Eye on the Prize!

25 Jul

The summer of 2019 has been loaded with success and fun racing Triathlon! I’m so blessed that my 16 year old daughter loves the sport of Triathlon like I do and that we can train and race together!
Things have really clicked for Bella this summer, she has set 3 junior female course records, has won her age group in all 4 of her Minnesota races and has placed #4 overall at Buffalo sprint Triathlon, #3 overall at Lake Minnetonka Triathlon, #3 overall at MPLS (LifeTime) Triathlon, and was the #1 overall winner of Heart of the Lakes Triathlon. And doing so in some pretty impressive times!
Mom and dad could not be more proud!
So here I sit on Thursday July 25th reading the race pre-view and predictions from Minnesota Tri-News about one of my favorite local events the Chisago Triathlon and then going why are Bella and myself not on the start list? We had planned to do this race early in the season but never registered and then as July rolled around we re-thought our plans and goals and choose against doing it. Why? Well both of us just raced two weeks in a row and if we did this race it would make 3 weeks in a row. Sure we could do it and handle it, but I know both of us are a bit tired and both of us wanted to have a big training week this week and not taper/rest for another race. So as we struggle not to be on that start line and go take on some great competition we have to remember what the ultimate goal of the summer and season is! And we must keep our eye on the prize!
In 2018 Bella and myself raced ITU World Championships in Australia as a father/daughter duo and it was amazing! So the 2019 goal is to qualify for 2020 ITU Worlds and get back to having another amazing experience! And in order for us to qualify it means on August 10th and 11th we must be in peak shape, and be rested! Which means no Chisago race this weekend and keep our eye on the prize and that goal we set out at the start of the year chasing!
Racing Triathlon we make so many sacrifices, from skipping nights out with friends, so we can get sleep and rise and grind bright and early and so on. But it’s all worth it because Triathlon is a family way of life with us and we just love the sport and all it gives us and teaches us! We love the Triathlon community! So as hard as it is right now to sacrifice and give up doing a race that we really love, we both know that we must do so in order to be prepared for USAT AGNC in a few weeks.
So best of luck to everyone racing this weekend! Myself and Bella are sad we won’t see you in transition or get to chat and hear Jerry call our names as we cross the finish line! Instead we have a big weekend of training ahead of us and some rest!
Eye on the prize! Cleveland, OH and USA Triathlon age group national championships! And hopefully another spot on TEAM USA and a trip to ITU Worlds!

MB and Bella (daddy/daughter Triathlete dynamos! )


Team Buenting = Team USA

16 Apr

Team Buenting = Team USA 2019 Duathlon National Championships!

April 13th and 14th 2019 USA Triathlon (USA Duathlon) brought National Championships to Greenville, SC. If you have never been to Greenville I suggest you go visit it is a beautiful city and the people are so very kind and wonderful! Before I share the success of the weekend I want to say thank you to USA Triathlon for producing an amazing event, to Tri Bike Transport for getting out bikes safely to the race site and to Camp from Tri Bike Transport for all his service and help and just being a great guy! Thanks to F2C Nutrition for their support and the fuel that keeps Team Buenting hydrated!

