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!

click here http://www.brucewconner.com

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Faster as a Master Your best is yet to come!

 

 

 

 

How to start your best season ever!


Book signing Road Runner Sports, Wilmette, IL Saturday 1/31/2015 11am to 1pm.

How to start your best season ever!

This is a guide to getting started to have your best training and competition season ever.

First, did you rest, reflect, and recover from last season?  Are you ready to get started for the long haul?

Next, here are the steps required.

Set your intention.  Make your choices.

Outline an overall plan.  Your goals must be specific, measurable, and have a time frame.  Look at the entire season, then work backward to your training and preparations.  Start with the framework, then get specific.  Plan by the month, week, day, then each task in the workout.  Be flexible with the plan, it will change.

Get your network together for support.  Enlist the people around you that you need for help.  Tell them your plans.

Get your equipment together.  This includes what you need to compete, and train.  Remember to include good nutrition.

Enlist a coach or schedule some camps and clinics to learn more about your sport and competing.  Study training methods of other successful athletes that you know.  Do what works.  Do not reinvent the wheel.

Sign up for the competitions as soon as possible, book air travel, hotel rooms, rental cars, etc, now.  Make the committment.

Train as if you are competing.

Stay balanced in your efforts.  Start slow and build.  Keep your priorities straight.

Remember to attend to your emotional needs, they are just as important as the physical.  Schedule, yoga, meditation, etc, to keep balanced on the emotional side.  Rehearse your competition mentally so you are prepared to execute to the best of your ability.  See yourself accomplishing your achievements. Have visible reminders of the goals you have set.

Exercise courage in starting your plan.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Start walking…

Set your intention.  Make your choices.  Execute your plan.  You will get the results you work for.

Good luck on your journey, have the best season ever!

I have posted about each one of these subjects in detail in the last several months.  Check out my archives of past posts.

Photo by Jerry Search

Photo by Jerry Search

Happy Fathers Day!


Happy Fathers Day to my Dad

Here is a poem he wrote about me when I was about 16.  The setting is a frozen lake in the upper midwest.

Thanks Dad for everything!

SPIRIT OF ’76 — OLYMPIC SPEED SKATER

Stark lean silhouette against a darkening sky
Measures effortlessly the ice in ten meter strides.
An imaginary track precisely surveyed in his mind
Guides his turn and glide strokes in mock slow motion.
Each movement carefully calculated to maximize the thrust
With arms reaching out, pulling back, swinging high behind.
Each foot under body center starts
Gigantic leg strokes too long for the horizontal torso.

Seventeen inch blades cut the ice subtly
So sharp they could easily shave the peach fuzz from his chin.
Breathing as measured as the pace stroke -and heart rhythmically beating to match. Muscles flexible in spite of the cold,
Straining to balance the relentless press of spirit.
Why does he stretch so? Who is he racing?
The other skaters are already laughing and drinking hot chocolate
Does he race Olympic ghosts McDermott and Blatchford?
Or is he chased by his own image?
And what does he hope to win? A fleeting flush of triumph?
A medal or trophy? A record someone will break tomorrow?
Or does he try to catch the goal of self respect
The lake ice is never smooth
With unforgiving cracks to keep his mind alert.
A chilling gust keeps balance honest.

Powdery shavings and grooves show other skaters have gone this way
Were all so highly motivated? Or so stubborn?
Did they feel the pleasant numbness-Not of cold but of tendons too stretched?

He counts six more full-effort laps.
Is this enough to beat the best?
Unsure, he fast-paces eight more.
A swirl of light snow blends with him at the far turn.
High flying geese seek a cornfield – not these icy shores.

Honk from a patient parent’s car calls him.
He slows, straightens, and circles to let the real world return.
H. W. Conner

With my Father Harold Conner at the rink in Salt Lake City, Utah

With my Father Harold Conner at the rink in Salt Lake City, Utah

24 Lessons From: Faster As A Master, Part One


24 Lessons From: Faster As A Master, Part One

In my upcoming book “Faster As A Master” each chapter has a summarization of what I learned in the form of “Lessons:”

Here are the first twelve. Next week I will publish the next twelve.

Each chapter has one or more stories, philosophies, and principles to illustrate my points. The statement of “Lessons:” is a summarization of what I have learned and apply to my journey of breaking down barriers and journeying toward wholeness.

1.  Keep moving, be mindful, and you will put yourself into positions that will be right for you.

2.  Core self esteem is built from within and is not based on performance but the effect of the     results on how we feel about ourselves.

