Tag Archives: Duathlon

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!!



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

Manuela = HEART and GUTS

2 Aug

Today I have decided to blog about my dear friend Manuela. Yes I also coach her and train with her and race with her but she is more than just one of the toughest athletes I know she is an amazing and kind soul!

Feb. 2012 is when I met Manuela, a past client of mine (Real Estate client) referred her and her husband Giulio to me in regards to buying a home. I remember getting her phone call this soft spoken, funny speaking woman calls and wants to talk about a home she wants to see. I struggled to understand her but was able to make out the main points. I met her a day later at this home and that was the beginning of who knew; such an amazing friendship and years of crazy stuff! (endurance sports crazy) They did not buy that first home I showed them but they did buy another beautiful home I found them and during that process the friendship began, the road of one crazy leading another crazy was formed. (so everyone on Team Gotta Have Heart and then some.. yes you can thank me for bringing Manuela into our lives! Making our lives better and showing us some serious guts and giving us a lot of inspiration and motivation)

It was one day at lunch during the home buying process that we talked running, she told me she ran 7k a few times each week and then maybe 15k on the weekend. She then said she had the dream of running a marathon but was scared to sign up for races and do it. I convinced her that she can do it! I told her you need to sign up for Twin cities marathon, I’ll coach you and you can train with my group. Somehow my persuasion skills were good and she did just that! But then she came to run with the group for the first time on a Saturday morning down at Lake Nokomis and by Melo Glaze donuts (I like to do donut runs now and again) the weather was ominous and it was lighting, wind, pouring rain pretty much all kind of crazy! And yet this group of insane (love them dearly) athletes I coach decided “the hard stuff” was not going to come down for awhile so run on.. it was like Caddyshack scene! We finished the miles, had a donut and she was in! During the next couple months as we prepared for Twin cities marathon you could see the determination, the passion, the excitement for running she had. She showed her toughness and her sweetness. Manuela bonded close to another athlete I coached Krisana and those two were the perfect training partners. Similar paces, and equally full of heart and guts!

In 2012 I was not at the finish line of TCM to see them run, because it was the same day that many of us from the group were in Chicago to run the Chicago marathon. But on that Oct. Sunday in 2012 Manuela and Krisana ran side by side, Manuela her first marathon and Krisana her 2nd marathon and they both qualified for Boston marathon together! When I got to the hotel in Chicago that day after my race and connected by phone with them to learn the news it was so exciting!  Since that day in 2012 Manuela has gone on to run several marathons including 3 Boston marathons with her first one being 2013.  The heart, and passion she shows for running is amazing! The way she races on her limits and with such guts! It was inspiring to me! And it was infectious amongst the group of athletes I coached. Manuela and Krisana continued to run many races side by side, Des Moines marathon, Goldy 10 mile, Boston marathon and so on.  I’ll never forget a few keys moments with Manuela.

  1. Boston 2013 being at the finish line coming out of medical tent and finding her, and giving her a hug after she finished her first Boston and had a very tough day on the course. Then walking back to hotel with her and hearing the bombs go off from that awful terrorist attack.
  2. New York City marathon 2014.  This was the day I stepped back from racing and ran side by side with Manuela for 26.2 miles supporting her the entire race; she was so fit that year and was ready for a break through marathon but the weather! 40+ mile hour winds and all kinds of crazy made for one wicked hard day on the course. But we ran and we had fun…. she might have given me the middle finger a few times but I loved it!
  3. Afton 25k Trail race  July 2015.   This is a wicked hard brutal trail course and I took it upon myself again to not race but yet pace and support Manuela. I had so much fun on those trails, I had so much fun watching the hunger in her eyes, the determination, the commitment to chasing her goal of a “Masters female” course record.  Guess what she got it! she was the Masters female winner and she set that course record.
  4. June 25th 2016   this is maybe my most exciting moment for us over the last several years. I guess because it has two parts.  This was USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships in Bend Oregon.  The year prior in 2015 Manuela won a National title, and that motivated me so much! It inspired me so much that the goal for 2016 was for both of us to win National titles together. I focused all my efforts on that race day nothing else matter except June 25th, 2016.  And guess what we both won National titles that day! We did it together and it was so special! The two of us trained a lot together for that day… along with our teammates at Gotta Have Heart Training (like Pete who also raced that day with success)  and for both of us to reach the top step of the podium at the awards that night means the world to me!

There is so many more highlights and amazing moments over the years with Manuela but those are four at the front of my mind. What she has taught me and those around her is that if you set goals, if you stay focused and committed, if you are willing to get out of your shell, push limits and never back down.  If you live life with no fear, no regrets and a passion for sport and what you love. Success happens!