I am so blessed that my family shares the healthy way of lifestyle that I live by and am passionate about. My wife Shannon who aged up to 50 this year, my daughter Bella 16 years old and myself who also aged up to 45 this year circled this event in the fall and said let’s get the entire family qualified for Team USA and World Championships 2020! We all knew a race in early April coming out of a miserable and brutal Minnesota winter was not going to be easy! When you can’t get outside much and run because of snow/ice/cold and you are stuck indoors on a bike trainer all winter it’s not ideal for having yourself in peak shape to compete at an event of this level! But it is what we had to deal with so Team Buenting just focused and adapted to conditions as mother nature gave them to us and got ourselves ready to compete.
I think Bella had the hardest time to prepare for this event because she is a junior in high school, taking ACT tests for college, she swims competitive on high school and club teams and is on the high school track team. So for Bella to navigate all these things in her life and find extra time for bike workouts and Duathlon specific training was tricky but she did her best and was very dedicated as she has passion for multi-sport and a drive to succeed! All winter long she would sneak in bike workouts on the Wahoo kicker between swims, or track practice, between tests and studying, get up before swim meets and get a quick ride in whatever it took to log a few hours each week on the bike. But Bella’s first outdoor bike ride of the year was her draft legal sprint race that she competed in so some of the bike handling skills were a little rusty just like myself. I could tell Bella and myself had not raced or been outside since Sept. in Australia for Triathlon Worlds. Transition onto the bike were not as fluid as they are after some practice, and the handling of wind, other riders, rain, hills the confidence of controlling the bike was not there as it will be in another 4-6 weeks. But we dealt with it, and pushed our limits with no excuses!
Saturday morning was the draft legal sprint duathlon (Bella race) this is a 5k run to start into a 20k bike that is draft legal, and finish with a 2.85k run. This was the first time Bella had ever done a duathlon! Bella is a swimmer and loves Triathlon because she likes getting started with a swim. The start of a 5k run was tough and the pace for her race was wicked fast! She had to compete against girls that are state champions in high school cross country, former champions in Duathlon and Triathlon and have been racing this year all ready. She went out chasing them and held her own but by the end of the 5k run they began to break away from her which meant when Bella got on the bike she needed to find some new women to work with in a pack and try to catch up. And once Bella hit the second run and realized she was not catching the few ahead of her she dialed it back some and secured her position. Bella finished 4th in her division and 15th overall in the race (no matter of age) which is really a great performance! She secured her spot on Team USA and 2020 World Championships! I was so proud of that little girl and how she pushed her limits, dealt with the heat, humidity and adversity of the race we are not accustom to yet. Now that Bella secured her spot it was time for Shannon and I to do the same on Sunday.
Sunday morning kicked off with my race the standard distance duathlon a 9k run, 40k bike, 5k run. I just aged up to the 45-49 group but that is the fastest age group I believe in the race! I have Lee Piercy (who is the World Champions last two years) in my division, I have Dave Slavinski who is former National Champions and podium finisher at Worlds and some new guys I’ve never raced that showed they are in great run shape! The bummer for our race was just as we loaded the corral and the countdown to start was on the skies opened up and it poured rain! So we were soaked, our gear was soaked and the roads were now wet. The rain did stop during our first run before we jumped on bikes, but I’m a really cautious and nervous biker when roads are wet and we have rain so I took the start of the bike pretty cautious to how I normally would ride. This was not good because I had lost a bit of time to the leaders on that first run and needed to chase them down on my bike! The first run was fast, and I knew I was not in peak run shape yet as I only had a couple speed sessions all training because of Minnesota winter. So when we hammered out the gates at 5:20 per mile pace I knew ouch! I managed to hold strong in the 5:58 pace for the 9k but that lost me a little time to the faster runners. My legs took 6k or so before they felt the groove on the bike and then I began to hunt passing riders from the earlier waves and moving closer to my competition. The course is really great not too technical but very hilly it’s always up or down not much for any flat at all. And the winds were tricky as the course is very exposed so lots of wind to deal with and those wet roads. I’m not happy with my bike split, but it’s again about were I am right now based on my current fitness and my skills. Now came run #2 the fight for the finish line! When I came off the bike my calves, my hamstrings all were cramping!! The aero bike position, the warmth, the humidity all that had my legs just not right so that second run was a battle, and I had to often adjust my run stride and not open up to go faster cause of the cramps and locking up on my muscles in that hamstring to glute attachment area. So I ran what the body gave me and finished as strong as I could. I can say that I gave my best that that day had to offer, I know I have more in me and will get faster but on this day I have no excuses, no regrets as I went out and pushed it. Those other dudes are just really fit right now! I finished 4th in my division and 15th overall just like Bella and secured my spot for Team USA and 2020 world championships!
Two of us are in, now what will Shannon do? Shannon never races multi-sport as she is really just a runner. She has not done a duathlon in 3 years or so and does not have the confidence that Bella and I typically have. But Shannon worked so hard on the bike all winter logging those hours doing Sufferfest workouts on the Wahoo kicker and getting herself fit! No matter how Shannon did I was just so proud of her and how hard she worked all winter! But again indoor training then going outside to race, especially for someone who is inexperienced is not great. Shan would have really benefited from some outdoor rides for sure to get her bike skills down.
Shannon was signed up for the non-draft sprint race on Sunday afternoon, but mother nature came in strong and the skies opened up and it poured rain for awhile before her race, winds picked up more and some very severe weather was on its way! The race officials did a great job to make a race happen by taking the sprint and making it a super sprint. The adjusted the course so that we could squeeze this thing in before the severe storm hit! Shannon went out on the first run hard, pushing her absolute limits at the front of the pack and actually ran her fastest per average mile times ever! For the 1.5 mile first run she cranked out 6:48 pace! Had herself in podium position! The bike course was tricky and congested and again Shan does not have the bike skills of racing like Bella and I but she handled it great, avoided crashes around her and safely made it back to transition for run #2. She was still sitting in a podium position but the other women were coming for her! Shannon crossed the finish line and boom!! Podium finish with a 3rd place and bronze medal! Shannon had secured her place on Team USA!
Now that 2019 Duathlon Nationals were over we could all relax a little and celebrate! Team Buenting now equals Team USA the goal of qualifying all three of us for 2020 World Championships has been met and it ended in amazing fashion with Shannon landing on her first podium ever!! I was so proud, I beamed with excitement when Shannon was racing, I was texting her friends back home with updates and to see her finish and get that podium finish just made everything worth it! That is a priceless moment! Shannon supports Bella and myself so well and typically Shan does not race just takes care of us. To have Shan race and reach her goal when she had not confidence or making Team USA was so awesome! I’m just so damn proud of her! I’m so proud of both of my girls!! They worked hard, they took on a new challenge as they had never competed in Duathlon before and they both had success! I have been on Team USA 4 times, and have been a National Champion in Duathlon before so my race and my success is not as exciting as what Bella and Shannon accomplished!
The family had an amazing weekend in Greenville, and then before we flew home Monday had a great college visit at Queens University of Charlotte, and a great meeting and tour with the Triathlon coach of Queens.
Now hopefully spring will arrive and stay in Minnesota and we can get back to some focused training and a successful season of multi-sport racing family style!
Congrats to all the finishes and amazing people who competed this weekend! We made a lot of new friends got to reunite with old friends and just enjoyed the wonderful and supportive community of multi-sport! Truly nothing like a bunch of Triathletes/Duathletes some of the best people anywhere!
Team Buenting now can say we are Team USA as all three of us will be able to represent in 2020! Also a big shout out to our good friend Ann Lendino who trains with Shannon and competed in the draft legal sprint race on Saturday Ann also qualified for Team USA with a 7th place finish and will join us in 2020!

