Saturday, December 23, 2006

Begin with the end in mind!

When I spoke at my dad's funeral, I told a story that went something like this:

There is a book written by Stephen Covey called the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In this book there is one "habit" that I just love. It says that you should "Begin with the end in mind." I'm 100% sure that my father NEVER read this book, and in fact never heard of Stephen Covey. What it says is to picture yourself at your own funeral and look around to see what people say about you. You should live each day, treat people, and generally live life as if it was all a test for that final day. With my father, he was just amazing with this habit and he NEVER even tried. Why? Because almost everything my father EVER did my entire life I could have talked about with pride on this day. Can you say that about yourself? Can you say that about your friends? Just think about. When I'm just day dreaming at an airport (I tend to spend lots of time in them), I think about this and do my best to live just like my dad. Not always easy.

So what does this have to do with Ironman and Ironwidow? JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. It is simple. It's time to sit down and "Begin with the end in mind." Picture yourself and the person you will support the next several months. Picture yourself screaming your head off as they run over the finish line. Made you smile didn't it? Now go and get the person that is doing the race and have them do the same thing. The road to the "end" is very different for YOU and the person actually doing the race. Very different.

I was very proud of my dad. He was a natural at the "journey." He was a natural at life. He was a natural at just about everything. So it is today that I start the journey. It is today that I start dreaming about the end. I just wish my dad could be there to say something about me. I will never get that chance again. I wrote a similar article on today using a similar picture. This picture reminds me so much of my dad. This is the Ironman route, but you can't see the end. The end is something that you have to work on each and every moment. I just hope that I make my dad proud. I hope he will look down on me as I cross that finish line and just smiles. No words, just a smile of pride. I wish this for each and every one of you as well.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It is time!

Cancer really stinks. No question! The word is impossible to say for some, and easier for others. For me it is something I can say. My daughter had cancer almost 10 years ago. My father died from cancer a few years back.

So why the depressing subject? Why now? Why on a blog? To be honest it is NOT depressing to me. It is a constant reminder to me that life is short. Life is about the experience. It is about being honest and holding integrity close the heart.

Very simple. I enjoy life. I enjoy people. I love my children. I love my wife. I love sport. I think it is safe to say, I'm just a happy guy. This time of year is important for Triathletes. At least those in the this part of the world, it is just about time to start. Time to plant the seed. Time to get serious. Time to look at the family and say a few things:

1) I need your help
2) I will give it my all
3) I have a dream to see YOU at the finish line!
4) Please come with me on the journey!

Life is short - enjoy the journey - make sure you take your family with you!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Vacation Dilemma.

8 days and 7 nights! Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas! What could possibly be wrong with this? Coming from Wisconsin after a long and cold Winter, the warm ocean breeze and sun couldn't come at a better time? Right?

Ok, I will admit that I love cruises and love being with my family even more. This year, however, I will be in the middle of my Ironman training and just 4 weeks from my 1st 1/2 Ironman race in California. In the past I would have panicked. As I promised all of you, I would use IronWidow to help me all year. This is one of those occasions. Instead of panicking, I just added the cruise to my listing of races, and important dates for 2007.

I will try and sneak in a few early AM runs (have you ever run on a treadmill on a cruise ship. Very interesting to say the least!). I will also ask my coach to help me use this week as a "low" or semi-recovery week. Either way, I made the commitment to IronWidow and I will keep that.

Someone once asked if I combine races and vacation? That is really a entire new post - but for me that answer is NO, NO, NO! And you?

Stu is making progress this year already - don't you think? Are you proud of me?

Sunday, November 05, 2006


"Triathlon is NOT a team sport!"

I heard a spouse of a triathlete tell me this once and did not think much of it. It was after a race and the comment was more in passing. The comment was not meant to be positive or negative - just fact. I think I actually nodded in agreement, but later had to think again. I remember getting in my car about 20 min later and was mad at myself for agreeing to the comment. This is not true for 2 reasons.

1) Let me first start off by saying that I'm not a fan of the word "team" being used loosely. You cannot "make" a team. In my mind at least you "become" a team. I got an E-mail from a guy named Jay that put it perfectly saying: "Recently, the Greek national basketball team beat the US national team in basketball. A group of average basketball players beat a team full of superstars from the US...none trying to be the superstar...just bringing their own strengths to make a superstar TEAM." How cool is that. The US was a "team" but not a team as I like to define it.

2) The people you see are only 1/2 of the "team." The other half is YOU. Yep. That is right. YOU. Yes, triathletes spend a lot of time alone running, swimming, and biking, but that is only a small portion of the day (most days at least). The rest of the team is you, and this is the part that can make or break the entire team. No matter how good someone is on the playing field, there must be a support team to help him or her along. While we ride, swim and bike our team of children, spouses, friends, and co-workers are there for us.

I know that as Ironman day comes close my "team" starts to ask a lot of questions.

"How are things going?."

"How many miles did you ride this weekend?"

The greatest comment of all came from my father as he held my hand just the day before he died "so... how is the Ironman training going?"

With that said, I hope you are lucky enough to be part of a GREAT team both on and off the field.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The end or just the beginning?

Kona is typically the "end" of the triathlon season. It is the day I love to see, not because it is the "end" of the season, but really the "beginning." It is like the 1st day of Winter. Many people look at this as the start of a long haul of cold and snow (if you live in the Midwest). To me, however, it is really the day when days actually get longer. How cool is that? By the official start of Winter we have really gone through the worst of it, and are on the other side. When I enter Spring of 2007, I want to have done the following:

1) Have a happy and healthy family (See - IronWidow is really helping)
2) Continue to learn about the "Other Side" of Triathlon training (Yes - that is you)
3) Be in the best shape of my life.

