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Take on your Fears!

12 Jan

Take on your Fears with passion and desire!

We all have things we are afraid of. Nobody likes to fail either, we all like to do what we are good at our strengths. But we all have things we aspire to do and want to pursue but fear typically stands in the way and holds us back. What we need to do is ask ourselves what scares us most about that thing? And then get into the right mindset and be dedicated and diligent about following through on what we set out to accomplish. We can’t make excuses and we can’t quit.

2018 is a new year for me, one where I am doing just this; taking on a challenge and working on a weakness. Swimming, I have been competing in Triathlon for over 12 years now from sprint distance to full Ironman distance and everything in between. But for all these years the swim has been that daunting Achilles heal to me. I come from a running back ground and don’t have a swim back ground. Sure I can swim and use to play in lakes and water ski and all that jazz in my younger days but I was never a “lap swimmer” someone who was focused on swimming for fitness. So when I took on the sport of Triathlon I had to teach myself to swim and work on swim fitness so I could complete the races. I got myself to a certain level where I was a mid pack swimmer nothing fast and exceptional but good enough to complete the distances and keep myself in contention to do what I’m good at and that is bike and run and chase people down to place on the podium. So for years I have played the hunter in Triathlon coming out behind most in the swim and then picking them off one by one on my bike and with my run legs and it’s worked I’ve had a lot of success racing. But 2018 is different my 15 year old daughter Bella loves to swim has a huge passion to swim and is a really good swimmer. I wanted to find that same level of passion for the swim and give it a go to understand her passion for it better and in the same time improve my swimming and make myself even more competitive in 2018 racing Triathlon.
2018 bring on the pool! Joining the group at Minnetonka Master’s has been wonderful! It’s very humbling for me but I love it! Not only is this new challenge helping me with my swim fitness but it’s helping me with my mental game and my psychology to overcome fears and things and not good at and work hard at them to improve. I believe so much of what we do in endurance sport is about mental strength and being able to set your mind right, being able to overcome fears and get through dark and hard moments. In running I’m the fastest the people I coach the groups and people I train with and even most I compete against I can hang with them and beat them. So I’m use to being the best so to speak at what I do. Swimming however I’m one of the slow kids down in lane 6 or 7 and fighting hard to keep up with the faster kids in lanes 4 and 5. In order for an athlete to take on their fears and new challenges they must kick those egos aside and embrace being slower, embrace the struggle and stay positive and consistent to fight their way up the ladder and make it less humbling. I’ve seen this so many times with runners who take long breaks away or a slower runner fighting for a Boston qualifying time who just comes up short and loses focus. So it applies to whatever your chasing, just so happens with me it applies to swim!
My goal in 2018 was swim 2-3 days per week and I would say I have really been 3 days per week and plan to keep that up and maybe even a 4th day some weeks. It’s not always easy to wake up early and make practice, it’s not always easy to squeeze in the pool time with life but I’m a man of my word and a man of focus determination and passion so nothing slows me down! If I say I’m swimming then I’m in that pool in the morning even if I was out rocking at a concert the night before, no matter how busy life is, how tired I am if I made that commitment to swim and log a certain number of hours per week in the pool then I do it! I see so many athletes make excuses all the time and never truly hold themselves accountable to chasing their goals and reaching the success they want. You can’t be that way, you have to stay consistent and you have to be dedicated without that failure is bound to happen over and over.

Today I just finished my first time ever of swimming 5 days in a row! The masters program put out a challenge this week to swim 5 days in one week. So I took on that challenge and said game on! It was not easy, trust me Wednesday practice was really hard because Tuesday night I was at the Dakota Jazz club with friends to see a David Bowie tribute drinking wine eating too much food so that 4:45am wake up the next morning was tough. Even today day five was really tough because it’s negative 10 degrees out and crawling out of a warm bed to go jump in a cold pool is not easy. But I have to say once I left practice today I felt alive! I felt like I just had three shots of espresso and was ready to go for the day! I am so proud of myself for taking on this daunting challenge and completing it with no excuses and with a positive attitude! Five days and 9.3 miles of swimming in one week and I finished off today swimming my fastest 100’s to date! Progress is happening and the swim is starting to become a strength for me. My fear of the pool the water is gone and I embrace those hard and humbling workouts! I can now say I love the pool!

Here we sit just 12 days into a new year I want each of you to think about things that scare you, your fears and I want you to attack them! I want you to set the goals and then chase them with dedication and passion and no excuses! I hate excuses!! Excuses just mean you don’t really want it.
Best wishes to your improvement, and tackling those fears! The proud feeling that will radiate inside you once you’ve completed challenges like this are simply priceless!
Coach MBRubber ducky Master swim


Madison Marathon 2017!

13 Nov

Yesterday November 12th was the Madison marathon this was the final race of my 2017 season and I’m glad it’s behind me now! So as every major race ends for me part of my moving on process is to write about the experience and help me process the day, the training, and move on. So that’s why you all get to read my blog post now.