Bella, Shannon I love you both so much! And am just so proud!!


Sharing the sport of Triathlon with your kids!

4 Aug

For years now, my daughter Bella and I have been racing and training for the sport of Triathlon together. She started racing Triathlon when she was 7 or 8 years old doing little Iron-Kids events and as she has grown up started moving into sprint distance races competing with the adults! Nothing brings more joy to me than heading out in the morning and riding bikes with her or chasing her in the open water for a swim or having her pass me doing 400’s on the track! I love walking into transition with her, seeing how relaxed she is and how well she handles herself now setting up her gear and getting race ready! And the greatest moment of all is seeing her cross those finish lines and giving her a big hug! I love this girl so much and am so proud of her and impressed with how she manages all the training for Triathlon, training as part of the high school swim team at Minnetonka high school and her school work! She studies hours a day even taking 3 summer classes right now. At 15 years old soon to be 16 she shows so much dedication to her passions and strives hard to be successful it really inspires me!

So, when Bella and I went to Omaha NE in August of 2017 and both qualified for ITU World Championships Triathlon Gold Coast in 2018 of course we had to take those spots and plan a family trip to Australia! Being part of Team USA with my daughter is going to be incredible! I have raced three times for Team USA (Duathlon) and it’s so special and always the most amazing events! Lauren and Tim and Meg and all the staff at USA Triathlon simply are the best and they do such an amazing job of giving us athletes an amazing and memorable experience!

2018 has been a lot of fun racing and training with Bella sure it’s had some ups and downs but mostly success and fun! Our season together kicked off in early June when we did the New Bri Tri. Bella won the 19 and under division and was 2nd or 3rd overall female also! It was kind of a crazy weather day also with strong winds, cool temps, waves on the lake to deal with a poorly marked bike course a run course that was marked long and swim buoys not staying in place. But we both dealt with things and rocked some solid races to open the season!
Then I went to Madison WI the next week and did 70.3 Madison. The week after that Bella tried to race her home race Lake Minnetonka Triathlon but mother nature had other plans and stormed so heavy that the race had to be cancelled for safety. Then came the family trip to Denmark so that I could race ITU World Championships (Duathlon) in Odense, Denmark.

