Friday, December 15, 2017

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A New Blahhh-g Post – Five Positive Actions To Blast The Winter Blahs

The sun now sets here in Omaha before 5pm and by 5:30pm it’s DARK. I feel like getting in bed each evening by 7:30pm. Sun doesn’t come up til about 7:30am. There are holiday snacks everywhere. I'll be honest - my willpower seems to be pretty low. I’m giving in far too much. Weight gain is happening and I’m discouraged. It’s that dreaded time when my lifestyle plan (what I purpose to do) and my actual choices, clash. 

My next important race isn’t for almost four months. I argue with myself…part of me saying that I’ve got plenty of time to start eating better and lose some weight and the other part telling me I’m really going to regret these bad choices.

What do we need to do to break out of the winter blahs?

One – Well, we’re doing it. Reading this blahhhh-g! Of course!

Two – Let’s plan on doing some “C” races. You know, a Santa Trot 5k or New Year’s Eve/Day 10K. Something. That way, we’ve got a race to train for. Same for January and February. That motivates.

Three – Watch movies, sports, shows, programs that pump us up. Just today I watched the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon on NBC. It helped. Better yet, watch something like that WHILE you workout.

Four – Get accountable. Workout with others or be accountable to a friend or coach that you can send your workouts to and/or your weight once a week. That can help sometimes.

Five – Let’s remember that we make a dozen decisions every day that will collectively effect who we are down the road. Respect THAT person. Have a clear picture of who you want that guy or gal to be, feel like, look like, etc.

We might not make great choices 100% of the time but let's think, yes think about our choices. 

Well, there you go. The info above is what I’m trying to wrap my brain around. I needed to write this as much as anyone needs to read it. Keep pressing on through the darkness and cold. I know that the couch, a blanket and the TV clicker have a powerful magnetic pull this time of year. Let the magnet of who you want to be next May be the stronger magnet. For more input, sign up for my free "One Thing" tip of the month - One thing you must do to be successful!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

No More "Only." Arise Sprint / Olympic Distance Triathletes!!

Imagine the global media covering the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Track and Field competition announcing they would give, only if time allowed, very minimal coverage of the 100m, 200m and 400m....but, they would give quite a bit of coverage to the 800m and 1,500m and give massive coverage to the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon. "Hmmm, that would be strange," you say.
Then, imagine the International Olympic Committee announcing they would be giving only gold medals to the shorter distance races. No silver or bronze...that the awards would only go one deep for all races shorter than 800m.  You're thinking, "Now, that's really weird!"

Finally, imagine a TV reporter interviewing Usain Bolt (yes, I know he's retired) before the competition begins, asking him what distance he was going to race. The fastest man in the world then hangs his head a little and says, "Well, I'm only doing the 100m and 200m." Nope, would never happen...but does it??
All this sound kind of strange?  What if we applied all of this to the Olympic swimming competition? What if it was announced that the 50 free and 100 and 200 free, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly events were all going to be cancelled. But, there would be full-on coverage of the 1,500m and 10K open water races...

The reason for all of this? Those distances are short. Just about anyone can jog those distances (or swim them.)  So, we'll not treat them like the longer distances which are obviously much harder.

All this seem pretty off-the-wall? Like, really crazy?? You're right. I've been competing in triathlons for 23 years and completed multiple races at all four basic distances, racing in World Championships in three of them. I've observed triathletes at races that offer both sprint and olympic distances, when asked which race they're doing, apologetically and sheepishly saying, "Well, I'm only doing the sprint."  Same is true if they offer an olympic and 70.3. Or, at races that offer three distances. Again, "I'm only doing the _____."

Somehow the triathlon world, which I love and am an integral part of, gives the message that the sprint distance is a beginners only distance, kind of the ugly step-sister of the other distances. The message is sent that...the longer you race, the more of an authentic triathlete you are.