For 10-11 years now, I have run 2-3 marathons per year and when I signed up for Madison marathon 2017 I said this would be my final marathon for one year! So, 2018 will be my first year of no marathon races, I’m going all in for multi-sport and I’m sure run some shorter stuff like a 10 mile or half marathon. I’m really looking forward to the break from the marathon and the work load that goes with training for a marathon. But 2019 I’m sure I’ll be back chasing after that 26.2 mile distance!
Back to Madison marathon, so this is the hardest course I have ever run! I have raced Boston 9 times, New York City, Twin Cities, Chicago, Des Moines, Phoenix AZ, Houston TX lots of races and I would say none of them were this hard! The hills on this course are just relentless and they just keep piling on the hardest of hills late in the race! The hill at mile 22 was just mean, and the finish line is straight up hill so mile 26 was wicked as well! Mix in those hills with 34 degrees and clouds and some light winds that picked up during the race and well it was a tough day for me. (my good friend Krisana now she crushed it and ran an amazing race! But she is wicked tough and ran smart and was well trained and focused so proud of her!) As for me mentally I was not into this race. Why I have no idea? I did not really start training for this race until September after my multi-sport season had ended. My focus in 2017 was the World Championships for Duathlon so from April when I ran Boston marathon until September my longest run was maybe 10 miles? And that only happened a couple of times. So unlike years past my mileage was way down and I had to play catch up quickly. I also had the TC 10 mile in the middle of this shorten training cycle that I wanted to perform well at so I respected some taper and prep for that and then geared up again for the marathon. But mentally I just never really got into this race and I don’t know why? I had no real goals for it, no expectations I was just very relaxed and just wanted to run, feel good and make sure I got a BQ for 2019 should I decide to run Boston again in 2019. I also wanted to break 3 hours but was not looking for any kind of PR or glory or wicked fast time like I have run in the past. Again, just wanted to take what the day gave me and be done with it.
The weather was cold for me, and I would say I had wardrobe malfunction and did not dress warm enough. I would also say I did not properly warm-up for this race and get myself excited and fired up and my breakfast was not what I typically eat for some reason I had these new breakfast cookies and they were not so great. Anyway, no excuses I choose to handle the race this way and so it’s all good. I also did not treat race week like most race weeks, I only took one rest day that was the Sunday before the race and all during my taper as my miles lessened I continued to bike like a maniac on my new Wahoo Kicker. Then race week I typically lay off my red wine and really try to dial in my diet and rest, that went out the window also. Madison marathon weekend was also Iowa vs. Badger football weekend and my wife Shannon birthday. So in Madison Friday and Saturday night dinners had bottle of wine, had some dessert and well spent Saturday out in the cold at a football game! Which all made for a great weekend! Except the football game my Hawkeyes sucked bad and played the worst game they have played in 19 years!
Back to the race, the gun went off and I thought maybe I run with Krisana for a bit but I was going faster than she needed so we quickly split up. I just ran smooth and in control not chasing the leaders just enjoying the miles. I was holding in the 6:14 pace and feeling fine, the course was nice through the arboretum wilderness lots of turkeys and lots of rolling hills! Once we started to exit the arboretum I met up with a couple runners and we started to chit chat a bit and try to work together but the one runner was much fitter than I was and I could tell he wanted to run faster than me so I let him go and the other runner we had caught was dying and so I past him and left him behind and back to lonely no man zone I went. About mile 7-8 I started to lose focus and kind of wanted to quit, I had no real fight in me for some reason and no real desire to suffer and run. But I kept fighting back in my mind to continue on and to try and get tough and race. Race day was the 9 year anniversary of when I buried my father and so that was on my mind as well and I would run and try to talk to my dad and use that as motivation but my motivation was just lacking. Then we hit observatory hill at like the 9 mile mark of the race and holy crap!! That thing is wicked and I got to the top and was like ugh! But then we had a fast downhill after that and I tried to get back into the race. The course kept rolling I swear no long stretches of flat it’s just up and down. Finally, at mile 11 I saw my wife and friend Charlie that gave me a boost and I got the crowd laughing as I yelled at them this course is a motherfucker! Cause it was!! I mean mile 11 of a race I should still be in great spirits and feeling good but the course was already taking its toll on me! From mile 11-16 maybe this was a lonely boring stretch of road mostly industrial like, rolling hills and into headwind.
I really was losing focus during this stretch and kept thinking shit I’m not even half way done! Finally, we turned into a park and I got out of the wind and started trying to rally but then more damn hills! And not small one’s big ones! What helped me at this point of the race was the half marathon runners were with us a bit so I got lots of cheers from them. But then the course split again and I was back to just me and the few marathon runners around me. We entered into some neighborhoods and more hills! I finally had caught the green tank guy I could see for the last several miles and he was dying also. So we started running together and trying to push and motivate each other but really all he did was draft off me and lend no help. That frustrated me. We would turn corners and see the next big hill and both just yell FUCK!! Are you kidding me! My legs were really starting to tire and hurt at this point as we were miles 17,18,19,20 those are tough miles in the marathon if it is flat and these was anything but flat right now.
Then came mile 22 the mother of all hills! There was an aid station on this hill so I took my first walk break through the aid station. I yelled is there any flat areas in Madison? And some guy said sorry to say but you have a lot of big hills left in this course! I wanted to cry! 😊 But I kept fighting and trying to run but I was cold from sweat, and not warm enough clothes and 34 degrees. My legs did not like me and my energy and fight was like ugh! I mean this is my mental state… I got to mile 23 and saw my time and said I can run a 30-minute 5k and finish in under 3 hours! So I was talking myself into doing like 10 minute miles that’s how bad I just wanted to be done and was hurting. But it was so cold that I knew I had to try and keep moving and get to the finish line for warm clothes. So I walked a few aid station between miles 22-26 and then between mile 24-25 I started to get really sick feeling thought I might puke, got dizzy and nauseous and started to wonder if I can finish? So had that talk with myself about just suck it up move at whatever pace and finish! So I shuffled along and then came the finish line hill! This is just so mean the hill they make you run at mile 26 to get to the finish my run was more of a short shuffle like a walk almost moving along at 8:15 pace or something. But finally, I finished! I broke 3 hours with a 2:57:43 and was so happy to be done! My time was nothing special as I’ve run much faster many times before but I was also not mad, sad, disappointed any of that because I really had no idea what kind of shape I was in, and I really was not after any specific time or glory just a finish. So all is good with me and I’m so glad to be done, get some rest and move onto my goals for 2018!