I often call Manuela the female version of me. She is insane in such a beautiful way! She takes on amazing challenges and no matter what even when coach says back off its too hot etc… she will still push her limits and race with all her heart! Together we convince each other to do amazing things, crazy things some might call it? But we always survive and we always have smiles and are happy we did what most would think is impossible.

I believe Manuela and her amazing spirit has rubbed off on all the athletes of Team Gotta Have Heart… and I can write equally glowing posts about each of them and their courage and heart and no limits attitudes! But today is about the little one, the little German girl because she is taking a “sabbatical” I call it to live in Munich for a bit and so all of us her friends and especially her teammates she trains with are sad and missing her! And of course reminiscing of all the glorious moments we have shared with her. But I also think her story is an inspiring one, one that maybe will motivate you to get off the couch set some goals and chase them! Push your limits!

Manuela you will be missed so much, but you will always be in our hearts, in our minds and you will always inspire us. I can’t wait for you to return and pick up where we left off doing crazy dumb stuff and pushing those limits!  She will be racing for Team USA in Sept. at Long Course Duathlon World Championships in Zofigin Switzerland and believe me this race explains just how nuts she is! J  And when she accepted her slot I thought what the hell are you thinking?!

10k run, 95 miles on the bike, 18 mile run all basically in the Swiss alps or something like that with crazy hard elevations etc…  then 3 weeks after that she runs the Berlin marathon!

See she is a special kind of crazy!!  J

From everyone at Team Gotta Have Heart… we love you and will miss you!

Race with heart! Race on your limits! And race with guts! And no matter what you always make us proud!

Ciao Ciao

Coach MB


Apple Duathlon 2016

31 May

This past weekend hosted many great endurance events around Minnesota and the country.

One being the Apple Duathlon that takes place on the Saturday of Memorial day weekend every year. This is an excellent event! One of the best run Duathlon’s in the country its USAT certified and part of the Duathlon race series every year.

The course is a very nice course consisting of 5k run, 33k bike, 5k run. weather is always a bit of an issue here with headwinds etc…  this year the weather kind of held out nicely for us, as it stay dry during the race but soon after the rain kicked up.  We did deal with some head and cross winds out in the hilly section of the bike course but had a nice little tail/cross wind back into town. Overall it turned out to be a glorious day!


So as a coach I always get a few athletes and we head up and race this wonderful event.  2016 I took 4 athletes up and then myself to race. All of us except 1 (Julie) have raced this course before. This was Julie first Duathlon ever and when she finished she said “damn that was hard! much harder than a Triathlon”!  The funny thing pre-race was Julie said I’ll drive separate because I won’t win an award so then I can leave early and not wait around. Well what did Julie do in her first Duathlon??  She won her age group! And had an awesome race!! She also set a 5k PR time in the first 5k run of the event.. and by like a minute!! That’s huge!

My other athletes; Pete won his age division and had really good 5k runs and a solid bike not a lot faster than the previous year on this course but a very good day out there! Krisana she won her age division also and placed as the 10th female overall. She is a beast of a runner and is getting stronger on her bike (shaving 2 minutes on her bike time from year before).

Then I had the USAT Duathlon 40-44 National Champion Manuela Knispell and again she went out and won her age division, was 1st overall female master, and was 9th overall female. She is a month out from National Championships in Bend and is starting to get into shape and look strong and poised to defend her title.   Myself “Coach” I went out and had a great workout and respectable race! I won my age group and finished 9th overall in a very deep men’s field. I was happy with my effort but know I have things to work on before Nationals. My bike split was decent but not as good as the year before or as good as I need it to be.  Hills and wind play these mind games with me and I had to deal with them early in the race and then overcome them to power strong and ride hard to gap my competition which I beat 2nd place by like 5 minutes.

So that’s right 5 athletes from Team Gotta Have Heart Training went and raced and 5 first place trophies!  That’s pretty awesome and as a coach not much more I could ask for. I love coaching these guys and the amazing efforts they put out. They all train really hard, with focus, with passion, with dedication and determination and that type of attitude and work ethic pays off for them on race day!

Being a coach is wonderful! I love helping these people chase and reach goals they set. I love helping them open their minds, get out of their shells and push limits.

If you are looking for a coach hit me.. we are having a lot of fun and success at Gotta Have Heart Training.


Team Heart post Apple Du 2016

Post Apple duathlon 2016 Team Gotta Have Heart athletes!

Coach MB