Give the Gift of Motivation and Inspiration!

Give the Gift of Motivation and Inspiration!

What could be better than passing on your enthusiasm!

The best is yet to come!

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Faster as a Master Your best is yet to come!







As far as injuries are concerned, my policy is prevention, prevention, prevention. I observe a number of basic principles when it comes to injury prevention and management. The first is listening to my body and learning to respond to it quickly and appropriately. Every time I train, I create some injury. Through the work I do, I deliberately break down my body. Our bodies respond by rebuilding themselves stronger than before. By managing minor, self-inflicted injuries (my training), I will grow stronger over time. Building up tolerance by increasing very slowly is crucial. For example, if I am going to run a marathon this year, I would need to have a base to start from. I would need to demonstrate consistent mileage without injury on the kinds of running surface I would be training and racing on. Injuries generally occur because the body is not responding well to the increase or not recovering quickly enough to do the increased volume.
Using the proper equipment can help prevent injuries. Analyzing body mechanics is another important tool for injury prevention. Using a professional trainer can be indispensable in this area. A trainer can show me how to set up a stationary bike to avoid injuring myself over the long term. A trainer can show me the proper way to lift weights to avoid injury and to gain the most benefit. Using a lower weight with good mechanics and low injury potential is more productive than using a higher weight that might look better to my friends but risk injury. Competing with others in the gym while lifting weights will be counterproductive in the long run. In fact, I apply this principle to almost all physical activity.
Longevity as an athlete is dependent on body mechanics. To increase my chances of a long, productive life, I treat myself as a finely tuned athlete at maximum performance. Poor body mechanics can set me up for injuries—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly over time. It is up to me. Using proper technique, for whatever activity, is essential to perform efficiently and to prevent injury. I believe in getting expert advice on as many of my activities as possible so as not to shortchange myself with an injury.
Goals then come into play. If I cannot increase my workload as quickly as I want because it would possibly cause an injury, then I must revise my goals. I may need to scale back to run a half marathon this year and a full marathon next year. This would be realistic.
I am not in the results business. I must keep moving my feet and trusting that the results are what they are. This includes injuries. If I really believe I am exactly in the place where I am supposed to be, then the lesson for me is waiting in whatever process I am engaged in. There will always be a timely solution and a gift from the issue. With this in mind, if I do sustain an injury, I can try many different solutions for my recovery. I know that being proactively involved in the process will help me to heal as quickly as possible.
Poor nutrition, unrealistic goals, misplaced priorities, uncontrolled ego—each of these can play a part in causing injuries. When an injury occurs, look at all the factors that surround it. Have I tried my own solutions? Is my injury beyond my help? Do I need a professional?
The acronym RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This is the rule of first aid to follow immediately after an injury. After the initial shock wears off, I can then evaluate what to do next.
When I am injured, I have a whole host of resources to draw from. First is myself. I am the only true expert on my body. No else lives in my body or my head but me. Am I getting out of my own way? When analyzing a situation involving injury, I must stick with the facts as they are, not as I would like them be. No drama or minimizing. What kind of pain is it, and how is it affecting me?
I am not best judge of myself, so I use people around me to provide a mirror to see myself more clearly. For example, when I walked into my physical therapist’s office not too long ago, she told me within 10 seconds that I looked tired and asked me what was wrong. Because I was wearing my fatigue on the outside, she could plainly evaluate me and provide feedback.
Every injury teaches me a lesson. Protecting something that is weak only makes it weaker. Many times, a physical symptom is a manifestation of a deeper emotional issue that is surfacing and crying out to be dealt with. The underlying issue may not be evident for some time, but it is always there for me. Everything happens for a reason, and it is my job to figure out the lesson. Sometimes God is telling me to slow down, to change my thinking, to be more sensitive, or to be there for someone else. To think about the higher purpose, recognize it, accept it, and act upon it is the key.

I tell an in depth story in my book that deals with my knee surgery three months before the Olympic Trials and demonstrates all these principles and what I learned, good and bad.

One day after Knee surgery July 2009, 3 months before US Olympic trials.

One day after Knee surgery July 2009, 3 months before US Olympic trials.

Faster As A Master Book Intro Part 3 of 3

Faster As A Master Book Intro Part 3 of 3

Good Luck in Sochi!

Sports are one of the ways that I connect with in a tangible, measurable way to my own inward journey of self exploration.  Chasing meaning rather than trying to avoid discomfort creates better health.  Going after what creates that meaning in my life and trusting  that I can handle the stress that follows, sets me up for a journey to wholeness.  Any activity, external or internal, can become the vehicle for this important journey.  However, the principles are universal.

