Tag Archives: East nasty

Sunday’s Surprising Plot Twist

Sunday, was weird.  There was no alarm or intent, I just woke up at 4 am and gave life my best shot.

I have to say, it was quite amazing.

My only “plan” of the day was to meet friends at 7:30 for a run, which is normally a daunting hour, but by the time I cleaned the kitchen, bedroom, and did some laundry, it was still only 5:30.  I was smack dab in the “go back to bed danger zone.”

But I kept moving.

I woke Mattie and tugged her for a walk, took out trash, and did a little writing.  I was closing in on 7 am and it really felt like I could pull this off.

From 7 to 7:15 I did a few leg warm ups and light stretching.  I filled my water bottle and jumped in the car with a small sweat and actually prepared for a run.

What happened next was nothing special, but felt perfect.

We took off together and kept a sub 9 pace for 8.8 miles.  We talked about current events and genuinely had a peaceful run.

We ended with a climb up Mount Nasty, which always pushes the blood a little faster.  Your heart pounds and discussion goes away.  It’s not for the meek, but you are always a better runner for having ascended.

I a little post-run coffee and muffin.  Went home, cleaned a bit more, watched a few minutes of college hoops Game Day, then staggered to my room for an incredibly passionate nap.

My day felt complete and it wasn’t even noon.  Everything after the nap was gravy.

The moral of the story:  When you’re awake, be awake.


Catching Up After an Ironman #IMWI

In the fury that was the week of and week after Ironman Wisconsin, many amazing things happened, but sort of fell through the cracks.  One was my selection as East Nasty of the Week, which is a high honor doled out by my running club.  I was very grateful, but had a difficult time enjoying it because of the race and recovery period.  I just sat down to read the article again and am especially humbled by what the guys I trained with for IMWI wrote about me for the article.

1233165_735817175799_432170694_oDaniel Hudgins, “Mike has been a key supporter for Ironman as the “Fab Five” has been training. He is so much more than your average athlete, though. He is tenacious, and I think we’ll see him continue to improve throughout the years. When we first met last year, I remember him coming to a triathlon I was also doing to watch Jim. He was so interested and the best way I can describe his demeanor was quietly excited. As time went on, and he decided to do Ironman Wisconsin, we became closer and closer as friends. Mike and I battled for who would show up last for our morning workouts in January, and he often won. We joked that he’ll write a book “How To Sleep Your Way To an Ironman”, and it will probably be a New York Times Bestseller. After seeing his consistency, his success in racing, and his talented writing on his blog, it’s much less of a joke now. He’s one of the first people I called when I had a bad ride or something was bothering me. I’d also call him after a great workout or a successful race. I knew he would listen and want to talk about it in detail – and at the same time, he’d provide some comedy in the reality of all the craziness we were putting ourselves through. I’m so proud of him, and I know after this Ironman, he will continue to excel at whatever he pursues.”

1176325_735090951159_602081995_nJim Schwan, “Tarrolly is truly an inspiration. Watching the transformation he has made from his first day at the couch to 5k program to his completion of an Ironman has been astounding.  From the first day I met Tarrolly I knew he was someone I wanted to associate with. I mean, he was wearing cool shoes and seemed like he really had it going on. This was years before either of us attempted any kind of endurance sports. Little did I know we would one day end up training together for an Ironman. He is one of the most creative people I know. He has won film-making awards and authored several fantastic blogs.  His chronicling of his training via Crushingiron.com, as well as the upcoming documentary, will cement his legend.  If you don’t know, act like you know.”

1186007_10152424848012080_1549022374_nKevin Gammon, “I’ve had the pleasure of training with Mike for the past nine months.  During those nine months, I’ve watched him change his entire life style and dedicate himself fully to reaching a goal.  It has been one of the most profound changes I have seen in the three years I have participated in running and triathlons.  He has become a strong athlete and person.  I constantly seek out his advice because I have nothing but respect for him and what he has accomplished.  I anticipate we will see some great things from Mike, both athletically and in other areas.  I will also say I look forward to kicking him during the open water swim in Wisconsin.”

1185411_153292491545387_1272383167_nMark Scrivner, “Mike?  What can I say about Mike?  Dude is gonna crush it.  He’s a beast.  Started running last year and now you can’t contain him.  He’s extremely focused and sleeps more than anyone I know.  I can tell you this much, the only thing stopping him will be himself.  Dude shoots video, plays drums, eats PowerBars and blogs.  It’s been a pleasure training with him, when he actually shows up.”


imageI spent a TON of time with these guys over the last year and every minute was inspirational.  Each of them connected with me in different ways and it was truly a blessing to meet them and train together for a goal I thought was impossible.

I’ve said it many times before, but Jim is the reason I am in triathlon . . . and for that matter, not a wale laying around on the couch.  He patiently led by example until I figured out that I should probably follow in his footsteps.  Jim made many sacrifices to make sure I stayed engaged with endurance sports, and I will forever be indebted to his efforts.  Maybe one day I too will be getting up at 3:45 every morning.