The marathon is unforgiving, it’s a hard race and that is why so many of us love it! The unknown of what can happen out there in 26.2 miles. To have glory so many things have to align and if they don’t then it takes a certain level of mental toughness to fight, keep fighting and overcome the pain and suffering. I love endurance events! I love pushing limits and really training the mind to be strong. Madison my mind was not in the game and therefore I except my results.
I’m so proud of my friend Krisana she had an amazing race! Great splits, and stayed strong throughout. The glory in Madison marathon weekend was the weeks I spent training with Krisana the support of the people we train with and the journey to get us both on the start line! It was the weekend with my amazing wife, and my friends Krisana and Charlie that made the weekend another great memory for me! This is what I live for! Even if I walk really slow today!
Congrats to all the finishers in Madison yesterday! Be proud as that course is no joke!


SW inspiration for the everyday athlete!

12 Sep

The SW and how she represents the everyday runner!

This morning like most mornings I got up and went outside for my morning workout. Today was a simple little 8.5 mile recovery run. The beauty of running for me is the freedom it gives me, the alone time, the quiet time with my thoughts (as I don’t run with music) and today on my run I started thinking about my amazing wife Shannon. (otherwise known as SW) This weekend will mark our 17 year anniversary wow can you believe she has put up with me for 17 years!
The SW started running later in life when a good friend of ours got her out the door starting with 5k then 10k then half marathon then into the marathon! She has now been a very dedicated and serious runner for the past 8-10 years maybe?
SW is the glue that holds this crazy Buenting house together, she supports and is a wonderful Sherpa for our 15 year old daughter Bella and myself ( MB). Bella and I race a lot and the two of us are quite successful from Triathlon and Duathlon to any distance of running events! Bella is also a high school swimmer now after three years of being a Varsity high school Cross country runner. Most races you will find Bella and myself on the podium and we just seem to move at a little faster pace than the SW. So Bella and I get to train a lot together and not as much with the SW. So one might think living around people like Bella and I could be tough and maybe discourage you? Or just not lend to much time for yourself because you have to take care of us all the time.
But it’s completely the opposite. SW is dedicated and passionate! She is tough I mean tough! She runs in pain often times, she never quits or backs down and she is always fighting and chasing after her goals! SW does not let vacations get in the way of her running her miles, logging her workouts and staying fit. She does not let getting up early to be at work at 7am stand in her way or a busy life of supporting a high maintenance 15 year old and maybe even a higher maintenance 43 year old husband. SW is like superwoman to me!

What I love about the SW and what makes her an inspiration, and a person so many of you in the world should look after and be inspired by is that the poor woman comes up short so many times but she never lets that get her down and quit. Running, training, racing all this stuff that we do is not always about the podium finishes, the fast times, and so on. It’s about the pure joy and love for getting outside and being healthy! It’s about that fire that burns inside you knowing that if you keep fighting keep believing you will achieve that goal! And that is the beauty of SW! She wants to qualify for the Boston marathon, she has been trying for a few years now and has been so close but either hot weather, a late season injury something has always comes up that does not let her have the day she is capable of and trained for.
Now a lot of runners would be discouraged and quit. (trust me I’ve seen them and tried to coach some of them) but not SW she gets up the next day laces her shoes and gets out there and starts chuka chuka I like to say! And she looks damn cute doing so!
I have run the Boston marathon 9 times, I have had loads of success on that course and simply embrace everything that race is about! But I would trade them all just to get SW her chance to line up in Hopkington and run down Boylston! SW is one of those people in life that just deserves a break, deserves one day of success for all the hard work and heartache they have endured over the years! SW well that girl has HEART! And because of her HEART and never quit attitude one day she will succeed and she will reach that goal and she will be on the start line in Hopkington with me and I will shed tears of joy.

So to all you runners out there chasing dreams! Chasing success and wondering will it ever happen? Am I capable? Let SW be your inspiration.

stay focused and passionate and believing and chasing just like SW does every day! Don’t let negative thoughts get you down, don’t let bad races, slow training runs any of that discourage you and make you not believe.
And hey if it never happens, so be it! At least you can say you had FUN! You trained hard, you believed and did everything possible to give yourself a chance!

SW- Bella and I love you very much and thank you for all the sacrifices you make to support the two of us in the pursuit of our goals! You inspire me and Bella, SW you may not be the fastest; the one on the podium, but you work so hard and have such passion and trust me the two of us notice and it makes us want to work that hard also! Keep believing in yourself as we believe in you and soon you will earn that Boston marathon celebration jacket!

Best of luck to all you athletes out there who roll out of bed each day chasing goals, who never give up and who believe (even after several failed attempts) that the dream is still alive and one day you will capture it!

Coach MB

Letting go of disappointment!

27 Aug

Letting go of a disappointing race.

We all have these moments in life, these moments of disappointment and heartache. These moments that leave us frustrated, and sad. As athletes we spend so much time training, and focused on chasing dreams to have that success and to rise above the competition and then when it does not happen the chrash comes, the disappointment and the million questions of “what if”, “where did it go wrong”, “what could I have done different”. Our minds flow with emotions and we spend the next few weeks trying to let go of these feelings move past that performance and move into the next phase of our training and racing with a new fire, a new focus!