Many of my friends who have not done an Ironman tri, but lots of other shorter distance races are asked, as soon as someone hears they do triathlons, "Have you done an Ironman?" And though the athlete may be a phenomenal short course triathlete, they state they have not and immediately feel the sting of their answer.
The sprint seems to be looked down upon the most. Yet, in track and field and swimming, the short races are some of THE most exciting from a spectator perspective. Yes, a percentage of ITU races are now sprint distance and there is/was even some talk of having the sprint be the distance for the 2020 Olympic tri. Super-sprint relay tri is going to be part of the next Olympics which is going to be great! If you've ever watched one of those you know how exciting they are.
But, quite often, from posted pre-race information to the awards ceremony, the sprint doesn't get the respect of the others. Fewer spots on the podium and fewer awards often given out, often last, after the longer race awards are done.

I always feel bad when that triathlete, at race registration or on race morning shyly states that they'll ONLY be doing the _____ distance. I always tell them, "Don't ever say 'only.' You are racing a triathlon for Pete's sake! You're amazing. Good for you! It's just as important and valid as any other distance."

In some ways, a case could be made from a pain perspective, that sprints hurt the most if raced all out. A good sprint distance triathlete is on the red-line for over an hour - on the very edge of exploding due to the maximum effort it takes. I realize each distance has it's own unique pain, but the all-out sprints I do hurt more than the other three distances which I've done multiple times. It's been easier for me to do a 70.3 than trying to go sub 1:05:00 in a sprint. Now that hurts!! I'm in no way putting down longer distance races. They're awesome and take unique preparation and real endurance.

Just like in track and field, over time, a triathlete will discover the distance the are most gifted to race. When younger, a track competitor will learn if they're a sprinter, middle-distance runner or long distance specialist. Same with triathlon. I'm a short course guy and particularly specializing at fast sprint races. I've done multiple Ironmans and ultramarathons and even a 172 mile bike race so I know what going long is all about. But, I'm most competitive at races just over an hour and so are many others.

So, short-course triathletes out there...never and I mean NEVER, say you're ONLY doing the _____ race. Proudly put your shoulders back and announce that you are going kill that short distance tri. Pretend you're Usain Bolt and be proud you're a sprinter!

Monday, November 27, 2017

And So It Begins......

We've all heard that there is power gained by stating your goals publicly. You know, accountability and all that. The challenge is to shout your goals to the world without sounding braggadocios and having people roll their eyes at you. I think it can be done in a humble and hopeful kind of way, acknowledging all that could go wrong along the way and praising your "team" ahead of time (in case you DO accomplish the stated goals.)
Today started my long journey to the ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championships (draft legal) at Gold Coast, Australia. It'll be a 10 month journey with lots of training and several other important races along the way. I've lived in Zones 1 and 2 the last three months and am now moving to Zone 3 living. If you're interested in what that means, I'll be putting an educational video series on my website soon entitled, "5-Zone Living".
I've gained my off season weight and now I need to start to see some of it come off through the holidays, by the end of the year. (Great time to try and lose weight huh?) I'll be following a set workout plan and sticking to least 80% of the time. Life happens right? I will begin to dial in my focus.
So, here they are:
I'd like to finish very high at USAT Duathlon National Championships. They are offering both a draft-legal race and the next day, non-drafting race - April 6,7. Goal? Go for the National Championships.
ITU World Championship, Gold Coast, Australia. Sept. 13. Go for Gold and a World Championship.

USAT Aquabike and Aquathon National Championships, Miami. Nov.  Again, let's go for the top podium spots!
There you have it. Going for four National Championships and one World Championship. Can't believe I'm even typing this. Sounds completely outrageous. 100 things have to go right to win even once, let alone five times. But, very few people overshoot the mark when it comes to goal setting. I'd rather aim really high and just go for it. If I don't make it, no problem. I tried.
Keys:  Stay injury free!! Eat clean and get down to race weight. Train hard over the winter, on the bike particularly! Always be thankful for people and companies that encourage me and resource me as I move toward these goals. Will I achieve them? We'll see...but it all begins today!

Monday, November 20, 2017

NEW Website Launched!!

