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A hard look within

Written by: Herbert Krabel
Date: Tue Apr 05 2011

After a disappointing 70.3 California race California based Pro Mac Brown put up a very hard note to himself on his blog. This entry was not meant to garner attention or sympathy but was truly meant to give notice to himself, or as some would say a hard look in the mirror. After a longer chat with us he was kind enough to let us actually share it. We actually typically don't copy and paste content, but found this entry to be quite interesting, so give it a read.

Cal 70.3 - Not a race report

Obviously I am not excited about how I raced over the weekend. However, I think this race may be the best thing that may have ever happened to me. Let me explain.

A few years back a friend of mine (Dave Jewell) wrote a blog post about being a 'pro' triathlete. After reading this post I was honestly pissed off. Really pissed off. Who the hell did he think he was? He was my boss at RoadRunner Sports and knew a ton about shoes and running, but what the hell did he know about triathlon and 'acting like a pro'?

For those who have followed my career thus far, it has been lackluster to say the least. Being very honest with myself, I am not a professional triathlete . . . not even close, never have been. I barely qualified to renew my pro license this time around and gave a long hard thought about even racing professionally this year. I raced Kona last year because I got a 'lucky' roll down spot at IM Wisconsin - one of the least competitive races on the IM circuit. I WAS THE WORST PRO ON THE START LIST AT KONA. Injuries, over-training and mental breakdowns are nothing but excuses as to why I have not performed to my capability. At the end of the day I am responsible for these things that happened, no one else.

I am 33 years old and need to make a decision. Either I act like a professional triathlete or not. That means I re-evaluate every aspect of my training. I will break it down to what I feel are the most important aspects. . .

Training (swim/bike/run) - I am good at listening to my coach. I have committed to Dr. Skiba and we will grow with each other as time goes by. We need to iron out a few kinks, but I believe in him.

Strength Training - I am doing a good job with this and will stick with it. Good news is I am injury free and I think working with FunctionSmart trainers Chris and Gino are a big part of the reason why.

Nutrition - I will give myself a F here. I am WAY too heavy to compete at this level. What I mean by heavy is my natural body weight is 180lbs. I am a big guy from years of lifting weights and doing massive amounts of creatine in college. It was necessary to be as strong as possible to play college lacrosse (I was 205lbs in college). I never really changed my eating patterns since college, I just trained more and the weight came off. This needs to change and WILL change. Right after Cal I came home (had a pity party like a child) and swore things would change. They will. I will get lean. Triathlon is a strength to weight sport. Nutrition is a simple choice. I know what to do, what to eat. The act of actually eating the right things is nothing but discipline.
Mental game - F. F. F. As soon as we get in the water to warm-up for the swim I have no confidence in myself, none. Bad thoughts pop in to my head and I doubt all my training/fitness. When I am down coming out of the water, I fold. I will ride hard, but the white flag has already been waved. This is inexcusable. Mental breakdowns like this are not professional, they are AMATEUR.

There are no prizes for the athlete who came back from injury and finished an Ironman on the professional level. No one cares. I have been using this as an excuse as to why my racing has sucked so bad. Pathetic. Do you think Macca, Potts, Alexander or Henning would whine because they had some injuries to overcome?

Letís look at Jordan Rapp. I consider Jordan to be the most professional athlete in the entire sport. He is a role model, he races hard as hell and is very intelligent. How many times have you heard Jordan complain about his fitness because he almost got killed in a car accident? How many? 0 - no times. Not once. You know why? The finish line does not care about injuries or excuses, Jordan knows this. The first guy across the line wins. You think other athletes feel bad about Jordanís accident when they race him? Yeah right. They go at him even harder and he knows this. Jordan is nails.

I can sit here and write this nice and eloquent blog about how I am going to change, but thatís all it is . . . writing. I know I have the talent to compete at a VERY high level, but that means nothing. Anyone can vow to change. ANYONE. Talk is cheap. Talk is for pussies. Am I am pussy? Am I going act like a man and a professional? That remains to be seen . . .

Those last few questions were meant only for himself and won't require smartass answers or commentary.

Mac Brown's website is


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Mac Brown's Comments 5 out of 5 stars

shouldn't we all take a hard look within ourselves

Reviewed by: George Reagan, Apr 13 2011 7:36PM

I say this to myself just about every day and somehow survive the negative onslaught that I put myself through. We're all gifted in some way and should at one point in our lives make the kind of commitment that Brown explains, if not for our own good but for the good of all, so many have the opportunities we have and we owe them a good try, a real try, at aspiring to be the best in what we were gifted to do...

understanding 5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: richard, Apr 7 2011 2:15PM

I think that amateurs and pros have a lot in common when it comes to these problems. I am a slow amateur but I have the same issues as Mac does, I'm too big, so I work to lose weight. I used to have those anxiety issues, EVERYONE is faster than me. I don't always eat right. But through time and mental training, the weight has come off and I am at least a mid packer in the fastest age-group. For me, that's a huge success. I applaud Mac for letting us see the inner workings of a Pro. I wish him the best of luck this year.

Mac Brown's honesty, attitude 5 out of 5 stars

Timothy Carlson

Reviewed by: tgcarlson, Apr 7 2011 11:31AM

While in all fairness Mac Brown may be a little too hard on himself for the long run, this bracing look at himself at this moment may be just what the doctor ordered to light a fire. A really fine article.

Tough to look inside.. 5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: Steve, Apr 7 2011 5:48AM

We had a discussion this morning at work about self-awareness, the Johari Window, and getting feedback. I applaud Mac for his honesty, insight, and challenging spirit. As someone who has worked very hard to be MOP, I understand the perspective of finding yourself wanting. I had the opportunity to meet Mac last year while traveling, and a more engaging and honest pro athlete would be hard to find.

Mac Brown's Comments to Himself 3 out of 5 stars


Reviewed by: Phil, Apr 6 2011 9:57PM

Sometimes it helps to vent. Even for the pros. We've all had that moment, and my take-away from his comments are that they are a very honest assessment, where the wounds of defeat are still raw, and there is no better time to reflect on what IMMEDIATELY needs to be redressed. His focus will be on better nutrition on positive thoughts -- that's a great start! I wish him luck. Those are two areas that I too need more focus on.

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