In the book “How bad do you want it” Matt Fitzgerald writes a chapter called “The Art of letting go” I like using that title for talking about the post race blues. Letting go of a bad performance is really hard, endurance athletes, multisport athletes we are all so intense, and driven, type A people with goals and focus and it does not matter if we are 25 year old elite athletes or 43 year old age group athletes. We all have are goals, and what we view as success we all want that chance to stand on a podium or to run that qualifying time standard like a Boston marathon qualifying time. But sometimes the day is just not ours, sometimes it is things within our control that limit us and cause the failure, but often times it is things out of our control that cause us to come up short of the goal we set.

Much of this is fresh in my mind right now because a week ago at ITU World Championships for my main sport of the standard distance Duathlon (10k run, 40k bike, 5k run) I came up short of my goal, I came up disappointed and sad. But I also came out of this race being proud of myself, and developing a new mental toughness, a new strength knowing I can overcome some really hard and painful things. So my emotions all week have been quite the mixed bag. Yet here I set writing about the art of letting go and this is typically a process I myself must go through after every major race, at the end of my seasons this is part of my healing process.
My race came up short last week in Penticton, Canada because of an injury. I had tweaked my hamstring a few days prior to the race and even after all the treatments from the TEAM USA staff I could not get it to release and heal and be ready to go at 100%. And even with this pain, and knowing that my hamstring could explode (and it did) at any moment I still toed the line that day with a confidence and I am going for it attitude!
I raced in pain, I endured a new level of pain to fight through and I found a new mental toughness, a never give up, never quit toughness that pushed me through the race and over the finish line. For that I am proud but again here I sit trying to learn to let go of this performance that was far shy of my goal, my dream for the past year and now move on into the next phase of my training and racing. Letting go of these feelings and emotions is hard and what I will say to each of you that needs to go through this same process is flow with it, have the moments of sadness, have the moments of disappointment, but yet have the moments of happiness and success as well! Because not always is success measured in a podium finish or a BQ time on the marathon course. Sometimes success is measured in the small battles, the things we overcame just to finish a race. And even when you come shy of a top 3 in the World (podium) finish like I did you can still have a quality result and find something to be proud of and build on like my race I might have missed the bronze or silver medal but I can say I was the top American! And I was the top American and still 12th in the world with an injured hamstring and not racing at 100%. This will give me confidence to build on as I progress into next season, set new goals and chase my dreams. This is what you need to do also as an athlete and as you let go of the heartache of a bad race and move onto the next one. Find the positive in the failure and use it to fuel you and help you grow as an athlete and as a person.
When failure happens, or you come shy of the success you wanted. Don’t blame others just look at yourself say it’s now in the past and then move into the future.

It’s not easy to let go, but once you can let go and move on with a smile, and a proud confidence in you then the growth can begin and the next chapter can start.
Best of Luck everyone! Keep chasing dreams, don’t ever give up! Don’t let failure make you doubt yourself because we all go through these low moments in life to reach the high moments.
Coach MB


BC2017 MB run

2017 ITU World Duathlon Championships!

24 Aug

The ITU multi-sport festival landed in Penticton Canada for 2017 and hosting a week of World Championships races! It kicked off with Sprint distance Duathlon and will end this coming weekend with Long Distance Triathlon.
If you have never been to British Columbia and especially the Penticton (Okanagen Valley) area you must visit!! It’s simply beautiful and well pretty much the most amazing place I have raced or vacationed!

2016 USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships was the qualifying race for this event, and I had one of my best races there that year as I won the National title for the Male 40-44 race and was the 2nd overall Master that year. So 2017 ITU Worlds were my goal race of this season! This was the race I focused on all year, and trained myself to peak at! However this all went south when the Wednesday morning before I flew out west to Canada I tweaked my hamstring running a simple 400 at 85% effort level on a track. I can’t explain what happened other than just the Saturday before I had been in Omaha and raced USA Triathlon Nationals had a solid race qualifying for Team USA in Triathlon for 2018 in Aussie land! Felt great early in the week but when I rounded the last corner of the track that morning a sharp zinger shot down my leg and I knew something was wrong! I stretched, iced did all the recovery things I could think of but no way I could get it lose again to run. UGH!!! Once I arrived in Penticton on Friday afternoon I went straight to the Team USA massage room and had our massage therapist start working on me, she worked hard to loosen things up and could feel the tight ball and strain in my hamstring. The next morning I got up to run a little and bike some, I was able to run 2 slow miles with tightness and some pain then I came back to the Team Hotel and got treatment from the Team USA chiropractor she really worked on my low back as often times things like this stem from low back and a chain of pulling things out of whack. Sunday morning came and up again to go run and see how things felt. The night before I soaked in Epson salts, and did my stretches as the chiro instructed me to. This morning I squeaked out 3.5 miles again in pain with tightness and not fast. Then I went on the Team USA course familiarization bike ride. (biking did not bother me too much it was the run motion, the pressure and strain of running and trying to open up a stride into a race pace) after the bike ride was another trip to the team chiro and more treatment this time she taped me all up with Rock tape so I could try and get through the race the next morning.