This is serious business training for an Ironman. It is serious for us (the ones training) and even more so for YOU. I have seen all kinds of things happen. Yes people are very supportive, but things tend to surface in the thick of the training. I have really made an attempt to be up front before the real training starts. One of my goals was to talk less about it (Ironman), look more at her eyes when I talk, and take a deep interest in all she does. This is NOT a switch from how I have been in the past (honest), but at a conscience level it is a change. Maybe this Ironwidow thing is a lesson in life, no matter what the training involves. I guess the key is NOW. don't wait until Spring when the training starts to hit high gear. Make the changes now. Talk about it. A little prep now will save a LOT later. Trust me on this one! Remember, "The Sun ALWAYS shines, above the clouds." Just remember that sometimes you have to scale a mountain to get above them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Take out the trash Tuesday!

Ok. I have received many E-Mails asking if I could talk about different things. Here is a list of just a few.

1) Q: Have you found a way to get that "Nasty" smell out of my husband's workout clothes. STU: My wife complains about this too. I would love to find the answer to this. P.S. I do a lot of the laundry (just for the record).

2) Q: Why does his shoes stink so much the day after a run? STU: I find that anytime you run and shoes get wet, just put newspaper in them and that will keep them from smelling.

3) Q: Why can't my spouse put on a NON "Dry fit" shirt when we go to the movies or out to dinner? STU: I love the feel of those shirts. I will try and do better on this.

4) Q: Can I get a spouses guide to Triathlon lingo? For example, my husband was on the phone last night and the conversation went like this. "I'm doing a tempo run today followed by some spin-ups on the bike." What the heck is he talking about? I will make an attempt to learn, but need some help. If I do this he better stop complaining about my trips to the mall. STU: Good idea. I know some newbies that might like to see this as well. I also make the attempt to get the lingo down from my wife and her job.

5) Q: My wife says she gets a runners high all the time. I have tried but feel like a "hangover" when I run. What's the deal? STU: Hmmmm. I get the "high" about 90% of all workouts. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. Hard to explain this one.

6) Q: I would love to know what other spouses do for a living. Will you let me know? I do research on Cancer research for a major drug company. It would be interesting to see the demographics of triathlete spouses. STU: Ok, I can tell you that my wife is an awesome science teacher for 8th graders. How cool is that! And you?

Thursday, October 05, 2006


This is a delicate subject. Money. It is the cause of many problems, and cannot be ignored in Triathlon. How do you deal with the money situation? The bike, the wheels, the gear, the nutrition? Do you shop when he or she buys new tri gear? How do you deal with it?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Time to shave?

Shaving your legs is just a part of being a triathlete. Don't ask, just shave. It saves time. Easier to get off your wetsuit. It shows that you are a triathlete. It hurts far less if you crash. It makes you fast. It is…. Ahhhhh…..Oh no……

I did it again. I was looking from the WRONG side again. Let’s back up. I promised I would look at the world from the IronWidow point of view. (I'm doing better right?)

Ok. It’s time to tell the truth. I have heard many wives say they actually like the shaved legs. I have also heard wives say they resent the leg shaving because it makes them have to keep up. So what is it? Do you mind? Do you like it? Let's be honest. In a 15 hour Ironman, does the hair on your legs really matter? "I think if it was just the legs, we would be ok" said one wife to me. She continued to say "I just can't take the arms, chest and other areas. What the heck." So I dare to ask, what is "ok" in your mind. Legs? Arms? Chest?

Let’s hear it. Let it all off your chest!

Before you cast your vote, let me tell you the ultimate quote I heard this year. "Stu, I just don't get it, but I accept it. My husband shaves his legs, arms, chest and EVEN feet. When he took the razor to his feet, I know he had lost his mind." Her husband later came up to me and said, "Stu, the feet shaving is just a ploy to get her mind off my crazy looking Speedo!"

Ok, time to cast the vote!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lessons Learned

This will be my 3rd Ironman start. The first 2 Ironman journeys where awesome for me, but not the same for my family. The family is often the forgotten part of this journey. They are the ones that get to stay home on countless weekends, while we do multiple hour rides, runs, and brick workouts. I have made a commitment to do another Ironman but have one additional goal this year. To focus more on the family journey as well. They are every bit as involved with this. They do not, however, always get as excited as I do about the process. Let me give you some examples:

What NOT to do:

1) I had just come home from a 6 hour ride. It was 80 degrees and sunny out. The day was perfect. My new bike rides like a dream. My new nutrition plan came off without a hitch! I come home with wet workout clothes, looked at my wife and started talking about my awesome day on the bike. She looked at me as if she would rather listen to me talk about how fast the grass grows.

2) Not 2 weeks later - My first long brick workout of the year (a brick is a combination workout the involves at least 2 sports like a swim and a bike, or a bike followed by a run). This was awesome. I tried my new Fuel belt (a way to carry water on your waist) and salt tablets to help deal with heat. Another great day - can't wait to tell my wife and kids about this 5 hour workout. I get home, start the same conversation of a week ago, and get the same looks. I think this conversation ended with "I'm going shopping with my girlfriends. The kids are outside. See you later."

Lesson Learned:

I think what I've learned from this is that she would be MUCH more open to the conversation if I would NOT talk about it 24 hours a day. Note to self - make sure every other sentence DOES NOT contain the words "workout", "Ironman", " Bike", "Run", or "Swim". How is that for a start? I will tell you that I absolutely love the sport of Triathlon, get so super geeked up about it, so I need YOUR help to make sure I do the right thing with my family and try to help yours as well.
What are lessons that every Endurance Athlete NEED to learn? What have YOUR learned? Care to share?