3.  By taking small steps everyday we exercise courage to heal old wounds from within to become whole.

4.  We are not alone and have the benefit of many resources seen and unseen to help us past our barriers, internal and external.

5.  Ask for what you need to the universe, keep moving, and trust whatever comes your way is in your best interest.

6.  By breaking down barriers you can show yourself and the world that we are all more capable that we give ourselves credit.

7.  Keep moving in the direction of your goals, adjust as necessary to meet the present circumstances, accept what you cannot control, and trust you are on the right path.

8.  Define blocks to progress, figure out a way around them, set your goals, act, trust the path ahead.

9.  Getting better and going faster is more about intention and choices than age.

10.  Parental and Grandparent support comes in many forms and can be used throughout our lives.

11.  Our networks are wider than we know and can work in better ways than we can predict.

12.  Spousal support is extremely helpful and other support can come from almost anywhere I have spread good will.

Photo by Jerry Search

Photo by Jerry Search

Chinese Symbol for Courage

The Chinese Symbol for Courage

“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.

Introduction

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

Building A Network For Support


Congratulations to my fellow American skaters competing at the World Cup Level this weekend on the short and long track.  Great work!  All of you!

Also, Happy Veterans Day!  All gave some, some gave all.

When standing on the podium, we rise on the shoulders of our support system.  None of us can accomplish what we do without support.

Parents

Parental support is desired but not absolutely necessary.  My brothers and I had the gift of compassionate, loving, and giving parents.

I thought  that what my brothers and I had, was normal.  As an adult, I realize it was exceptional.

As a masters athlete I need support.  Support comes in many forms.  When growing up, the most important support was from my parents.  My father is still supporting me today, not only emotionally through encouragement but financially.  Because he wants to, and I let him.  My mother passed away in 2000, she is still with me always. I still try to make my parents proud, even though I know they are.

Spouse

My wife is the most essential person in my line of my support.  Without her support most of what I do would not be possible. She holds me up when I need it.  I hold her up when she needs it too.  It goes both ways.  Since we share everything, then she must share in the victories too.  We try to share the journey as well.  Training very hard, for a very long time, for a few minutes of racing each year.  I spend a lot of time everyday preparing to train.  Clean workout clothes, shopping and food preparation, driving 75 miles each way to the rink in Milwaukee three times a week.  The list goes on.  Health maintenance, maintaining a home, keeping focus on what is important, God, family, work ,recreation.  Maripat helps me keep balanced with all these. She does so much of the behind the scenes work, so I can concentrate on training and competing.  Shared goals, balancing of priorities and time, are essential to having support from your spouse.

Coach

My coach helps me keep balanced as well between the intense training, recovery and rest.  She is also a great friend that I can talk to about anything. She has the technical knowledge and wisdom to apply it to my situation.

Children

I am reminded of the movie “The Rookie”.  This movie was on television the other day and I had to sit down to watch it.  It has so many important messages.  One of the most important part for me was when the Dad, a middle-aged rookie pro-baseball player, was going to call it quits and come home.  His wife reminded him of what would his young son think and what would he take away from his action.  The Dad then re-thought his decision and decided to stay with the farm team and see where he could go.  He wanted to show his son what was important to him.  Perseverance, dedication, courage, discipline, goal setting and follow through were some of the qualities that he demonstrated to his son.  My kids learn way more from what I do than what I say. This is how my kids can provide me with the motivation I need for my own support.

Fellow Athletes and Training Partners

I need to belong to a tribe of like-minded athletes who train like me.  Grateful that I have a great group of Olympians to train and skate with.  They help keep me young.  I can almost do the volume they do, just need a longer set rest.  I bring some of my wisdom to the group.  Not their coach, I can listen and help in ways that our coach cannot.   What I get out of this group is way more than what I bring,  We all share and benefit in the process.

I wish my fellow competitors and peers good luck.  I want them to do their best.  I try to do my best, and the outcome is, as it should be.  The outcome of a race was probably decided months before, based upon workload volume, training, techniques, talent, focus, and a host of other factors.  The execution of a race on the spot is important, but being faster than someone who is not at their best is no victory.  Competing more against myself than anyone else, the support of my peers can be very valuable in a number of ways.  It is hard to quantify what that support can mean.  More relaxed, perform more to my capabilities, when I am not conflicted.  With the support of the people around me including my peers then I do better.  If I want respect from my peers then I must give respect and earn what they give me.