Kevin’s gutsy performance at IM Louisville 2012 was the final straw that lured me into Ironman.  Watching my first IM was an emotional and motivating experience.  I barely knew Kevin at the time, but I was so moved by his effort that day, I knew I would sign up to race sooner than later.  We didn’t bike or run together often, but our lake battles were undeniably the catalyst to me becoming a confident swimmer and rejuvenating my competitive nature.

Daniel is one of the most positive and compassionate people I know.  He overcame a lot to get where he is today.  His passion for triathlon shined bright all year and his results proved it.  He embraced every experience like it was his last and smiled before, during, and after each competition or workout.  Ironman was a first for both of us and we loved to speculate about how it would feel to compete, then finish.  We dove into every detail along the way and I think it made us both better racers and people.

Mark showed more guts than just about anyone I’ve ever known as a competitor.  It seemed like he was injured the entire training season, but he kept pushing on.  And I’m not talking about hang nails.  He had a double hernia and a torn bicep, but didn’t let either get in his way.  Despite these setbacks, having a family, and owning a business that was exploding, he kept his eye on the prize and peaked with a great performance at Wisconsin.  He showed a lot of confidence in me and that became a big source of motivation.

It was, is, and always will be the Fab 5 I think of first. We committed to a journey and each other.  We followed through with a major challenge and came away with far more than medals.  We are great friends who shared deep and meaningful experiences that no one can ever take away.

Running in Nashville – The Nasty

Last night hundreds of East Nasties gathered on a sweltering evening to knock out the group’s signature run.   If you live in Nashville, you’ve probably seen the black and white “East Nasty” bumper stickers, and all those people have earned it by finishing The Nasty.

The Nasty is a 5.9 mile run, laced with several rolling hills and 6 “big” climbs, including, Mount Nasty, which is a relatively short, but steep ascent at mile 4.  The legend that surrounds this route has an intimidating aura and most expect the worst, but I’ve come to really enjoy the challenge and think it always makes me a better runner.

The mood after running The Nasty ranges from exhaustion to exhilaration.  Mark or Duane stand around and reward everyone with their stickers.  The big one for the first time runners, and the small circle Mount Nasty for repeat offenders.

I feel lucky to have started running in East Nashville.  The Nasty, is basically a collection of the best climbs and descents my neighborhood has to offer.  You start with a slow downhill, into a climb, then a couple blocks of flat followed by another long climb, then two short steep descents and climbs, etc…  Then you get a long, very gradual decline to prepare you for Mount Nasty.  After that, it’s down into Shelby Park, around the lake and back out with a gradual, snake climb back to Shelby Avenue.  Then, it’s down into a big valley, followed by a final climb before you turn and head home to 11th and Holly.

While Nashville is no Boulder, I think we have a great hilly/urban environments for training.  If I’m looking for a flat/fast course, the Greenway is about a half mile from my front door, but if I go any other direction, I’m bound to collide with a bunch of hills.  And the more I run hills, the more I crave them.

Last night I ran the course with John Wasky (+2) who is training for Louisville and typically ready to crush the road waskywouldin front of him.  We talked a lot about the fatigue of Ironman training and ran most of the route (plus 3.25 extra miles) with heavy legs.  What amazed me about last nights run wasn’t that I was able to plow through tired legs, but how the cross training of triathlon is making my body so resilient.  Normally my feet, hips, and knees ache after a run (and especially in the morning) but last night and today I remain cautiously optimistic that I’m turning a corner with nickle and dime pains.

I told Wasky early in the day I wasn’t putting up with any of his “Sub-7 pace BS” and for 8 miles he seemed to agree.  But as we turned onto Shelby for the second time of the night and began a long descent that transformed into a longer climb, he turned on the jets and didn’t look back.  It was all I could do to stay on his heels as he seemed to pick up speed on the hill.  We crested, and I expected a deep breath or two to turn into a jog, but he rounded the corner hard on his way home.  I tried to relax as we belted our way past a porch party full of women for the 3rd time of the night, and he wasn’t letting up.  It was a 6 block sprint to the finish and sure enough, I looked at my watch and we were dabbling in the sub-7 range.  He casually lured me to sleep then tried to break my will, but I am schooled in his shenanigans.

Great run on a humid night in Nashville, TN.  The only bad news was that it wasn’t Pint Night at Nashville Running Company.

Country Music Marathon Video

I thought since we’re all getting in the mood for Nashville’s Country Music Marathon, I’d post a video I shot when lived over on Music Row.  This was long before I started running, but doing this every year was certainly a spark.  There’s an East Nasty and a fun storyline with a little girl who is watching.


My Plans for Mental Health Week

I know what you’re thinking.  What is Mike doing to launch “Mental Health Week” in Ironman training?  Let me tell you, that is a great question with some titillating answers.


For one, I’m going to rest.  I’ll likely get in the pool a couple times for light swims and run on Wednesday with the East Nasty crew, but for the most part, I’m taking pressure off my legs.  I can feel a subtle “tiredness” lurking and it will be great to get a little spring back.