The next race of the season for Team Buenting was one of our local favorites! Heart of the Lakes Triathlon! If you have never raced here please do so! The town is amazing the course is great and it’s just a low key wonderful event! This race came with a few hiccups for both of us! Bella of course got out and rocked the swim course! But 2 miles into her bike ride a piece inside her helmet broke and her helmet flopped on her head, she stopped to fix it and in doing so fell on her bike skinned up her knee and hurt her ribs. She had to gather herself, fix her helmet and ride on after a few minute delay that cost her some places in this race! But after all that this little 15 year old gathered herself biked like a manic averaging almost 21mph then got out on the run struggling with sore ribs and breathing. She was 4th overall female and missed third by 10 seconds and really could have moved into second without the bike fall. She won her 19-under division again by 10 minutes though. For me well I was racing on my road bike playing chase cause my Tri-Bike stem had broke and a new one was on order. So, my race was not quite what I planned.

The next two weekends after Heart of the Lakes were spent at the swimming pool! As Bella raced down in Rochester for the Minnetonka Swim club at the regional meet, then the following week at the University of MN in the state swim meet! During those meets she rocked best times in all of her events, including racing the 400 freestyle for the first time ever and missing a state cut by 5 seconds which if she knew how to pace and do that race could have got cause she had more in the tank.
The next Triathlon for Bella was Chisago sprint Triathlon! What was really impressive about this race was it was the Sunday after she just spent three days competing in the state swim meet! And the day before the Triathlon she swam the 200 butterfly at the state meet! It was a week of her still doing Triathlon workouts while swimming in the state meet, not sure her swim coaches know this? 😊 Then the Chisago Sprint Triathlon is also the longest bike race Bella has ever done. Most sprint races she does is a 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run. Chisago is a ¼ mile swim, 22 mile bike (this is like 10 miles longer than she is use to) and a 5k run. Bella handled that rolling hills bike course like a champ! Laying down 21mph avg. which is quite impressive! She had a really competitive field in this race of older elite Triathletes like Susie Fox and Nicole who are very strong athletes! And even with all of that Bella rocked 7th overall, she won the 19-under division and had a really great race! I also raced the short course here and well had some stupid blunders like stripping my swim skin to my waist but forgetting to take it off before I went out onto the bike course so I road with basically a parachute around my waist! What fool does this!! 😊 But the glowing moment for me was being on that 5k run course on my way back to the finish line and passing Bella as she went to the turn around of the 5k run. (She started in the wave after me) Bella was looking great and every time I get to pass her during these races on the run course I get quite emotional and always yell. “Go Bella I love you! I’m so Proud of you Bella! Now go get it embrace the pain!” There is just something about seeing your kid out there suffering like you are on the course and having success! Then I always wait for her at the finish line and as she crosses the line I catch her and hug her and tell her how proud I am and how much I lover her!
Soon high school swim season at Minnetonka will start for Bella and she will be back to managing Triathlon training with swim practice and training and school work! As we have about 6 weeks before we compete over in the Gold Coast of Australia. It’s not easy and it’s challenging for sure but Bella is so dedicated has passion and focus and I know she will handle all of this like a champ! And dad is super excited to have 6 more weeks of training with her! Bella does not really have many kids her age racing Triathlon to train with none of her friends do it locally they are all swimmers or runners but none of them put all three sports together so Bella is stuck training with dad and his adult friends! What is exciting this 2018 season is to see her growth on the bike, Bella and I were out riding recently rocking a 25 mile ride as I teach her drafting skills which she is getting really good at sitting on my wheel and holding my tempo and pacing off me, except she can crush me going up hills she is a really good climber! But this day I looked back and saw another rider drafting off Bella and struggling to hold on as Bella and I held 24-25mph for about a 6 mile stretch we came to a stop light and he started complementing Bella form and power and of course as dad you just smile! I love taking Bella to the track with my training group also and run 400’s and watch her just blow past me and smoke me! Which I’m a strong runner and am lying down 73 second quarters and she can pass me like nothing!