I'm very excited to announced I've launched a website designed to make you a better person and athlete. Please check it out. You'll find resources to avail yourself of that will educate and inspire you. We'll be adding to it regularly with a triathlon training and racing educational video series that will make you faster!  Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

2017 USA Triathlon National Championship - 10th to 1st. What a ride....DON'T Lose Heart!

As I got a quick drink early in the bike leg, my mouth came off the straw protruding from my aero up-front water bottle and something happened that hasn't happened in 23 years of triathlon racing. The top half of the straw flew out of the bottle! What?? Great! Now, I had no fluids during the bike!  No way to take what I call my Hammer Nutrition "pill cluster" half way through the bike (all legal of course.) Maybe I can choke them down somehow. So, I reach down and get them and promptly drop them all over the road as I cruise along at just under 24 mph. No fluids. No pill cluster. But, let's back up...

Exactly two weeks earlier at the Cornhusker State Games triathlon with a mile to go on the run to the finish, I'd rolled my ankle and ended up in the gravel/dirt. I popped up, adrenaline pumping and ran it in. It quickly swelled and became discolored. So, the next two weeks before Nationals meant a lot of water running, elliptical machine training and physical therapy.
I did get in a whopping three runs of two miles each! Ouch! My final four major run workouts were scratched while trying to let my ankle heal. Dr. Steve Stonebraker threw the kitchen sink at it with every therapy protocol that might help. The morning of Nationals, it was still a bit swollen and discolored and I had no idea how it would respond on the run. I knew I'd have to run a sub 20 minute 5K to have any shot at winning, but now???
Race morning it starts raining. Great. Slick wet roads for the bike, so, slow corners and extra caution were on the agenda. Definitely not fast conditions for cycling. To add to the "fun," my friends were yelling at me as I ran from the lake to my bike, "Linc, you GOTTA GO man. You're 2:20 down...."  My thought? It's over.
My heart sank. These competitors were fast and I'd blown it. No way can I make up that much time in a sprint distance tri. 10th place after the swim. Depressed and filled with despair more than any other time in any race (except maybe during the bike in the Hawaiian Ironman), I found myself in a huge mental battle?  Why? I'd thought about this race every day since last year's Nationals. Every day. Every workout. I'd dedicated this   season to my 86 and 90 year old parents and wanted to win a National Championship right in front of them, dedicating the win to them. Who knows how many more years God will give them. So this was not for me.  This was for them.

I'd looked at the times of my competitors and knew I could be in the hunt for the win even though three of them had won national titles and one of them many world championships. That kind of freaked me out. So, after a year's worth of hard work and focus, it was over. I'd lost 15 lbs since my peak weight in the winter, lost 7% body fat while 100% maintaining lean muscle mass. That wasn't easy to do, but I was dialed in at perfect race weight. Now, over two minutes behind, no fluids, no capsules and a partially sprained ankle, all I can say was that I was overcome with despair.

About ten days before, I'd been reading in 2 Corinthians in the New Testament, chapter four, verse 14, "...we do not lose heart..."  That phrase stuck. No matter what happens in the race, don't lose heart. Sprained ankle? Don't lose heart. No fluids? Don't lose heart. No capsules? Don't lose heart. 2:20 behind after the swim? Don't lose heart. Multiple time world champion ahead? Don't lose heart.
I'd put that particular verse and some others on my bike to remind me of a few things. Calm mind - Isaiah 26:3. Strong body - Romans 8:11. Committed heart - Psalm 86:12. My mind and emotions felt like a ping pong ball getting smacked back and forth from despair to "don't lose heart." All I could do was ride my guts out.
I'd taken my computer off my bike. I didn't want to see numbers because the bike is only 12.4 miles (it was actually 12.8 or 9) so the only pace is maximum. As I came in off the bike my buddies yelled, "You're 1:30 down, in third place. You've got to go NOW!" Now, the run is only 3.1 miles. That meant I'd need to out-run the first guy by 30 (approximately) seconds per mile. Again, I though, "It's over." I'd have to run what, sub 6 minute miles after the bike? No way.
"Don't lose heart..." OK, I got through the second transition from bike to run as fast as possible and kept going. I immediately felt my ankle as I started running out of T2 towards the road. No's only three miles. I kept looking up the road for 60+ guys. The only two groups that had started ahead of us were 20-29 male/female. Easy to decipher the running form of a 20 somethings vs. 60+. Didn't see anyone as the road curved some. 

