trying to get my head above water, and surely the laughing stock of every triathlon party for years to come.

Somehow I sucked it up and pushed off to conquer length ten.

Eleven and twelve were no picnic.  Form was gone and I slashed about like a wounded turtle.  Somehow I made it to the end and found the energy to climb the ladder and run through the door into 40 degree rainy weather.  What a fucking great time I was having!

I was dizzy, weak, and shivering.  The trek from pool to my bike was about 40 seconds worth of running barefoot on frigid asphalt before crossing a rock garden covered with carpet.

This was a perfect example of a life situation when, in the past, I’d quickly decide to run to my car and get the hell out of there!  It crossed my mind, but something inside this neural grid is changing.  These are the things I want to face . . . I need to face.

While I may be getting clearer on commitments and decision making, that doesn’t mean I had a clear mind.  I was absolutely flustered.  I snapped my bike helmet tight, then tried putting on my Crushing Iron shirt, but it got stuck on the helmet!  I tried pulling it over, but there was no chance and I was tangled inside like a monkey trying to escape a cargo net.

I took off the helmet, put on the shirt, then ran toward the bike exit hoping I was going the right direction.  At least I was moving.

The bike was rather uneventful, but by mile 4 my feet were numb.  Oddly, it didn’t seem to bother me and I found a comfortable groove in aero position.  I was cruising at around 34 kilometers per hour (I can’t figure out how to get my speedometer language off of “Holland”) when I noticed blue hair and white knuckles as I approached a driveway.  Two cyclists ahead of me whizzed by and sure enough, that big ole’ Ford LTD started pulling right into my lane.  I reached for my breaks, swerved into the other lane and thought about how that little old lady was probably going to church –and how I don’t have a church– and potentially the next time she went to church I could be in a casket in front of her congregation as they dabbed her teary eyes and said it wasn’t her fault.

The roads were slick as ice from the onslaught of rain and she slammed on the breaks stopping just in time, so thankfully we didn’t have to meet in some ethereal world called “the ditch” in Murfreesboro, TN.

Ahh, so the bike ended with frozen feet and thighs, which is a great way to start a run.  It was a legal shot of cortisone that took away any leg pain (real or imagined) I might have had.  I labored through the run and crossed the finish line just about the time my I was warming up — which I suppose is a good sign considering I would have had about 11 more hours to go if it were an Ironman.

There is something about finishing a triathlon that does my body right.  The dizziness from the pool is replaced by the sore butt on the bike and the ankle pain from the run makes you forget about your ass.  It’s really a nice equation.

As usual, the race humbled me.  There wasn’t much fanfare and the scenery was far from electric, but something about finishing is undeniably rewarding.  You show up on a cold and rainy morning to put yourself to the test.  You push yourself to the limits to see how far you can go.  What you’re capable of.  What life is capable of.

When people ask my why I would do Ironman, I never have a clear answer.  It’s obviously the challenge and accomplishment, but I think it’s more about the journey.  About how the training along the way brings out the parts of you that might normally stay buried.  The confidence, the clarity, the humility.  You become more comfortable with your beliefs.  The commitment forces you to appreciate what’s really important and you begin to lose interest in petty distraction and “filler” that sucks energy from your true path.

About halfway through that run on Sunday, I was passing a guy wearing a beard, visor, and big toothy grin.  He looked to be struggling a little and I asked him how he was doing.  His smile grew even bigger and he said, “Well, if you’re gonna skip church, I can’t think of a better excuse.”

Right on, brother.

When Cats Interrupt Ironman Training

90% of the time my thoughts are steeped in training, but occasionally I’ll remember why I am a lover of human behavior and truly crave bizarrity.  The following is a simple, yet highly representative example of why I find life so damn amazing.

My dog plowed through her last bit of food this morning, so I drove to PetSmart on my way to lunch.  As I scoured the rows for a parking spot, a woman walked by in knee high black boots, a tight black dress and a body any red-blooded male would notice.

