“Faster As A Master” Book Intro Part 1

“Faster As A Master”  Book Intro Part 1

My book is coming along nicely in the editing process.  My editor Ruth Hull Chatlien is providing some great training for me to be a better writer.

Here is the first of three installments for the Introduction.  Enjoy.

Stay tuned, there is more to come.  I am hoping to wrap up and start publishing in the next couple months.


Qualifying for the U.S. Olympic long track speed skating trials for the upcoming Torino 2006 Olympics, at the age of 49, was going to be one of the hardest and most challenging things I have ever done in my life.  This challenge would push me to be at my best physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  It would also be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.  I would have to skate significantly faster than I did when I was a teenager on the U. S. National team from 1974 through 1976.   I would have to go faster than any man has gone at my age ever.

The drive to qualify started when I was a teenager on the U.S. National team in 1974.  My parents whose philosophy about raising three boys was to keep us tired by channeling our energy through the outlet of sports.  As a result, my two brothers and I all achieved a great deal.  I am the oldest, Bart is next by two years, Mike is the youngest following Bart by three years.  When i was about 14, it was evident that Bart better at his sport, gymnastics, than Mike and I were as speed skaters.  Asked by my parents to support Bart in his quest, and being a natural leader, I accepted the role.  I continued to strive for my own goals but the focus shifted for the family.  We all accepted responsibility for our roles but during this time I lost my voice.  This created a disconnect in me and a wound that would not heal, just scab over.

In my adult life I woke up to a 25 year marriage where I also lost my voice.  I poured all I had into building my career and a family life.  Athletic passion was diverted to my passion for flying and building a family life.  The energy I spent towards my marriage was wasted.  The death of my marriage and the subsequent struggle of my identity was frightening.  Who was I?  Who had I become?  Where did I want to go, do, and be?  All these essential questions were needing answers.  In due time I would be able to address them all, and be whole like never before.  Front and center, my skating was something tangible to work on, and distinct way out of my predicament.  Could speeding around a track become the metaphor for my life?  I had a vehicle for my path forward.   Bruce Conner Skating AP Picture

AP Photo, US Olympic Trials, December 2005, Salt Lake City, UT

Intuitive Training

Now that my Olympics are over (the US Olympic Speed Skating Trials).  I celebrated the achievement and journey.  I took some time off to rest and reflect.

What now?  I woke up a few days ago with an itch to move.  I am built to move, and I heard the call.

My need to move is similar to my need to eat.  Intuitive eating is eating when I am hungry.  I have no lofty goals right now but I still need to feed myself and move.

So my goals are simple now.  I will pay attention to what my body and mind tell me.  When I feel the need to move and push, I will listen and obey.  This wisdom comes from within.

Each week, one skate, one weight workout, one cardio bike workout, then some recovery work like swimming, tennis (indoor for now) and golf when the weather is better.  All this is fun to me.  No outside goals or pressure for achievement.  If I feel like pushing hard, I will, just for the enjoyment.  It feeds my deep down need to move and be active.

Then, I pay attention to the next lesson.

Today the Conners and Bergers get together to celebrate the engagement of my daughter Jamie Conner to Jamison Berger.  Their wedding is planned for March 2015.  We will also recognize Jamie and my son Brad’s birthdays.

Next month I will transition back to the 747-400 flying out of Chicago again.

I have a lot to look forward to.

After the trials with my coach Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr, and two time Olympian Brian Hansen.

After the trials with my coach Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr, and two time Olympian Brian Hansen.

Post Olympic Trials, Thoughts, and Future Goals

Post Olympic trials, thoughts, and future goals.

Happy New Year, everyone!  Thanks for all the encouragement and support, especially from my wife, Maripat.  I wish good luck to all the Olympians.  For all those athletes that did not make the team, good luck next time.  To the skaters that ended their careers, my best wishes for a smooth transition to the next challenge, I have been down that road many years ago.  There is no substitute for time that leads to perspective and ultimately wisdom.  Patience will reveal the answers you are looking for.

I am a climber.  When I see mountains, I climb.  Approaching the top, I start looking for the next climb.

This is the perfect time to reflect on what I have done, celebrate the achievement, then set the next course of action.

After my last race in the Olympic trials in Salt Lake my coach asked why I was cooling down on the stationary bike.  Traditionally after the last race you just walk away.  As an experienced  masters athlete I want to be able to get out of bed the next morning.  I need to do a proper cool down to facilitate recovery, like I do after any hard effort or race.  Yes, I do not plan on training at this level for the forseeable future, but that does not preclude that I will forget how to train hard and do all the recovery work necessary to keep as healthy as possible.  I will shift now to a less intense and less volume training, for a better balanced life.

I reached my goals for this season, which was to have the best showing possible in the trials.  I am very happy with my results.  I choose now to slow down, rebalance, and shift priorities.

Celebrating the achievement and the journey is very important.  Self esteem is enhanced everyday by small victories.  Milestones are important to recognize as the tangible evidence of what we are all capable of doing.  A certain peace has settled in my bones about what I have done.

The next goal is to pass on what I have learned.  I have been working on my book “Faster As A Master” for almost 5 years.  Final editing is being done now with a goal of completion and publishing in a couple of months.  I will keep you updated as the publishing gets closer.

Professionally, will be going back to the 747 next month and changing my base back to Chicago.

Maripat and I plan on traveling to see family more this year, and picking up our golf clubs and tennis racquets that have been idle for the last couple of years.

Here are three articles about my journey published last week.  Enjoy.




Meanwhile, our dog Lilly, wants to play.

Lilly my smiling off ice training partner.

Lilly my smiling off ice training partner.