Let me give another example.  Another passion of mine is flying airplanes.   An eye doctor told me at age 16, when I received my first pair of glasses, that I would never fly airplanes for a living.  It was widely believed then, that you needed perfect vision and military training to become an airline pilot. Despite those warnings, I am now at the top of my field as a United B-747 Captain.  Not accepting the fact that I needed glasses as a barrier, I broke it down before it could become a reality for me.

When I was young and began skating, I could not imagine how rich my life would become because of this sport.  I have reconnected with my passion for skating, training, goals and achievement as a masters athlete.

I am part of an incredible growing masters sports movement.  In speed skating we have an international as well as national governing bodies that oversee the rules and sanction masters’ competitions.  Age groups start at 30 with 5 year increments ending in the 85+ category for men and women.  Masters only races can be found many times each year around the globe including yearly World All Around and Sprint championships.

Skating has come full circle for me.  Through my sport I have learned much about myself, it exposes me like no other sport.  If my body is not responding the way I expect, there is always a deeper reason. It is up to me to find its cause, and a way to correct it.  If I am off balance, physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, the ice and my competitors will give me immediate feedback.  It is up to me then to regain and maintain my balance to move forward in skating, and my life.  Skating is a mirror for how to live my life, to learn, change and grow.

I like to do things that are challenging and thus rewarding.

With imagination to dream it, breaking down my limiting beliefs, the willingness to do the work, I can achieve almost anything!

To break through barriers and to change my life, I must change my thinking.  Every action starts with a thought.

Here is one of my favorite quotes that reflects my philosophy:

“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit.”         Aristotle

This is what I believe and what I strive for on my current path.

I have divided this book into three sections.  The first deals with telling parts of my story and thereby building a case for what I have done.  The second deals with breaking down barriers and limiting beliefs.  The third details all the tools I have used in my life to facilitate and enhance my journey.

I hope you will be inspired to successful living and journeying toward wholeness.

US Olympic Speed Skating Trials 2013, photo by Jerry Search

US Olympic Speed Skating Trials 2013, photo by Jerry Search

“Faster As A Master” Book Intro Part 2

Good Luck to all the Olympians in Sochi!

“Faster As A Master” Book Intro Part 2

We all want to be great.  As I get older I want to be great again.  Happy, loved, healthy, that is what I aspire to.  To be whole in body, mind, and spirit, is the reward.  We are more capable than we give ourselves credit.

Competing as a youngster from age 12 till 19, I achieved a great deal in the 1960s and 1970s.  After winning a few competitions as a long track ice speed skater, I was on the US national team from 1974 through 1976.  My younger brother Bart made 3 Olympic teams, 1976, 1980, and 1984. Bart is a 2 time Olympic Gymnastics Champion.  My youngest brother Mike won the first national medal in our family in short track speed skating when he was age 13. I am very proud of my brothers and their accomplishments as they are of mine.

When I did not making the Olympic team in 1976, I was devastated.  I worked harder than anyone, I deserved to be on that team that went to Innsbruck, Austria.  Years later I can now look back and see that I trained myself into the ground.  Athletes call it over-training.

Discouraged by the failure, I amputated that part of my life for 22 plus years.  As a much older and hopefully wiser adult I returned to the sport that I loved.  Opening up old wounds from my past was inevitable.  Fear had held me back for decades.  Was I ready to deal with the memory of my past?  I had to find out, or those very deep wounds would never completely heal, and I would never be quite whole.  Cautious about the pitfalls of my past, treading lightly as I returned, I decided making the same mistakes was not an option.  Time heals wounds, but it also hardens scabs.  Fear of more suffering was very real.  Pulling off the bandage was going to hurt.  Healing from the inside, from down deep was the only answer.  The core of my being was screaming for help.

My mother had died from cancer the year before and I was still having a tough time accepting it and needing relief.    I went through the five stages of grieving for her death as well as many other hurts in my life.  Doing the work to heal from the inside was my task.  Drowning my pain was not possible anymore; I had to face it.  Going back to the old way of thinking was not an option.  Striving for answers, from my youth, from midlife, from a broken marriage. How could I move forward?

Not sure what was around the corner, but willing to address my humanness, I knew my very survival was at stake.  By returning to speed skating, this sport that has brought me much pleasure and anguish, I would ultimately be journeying toward wholeness.

My need to achieve was born in a very fertile environment, a combination of wanting approval by my parents and sibling rivalry. Was my struggle about the external achievement or self acceptance?  Survival for me depended on what I was about to discover.

Ready to tackle my past, the time was right to do this work and start healing.  The tangible evidence of my extraordinary achievement in speed skating is visible.  What is unseen, and more important, is the internal work of healing the wounds of my past.


US Olympic Trials 2013
photo by Jerry Search

“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.