Just before the one mile mark I saw one of the guys ahead of me. He was a NCAA two-time swim champion back in the day and had killed the swim. HE was the guy I was 2:20 down to out of the water. Passed him. OK, one guy down and one to go. As I ran out towards the 1.5 mile turn around, I was looking for whoever was in the lead heading back toward the finish. I'd time it from when we passed each other til I hit the turn and double that to know how far behind I was. But, there was no one. I turned one.
Apparently, the guy that was winning was so far ahead of the rest of us, I'd missed him on his way back. Man, who IS that guy? Must be the multiple-time world champion. About 150 yards after I'd turned around and started back, I saw him still running OUT to the turn around! What? Then who was in 1st, killing us all???

I was still battling despair, knowing I'd come close - 2nd place. "I'm so sorry mom and dad. I tried so hard to win this for you guys," ran through my mind as I prepared my speech to them. I knew they'd be proud of me no matter what but I'd wanted to win it for them so badly and I wasn't going to.

With a half mile to go, depressed and with my ankle hurting, I tweaked something in my upper hamstring. Slowed down just a bit to be able to make it to the finish line. Saw the finish line and heard everyone cheering as the finishers were crossing the line. Hit the final straight away and my family and friends were going crazy. Yelling, waving, screaming... I figured they were trying to make me feel better about second place. My face said it all. I was pooped and depressed.

15 feet from the finish line I heard the announcer say, "And here is our 60-64 age group National Champion, Lincoln Murdoch!" What? Say what? No, can't be! I was in third off the bike and only passed one guy on the run. I looked in disbelief at the medical folks, the people handing out water and those putting finishing medals on everyone. "Is that real? Seriously, I won??"  "Yes," they told me. I collapsed in weariness and disbelief. I got up and still asked if this had really happened? How? Where did the 1st place guy go??

Well, truth be told, I'd passed the guy in second place very early in the run and missed him. Didn't see him. I'd run the whole 5K with "facts" that weren't really the truth. Oh my. If I'd known that when I passed the swimmer at the one mile mark of the run, I was in the lead, well, I would have run with a whole different attitude and outlook. So many lessons right there.
I walked down the finish line shoot and my family and friends gathered around. I was SO happy. Probably one of the Top Ten Happy Days of my life. Lots of hugs for and from my parents. They're the best ever. The next 20 minutes were kind of blur of congrats, pictures, trying to understand what had happened, etc. 

2x National Champion. This one was so different than the one I'd won in 2012 in Burlington, VT in every way. But that's another story for later. Though I was 2:20 down out of the water, I somehow did not lose heart and had the fastest T1, bike, T2 and run. I'd won by 1:39. My bike was a minute faster than last the rain and the course was a bit longer!  Overjoyed for sure. So thankful to the Lord and to so many people and companies who helped me on this journey.
At the awards ceremony they gave an award for some of the faster run splits and they called the male/female names for the over 60 group. We won new Garmin 935 GPS watches. Wow.
I won a Rudy Project helmet, a backpack, sunglasses and a beautiful award for taking 1st. Again, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I'd beaten some of the fastest guys in my age group in the nation. I say "some" because I know a few that weren't there for one reason or another. Shout out to Jim Aust and Curt Eggers who are amazing triathletes but weren't able to come. They would have been very tough to beat. 

My goal had been to go faster than my one hour, 8 minute something time from last year. I wanted to go 1:07:something. The swim was a bit long as was the bike. Though I officially went 1:09:something, had those distances being accurate, I would have hit my 1:07:something on the button.

