Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 3 - Todd Buckingham - SUPER AERO TRIATHLETE - Part 3 of 3

You know it is tough for you just as it's tough for everybody else like everybody hurts. 

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JESSE: You know it is tough for you just as it's tough for everybody else like everybody hurts. TODD: Yeah. And honestly like, you know I don't I don't see myself as an awesome athlete like I'm pretty average at all of the disciplines. You know there are guys-- there was a guy who he finished third overall that year, he's racing Super League now. And is Jack Felix and he came in, he's like a 14 something 5K guy and I'm like, I’m the fastest 5K is barely under 16 minutes. Like, how am I supposed to beat this guy? And, you know, it's not about doing one thing really well, it's about doing all the things kind of okay, like that’s-- JESSE: Or pretty well, yeah. I talked to Jack the other day, actually. TODD: Oh, yeah? JESSE: And asked him how he's going. And he said just-- he said Super League and Pro is just absolutely brutal the whole way through, which he did anticipate. TODD: Right. It was so much fun, though. Like, I would love to get out there and just like go at it with the guys in Super League. Like, I would get laughed out, you know, the first lap of the bike. But that would be fun, that would be cool. JESSE: So, I mean, is that why you decided not to go Pro because for those people listening, so Todd and myself, although I'm much slower, and the kind of group that we know each other through is all focused on becoming professionals. So, you know, is that the decision for you not to go Pro even though you've qualified a few times over? TODD: Yeah, you know, I was talking to Barb, coach about it and it's not like I'm blowing everybody out of the water, right. I still get a lot. And, you know, yeah, if I would have won the National Championship by like, five minutes. Okay, well, then maybe it's time to go Pro. But I won by three seconds. You know, the other races that I've won by like a minute, I don't know, you know, maybe two. But it's not like any dominating thing. Now, I do always wonder like, Okay, well, if I just devoted my time and training like a professional athlete, like, could I be better? Yeah, definitely. Like, I am trying to do this all while getting a Ph.D. and doing research and my own classes and teaching. And so that definitely takes its toll on like my training and recovery time. But if I were to train like a professional athlete, would I get so much better that it would not only allow me to, like compete, but like to win some professional races? And unfortunately, there are not a lot of Olympic distance professional races anymore, tight? They're all going long course at 70.3, it's Iron Man. You know-- JESSE: Yeah, it’s shifting. TODD: They don’t have Ivy series anymore. The -time series is kind of on the downhill. And really, if you want to race professional in short course, it's Continental Cup, it's the World Cup, and they are way faster than me. Like I could -- The run is my best event and my 10K PR, they are running two minutes faster in the triathlon. And so it's like-- JESSE: Right, and I don't mean this in a disparaging way, but it's like, the women are running as fast as you. TODD: Yeah. Yeah. At Worlds this year, last year, I guess, 2018 in Australia, my time and the women's winning time was within two seconds of each other. And so I'm like, yeah. Now I still would have beat a few of the men, but I don't want to be the pro that is finishing in the bottom third or like you know, finishing last every time because you're not going to make a living like that. And I think that being a professional athlete, whether it's triathlete or baseball player, whatever, like if you want to call yourself a professional athlete, you need to make a living and be able to solely fund yourself based on your sport. And triathlon is a very difficult sport to do that with because really only the best, you know, 2% in the world-- the best 2% of the professional athletes are making enough money to sustain themselves right. I mean, you've got your Jaan Ferdino's, Marina Carfrae, Lucy Charles, Daniella Ryf, like those, they are making a comfortable living from triathlon. But then you have your lower tier triathletes like Jack and Jack’s a great triathlete. But is he making even 30,000 a year doing triathlon? Probably not. And that's hard to live on. And so, being a professional triathlete, like, yeah, well, it's always been a dream of mine to be a professional athlete. You know, I thought it was going to be baseball but just to be a professional triathlete, to call myself a professional triathlete is not something that I really want to do at the time. You know, maybe like, for my last triathlon that I ever do, maybe I'll like take my pro card, yep. There's that one time, that one race that I wanted to do as a pro. But yeah, right now it's just not something that I want to do. JESSE: So, I have a couple more questions and then we're going to have to let you go. So, this last year, 2018, you came back from a kind of disappointing finish at Nationals, which is a whole other conversation, which I'd love to get into, maybe we'll go into another time. So, you came back and actually won the overall Age Group World Championship this last year. Considering all you said about not going professional, how do you stay motivated for the next race? Like you stood on top of the world now as far as the amateurs are concerned? You know, how do you stay in the game? TODD: Yeah, that's a great question and it's something that I had to give a lot of thought to, in the offseason. Like, I've won my age group for the national championship the last three years. I was overall winner two years ago. I finished third overall in 2017. And like you said, I just won the World Championships. And so it's like, what else do I have to do