Getting your kids into multi-sport is such a great idea! The sport of Triathlon teaches us so much more than just racing for podiums. And getting your kids involved in your passions, off the couch, away from the screens and out exercising is such a positive healthy thing! We need to keep growing the youth of our sport Triathlon and it starts with us as adults inspiring the youth and taking them out and letting the youth try this sport and find out how much fun it is!
I’m excited for the next several weeks of training for Gold Coast and of course getting over there and meeting up with all the amazing athletes of Team USA from other parts of the country seeing my friends from the other countries and then all supporting and cheering for each other! But walking in that parade of Nations next to Bella will be really special! It will be the celebration of a year of hard work and focus! And no matter what happens during the race over there it will be all smiles and tears of joy and so much happiness!

Well back to training! And Pushing Limits!
Thanks to all of those companies and people that support Bella and me!
F2C Nutrition, Rudy Project, Roka, Freewheel Bikes, TC Running Company, USA Triathlon.


Cheers, peace and love everyone! Embrace the pain cave!

2018 ITU World Championships dealing with adversity and staying positive!

12 Jul

I’m back in the U.S. now sitting at my desk at 4am because I’m all jet lagged and out of sorts from being in Denmark the last 8 days. So I finally have some quiet time to write about my amazing experience traveling to Denmark and racing in the standard distance Duathlon World Championships.


When I got the call from USA Triathlon in March asking if I wanted to compete in World Championships this summer in Denmark I was so honored, and so excited. Then when my family said let’s go and we found reasonable deals on flights and actually made it a reality I got even more excited! I was offered this spot at the top American the previous year at World’s in Penticton, Canada. After the flights were booked, the hotel booked and this was real I put my plan in place for training and trying to peak on race day for a special performance!


2018 training has been going very well, and my body has felt great, my legs have been fresh and with surprisingly low run miles compared to years past my run speeds look solid! I spent my winter in the pool at master’s swim class, and riding my Wahoo kicker building up bike strength. I did race a 70.3 Triathlon 4 weeks prior to worlds and that long course training certainly gave me a lot of endurance for racing at high speeds on the shorter course. The body was ready, mind was ready and I was focused to chase a goal in Odense, Denmark!


July 3rd, travel day! Bike was packed in my new Sci-Con bike bag, suitcases ready and we were boarding a flight from MSP to Amsterdamn and then into Copenhagen. All was going nice and smooth got to the car rental place at the airport in Copenhagen, rented out Volkswagon, Touran loaded our gear and began the two hour drive out to Odense. Checked into the Team USA/ USA Triathlon team hotel the Radisson Blu dropped our bags off in the room and then went down to the Team USA bike mechanics room to un-pack my bike. This is where things went so very wrong and where the theme and moral of this story comes in.

I open my bike bag and look in the bottom and think umm, why is my rear derailleur lying loose in the bottom of my bike back with this white piece of frame attached? As I looked closer and had a couple teammates look we realized my bike was broke! The rear derailleur hanger busted, but also maybe part of the frame? I could not tell? (This is where me in the past, and most people would explode and go into a massive negative downward spiral) I sat for a moment almost busted into tears and then paused and said OK let’s fix this, lets find a solution! I stayed positive and said to my wife Shannon. “I’m not going to let this ruin our vacation and wonderful time together in Denmark” My focus was be positive, stay relaxed and calm and find a way to make the race happen.  We ran into USA Triathlon/Team USA managers Lauren and Meg and they gave me the name of a nearby bike shop we took off to locate it and talk with them. They were a Trek dealer but did not have the part I needed and would not rent me a bike no matter how much I pleaded with them. They looked at photos I took of my broken bike also and could not 100% assess if my frame was broker or just the hanger.  After they declined me, I walked outside and began looking for another shop we met Dave one of my Team USA teammates who is 78 years old! Dave walked us down to another store he knew of called Tri-Fyn-Sports.  This shop became my saving grace! The young lad working that day Matieus, sat there as we explained what happen to my bike showed him photos and asked if he would rent me a bike. He said they don’t have any rental bikes, but as I looked at his showroom floor I saw this road bike sitting there that appeared to be close to my size. My wife Shannon and I pleaded with him to rent us the bike, I said what do you like? He said I like beer, I said great what kind and where can I go buy you some beer? He told me and I went off bought him a 12 pack of beer and we made a deal for him to rent me this road bike so I could race! I started to slowly come to a better place and sense of happiness cause I had a bike to compete with! Now it was a road bike and not my nice Trek Speed concept Tri-Bike, but it was a bike! The next day I rolled my case with my broken bike in it down to his shop, as we were taking my aero wheels and putting them onto this bike they would rent me. I also had to leave my Trek as collateral. Matieus got my rental bike all set for me, after I did race packet pick up I came back and got it and then took the bike over to my Team USA mechanic Drew for a quick run through on it and to make sure we had the seat post height good for me. That was all I could adjust since this was a bike for sale and not one I could mess with so the steam/handle bars were not right for me but I could make do.  I took the bike out for a short spin to make sure it shifted proper and road OK. It worked and so race was on for me! I put the race stickers on the bike, my helmet and headed over to transition and racked my bike! My sad and crazy feelings of my broken bike were settling down, and the excitement of racing World Championships was begging to build!