Monday August 21st, race morning!! It was go time! I woke up full of excitement and nerves! It was World Championships! It was the best in the world toeing the line chasing a spot on the podium and some bragging rights! I was optimistic about my hamstring that morning even though during warm-ups I could feel the tightness and dull pain that was very local in one area of the hammy. But this was World Championships and no amount of pain was going to stop me! We all loaded the start corral and I visited with athletes from the other countries and kept things light giving cheers to everyone! When the gun went off and race started I eased into my pace and did not just drop the hammer, but I also was trying to run a good tempo. The first run of this race was 10 kilometers and was broken into a 4 lap course. So lap one went OK I was holding a 5:45 pace effort and really felt relaxed breathing wise but I could feel the tightness in my hammy, as we started lap two of this 10k run boom! My hammy sent a zinger of sharp pain down it and I screamed! It sent me into a spasm and bit of a stop as I grabbed my hammy, but again this was World Championships and nothing was stopping me from crossing the finish line that day. So as my pace slowed to manage the pain and find a stride I could run with I kept screaming in pain at times but I kept fighting. I pushed through 3 more laps of that run to complete the 10k and get to my bike! I got on my bike had a decent transition not a fast one cause my run motion was hampered. But once I was on that bike it was game on and I rode like hell! Pushing my limits, and working hard to chase people down was what I was doing the course was fast! With a gradual accent going out to the turn around and a gradual decent coming back. The bike is a 40k total distance broken into 2 20k laps. It had a really slow and tricky little turn around section but overall I just rode hard! Average 24.8 MPH for the 40k and now came the final phase of this race the 5k run!!
When I dismounted my bike my legs screamed!! The hamstring was so locked up and cramped and did not want to run with my bike through transition. But I endured the pain, I suffered and I kept running and out onto the 5k course I went pushing my limits and going for that finish line. Each step of that 5k was pure torture and some of the most pain I had ever ran in. But again this was the ITU World Championships and I was representing Team USA!! So I had to go I had to run and push and fight for every place in the standings I could climb. When I crossed that finish line I pretty much collapsed and needed assistance as my legs just locked up and hurt like hell!
When the dust settled and results were posted I ended up 12th in the world and was the first American in my division! This was a far cry from my goal but I felt a sense of pride as I knew I laid it all on the line that day and that I competed with the most guts and heart I ever had! I had endured loads of pain but mentally stayed strong and in the game chasing that finish line! I never quit, never gave up and never backed off no matter how much it hurt and that I’m very proud of! Sure the next day when I really looked at the results I was very sad as I saw the bronze medal winner times and I was easily capable of that had I been healthy! But that’s how it goes somedays, somedays the victory is not in the podium it’s in the battle we overcame to cross the finish line! It’s the mental battle that goes on in our head when things go south and we must overcome adversity that becomes the true victory! As a coach, as an athlete and as the father of an athlete all I wanted to do that day was inspire others! Show courage and fight and a will to persevere when the pain set in and things got really, really hard!

2017 ITU World Championships did not end with me on the podium as I dreamed but they ended teaching me that I can overcome some serious dark moments and that I can endure a lot of pain! They taught me how to mentally stay positive and fight and it was some of the most fun racing I have ever had! Such a world class event, in a world class city that allowed my wife and I to have an amazing vacation! So 3rd place or 12th place or whatever place you might finish does not always matter just find the pride in the finish line, find the strength to fight and overcome tough times and keep pushing! Congrats to all the amazing athletes who toed the line that day gave all they had and crossed that finish line! You are all simply amazing and inspiring!

Thanks to USA Triathlon and the TEAM USA staff! From the team managers, to the bike mechanics, to the massage and chiro staff that worked on me daily! They all made this experience top notch! Thanks to the beautiful city of Penticton for hosting and putting on a world class event! You have a beautiful city and I can’t wait to come back!

Thanks to my super amazing friends that train with me and help push me to be the best I can be!
And especially a huge thanks to my wife Shannon! and all she does supporting me as I chase my goals and dreams! SW you are the best!
Cheers to all the new wonderful friendships I made with fellow Team USA athletes and ones from other countries!

2017 ITU World’s hurt a lot but also brought so many smiles and so much joy!

Coach MB “Mike Buenting”BC2017 Team USA

MPLS Triathlon 2017 with Bella!

9 Jul

Yesterday was the 2017 edition of the MPLS Triathlon (Life Time Fitness Triathlon) it was a beautiful sunny day and racing conditions were overall pretty great!

I had not done this race in a few years, but have a long history of doing this race. Bella raced this event last year and was excited to come back!

My 14 soon to be 15 year old daughter Bella is the best, just love her to pieces and for us to share this passion of Triathlon together and race together is so much fun!

Bella and I get to share a lot of quality time together training for Triathlon. This is time that no matter how busy I am I will adjust my schedule and make the time for. I don’t let my work or anything get in the way of my precious time with Bella training and racing Triathlon because these are just so amazing! They are why I live!

Now MPLS Triathlon 2017! Since we had just got home from vacation in San Francisco and had not really been training all week, really was not sure what was going to happen? And on Thursday 2 days before the race Bella woke up with a fever of 101 degrees and was quite sick that day. Also a week of walking the hills of San Francisco and eating desserts and drinking wine well not the perfect race week diet. Anyway, for me it was a training race, but for Bella she wanted to give it a go!