BIG thanks to my wife, Jen,  who constantly supports me. She's amazing. Thanks Diane Cahill and Impact Training Center for making me stronger over the last year. Thanks to Dr. Steve Stonebraker at Athlos Chiropractic and Recovery for his PT and recovery treatments. I'm thankful for Hammer Nutrition, Fitletic Hydration, Zensah compression wear, my Valdora bike, my XTERRA skinsuit, my Rudy Project aero helmet, Macks earplugs, Dual Eyewear and to all my family, relatives and friends who have encouraged me and believed I could do this whole last year. To those who were there to cheer me on...thank you for being there! To FCA-Endurance and Team Nebraska Triathlon teammates, thanks for the comraderie and encouragement. I'm blessed to be around people who only know how to encourage! 

2018 ITU World Championships - Gold Coast, Australia. I qualified to represent the US on Team USA September of next year. I've given a tentative yes to the spot I earned, but will think it through before deciding. I've had the huge privilege of this three other times, getting 20th in Germany in 2007, 8th in Australia in '09 and in London getting 6th in 2013. 
If I go it's not to get 10th, 5th or 4th. It's the podium, and if the podium, why not 1st - World Champion? Big statement, easy to type, unbelievably hard to attain for a ton of reasons. I feel silly even typing this. I'm the guy that never played a varsity sport in high school! How's that for one?

My faith is very important to me and my #1 goal is always to race for God's glory, doing the most with the gifts He's given me. I like what World Champion Jamie Whitmore say, "By God's strength. For God's glory." That's my heart always. All of us have been given gifts from Him and we have a responsibility to develop them and use them to bless and encourage others. So, go for it and inspire others along the way!
PS...Yes, I DID down this whole thing on the way home. My taste buds thought we'd died and gone to heaven!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Building Up To Your "A" Race

Most triathletes, and probably you, have an "A" race in mind for this season. It's THE race. The one you're looking to go farther or faster than ever or to finish on the podium or qualify for an even bigger race next season, etc.
One of the most important components of my "build" leading to my "A" race Races are just that - races. They're fun, fast and a great time to socialize with friends while you test yourself against the clock or distance.
But, races are more than that. A LOT more. Races are the best workout you'll do that week or maybe over a two or three week period. It's kind of funny. Someone just says, "On your mark. Get set. GO!," or, "Three, two, one, GO!" and suddenly you're pushing harder that you'd ever push on your own. Thus, it's the best workout you can do. Full recovery must, of course, take place to see the gains you want to see, but racing will make you sharper than anything else.

I've got just under six weeks until USAT National Championships here in Omaha. I'm racing four of those weekends. I can be in good shape, race shape or top-end shape. The way I get to top form/speed is through racing. It's the best workout I do!!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Great article - SO true! Use it or lose it!

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Season Is ON!!!

I'm thankful for the last few weeks and for relatively good races to kick off the 2017 season. Here's a brief rundown of how the races went...

Five weeks ago - The Omaha Duathlon (USAT Sanctioned)
200 showed up for this competitive race. I really held back on the first run and started the bike in about 35th place. I came off a strong bike ride in 10th place and held that to the end. 1st in the 60-64 age group. Very happy with this outcome.
Three weeks ago - The Siouxperman Triathlon NW Iowa
This is a pool swim, sprint race. I've done this race four or five times and this year my best finish - 2nd Overall. I was really satisfied with all three phases of the race for an early season competition.

Two weeks ago - The Kansas City Sprint Tri (USAT Sanctioned)
Brutal swim since we were all heading right into the sun. Everyone was swimming all over each other since no one could see anything. Contact sport which resulted in a less than desired swim. Had the fastest bike split on the day. Ran pretty well and finished 5th Overall and 1st in 60-64 A/G.
One week ago - The Hickory Grove Tri / Du (USAT Sanctioned)
The wind chill was 38 and the water temp 60 so I switched to the Du from the Tri.
Wind was blowing at almost 20mph so it was a tough bike. Due to the cold my run wasn't what I'd hoped for but finished 3rd Overall and 1st in A/G.
Yesterday - The Lincoln (NE) Memorial Day Duathlon 9 (USAT Sanctioned)
Poor turnout for this. The obvious winner was going to be a Div. 1 scholarship runner from Nebraska Weslyan University. So, the rest of us battled it out for 2nd. I was 8th after the first run. Hammered the bike and caught everyone but the "kid."  :)
Started the second run in 2nd and held it to the end.
I have six races in the next 10 weeks, attempting to race myself into top shape for Nationals. Goal #1 is to not get injured. I'll train and race hard but I must stay just under that red-line where, if you go past it, you get injured. More to come....