I knew that with this bike and all I had gone through dealing with locating the bike and getting it ready I would not be able to compete at the level I came here to do. But I was going to go out and push my limits and hurt and roll the dice and see how I do. This road bike easily gave up 2mph average over the 40k bike course, but I could still run fast! I also think this bike position and geometry affected my second run some, but again no excuses because I went out and gave it all I had! And I did it with a smile! I went out and was in the top 3 after the first run and was feeling good! But then the bike portion! The winds were a solid 15mph that day and lots of gusts into 20mph zone, so it was tough to battle winds anyway let alone on a rental bike not fitted to me. But I worked hard and pushed and fought and held off the chasers until maybe mile 7-8 of the bike then they began to catch me and I fought back with them as we played cat and mouse until finally they could hold me off. They had their nice aero-dynamic Tri-Bikes and my little rental road bike was no match for those. But during all of this I kept positive, I stayed focused and I fought hard, I gave all my effort and energy into finishing as strong as I could! I believed in myself and was just proud to be on the course and to focus on finishing!

When the bike portion was over and I transitioned to the second run man my butt hurt from the saddle of that bike and fighting the wind! I could tell my legs were not as fresh as they should be.  I took off and ran as hard as I could and I fought and fought for that finish line! Smiling and feeling so proud and positive that I did it!! I overcame this massive obstacle, I dealt with such crazy adversity and I was going to get that finisher medal at World Championships!

I crossed the line, got that medal and just smiled! It was not the finish place or time I dreamed over just a few days ago but considering all I had to deal with I was very happy! 10th place in the World finish and on a rental road bike.  The key to all of this is that when things go massively wrong, we must stay composed, relaxed, take a deep breath and just find a solution, find a way to fix the negative and make it a positive! We must focus on this big picture and not the small things or the immediate heart break. Life is really hard and tough and we get tossed curveballs all the time, we are faced with struggles and adversity and it’s how we deal with this how we stay positive and focused that will allow us to have happiness and truly reach our goals! I find more pride in my attitude of handling this situation more than I do my performance. Its times like this that will help me grow and make me a better person and stronger! I had friends show amazement to me that I could handle this massive issue with such a positive and calm attitude, my wife Shannon and daughter Bella were so great as well! They helped me and were so impressed at how calm and focused I stayed to fix the problem and race at the level I did.

When things come at you and try to kick you down, when things go seriously wrong don’t get negative, don’t give up. Stop breathe and find a solution and stay positive because in the end it can always be worse, and there is always a solution and positive outcome to be had even if goals have to be adjusted. Because of how I handled all of this I can say this is one of my most proud moments as an athlete! I hope my writing, and my actions here help others and can be an education to help you overcome adversity and negative moments in life!


The town of Odense, Denmark is lovely! The race was wonderful! I loved the run course! And I loved everything about this trip and experience! Sure, I hated dragging a bike across the globe and back that I could not race with, but this adversity it caused me was a great lesson and moment in my life and all though it caused me to not place where I believe I could have in the race I have no regrets about it! Because I earned something more than a place on the podium!