After parking I walked inside and, low and behold, there she was . . . looking at bird cages.  It wasn’t a blatant red flag, but certainly pink.  I went about my business and picked up a fresh bag of fish/rice delight for Mattie, and slung it over my shoulder like a cowboy on my way to the counter.

While suffering through an extended credit card mishap with the person in front of me, I noticed “Ms. Black Boots” standing in line behind me.  She had a distant and mysterious look, along with several cans of cat food in her basket.  She stared right past me, but  was clearly in heavy thought.

She had a bit of a frown, almost a scowl, but then, in an instant, her face contorted into the biggest smile I’d seen all day. It was a startling transformation that came with a tinge of crazy only the creepiest of clown clown could manufacture.

Her arm shot like a laser at the magazines and ripped an issue of “Cat Lover” from the wire rack.  Without missing a beat, this enigmatic woman started laughing hysterically and spoke in tongue while I leaned back on my heels looking for hidden cameras.

Then, in a move that may be unprecedented in the arena of public behavior, she starts “meowing” in very quick bursts while looking at the cover.

“Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow.”

I inched closer to the door and debated leaving Mattie’s food on the counter, but it was too late.  The situation had officially arrived in “Whacksville.”

She unleashed a bellowing laugh, pulled the magazine close to her face and started planting real life kisses on the “Cover Cat.”cat-fancy-magazine

“Mmmm…. smack smack smack smack….  giggle…. mmm… kiss… kiss….. ohhh….. such a cutie… I love you!”

I’m looking at the cashier and he is completely oblivious to her behavior while waiting for me to pay.  I quickly swiped my card and did my best to focus on the transaction, but all I could hear was, “Yummy….sooo cute… mmm… kiss… kiss… kiss…”  I couldn’t stomach a look but would not have bet against tongue.  She was insatiable.

Much like Bill Murray sauntering away from the destruction in Caddyshack, I abandoned the crime scene and marveled at the blessing I had just witnessed.

Anyway, there must be a lesson here and I am all ears.

Ironman Competition and The Fab Five

No matter how you slice it, Ironman is a competition.  First, with yourself, then against the field.  Everyone sets their goals and hopes to surpass them, all while knowing it’s not wise to tempt fate in one of the toughest races on the planet.  Many things can go wrong, even the pros are not immune. 

The five of us have been training together since January 2nd.  For many of those days, Allison has joined us and we’ve embraced her as our “plus one.”  A couple weeks ago, our “plus two” emerged in the name of John Wasky.  An aspiring Ironman, fast eater, and great guy.  He’s also a Wisconsin boy, which gives him more points with me. 

We’ve hung out, had a few beers and trained with him on several occasions.  Sunday, he joined (and beat) us in our first sprint triathlon of the year and his observations of the day struck a chord with me. 

It may have been expected, but on a very cold morning, the Fab 5 delivered its first race performance as a group and the collective results were very . . . similar.  John took note and etched some intriguing possibilities.  Following is the 3rd straight guest post on Crushing Iron. 

Some Food for Thought – by John Wasky

The new guy… unofficial #2 you might say.  Triathlon nut, recently relocated to Nashville who found the perfect group of guys (and girl) to hang around with, put in ridiculously early morning workouts while most (including our spouses or significant others) are still fast asleep… and then do it again at night. Lastly, and mostly for sanity, partake in a little more fun than should be had on those days off at the 3 Crow or any local watering hole.

Fab 5 . . .

Even with my relatively limited time with the Fab 5 as a whole . . . I think that I can reasonably say that I have found a group of very similar highly competitive, number over-analyzers, much like myself.  Given these facts, I did a little analyzing; which then turned into theorizing today.

Some food for thought . . .

I know that last weekend’s race was only a sprint, and I know increasing distances can greatly effect overall performance in each and every discipline.  Take these unknown variables out and just have fun with it.