Bella as I said is 14 and still learning her way and getting stronger and comfortable with bike handling, nutrition all of that. The biggest thing is she is nervous to take one hand off the bars when riding and grab a water bottle to drink. So she does these Triathlons with basically no fuel! Hardly even any water and on hot days like yesterday at MPLS it catches up with her during the run. It’s really hard to swim half mile, bike 15 miles, and then go into a 5k run with no water so after mile one of her run the cramps set in and she had to gut out pushing herself at a much slower pace run than she is capable of. Lucky for Bella she can swim! And swim fast! With the second fastest swim split I believe of the sprint distance, passing all the 29 and under males that helped set her up in a good position. She also had a nice bike split for a girl who rides timid still and since she does not know the course perfectly and rides safe not all crazy she still averaged just under 21mph on the bike. She ended up winning her division of 19 and under females and was 8th overall in the sprint race. Pretty impressive for a 14-year-old girl still finding her way. Of course, as a dad I was so proud of her! The fun part for me was I was on my second lap of my 10k run and I caught up to Bella with a mile to go in the course and was able to cheer for her and then when I finished I knew she was coming just behind me, when Bella crossed the finish line with me cheering loudly I was able to give her a big hug and tell her how much I love her and am proud of her! Best moment of the race for me!


Now my race… well let’s start by saying I better start practicing my swim! Swimming maybe one day a week is not going to get it done! I swim like a log not a fish! And well this was my first Olympic distance race of the year and my longest swim of the year. I sight like crap as my swims look more like a drunken sailor stumbling down the pier than a well-oiled Triathlete swimming machine! Needless to say, I had to play a lot of catch up and chase on the bike and run! Now the big blunder of the day, and the dumbest thing I have ever done in my many years of multi-sport racing! I leave my shoes clipped into my bike, attach them with rubber bands to the bike then run out cross the mount line leap on my bike and ride away and put my feet into the shoes as I ride. What did I do yesterday? Well I clipped my right shoe into my left pedal and left shoe into my right pedal so had my shoes all backwards. So here I am leaping on my bike flying down the parkway thinking I’m all bad ass and as I try to insert my foot into my shoe it won’t go in right, the buckle on my shoe is all back the other way and I’m like what the hell? I look down and notice the wrong shoe on each side and say UGH!! I have to stop along the road get off my bike unclip each shoe, put the shoes on then mount my bike and ride away. I rode angry! And well even with the added time of dealing with this bone head mistake I still cranked out a bike split of one hour which is 24.3 miles per hour average so had I not lost that time I wonder what my bike split would have been? Then came the run now this is my strength except in hot sun then I melt.  I took off 5:53 pace for the first 1.5 then started to slow more like 6:05 pace but by my second loop of the 10k I was wilting and my pace dropped into the 6:20’s and I limped in with a slow 38 minute 10k.  Not what I was looking for but 6:15 avg. pace. I ended up finishing 2nd in my age group which is fine but overall my time was not so impressive based on my awful swim, and my blunders in transition.

The day was not so much about my race, but it was about the amazing memories I will have of racing with Bella! The day was about the time Bella and I shared together, having us both finish on the podium, and that special hug I gave her as she crossed the finish line!

Bella you are the greatest gift I have ever been given and sharing the passion of Triathlon with you and all the pain, sweat and good times we have together with this wonderful sport simply is awesome!

Love you Bella!!



Dad.. Coach MB

BB MB MPLS Tri 2017 

Sharing your passions with your kids.

5 Jun

Finally I’m back writing my blog. I’m sorry to all my wonderful followers that I’ve been away but life has been nuts!

This week I have something special to write about and that is the joy I share getting to train and race with my 14 year old daughter Bella.

Having the same passions as your kid and getting to share these moments together is simply heartwarming and amazing! I just spent the weekend training with Bella as we prepare her for her first Triathlon of 2017 and dad’s first as well.

This coming weekend is Trinona Triathlon and Bella and I will be down south racing the sprint distance in what we call the daddy vs. daughter showdown!

Bella has been racing Triathlon since she was 7-8 years old and until last year she was just in youth/kids distance races like the Iron-Kids series. 2016 as she was 13 turning 14 she finally aged up to enter into sprint distance races (adult ones) which meant her and I could start training together more, and racing together!

One of the best moments of this training season was a week ago taking Bella out on a 26 mile bike ride with a group of women I coach and having her keep up and even push the pace on them! Sharing moments like this with your kid, simply put a huge smile on my face! Sure we have our moments out there because we are both a little stubborn and it can be hard to be dad and coach at the same time. But overall we have a blast together and we learn from each other!

So this weekend in Winona Bella and I have a small bet on who will win. Sure we have to create a bit of an equalizer time standard. But Bella is a way faster swimmer than I am, she bikes pretty strong and she can run. So it shall be an interesting race against the clock and each other. We both have just a bit of competitive nature in us. Ha

For me as dad it will just be so awesome to be in transition with her, and walk to the lake for that swim start together! Hopefully I can catch her on the course and give her a cheer! And when we both cross the finish line get our medals and are able to hug each other well that is going to be priceless.

Find things you can do with your kids like this, introduce them to your passions and you might find out they have a passion for it also! Because sharing moments like this with your kids is simply the best!

Bella and I have a full summer of racing together including USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in August in Omaha NE.  So it’s going to be an amazing summer, a fun one filled with a lot of heart and guts but one we both will remember forever! As we push each other to our limits!


Best of luck this weekend to all the athletes doing Trinona!



Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.comMB and BB Freewheel 2017 

Let go of the past, focus on the future!

12 Feb

As athletes especially competitive athletes who set goals and chase goals we often times get lost in the past chasing our success of yesteryear. This can be OK if we keep the right mindset but it can also be mentally draining and have negative effect on us.

This thought got brewing in my mind this morning on a run, reflecting back over data of several years of racing and training and asking that question inside ourselves “why can’t I get my times back to where they were three years ago?”