Mental Support

When I consider that everything I do starts with a thought, then it is important to look at the health of my thought process. My inner thought life is inextricably connected to my outer life. With a number of resources that I have developed over the years to support my mental state, one the most important things I have learned is that I am not alone in my quest in this life.  I have a relationship with a higher power that I call GOD.  I believe in an underlying collective unconscious pattern to the universe.  In this way I have connected to some men that help me to discover the essence of this connection to all around me so that I do not feel alone.  This is very comforting to me as well as provides avenues for knowledge, wisdom, and growth.

Health Professionals

I have a whole slew of people who help keep me on track to my goals.  They all know my goals and are grateful to help in my endeavors.  Enlisting their support not just from their professional knowledge but their friendship through a shared vision for the goal of being as healthy as possible.  I appreciate all their input on my journey.

Volunteers

Speed skating requires a lot of volunteers to run the competitions.  I am very grateful to all the people who donate their time to help in running the sports that we participate in.  When I am running a race like a 5K, I thank the volunteers that hand out water, check me in, compile the race data, clean up, etc.  These are people who give their time so we can do what we love.  I need to recognize their contribution.  I also run a competition each year and this is my way of giving back to all those who have helped me.

Employers

I need to also enlist the support of my employer.  Time off for an important competition, sponsorship, etc.  As a masters athlete I am a better employee, more focused, goal oriented, productive, and a good example to others.  In my case I have been told I am a credit to my profession.  That goes a long way in the benefits section of the relationship with my company and public perception.

Network Building

What I have described is what we all have to a certain degree.  As part of my journey towards a goal is to develop and foster this network.  In turn, the network supports me.  It usually comes back to me in many ways better than I could have imagined.

My Skating Family. L to R, Jeffrey Swider-Peltz, Nancy Swider- Peltz, Jr, Brian Hansen, Maripat Conner (wife), Bruce Conner, Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr (Coach)

My Skating Family.
L to R, Jeffrey Swider-Peltz, Nancy Swider- Peltz, Jr, Brian Hansen, Maripat Conner (wife), Bruce Conner, Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr (Coach)

Rest, Recover, and Reflect


Now that my training and competition season is over, it is time to rest, recover, and reflect.

This season has been hard, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I need to respect the recovery of all three.

First, the physical rest.  I have managed to increase my volume and intensity of training very gradually over the years, and this season.  Working into my off-season I need to be gentle with myself.  Stopping suddenly, my body will revolt.  I have experience with this.  Stopping before, due to injury, I have paid the price.  My legs don’t get what they are used to for activity, my hamstrings tighten up and pull my lower back out of alignment.  That is just one of the symptoms of a poor recovery process. Taking a couple of days off, then easy biking and stretching for the next couple of weeks.  I am giving my body the best chance at recovery.  It seems to take a certain amount of low intensity heartbeats to get the job done.  Waking up the other day to the thought of playing tennis was refreshing.  Tennis can be hard on me physically but getting the activity, doing something different, is part of my recovery.  Golf, walking, easy jogging with our dog Lilly, swimming, yoga are some of the things I can do for rest and recovery.  A few weeks of this and I will be ready to increase to hard levels of training.

That is the physical.  The mental and emotional rest and recovery is not so cut and dried.  I need to listen to myself for the direction.  Pumped after a great season I want to go hard again.  The danger arises when I run out of gas physically, mentally or emotionally later during the training season because I have not rested enough, or taken a long enough break to be hungry again.

Reflection on the season and my goals are also essential.  Setting out to qualify for the upcoming Olympic trials, I met my goal in the 500 meter race.  Three races skated at 39.00 (the standard) or better, improving as the season progressed.  In the 1000, finished my last race with my seasons best 1:16.15.  Needing a 1:16.08,  I missed by about 3 feet.  Qualifying next fall is still possible.  Leaving everything on the ice, I am very happy with my result.  In the 1500 I missed by 3.44 seconds.  The 1500 was not a realistic goal and that is ok.   I was proud of the only 1500 I raced this year, the second fastest ever for me, and the consistent laps.  I will concentrate on the 1000 this coming season.  The 3000 this year I skated was for fun and the last 4 laps were progressively faster.  What worked, and what did not, is also essential during the review of the season.  Building on my strengths, correcting the mistakes, moving forward.

Recognizing my support network and sharing the rewards with everyone involved in my success is a joy.  My wife Maripat, my father Harold, my coach Nancy are all indispensable players in my journey.  I hope they know how much I appreciate their help and share in “our” success.

Onward to new goals, being patient with resting, and giving my legs and my head a well deserved rest.

Racing results for me are available at http://www.speedskatingresults.com/index.php?p=17&s=4067

Our Lab and a half Lilly ready to run.

Our Lab and a half Lilly ready to run.