Could there potentially be a Fab 5 Wisconsin version of the 1989 Kona Iron War?  All running stride for stride, pushing each to their max potential through the streets of Madison3384293292_a2d1c7b6c8 in some sick, convoluted game of human-running-chess between best of friends, yet fierce competitors.   Finally, with one mustering that extra gear to separate himself on the climb up Observatory Hill with only miles to go on the run course (a la Mark Allen in the Iron War on Ali’i Drive), or push it to the max even after 140+ miles on that gradual climb around the Wisconsin State Capital on Mifflin, State and Main to the finish line.daddf5fc-4133-41e3-95c2-0d78ab1216c2

Given the time set forth by each of the Fab 5 during the ADPiathlon this past weekend, it might just happen.

The total variance between 1 and 5 in bike time extrapolated over the full 112 Ironman distance would be less than 34 minutes (and be reminded that this is very early in the training process for the time gap to shrink even more) . . . ,  or a dreaded flat on race day, back to even in a blink of an eye.

The swim variances applied to a 2.4 mile distance….. a little over three minutes (we know that can be made up if someone has to take piss in transition….. or if T0 just didn’t go as well as planned pre-race for someone like Jim and he might need to make a little extra stop.)  Hell 3 minutes…. If some recent history at Kona serves me right, in 2010, my beloved American Andy Potts excited the water at the pier a full 3 minutes ahead of the next chase group and he was reeled in within the first 20-25 miles of the bike.

Even though each competitor started at very different times, all 5 were within 5 minutes or each other, 3 finishing in nearly sequential order…. Odd I must say for these friendly competitors so closely bonded toward one goal.

1989 Iron War you ask…. This article below refers at length to the battle between two of greatest of all time during the World Championship in Kona while setting the marathon record that year.

or the book…

I pose the question to you all, who will break first?  Gents, good luck crushing it.  I look forward to seeing it all unfold.

Mondays Can Kiss My . . .

For as long as I can remember, I have been trying to change my perception of Monday.  It never fails . . . Friday night relief, Saturday relax, Sunday peace . . . turned anxiety.  What is that?  It’s surely no way to live.  And then I see stuff like this posted and am reminded that so many of us live our lives that way. 5707_10151361887257981_1153560405_n

Somewhere along the lines we fell into this trap and believed that “doing the right thing” essentially meant doing “the wrong thing.”  We always hear that life’s not easy and it takes hard work and we have to suffer to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  Well, I’m here to tell myself I think that’s a load of BS.

When Loveboy first screamed “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” I took a step back and said, “Damn, they are right!”  I didn’t understand it then, and I certainly don’t understand it now.  But we get trapped.  We confuse life with work.  We focus on getting more stuff so life will be easier, but that stuff often makes everything more complicated.

How will I buy this, or that, or buy my dream house?

In 2005 I bought a BMW and have more or less regretted it ever since.  I didn’t buy it for me, I bought it because I thought my dad would think I was a big shot.  We often talked about my future “success” and for some reason that car entered the conversation a lot.  I literally walked into the dealership one day and made impulse buy at BMW.

What did it do for me?

Well, it tied up my finances for the next 6 years.  I was constantly worried about scratches, dents and repairs.  And, a good portion of the time, it has made me feel like a prick.  But now I’m at a point where I have a dependable car and no payment.  For some reason I feel better about driving it now.

It has taken me many years, but I’m finally getting a grip on “living within my means.” For years I lived for the weekend and it did nothing but overrun my life with financial and emotional pressure.  Dying five days to live two makes no sense.

I am nowhere near cured of this generationally transmitted disease, but I am more aware.  More aware of what’s important, and certainly more aware of what doesn’t matter.  I have spent many years accumulating stuff I don’t need, pouring my energy into empty pursuits, and neglecting my true passions.  My perspective is changing and it starts with paying attention to what’s really important.

I have blindly raced after everything society threw in my face, and worse, instigated those desires in others by selling fear, success and self-confidence in a bottle.  It doesn’t happen that way.

There is nothing more potent than a gut feeling.  For years I have ignored mine, but it has never been wrong.  It steers me toward truth, and now, with the help of training and positive influence, I am trusting those instincts.  I am once again, believing that Monday should be just like Saturday.