Tag Archives: #USATriathlon

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

Sharing your passions with your kids.

5 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.comMB and BB Freewheel 2017 

You have to Fight for it.

30 Jan

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


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

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

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

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

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


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



Coach MB

Gotta Have Heart Training




Training by perceived effort.

5 Dec

In today’s world of technology and gadgets so many people get focused on buying more gear and then focus training, racing and so on around the technical data things like power meters, heart rate monitors, GPS watches and so on produce. Now as a competitive athlete and coach yes of course I love these things and I love data and using the data to coach an athlete and help them improve. But not everyone can afford all of these things and not every athlete likes to wear monitors and gadgets of these sorts and that’s OK.

So as a coach I like to take things back to basics often times and teach athletes to train by perceived effort level. Cycling this can be really crucial because so many own a kinetic trainer which does not go by watts, and they don’t have power meter crank sets etc… so I can’t hardly prescribe them a workout based on FTP and watts. This is where I use a scale for perceived effort for them.

Perceived effort works really well; because it allows the athlete to train based on how they feel on a certain day and to the conditions of the day. When you get so focused on paces, or power outputs it can leave you sometimes either not pushing hard enough, or it can leave you feeling dejected and frustrated because for whatever reason you were not feeling so good that day and it was a struggle to hit your paces or power output. But when you go on a perceived effort scale it allows you to train based on how you feel that given day at that given moment and does not mess with your mental game it keeps you positive because you know you pushed as hard as you were suppose to for that given interval/workout.

Perceived effort also allows you to just run, bike, swim and not stare at a watch or computer. It allows you to free your mind some and focus on body cues not data that your fancy device is kicking out for you to see. I like this a lot for hard effort runs, runs on the track when you want to just open up and see what happens and really push you. Running shorter intervals like a 200 or 400 I really like going by a perceived effort level some days. Same goes with hill running; because hills are typically challenging and make our paces slow down if we focus on what the goal pace is suppose to be we will go nuts on hills and run them too hard and burn too much energy. But if we focus on a effort level scale and run them under control more based on the grade and length of the hill based on how we as an athlete feel it will allow us to stay more under control not burn too much energy and be able to get back into pace easier and recover easier once the road flattens out.

Heart rate is a great tool to use in coaching an athlete and training I do enjoy it but I also find it to be a limiting tool. Heart rate is affected by so many things; sleep, caffeine, heat, and humidity and so on. If the athlete try’s to focus their workout on heart rate they could really limit themselves especially if it’s a hard effort day or race. So again this is another great reason to use perceived effort level as a way to gage things. However I do really like using heart rate on Recovery days for athletes to slow them down and make sure they don’t push too hard and that they truly do perform at an easy low intensity recovery effort.

So if you can’t afford all the fancy tools out there for sale it’s OK you can still find a method to train. Race and accomplish the same types of efforts. Years ago athletes did not have anything but a simple stop watch and perceived effort to push themselves and train by just because the world has evolved and we now have access to a lot of fancy stuff does not mean we can’t remain a little old school now and again. So as much as I love fancy toys and data, and everyone truly does use the perceived effort method to train by until that sugar mama comes along and buys you a power meter and the other fancy tools to record every little piece of data you can.

(I do train very much by watts and power meters with the bike if an athlete has access to those things, I do still like to train athletes by goal paces, and within a running pace structure also, and I do use heart rate with them as well sometimes) So this blog was not supposed to discount those tools but give you an alternative way to think sometimes when training. A more old school method that is still very effective today!


Happy training, stay focused and make it happen! No excuses!


Coach MB





Start with “Why”

19 Oct

As a coach I work with many types of athletes I see all kinds of people with all kinds of goals from competitive age group athletes to elite athletes to high level varsity high school athletes.

Some have great passion and motivation and some lack that. Some have the drive to keep moving and progressing and some don’t. Some are truly runners, swimmers, or cyclists and just live to do that each and every day and some are seasonal more bucket list recreational types.

As a coach this can be frustrating because I’m looking for athletes that have a vision, a goal and a passion for what they do and want to achieve. I’m a very dedicated and committed coach who will work very hard to keep the athlete focused and hold them accountable! I believe my success lies within their success and so I want them to succeed because I want to succeed as “coach” and not fail.


So this leads me to this question for each person to answer.  “Why” you need to identify why you are doing something you need to have a clear goal in mind a vision and the motivation to want to see that goal to the end. And when you can answer why you are doing something it will help keep you focused and taking the steps needed to achieve that success. The “Why” can be anything from weight loss, to podium finish, to a Boston qualifying time in the marathon?

The “Why” goes hand in hand with my other question I always ask and that is “How bad do you want it”  Because when you want something bad enough you will work hard for it, you won’t make excuses and you will make the sacrifices needed which are they really sacrifices if it’s something you love and want? Think about that question because no they aren’t if it truly matters to you and you can answer the “Why” question and the How bad do you want it question then taking the steps to reach that goal are not really sacrifices.

So now once you answer the question why? Once you say I want it bad! And you can look in the mirror and say I’m very passionate about this, and then you can begin to set the plan in motion the steps you must take to achieve that goal and ultimately feel satisfied and have that success.

Next phase of this now that we have established the above questions is the plan, the steps to success.  You have to break things down into small steps, small little victories along the way to the end goal. I have found having small little goals set for yourself along the way little goals that you can keep achieving along the way can really help keep you motivated, feeling positive and chasing that goal. So think small to reach big. Hiring a coach that builds you a training plan and communicates with you and keeps you accountable it a great step you can take in chasing that goal. But when you hire that coach and he has a plan for you and a system to follow even if that system takes some work if you can go back to the question “why” and the other question “how bad do you want it” you will find it much easier to follow that system and plan that coach as set for you. And we all know coach is smart and will lead you to the promise land! (ha ha) but some truth here for sure.

I wish you all the best of luck as you look deep inside yourself and answer these questions. And I’m sure you will find that when you can answer the why you will see you have passion for that particular thing and you will find it quite easy to stay the course and pursue what you love.

When you lack passion you will lack performance and you will find every excuse not to do something not to follow through and therefore never achieve success or those goals.

Find your passion, find your WHY and make it happen!



Coach MB


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