I’ll also be tweaking my diet.  Over the past couple months I have been working out around two hours a day and consequently eating everything that flies by my face.  I kinda think I know what it feels like to be my dog.  matisseraginmouthI mean, if there’s fuel to be had, I am consuming it to the point where I’m licking pasta sauce off my plate like a little kid, then following up with a major pickle binge.  Nothing is off limits, including the snack bar at work, and this week, I hope to zero in on a more nutrient packed philosophy that doesn’t include time-crunched sell-out trips to Wendy’s.


Seems to me a mental health week wouldn’t be complete unless you dropped a massage or two in the middle.  I should really practice what I preach and get this body rubbed at least twice a month.  There’s no doubt the foam roller works wonders, but human hands can turn these muscles into pliable jelly that responds like a new born baby’s skin.  And I’m not really sure what that means, but think you get the point.


Along that lines, I will certainly be cracking open my yoga books again.  I can sense a lack of flexibility creeping into my body and I am not really cool with this new trend.  Yoga has always lived on the periphery of my life, but it needs to be more of a center piece and peace of my center.


I will also likely drink a ton of beer.  Nah . . . that’s unlikely, but I will encourage some of my teammates to pound them like fish at the East Nashville Beer festival this Saturday, which is the day before our first Sprint Tri of the year on Sunday.  And yes, I do realize this could come back to haunt me do to the “body numb factor” and fearless racing behavior that tends to shine the morning after a bunch of beers.  This is especially true when mileage or heat isn’t a big concern.  In other words, I am not going to let them use beer fest as a crutch, in fact, I think it gives them an advantage!


I’ll also do a lot of writing.  I’ve known for years that you can write something into reality if you focus on it long enough.  I’ve written my goals down for years, then will spend time “soul searching” in journals to figure out how I am going to bring those targets into fruition.  It’s amazing, but eventually an answer will surface and suddenly you “understand.”  And isn’t that the key to eliminating fear and confusion?


Meditation can also help.  Nothing like shutting off the noise to help you cut through the clutter of life.  I know one thing for certain.  If I’m sitting at the start line and I’m worried about any number of stupid things that will pop into my head, I am not at my best.  There is simply no room for distraction in a race.  I mean, sure, you can say hi and talk or whatever, but I find it much more productive if you’re focused.  Or, as my coach likes to say, “Hurry slowly.”  These kinds of mindsets are easier when you consistently practice meditation and a calm mind.


I will visualize myself in these races.  I will “see” myself breaking through new time barriers in my mind.  Speed happens naturally, but it can be enhanced if you believe you can move your body at certain paces.  It’s like running with faster runners, but you don’t really have to run with them, because some of them can be dicks and this way you just run along with them while you lay on the coach.  Frankly, it’s easier, and some of those fast runners just don’t really like talking to me about all this nonsense, so it’s a win/win.

If you’re having trouble with the “visualization process” you may want to look at this video I made to help drummers stay focused and in the groove.


And lastly, I will be connecting with friends.  I actually try to listen to what they’re saying instead of being preoccupied with the infamous Monogetti run lingering over my work day.  I may actually stroll along a babbling brook or take my dog for more walks instead of letting her loose at the dog park.  I may actually buy presents for people in my life.  Sweet gifts like writing journals and running socks.  Even take them out to dinner at I Dream of Weenie or the Turnip Truck.

Then again, I don’t want to get carried away, I mean it’s only one week.

Tom King Half Marathon

Today, part of the Fab 5 +1 went out to help at the Nashville Running Company water stop for the Tom King 1/2 MarathonjimkevinJim, Kevin, and Alli alli 2rode their trainer bikes for inspiration, I handed out water, and Daniel decided he was gonna bust a groove on the course.  Mark was taking care of his daughter.

It was a beautiful morning for running, mid-50s, a little overcast, and it served Daniel well as he nailed down the fastest Fab 5 half marathon time of 1:33:30.  A great time that beat his best time by over 2 minutes.  We are all getting stronger and faster by the day and, as good as it is, I anticipate that number will be beat by someone in the group soon.  He’s set the new goal for a 1/2 and it’s 1:30.  Who’s gonna get it?

danielmikeJim, Kevin, and Alli put in two hours on the trainer then the guys rode the road for another hour.  I left, joined them for breakfast, then put in a couple hour ride on the Greenway.  It was a really nice day and the ride was great except for the throngs of people walking on the BIKE PATH!

Actually, I’m kidding.  They deserve to be out there and quite frankly I get a tad annoyed at bikers when I’m running, so, oh well.  Everyone, including me has to chill.

I have to say, the first outside ride kicked my ass a little.  Yesterday’s swim was lurking and I just haven’t been feeling it.  Tomorrow we’re going for a two hour jaunt on Natchez Trace and while my legs are saying no, I love that I’m able to get off the trainer.

Here are a few pics from the race today.  Hope you’re having a great weekend.

Save it, or Shave it? Video

The other day I posted about fellow Ironman Wisconsin teammate Daniel Hudgins and his quest to raise money for the homeless by using his controversial hair as bait.  You could vote (by donating) to “save or shave” the hair and the tally came down to the wire in a tension filled finish!  He raised over $3,000 dollars and all proceeds will be given to Room In The Inn.  The excitement was captured in my latest video: