Tag Archives: X3 Endurance

Gulf Coast Triathlon Guest Blog – Robbie Bruce

Last Saturday, Jim, Allie, and coach Robbie went to Panama City to crush Gulf Coast.   The following is a race recap from Robbie who continually inspires me with his words and actions.
He takes us through his preparation, his game plan, and how it all played out in the race.  It’s a great read that’s loaded with helpful triathlon strategy.

GCT Recap- Freedom to find my Edge – Robbie Bruce

There is a certain freedom that comes with going into a race without real knowledge or data of your current fitness level.  The last 4-6 weeks have been both frustrating and enlightening. Battling and nursing a nagging Achilles injury leading up to Country Music Marathon was frustrating.  But my result, and what I learned about myself and my fitness at CMM, was enlightening. It will most likely go down as one of the defining moments of my triathlete career.

I spent the majority of the 2 weeks before Gulf Coast Triathlon just trying to recover and get healthy enough to give myself a shot.  Not just to “complete” it, but race it.  My race week usually goes from ready-confident-relaxed to nervous-anxious.  The week before GCT it went in the exact opposite order.  Many of my friends asked “how do you feel?”  And my response was,” I’m actually pretty confident and I have no reason to be.”  It as a weird feeling.  One that I have not been accustomed to but will welcome back with open arms if it presents itself again.

I drove to Panama City Beach solo on Thursday.  It was actually nice to make the trek alone.  It have me plenty of time to think, plan, re-think, and plan again.  I was brainstorming a variety of game plans on how to attack GCT.  All were quite different but with the same objective.  Find out where I am and where I need to be for Kansas 70.3.  I shared my options with many close friends and athletes.  Having so many people in my life that are involved in the sport, that I coach, or just close friends is so invaluable when it comes to races. They always give great insight and are totally objective and usually in areas that I fail to be.  I got into PCB around 3-4. I checked in, grabbed my packet and tried to settle.  I was staying by myself and I must say,  I enjoyed every minute of it.  I got to create my own bubble of focus.  Finished the night off having dinner with a few of my athletes and turned in early.

Fri- The Day Before
I woke up with a feeling of freedom. I was loose. I was ready. I had a SBR workout with all of the X3 athletes that morning and told myself I would listen to my gut and decide on a game plan when I got done.  It was so great to have my athletes around.  They are all so fun, positive and just flat out great people.  It’s an easy bunch to stay loose with.  I have found over the last 2 yrs that the more athletes I have at a race the better I do.  I think it helps relax me as well as view the race much differently. The workouts went off without a hitch and I retreated back to my condo for decision time. It was pretty clear to me as many of my friends had also pointed out the day before. The Final Game Plan I have myself was:

I’m going to play to my current strengths. I will crush the swim.  On the bike I’m going to play it conservative.  I know I have the short term power but no idea where my bike fitness is so ill play it safe until mile 40ish and listen to my gut.  The home stretch will be the hardest and windiest. I’ll count the guys in my age group that pass me on the bike. Then, I’ll get off the bike and run like hell for as long as I can and as fast as I can. Steady in the first 5-6 then negative split the back half.  That’s it.

Swim- My ability.
Bike- smart.
Run- like hell

I was confident with that plan.  Now it was time to prepare for it.  Spent the rest of the morning getting everything ready for Sat.  Grabbed a quick lunch with Allie and Jim and then back to the condo for more rest and preparation.  Bike was checked in at 4 and then Jim and Allie and I hit up a steakhouse like true snowbirds at freakin’ 5pm.  I got back to the condo around 6:30. Again.  More relax and prep time.  I was getting impatient.  I was just ready to race.  When I get to that point I just get bored.  Bored.  Bored.  Nothing to do but sit and think.  Think.  Think.

Within about a 15 minute span I got 3 messages all from 3 different people that really put my focus for the race into overdrive.  One was the photo you see below about “The Edge,” and then  a text and Facebook message both centered around my epic debacle at Ironman Louisville. Both, in a light -hearted banter of seriousness, the theme was . . .  “Don’t let that happen again.” It wasn’t “don’t fail.”  It was more, “Just do it.”  I had my plan and now it was to execute that plan all the way to the edge.  Stay on the edge for as long as I can and when it’s time to go over, just make sure you’re falling forward and not backwards. Test yourself. It was time.  I was ready to race.  Hit the sack around 9 and slept like a baby.

Race Morning
I often wake up on race morning in a massive hurry.  Hurry to get ready.  Hurry to war.  Hurry to get to transition.  This morning I was calm, focused and relaxed.  Got my stuff together.  Checked in with my athletes and walked out of my condo for the short walk to transition.   Headphones in.  Music flowing.  An easy stroll.  Totally relaxed.  No expectations.  No “I should be able to do this today.”  Instead it was, “Today I will give my absolute best effort and empty whatever “fitness” tank Ive created.”  I can control that.  Everything else is out of my control.  Meandered my way into transition to prep my area.  A friend from Nashville spotted me walking into transition and said “Man,  you’re cutting it close huh.  There gonna close it in a minute.”  I didn’t seem to care.  I was just relaxed.

I prepped my area and as I was about to walk to the swim 2 guys on my rack stopped me and asked if I had ever done this race before.  I responded with “Yes, this is actually my 5th straight year.”  They predictably countered with “Do you have any tips for first timers.” I said “Yea.  Just have fun man.  That’s it.  Just enjoy it and have fun.  Too many people take themselves to seriously.  Especially on race day.”

As I heard myself uttering those words I also came to the realization that I’ve come along way since my first race at GCT.  I have so much more fun now.  The sport is meant to be fun.  I made my way to the swim start (had to switch swim caps) and chilled with my athletes before the start.  It’s such a cool experience being able to go through a race like this with them.  Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right coaching, friend, I’m also racing balance when I’m participating too. But I do the best I can.  Everyone seemed loose, which made me relax even more.  Grabbed my wetsuit as everyone else made their way to the swim start.  Jim and I didn’t start till late so we got to kill sometime hanging out.  We shared some laughs.  Both of us fairly relaxed.

As my wave crept up I made my way to the starting corral.  As all the guys flowed in to the corral, looking around, sizing up the competition, nervously chatting I made my way to the front corner.  Quiet.  It was game time.  The calmness, relaxed, laid back feeling vanishes when I put my goggles on.  It’s a different view. It’s what racing looks like.  The feeling presumably comes from all my years swimming.  Goggles on.  Step on the block.  GO!  I went over my game plan in my head. Pressed my goggles against my face. Shook the hands of both the gentlemen on my right and left, wished them good luck and set my line to the first buoy. 5-4-3-2-1 BAM!

The Swim-
As the gun goes off my first thought is, lets see if someone jumps out hard in front.  I’ll hop on their feet and let them pull me. Some guy started like a bat out of hell.  I made my way across the water to try and get his feet.  Held it for a minute.  Damn.  This guy is in a WHOLE other league than me.  I could prob hang but I’d be toast.  I fell off his feet and began to cruise with another guy.  We stayed side by side.  Both waiting for the other to make a move.  I was probably about :2-3 faster per 100 than he was so it was decision  time.  Work with him, or drop him and go solo.  I felt great in the water and decided go on my own.

There wasn’t much current so sighting was easy.  As I hit the first turn buoy the NASCAR game started.  I began to catch the waves in front of me and the ocean became a congested highway of slower swimmers, people floating in their damn back, breast stroking . . . Come on people. Move!

I spent the cross section weaving in and out, hit the final turn buoy, and headed home. I picked up pace and sighted off the hotel.  Weave.  Move.  Go around.  Sight.  A lot of the same.  I sighted the finishing chute and picked up my kicking.  As I streamlined it towards the chute I had no idea what my time was or if others in my age group were ahead of me.  Got out of the water. Looked at my watch.  28 mins?  Man.  Nice swim, Robbie.

I was pumped.  As I ran up to T1 a guy yelled “2nd blue cap out of the water. Two minutes down.”  I thought “Man, that dude was flying.”  He ended up with the fastest swim of the day and it was obvious my choice not to go with him was a smart one.

Same stuff as usual. Helmet, shoes, blah blah. I hate talking about transitions. So I’m not.

Heading out on to S. Thomas Dr and settled in.  I was preparing for 56 miles of NO IDEA what I’m capable of.  I knew I would get passed but also knew I could catch some on the run.  I kept telling myself to relax.  Be patient.  It’s all about the run.  The forecast called for storms and wind rolling in and if it was anything like last year the last 16 miles would be hell.

I went by feel.   Left my heart rate monitor at home in purpose.  Just thought to myself “I can hold this for X duration.”  Vroom.  Vroom.  Vroom.  One after another.  Passed.  Passed.  Passed. Dropping . . . 3, 4, 5 in my age group.

As disheartening as it was.   It is what is. I could’ve gone with and then walked the run.  Just stick it to the game plan.  Be patient.

The next 30 miles was more of the same. It was nice to see my athletes on the course.  Give an encouraging word and get one in return.  Don’t know why.  But it makes the ride always seem shorter.

The rain and wind began to come it about mile 50ish.  As I hit the coastline I was averaging 22mph.  I wasn’t going under that.   Nope.  I had plenty in the tank and was realizing I may have held back too much.  But who knows.  Vroom.  Vroom.  Vroom. Vroom.  6-7-8-9.  I got passed by 4 guys in my AG in the last 15 minutes of the ride.  Every ounce of my competitive valor screamed GOOOOOOOO!  Go with them.  My mind.  My confidence.  “Robbie.  Chill.  They can’t run with you.  You’ll pick them off one by one. Just wait. ”  I had absolutely no idea if they could or could not run with me.  But I told myself they couldn’t.  Cruised the rest of the way into T2. Time 2:32. 22MPH.

T2- strip down. Load up. That’s it. Now we race.

Simple.  Negative split.  Run like hell.  Pick them off.

I came FLYING out of T2 like I was shot out of a cannon.  I was a little too amped.   About a 1/2 mile in I had already caught one guy.  Mile 1 — 5:48.

Ummmmmmmm.  Robbie. Cool it.  You’re not Crowie.  Relax unless you wanna do a 10k recovery walk back to the finish.  I still had 12 miles to go and plenty of time to catch people.

Pace slowed to a 6:40 for mile 2.  Another one bit the dust.  I passed 1 guy in my age group every mile for the first 5 miles.  I was feeling solid.  Smooth.  Like a runner.  The rain began to fall and helped cool me off.  Every time I would come up behind someone I’d make an effort to pick it up and blow past them.   Bye.  Break them.  Leave them with no inclination they could stay with me.  The pass was permanent.  The one on your bike was not.  As I rounded out of the park I was done seeing people in front of me.  I couldn’t see anyone to catch.  I was also creeping towards my “edge.”

The first 2 miles were a mistake.  I went to fast. Legs were hardening.  Pace was slowing .  Body was heating up.  I was on the edge.  I hit about mile 7 and it became “you can hold this “feeling” for 6 more miles.”  Had no idea of my pace, but figured I could teeter on the edge for that long.

In a focused haze I mustered a few hand signaled “Hey, thanks,” to friends as they passed.  Remembering some.  Not others.   I was red lining.  Came around a corner and saw Allie, and remember her saying “finish.”  That’s what I was going to do.  She also informed me later that it looked like I had fallen on my face when she saw me because of how red my face was.

Miles 10-13 were a blur.  A lot of the same.  I wanted to walk so bad.  I looked at my watch and new getting in under 4:40 was a shot.  I’ve done this GCT so many times so I knew the run course was long.  So I couldn’t go by pace, time, calculations.  I just had to go.  I was hurting bad. I turned the corner down S. Thomas for the home stretch.  I could see the finish line. I was still a ways away. 500-600 meters maybe.  Looked at my watch. 4:47…. Not going to lie.  For a moment I thought “it’s long.  So of you just cruise it in no shame in not going under 4:40. ”  No.  Not today.  The old me would’ve taken that route.  But I’ve changed. It was go for broke. Empty the tank.  All of it.  Head down and give it hell.  Fall over the edge.  I sprinted with all I had.  I crossed the line. 4:39:52………. My hands on my knees.  Legs wobbling.  Chills from overheating.  Red faced.  Tank emptied.  I couldn’t quite muster a physical smile but was smiling inside.

1:33:56 for 13.41 miles  to finish. I was helped out of the finishing chute where I was asked if I needed to go to the medical tent. “No mam. I always look this bad when I empty the tank. ” I was happy with my time but more so bc I wasnt so afraid to fail that I didn’t give myself the opportunity to win. I don’t mean “win” an award or getting 1st place. Giving 100% of your effort now matter the time is a win. I gave it all I had. I left every ounce of the athlete I brought to GCT on that course. Now. Recover. Reload. Do it again at Kansas 70.3 in June.970580_453266051430873_734089047_n

26 overall
Swim- 10 OV
Only out swam by 2 people in front of me and I ran faster than both

Run- 13 OV
Of the 13 that beat me. I out swam them all by more than 2:00


Rev 3 Olympic Triathon Knoxville – My Bike Summary

Every day I feel like triathlon is helping me build a closer connection with myself.  It’s a subtle, slow, and genuine burn that inches its way deeper into my soul with every stroke, spin, and stride.  It began by setting a nearly unfathomable goal, but has now transformed into a lifestyle.  Not a triathlon lifestyle, but a more confident, clear, and defined picture of who I am.  And the most exciting part is, I barely feel like I’ve scratched the surface. 

If you’ve never raced a triathlon, or more specifically swam a mile in 58 degree water, it’s really hard to understand the feeling of running barefoot on cold concrete for nearly half a mile.  Your feet are numb and you’d better get used to it because the rain isn’t stopping and you’re about to pedal your bike for 25 miles with no socks. 

Everything was warm, except my feet and hands, both of which would be extremely important in the upcoming moments.  I relished the brief respite from the rain in the covered transition area as I gathered my bearings and decided what to wear or omit for my bike ride.  The arm warmers were a lock (thanks, coach) but the knee warmers stayed in the bag.  The helmet went on, I grabbed my bike, then ran it toward the bike exit.  About halfway there I realized I was holding and not wearing my gloves.  This was a problem.  I stopped and tried to pull gloves onto my freezing hands and it was a total OJ moment.  “The gloves didn’t fit.”  I stood there for what seemed like several minutes as tons of racers blew by and my bike slid around my body like an oblong hula hoop. 

All told, the run from the swim, the bike prep, and the glove fiasco took roughly six and a half minutes.  The whole time, I was afraid to look at my feet. 

But it’s moments like this when I try to think of something inspiring, and any time I feel sorry for myself for being cold I think of one man: Ernest Shackleton


I’ve said it before, but if you’re into adventure, you have to read a book called, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage.  Not only is it a great adventure book, it may be the most engaging grouping of words I’ve ever laid eyes on.  “Simply Brilliant” says Crushing Iron blogger, Mike Tarrolly. 

Here are a few Shackleton quotes to chew on: 

“Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.” 

“I seemed to vow to myself that some day I would go to the region of ice and snow and go on and on till I came to one of the poles of the earth, the end of the axis upon which this great round ball turns.”

“After months of want and hunger, we suddenly found ourselves able to have meals fit for the gods, and with appetites the gods might have envied.”

“We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.”

I mean, come on!  This dude did not fuck around with exploring.  “Endurance” is about an expedition to the South Pole with like twenty five guys who signed up simply for the adventure.  Shackleton posted this ad in the paper to find his crew:

MEN WANTED for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success. 

And you know what?  He turned men away! 

That book has helped me many times.  Having cold feet is a metaphor when you try to envision what Shackleton and his men endured. 

So, I finally looked and my feet were a similar hue to how I imagine them looking in my casket one day.  I closed my eyes and thought of Shackleton (in the middle of winter, bobbing his way in an undersized wooden boat through the most deadly sea in the world wearing little more than a sweat shirt) and jumped on my Trek triathlon bike to ride in a misting rain along nicely paved streets in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I honestly don’t remember much of the bike leg (maybe that’s why I’m harping on the Shackleton thing . . . although, I seriously cannot recommend that book enough) but I do know it was an amazing course.  It started along the river, swung up through a business district, dipped onto a major highway, then headed into the beautiful Knoxville hills.  On a sunny day, the scenery would have been spectacular. 

I think only two things could have gone better for me on the bike (aside from having race wheels).  One was a situation where I was coming down the longest hill and could have really been cooking, but a car got in the way.  There were also bikes in front of him, so he rode his breaks down the entire hill.  We were probably going 20 mph and that could have easily been 28, but there was nothing I could do.  I waited about a half mile until he finally turned off, clearing my way for another climb. 

The other thing I did wrong was not listen to my coach and hammer the climbs.  His logic was clear, “It’s wet, the course is pretty technical and you’ll be breaking a lot on the downhills.” I probably could have climbed harder and recovered on the descents.  Lesson learned. 

The last half mile was the same flat road along the river and I cruised in around 24 mph.  I felt great, but my legs had joined my feet in the world of numb appendages.  How do your legs and feet function when you can’t feel them?  I can hear Shackleton laughing in my face. 

I forgot to start my watch again and haven’t figured out my speedometer, so I had no idea how long the bike took, but I knew it was pretty solid.  I started the bike in 141st place out of 355 total racers and ended in 100th.  Average speed was 20 mph and the total time was 1:15 for 25 miles. 

I dismounted my bike with one shoe still clipped on the pedal and one on my left foot, which made for a clumsy stroll through transition, especially on frozen feet, but the good news was . . . I’d get to run a 10k next! 

Dejected. Reflected. Redirected.

The following is another guest post from our inspiring coach, Robbie Bruce.  I am continually amazed by his passion, and even more impressed with how he re-directs fires that appear to burn out of control. 

Dejected. Reflected. Redirected. 

A few of you may be aware that I have been suffering from a severe case of Achilles tendinitis over the past 2 weeks. The same kind that sidelined me from running in 2011 for almost 3 months. So, rewind almost 2 weeks ago. I had the best 2 bike and run workouts of my life with New Orleans 70.3 just over 3 weeks away. I proved to myself that the fitness I knew I needed to accomplish my goals was there. In the bank. I woke up Saturday morning. Legs and arms trashed from 4,000 yds, 70 hard bike miles and 10 hard miles of running in a 24 hour span. I was staring at a 4 hour ride, yet, I was pumped for it. Which spoke volumes to me about where my mind was. I knew as soon as the ride started the cards the triathlon gods were about to deal me. I barely made it an hour because the pain was over a 10. I sat there for maybe over an hour….. thinking “This cant be. Im here. Im ready. Why? Why now?” Took Sunday and Monday off. Hit up PT on Tuesday for some therapy. No running or biking for the week. I was cleared to ride this past Mon/Tue and my swim has improved drastically since its all I was able to do for 9 days. Today was affectionately named DDay. I got to run. The chance to run. Cleared to run. Its 80 and sunny out. Who wouldn’t wanna run. New Orleans in next weekend and if I could even run pain free and slow I was in. Doing it. Parked my truck. Said a little prayer to the running and triathlon gods and took off. 1-2-3-4 steps,,,, Oh shit I’m back. Here I come. 6-7-8… That didn’t feel right…..14-15-16….. walking. Pain at an 11…… Water bottle hurled maybe 500ft…… Done. Walking back to my truck. Head down. Defeated….. What now? Where too? Sat in my truck. Keys not even in the ignition for air. Text a few close friends about my failed attempt and sat. I will say. I am SO VERY lucky to have such amazing friends who are so supportive and positive when all I see is failure, discontent, with no resolution in sight. The theme of responses was “Regroup. Re plan. You got this.” I hit the shower at the YMCA.. Oddly enough alot of my best thinking and thoughts are in the shower. (no comments please :)), but I swear if life were one big shower Id be a philosopher or author or something. Anyway…. my shower turned into an almost 25 minute prunefest of thoughts and planning. Right forearm over the top of my head as my forehead was pressed against the tile. I felt a lot like I did after I lost the Football State Championships my senior year. You just let the water pour over you. Close your eyes and just think back…… I formulated a plan. Got my thoughts together. Mind still racing as I got dressed. Wondering how and what do do? I put my shirt on, looked down……… Ha. It said, “ENDURE.” Made me smile. That’s it. Just “endure.” See it through. You got this. Then I thought back to when I was at Ironman Louisville. Totally dejected on the bike after feeling ill and sat out on the bike. I remember the picture Season took of me. :attached below:: it SCREAMED DEJECTION. AND DEFEAT. Then I remember what happened after. I just decided to endure it. Just endure it and see it through. A few months later after just deciding to endure I had my best race ever at Augusta. Walking downstairs to get to my truck. I passed an elderly lady struggling to just make it up the stairs and a younger gentleman in a wheelchair coming into the gym……. What was I doing with my head down. It could be so much worse. So much worse. Then I got ill and pissed. I usually do that when I get really motivated. In a “this wont stop me way.” The triathlon god Zeus maybe trying to shut me down. Deject me. Discourage me. He wants a war. Hes got one. I’m pretty sure a battle from Poseidon (Ποσειδῶν, Poseidōn)(who I will all as myself. In no God but he suited me best) God of the sea, rivers, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and the creator of horses; known as the “Earth Shaker”.The horse and the dolphin are sacred to him. Right now Zeus is reigning over on of my sports. But hes in for a battle. My battle plan is the following:

– I will swim for as long and as hard as possible every week. I will get so fast. You will not even get close to catching my feet. I will gain time.

– I will bike as long and as much as I need to. The bike is my weakest so  I will focus on my strength and my weakness during this undetermined down time. I will get better. I will get faster.

–  I will drop more weight. I am down 10 lbs in the last 3.5 weeks. I will cut more which will make me a faster and more efficient runner when I am finally able to run. It will make me faster all around.

– I will hit the StairMaster (if cleared) as much as I can. In pants and a hoodie. Ill get mentally stronger, physically stronger, and lighter. Ill be meaner too.

– Ill do as much therapy that is required. Ill have needles shoved in me. Ill do endless clam shell exercises till I start spitting out pearls like a damn sprinkler.

– The times few hours I might miss hanging with my little man training, Ill use to take him out with me on my new paddle board. Enjoy more time with him. Which makes everyone better all around.

– I’m not going to plan on “racing” until June (Kansas 70.3) or July (Munice 70.3). I don’t wanna focus on short term possibilities but instead long term realistic goals. A miracle could happen and I might toe the line at NOLA but the same possibility looms that I may miss Gulf Coast. I’m OK with that. Because no matter when I come back. Im coming back with a mother@#*&$ng vengeance.

– In the mean time. When Im not biking or on the StairMaster. Ill be focused on this:

http://www.panamericanmasters2013.org/. I swimming the best in FOREVER. I have time to focus on it and I am familiar with the course. This Tennessee boy is headed down south to play with some of the best.

That’s it. Getting better is always a fluid situation. I could recover much earlier or a lot later. Who knows. I however do know that in the mean time. I still have goals. I will still be working and training hard. I will still be focused and when I come back 100%. Move out of the way. So if you see me don’t tell me “I’m sorry your hurt.” I’m not hurt. Ive redirected. Don’t pitty me bc I’m not going to pitty me. Ive got this. So the question is……. For all of you 100% healthy people…….. Whats your plan? Are you focused? Are you giving it 100%? If not. Start now because before you know it. The chance to give it may be stripped away from you. Then what?

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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.

Introducing the Fab . . . 6?

Well, yesterday, I noticed a cryptic post on our Crushing Iron Facebook page from our coach that simply said, “Totally forgot to mention that Coach is doing this race with you guys. Sorry. Totally slipped my mind.”  Since it was so random I assumed he meant the sprint triathlon we’re doing next Sunday.  Nope.  All of this time, he was holding in a secret.  Coach Robbie will be racing with us at Ironman Wisconsin!robbiebruce_1354578921_28

My head spun a bit, then I had three reactions:

1. This dude can keep a secret!
2. Who will give me guidance and encouragement on the course?
3. I guess I will have to publicly humiliate my own coach

We’ve known all along that he would be in Madison on that fateful day as the Fab 5 scurries through the water in Lake Monona,vfiles9740 but I’d always assumed he’d be stripping my wet suit and dishing out GU.  Registration was full months ago, how could he hold that in?  How will he bounce back from Ironman Louisville and tackle the farmlands of Wisconsin in two weeks?  And I thought Racer K was enigmatic.

I didn’t really expect much coaching while on the course, and, if I don’t know what to do by race day, a Sergeant Carter type scream will do nothing for this lycra clad Gomer Pyle.  Now, I picture his coaching on September 8th will be something along the lines of “Good luck, boys.  I’ll catch you later,” as his shark-like swim techniques leave us in wake of seaweed.

Yes, he will be coming off an Ironman on August 25th and rebounding with another couple weeks of tapering.  Does this make him ripe for picking off?  Highly doubtful, but I know him well enough to know he’s throwing it out there as a challenge and one I will gladly accept.  I’ll take anything that helps push me to my goal, which is . . . well, I’m not quite ready to reveal that one yet, but I don’t expect coach Robbie to lose any sleep.

The bottom line in all of  this is . . . awesomeness.  The more the merrier and I am looking forward to this experience more than ever.  Our +1 Allison will be there as well, but if she surprises us with phantom entry to IMWI, I will be totally shocked.  Say it’s true, Allison!

Our coach’s work will be done.  It’s time for  the players to execute.  I anticipate dozens of people we know along the route and an entire army of cyber based Fab 6 supporters to push us up the hills and down State Street with energy we’ve never experienced.  Good luck, coach.  We’ll be gunning for you.

Coach Throws a Bash

Last night, our coach, Robbie Bruce, and X3 Endurance put together a little shindig at the former CAO headquarters in Nashville.  These triathlete cats are swank556824_4571217410459_2017126219_n

Free beer, food, wine, and damn near anything else you may want from a health conscious workout crew, including samples of Huma, which is a Nashville based energy gel patterned after the Tarahumara diet.  There were several endurance big wigs in attendance, including Nashville Running Company’s, Lee Wilson and his staff. LeeMarkX3 had big white sheets of paper on the walls with 2013 races across the top, which the athletes all signed if they were planning to knock it out.  The Fab Five all checked in under the Ironman heading and took a team picture by the fire pit.  FabFivex3

The triathlete contingent in Nashville seems to be alive and well and I look forward to pounding some open water swims in February!
Tomorrow,  I will be taking my talents to South 12th Street for the 12 South Winter Warm up 12K.  Lots of 12’s in that sentence!  I told Jim, who is above with the flowing silver mop, I am shooting for his Huntsville Marathon pace goal of 7:46.  We’ll keep you posted on that one.  After the run, there is a big time beer festival, which I am evidently partaking in, that starts at 11:00.  Wish me luck on both accounts!