So that question has many different answers and paths, and it’s not that even as we age that we can’t get back to our youthful days of performance it’s how we do things, how we believe in ourselves mentally (confidence) and how we progress and keep moving.

As a coach I meet a lot of athletes without a lot of years of experience in racing or training for endurance events like marathon or a Triathlon. So as I meet these athletes and coach them and train them in a proper way to make improvements they make these massive gains and improvements over the course of the next 3-5 years and it builds all sorts of confidence in them which is wonderful. But as time goes by as an athlete gets faster and faster the rate of gain becomes smaller, now instead of every race being a PR time, it’s every few races or maybe one race per year and the others are still solid strong performances but just not at that rate of gain like they had in the early years of a focused training plan.  I have found with age group athletes and this equates to myself as well. That for many years we do this leisure way of training we just sort of workout at one level of intensity, we do things as we like with no true plan or understanding how to push our limits and get better. Then we decide to take things to another level, we hire a coach we begin to read some and learn and change our patterns for training. We now do interval sessions, we cross train, we increase mileage, we do slow recovery efforts and so on. As we make this shift we see these rapid changes within ourselves we watch race times quickly make huge leaps and get faster and faster and we are glowing with confidence and happiness/excitement. 

But as time goes and that PR in a marathon goes from 10 minutes shaved time to 10 seconds we start to have doubt in ourselves, doubt in our ways of doing things and methods. It can mentally drain us and make us feel down and less confident. This is that negative effect that can only be fixed with a shift within our mind. A new approach to things and believing in ourselves.

As athletes we have to understand that in the early years we will see massive gains in time drops but as we get faster and stronger those gains become smaller because the athlete is performing at such a high level all ready. We can’t take this as a negative but yet stay focused and positive and understand it.  Many of us age group athletes like myself had some really fast good times for the marathon etc… in our late 20’s and early 30’s but as we keep going and get into our 40’s then 50’s things change our bodies are a little different and we don’t quite have some of the speed like we use to. (This is not to say that past 40 you are done because I know a lot of wicked fast 40 and 50 year olds out there people who keep on getting faster and can stick it to the young kids) So don’t think you are past your prime and past setting personal best times because you are not. You just have to sometimes say it won’t happen as often, you need to be even more focused about your training, your sleep, your diet all the little things. Things that we could skip and short change a little in our younger days but as we get older we can’t.

I also find with athletes that struggle in this area of comparing times and fitness too years past is that most the time they still have it in them and they still have all that speed to get faster but because they trained so hard for those early years they get to the end of a season take a mental break and some time off (which I think all athletes no matter what level they are need these breaks at the end of the season) but they extend those breaks they say I’ll take one month relaxed and easy and not focused, one more turns into two and then into three and next thing they know their friends started training and getting focused a month or two ago and now they are lagging behind trying to catch up and mentally this bogs them down and makes them lose confidence. This is the point the athlete needs to let go and start pushing their limits, less thinking and just stay within themselves, keep training hard with passion and focus and in due time they will catch up to the others and then pass the others because deep inside them is all the speed and strength they just have to dig it out again. So these “end of season time offs” can be a good thing and a bad thing if not managed properly.  So when you take a break take a week or two off then enter back into building fitness with moderate workouts but if you have goals the next season and want to get back to work you can only allow these breaks to last so long before you get back into a routine otherwise you play catch up half the year and will set yourself back from continuing to grow and set personal bests. The movie American Flyers had a great line a quote at the training center. “Once you got it up, keep it up” I live by that and love it.  As an athlete myself I allow mental breaks, but fitness breaks I don’t allow much of that I just find a new way to do things to keep myself engaged and staying fit. Try this approach to make sure you don’t lose too much fitness and spend months or trying to get in shape again before your training cycle kicks in and that race approaches that you want to excel in.

But at the end of the day, no matter our age, our years of training and racing, our experience level all of it. We can still chase dreams, we can still get faster and stronger, and we can still set personal bests. Because the root to continued success lies within us, within our mind! It’s all about mental toughness! It’s all about how bad do you want it, how hard are you willing to work, how much pain are you willing to endure? When the workout is hard, the intervals are fast are you going to keep pushing your limits and fighting? Or are you going to make an excuse and back off and quit? At the end of the day the answer to any growth and success is all about your mental toughness, and How Bad do you want it! How much are you willing to work for that success because the success the growth the PR times don’t come with half hearted efforts, and just thinking about it, thinking it will come easy. They will only come if you have passion, desire, fire, and a relentless forward motion and positive attitude to push even when you think you can’t push anymore.


Go be great! Never stop believing! Never think your days are over and you can’ grow!

Because it’s all crap! No matter your age or fitness level you can always grow, always get faster and always keep having success chasing dreams and goals!



Coach MB 

Just because you are down, does not mean its over!

6 Feb

This past Sunday I saw two incredible displays of never giving up even when you are down and it seems like things are over. Sport is an amazing display of pushing limits, challenging yourself and learning a lot about what you are made of.


Sunday morning I was watching college wrestling (I’m a Iowa Hawkeye) and they were wrestling Minnesota. Iowa’s 125 pounder and #1 ranked wrestler Thomas Gillman was flat out getting his butt kicked! In the first period the Gopher wrestler got a take-down then back points and was soon up 8-0 then he rode Gillman the entire 2nd period racking up over 3 minutes of ride time. I would say most of his though not good Gillman is going down. But never once did Thomas give up and quit wrestling, He kept fighting, he kept after it and taking his shots. Soon Gillman was on his offense got momentum shifted his direction and next thing you know he pins the Gopher wrestler and wins the match! It was a crazy amazing turn of events and one of the best wrestling matches I have ever seen.