Life is about little moments, big moments and experiences, and it’s these moments that we carry with us for the rest of our lives! Don’t be afraid to try, don’t think about the money, just go embrace these little moments and make memories!

So much thanks and gratitude to those who support me! Those who help me compete in races like ITU World Championships and those who always pick me up when I fall!

Thanks to;  F2C Nutrition (seriously Greg and Glenda are the best!) their products are amazing and it was wonderful to have them in Odense and on the course! Thanks to USA Triathlon and Team USA (Tim, Loren, Meg, Pat, Drew) all the staff that came to Odense and supported us! Thanks to Freewheel Bike shop! (Kevin, Tyson, Chris, Mike, Blair, Scott) all of them that work on my bike and take my texts/emails from Denmark when my bike broke to help me find a solution and repair it straight-away when I got back to the states for my next race! Thanks to Rudy Project who sponsors and supports Team Gotta Have Heart and myself! The bike helmets and sun- glasses they support me with! Thanks to TC-Running for the support and my running shoes, thanks to my dear friends and the athletes of Team Gotta Have Heart! The support of friends like Krisana who drove us back and forth to the airport, Liv and her boys Ethan and Luke who looked after Scruffy the day we left before Manuela got home and looked after him the rest of our trip! But most of all thanks to my wife Shannon and daughter Bella for always supporting me and allowing me to chase my dreams, goals, passions! Thanks for the cheers and coming along with me and helping me through all the adversity of this trip and making it one of the best vacations ever!

Peace and love to all! Much gratitude, and respect! And remember stay positive and never give up!







Ironman Madison 70.3 2018 Recap!

11 Jun

It’s the morning after myself and some friends raced in Ironman Madison 70.3 Triathlon! And sadly, I can’t sleep past 6:15am! So here I am writing and processing the events of the previous day! (My girls are sleeping still! Lucky!)

The weekend has been fun, our hotel the AC Hotels by Marriot is fabulous! And I do enjoy the town of Madison and of course being with friends and my family! But the weather well that’s another story! Had the race been Saturday morning the weather was beautiful, calm winds, dry! Sunny and warm. But of course, we could not be so lucky! Sunday morning about 1am I woke up to go to the bathroom and heard the thunder and thought ugh! Then when it was finally time to go to transition that morning it was light rain, but you could tell it had poured rain hard as the transition was mud and wet! Then as we all stood in transition trying to stay dry, trying to keep our gear dry and just laughing and saying ugh! The thoughts that ran through all our minds was will this very hilly/technical and difficult bike course be safe? With wet roads, potential puddles and flooded spots, fast downhills into quick hard left or right technical turns and then wet wheels/brakes, mud on tires will we have braking power? The race organizers kept saying race is on as planned so we left transition with swim gear and headed to the swim start. At this point the rain was coming down hard, we were all shivering cold and soaked! Then the race got delayed 30 minutes because of this weather and more and more people started getting bikes out of transition and going home, deciding not race and be safe! This thought went through my head over and over! This was not an “A” race for me so I really did not want to risk an accident on the course in these conditions. But after standing on the beach a bit and seeing all my friends I coach and traveled with line up to swim I said well crap I can’t be the one guy who does not give it a go! So off I went into the choppy rough waters and started swimming! The swim I’m frustrated with because I’ve worked so hard on this and know I’m a much better swimmer than my time shows! But the chop was really hard for me to stay on course and find a stroke that allowed me to breathe and not swallow in the waves. I found that stroke got into a groove but then realized I swam way off course! Even bumped into a kayak. So I just stayed relaxed and swam and fought the waves, fought around other swimmers and made it to the beach.  A 38 minute swim is nothing great but for these conditions I guess it’s OK? Clearly sighting and holding a straight line in open water is something I need to work on.

Transition 1; call this mud wrestling? Ha.. the transition area which is grass but turned to pure mud was nasty! Made it to my bike but the mud was so bad, I had to carry my bike out of transition to the mount like, not run and roll it like normal. Needless to say transitions were not fast on this day!