Friday, April 7, 2017

Speaking at the Omaha Health, Wellness and Fitness Expo...

Excited to be a main stage speaker at this Expo. Nice online interview by the Omaha World Herald.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

What? Who? Me? 60?? Sixty? No way! I'm looking at these numbers and can't really believe they're mine. Six. Zero. Sixty! 60! Up til I was about 50, 60 was "old." Really OLD. And now I'm there. It's strange because for the most part, I feel 30. But, when I look in the mirror first thing in the morning or struggle to put my socks on while standing up (a goal of mine til I'm 70), I realize it's true. I'm least in the eyes of everyone on the planet 49 and under.
Image result for pictures elderly athletes
I suppose a sixty year old should have learned some lessons along the way and since this is a triathlon blog, I'll share a few things I've learned having done over 150 triathlons of all distances and having run for 35 years. This isn't necessarily rocket-science, but these are principles that become very real as the wrinkles increase and the skin loosens.
Image result for pictures elderly athletes 
1 - Keep after it. Use it or lose it. Pretty basic, but SO true. The law of regeneration is in our bodies and if we move them and use them, that law will work very well. Sitting is the new smoking. Sedentary lifestyles are deadly. Get off the couch and do something...anything...but move!! Age really is only a number IF you stay as active as physically possible.
Image result for pics of really old man
 2 - We lose 10% of our strength per decade after our 30s. I started doing strength and resistance work in my mid-to-late 40s. It's one of the primary reasons I can still race relatively fast. I'm no body builder or power lifter,  but I'm consistently working major muscle groups - both the ones used primarily for swimming, biking and running, but also the secondary support muscles like lateral movement muscles.
Image result for pictures elderly athletes
3 - Warming up is not longer a luxury but an absolute necessity. When I was a young man, I could just take off when the gun went off. Now, I need at least 30 minutes to fully warm up and 45 minutes is better. I jog a little, stretch a little, jog some more, do some dynamic stuff like lunges, high knees, butt kicks, lateral leg swings, etc. I want to have jogged two miles if possible before the race, nice and easy, so I'm sweating a bit and my muscles are awake and firing.
Image result for pictures elderly athletes
 4 - Proper pacing in a race becomes even more critical the older you become. If you start too fast, you will blow a gasket early on and may not recover. Easing into a race is a smart thing even if properly warmed up. Now, a sprint triathlon is a quick race, relatively speaking. Even though the race is a little over an hour, vs. multi-hours for a half Ironman or Ironman, you've got to be smart. I've gone out too fast in the first couple of hundred yards in the swim and ended up on my back, gently kicking trying to get my breath back and heart rate down. Know are swimming WAY faster than you think you are the first 200 yds. No one every won a triathlon in the first 200 yds., so take it easy and build into the swim. The same applies to the bike and run.
Image result for pics of really old man
5 - Believe! Have confidence! Unless you're brand new to the sport, (and not many 60 yr. olds suddenly decide to become triathletes) you probably have...experience! Experience is huge in this sport. With experience comes confidence.  You've made most rookie mistakes long ago and are now racing smarter. Often experience and confidence beats youthfulness and raw energy. I've won races where the 30 yr. old looks at the race results in disbelief. I've been asked, "How in the world do you race that fast being as old as you are?" One of the answers is just plain confidence and experience. I've got some big goals for this season and the 2018 season. Confidence will be a huge asset on my way to achieving them.
Image result for pictures elderly athletes

There are more lessons, but this is enough for now. Plus it's bedtime and since I'm old now, I need my sleep.  Now, where are my prunes? Good night.
Image result for pictures elderly athletes