Then came Sunday night and the Super Bowl! Now I know all most all of you watched this and were stunned when the game ended. If you watched the first three quarters you saw Atlanta Falcons pretty much dominate the Patriots and take a 28-3 lead with 2 minutes left in the third.

But Tom Brady and those Patriots did not stop believing and they did not stop playing. Most teams or athletes would have folded and quit assuming no way we can overcome this many points with just 15 minutes to play. But the Patriots showed an amazing never die, never quit attitude and stayed the course stuck to what they do and just kept chipping away at the Falcons as the Falcons kept making mistakes and wilting. Next thing you know the game is headed to overtime and the Patriots won the game! Simply an amazing comeback!

Both of those events showed such strength, such mental toughness and fight to keep going even when all the odds everything in the world said quit! And well that sums up how an endurance athlete needs to respond and act and think as well.

As endurance athletes we endure all types of things, things that kick us down take us off our game out of the race and make us want to quit. The lessons we need to learn is that if you’re a fighter, if you believe in yourself and you have passion and desire then no way you should ever let something try and slow you down and take you off your game.

It’s like a marathon runner who has been running a great race nailing all their splits staying tough and then mile 20 comes along legs turn to concrete the mind starts to say “Hey wait this does not feel good let’s quit” You slow for a mile maybe two and things appear like you will do the death march to the finish line, but since you’re a fighter and a positive thinker you keep pushing, pushing your limits, pushing through the pain and no quitting not giving in and you cross that finish line maybe still with that goal time, or place on the podium you wanted or maybe not but you are a lot closer to that goal time and with a finisher medal because you never quit! Had you given into the pain accepted defeat when those miles slowed you might have had a crap time, maybe not even finish as you walked along the final miles depressed and with a bad attitude. But when you keep that relentless forward motion and just keep fighting its amazing what can happen!

The same thing goes when you are an elite competitive racer and you are fighting for a top finish a podium spot and you fall back right away to your competitors and they look strong do you make excuses? Quit and drop back and say guess I just can’t beat them today or do you fight and dig your way back into the race from the hole you’re in? If you’re an athlete like Thomas Gillman you keep fighting and pushing and believing in yourself! Because you never know what can happen if you stay strong, stay focused and never give up!

So this season as you train remember these words, think of these examples of athletes being kicked and beaten and down that it appears they have not shot to bounce back, but then all the sudden they overcome the odds and they succeed!

When you have passion, desire, and a positive attitude! When you have confidence and believe in yourself magical things can happen! So don’t let anyone or anything kick you down just keep fighting and have that success go for the win!


Happy Training, Racing and being inspiring!


Coach MB


You have to Fight for it.

30 Jan

In life you set goals, you have dreams and things you want to achieve. These goals and dreams and success you want never comes easy and if it does come easy then we want to set a new challenge one that is much harder and makes us work that much more for it. Because the harder the challenge the happier we are when we reach it! the more pride we have the more confidence.


Now it is easy to set goals and it’s easy to talk and dream and say we want things. But when it really comes down to it we have to want it! And we have to be willing to fight for it. I had a run last week when this thought process starting building in my head. It was windy out and I was a touch tired but my workout called for me to hit some paces and have some periods of harder efforts. As I ran my miles solo down the winter roads and fighting the elements I kept telling myself you want it so you have to fight for it. The mind was trying to tell my body to quit and slow down and give in, then the other side of my mind would fight back and say no you must fight for it and earn it. Now I might not have hit all the paces I wanted to that day but I had a mental break through in that my effort was there. My effort was such that it felt like I was working harder than if I had actually hit my goal paces and that never give up quit I had that day was positive for me and gave me the confidence I need and want during a training cycle.

Every day we get up we have to fight for things, maybe it’s a promotion at work; it’s a fitness goal whatever it is we won’t have that success unless we fight and push our limits and earn it.

I meet people all the time that can talk a big game but when they get into the workout and the pain sets in things get hard they can easily back off the pedal and give up not push that wall back and make progress toward the success they dream and speak of. These are those big moments when as an athlete you have to fight for it. When you dig deep inside yourself and you push as hard as you can go that day and you stay mentally engaged and strong and chase that success you dream of.

In a race I’ve seen it so many times, one athlete gets out front and then sort of goes on cruise control, but then another athlete from the pack surges forward takes the lead and goes on to win the race. Now maybe that athlete who had the lead really try and had nothing left to match the other athlete, but I would bet more times than not the intensity of that race got so high that the one athlete was willing to fight for it more than the other and endure that pain and therefore win the race.  It’s all such a mental battle and telling yourself things like “fight for I” “how bad do you want it” etc… questions that you can ask yourself and use as motivation are key in truly reaching your success.  So stay positive and keep fighting! Don’t give up or back down when things get hard, embrace the pain and feel that sense of pride when you complete it!

The same type of mantra fight for it applies to those who can easily skip a workout, make an excuse of why they can’t wake up, why they can’t squeeze in their workout even if they have to cut it short because of time or something. When something matters to you then you will always find away to make it happen and fight for it. So on those days during those times when you can make lame excuses and not follow through and fight for it and you skip your workout ask yourself does it matter to you. Do you want it? And is it worth fighting for!?


Be inspired, stay inspired, stay motivated and remember you are motivating and others are watching so fight for it!



Coach MB

Gotta Have Heart Training