The Bike course; Well on a nice day this is a very tough bike course, almost 3000 feet of climb I believe over the 56 miles, lots of steep hills, fast downhills into tight left or right turns that are very technical so you have to ride the breaks and be cautious. It’s a really hard course to get into a groove and really sit down and ride. And the roads in most areas and rough as hell! But now we mix in the weather conditions we were dealt! Rain, strong winds, wet roads, mud roads and well this bike course just got stupid! My plan on the bike was take it easy, be safe and ride smart! I did not try and drop the hammer and race the bike course hard, sure there were some sections I felt safe enough to ride tempo and I did but I was really slow and cautious on the downhills, the corners all that stuff! Plus, what makes this bike course slow is we spend a lot of time on bike paths getting in and out of town and the bike paths had standing water sections, were slick and nasty! The bike paths were so bad that my dear friend Liv had a wicked crash at the end of her bike ride coming back to transition. She wiped out hard, very cut, Bruised, road rash. Finally finished my bike ride and made it back to the pig pen. Mud mess we call transition! Again, had to carry my bike not roll it, cause by now things were even worse! Got to my spot and racked my bike went to put my run shoes on and saw that I had feet covered in mud, lucky I had a towel lying there and wiped them down some before putting on shoes. But as we ran out of transition the mud was so slick, sloppy, thick you had to be very cautious! The run started out great for me, my cadence was quick I was feeling good and I was clicking off some nice miles, maybe too fast? But it felt good. The issue of why my run blew up as it went on was for whatever reason my low back was tight and locking up in massive pain everything we had to run up a hill and this course is not flat it gently rolls so the up hills my back hurt! Then because of the rain all my nutrition got ruined that I kept in my bento box on my bike which means I rode 56 miles with no food only my water bottles with F2C Nutrition drink mixes (Glyco-Durance and Ultra-Durance) and when I went out onto the run, my cold slippery wet hands dropped my nutrition I had left in T-2 for the run so I was back to nothing! My run was rocking for 6-7 miles, then slowed slightly but not much just from 6:30pace to 7 min pace which was fine. But after some Red Bull and a coke at an aid station and no food my stomach got a little tipsy and my energy level was draining! So finally at my 9 aid station I saw they had cliff blocks and I like those so I stopped and asked for them, and then asked them to open the package cause my hands would not function! But now my body was really shutting down some, my low back was so tight and the mental games were trying to mess with me. But I stayed focused and kept running moving as fast as I could other than a couple short walk breaks so I could eat the blocks and chew them! Which those slowed my run average down and killed my time a little.

Finally hit that finish line, which you run up a steep little hill to get to! And then went off to medical to get warm, and a massage, nothing major in medical just needed some warmth as I felt like almost hypothermia. They worked on my low back for me and gave me some chips and slowly started to come back to life. My finish time was nothing great, but I am fine with it, I had low expectations that morning once I saw the weather, I choose to take it safe and conservative most of the race and focus on safety and cheering on others! I was just proud to finish! And not be hurt from a crash or fall!

The excitement of the day really was in my group of friends/athletes I coach and train with! We had three first timers for this distance and they did truly amazing!! We had Liv who had a really bad bike crash and still gathered herself got up and ran the half marathon and with a pretty fast time! (True Grit, toughness, determination, and heart!) The first timers, Becca, Julie, Ricardo all had quite amazing times breaking 6 hours all of them for these conditions and this difficult course is simply awesome! So I’m really proud and honored to be part of this journey with all of them! Becky well she is a crazy beast and rocked it! 2nd place in Age group and top 10 overall female! And a parking ticket to go along with her trophy! 😊

Lessons were learned, fun was had, emotions were expressed, frustrations occurred, but in the end it was a successful and joyous weekend and life is good!

Much Respect to all finishers of the race yesterday there was nothing easy about it! Celebrate finish lines, not finish times!

Thank you so much, Liv, Julie, Becca, Ricardo, Becky for months of sweat and pain, and tears and fun! Thanks for the motivation, the inspiration and the fun! You all are warriors! You all have HEART!

And last but not least my amazing family!! Shannon and Bella I simply could do none of this without you! You motivate me and inspire me to be great and I’m always trying to make you proud! All the sacrifices you give so I can do this crazy stuff means the world to me! Shannon is seriously like wife of the decade! Love you both so much!! More than maybe I show sometimes!

Thanks to all the cheers and support from friends and those that train with us! Without you these finish lines don’t become real!

Peace and Love! Be More Kind! Let’s do this again!





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