in short course racing as an amateur? And it's not to sound like conceited or anything, but it's like what now? JESSE: Right, because it's a personal challenge. TODD: Yeah. And so what now? Okay, I guess, like, do it again, to prove it wasn't a fluke. But it's tough. Like I, honestly, and it's something that I still, I'm like, well, you know, do I really want to go run outside when it's negative five out? No, I'm just going to lay on the couch instead. But I think just looking at new challenges, and maybe doing different races, that, you know, you might not otherwise do. Like last year, I did do - Nationals. And I was like, 2ell, that seems like fun. And I can take the time and go down to South Carolina and do that. And I'm going to do three races in two days, and it's going to hurt, but it'll be fun. And so, you know, kind of finding races like that to put on my race calendar. And I'm getting back to doing some local races that I haven't done in a couple years because of like the World Championships. I would still, I would like to go to Switzerland this year for the World Championship again. And yeah, to kind of like, prove that it wasn't a fluke. But I think you know, the guy who finished second-- Well, he finished third overall, second in the age group. He actually races Pro. He races in the Continental Cup, which I'm not sure how he was allowed to race-- JESSE: He’s allowed to do both. Yeah. TODD: But regardless, like he races Pro, but he's one of those pros who, you know, he doesn't finish. And I mean, he might be in the top half of a 50 person race, but you know, but I mean, so that to me, like, that's good motivation. Like, yeah, you know, I, as somebody who does this for fun, and as a personal challenge like that I can go and compete with guys who are racing Pro. I mean, that to me, is some pretty good motivation that it's like, okay, well, you know, I want to show that I can do this only working out 12 to 15 hours a week as opposed to 20 to 30. So, but it is tough. I mean, everybody's got to find their own motivation. Mine is like cinnamon rolls. That's one of the main reasons that I -- JESSE: That I wanted to get to that. TODD: Yeah, exercising. So yeah, you know, I got to exercise a lot so that I can eat a lot of cinnamon rolls. JESSE: So, where did the cinnamon roll thing come from? So, I'll pull up a couple pictures so everybody else on YouTube can watch, can see this. Todd’s consumed, what did you have? 141 cinnamon rolls ?? 9:47>, as you said? TODD: Yeah, that's on my website I've got, I think they’re pictures of 141. I think that I've probably eaten more, but those-- JESSE: Well, I mean like unique types. TODD: Yeah, yeah. So, the whole cinnamon roll thing, it started after my first triathlon, I think or first running race. And I was like, oh, you know, I want to get a, something to treat myself with. And we were out to breakfast. And like, they had cinnamon rolls on the menu. And I was like, oh, that sounds good. Like, I'll get a cinnamon roll. And it's not like I had any big love of cinnamon rolls before then. But it was just like something that was there. Like, my mom never made cinnamon rolls for me growing up. And so it's not like one of those stories where it's like, oh, yeah, yeah. But yeah, it used to be just kind of a thing where after a race or a post race treat or something - But now it's kind of taken on a life of its own, where it's like, I've got friends who I haven't seen or talk to in like years that are like, oh my gosh, like I saw this cinnamon roll down in Texas. Like, you got to try it out. Or, like, hey, Todd, I saw this video on Instagram. Like they tagged me it. So, it's just kind of taken on a life of its own and I have friends send me cinnamon rolls from places like it’s the craziest thing and it's kind of cool. I actually, yesterday, I went to a local bakery and I had been there earlier in the week because I wanted to get some cookies. They have like the best cookies that I've ever had. But I saw some cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator, and they were like, you can take them home and bake them yourself. And I was like, do you guys make cinnamon rolls on any day of the week? And he's like, “Yeah, you know, usually it’s Saturday's.” I was like awesome. Like, I'm going to have to come and do that. And I kind of showed him my website and I showed him the pictures of all the cinnamon rolls. He's like, “Oh man, like you, will you come in? Like, I want you to try one because I would love to get your opinion on it.” And so I was like, well, I think I could do that like twisting my arm. So yeah, yesterday I went in and it was like I was a cinnamon roll critic. He was like what do you think honestly, like, what are your thoughts. And so that, I mean, that was kind of cool. So yeah, maybe after my triathlon career I'll find a calling in the culinary field. JESSE: Just start calling bakeries and be like I can help you out. I know my stuff, making cinnamon roll. TODD: Cinnamon roll ?? 12:24>. JESSE: Yes, that's, you know, I thought about putting that down in your bio as former cinnamon roll - but I was like, that may sound a little conceited. I don't know if I want to go with it or not. TODD: And make me, I have to twirl my monocle. JESSE: Yeah, yeah. Most importantly, and this is for my own ego; how was the cinnamon roll I found for you in Cleveland? TODD: Oh, yeah, man. That was really good. That was legit. It was Michelle's Bakery, wasn't it? JESSE: I think so. We were wondering around the public mark-- Yeah, the West Side Market. I was like got to find-- There's tons of bakeries in there. Anybody that’s not been in the West Side Market, if you're going Nationals this year, you're in Cleveland, go to West Side, Market. It's just a cool place. But yeah, there's a tons of bakeries in there and I was like, I’m going to have to find Todd a cinnamon roll. I think you were still in the NormaTec tent when I left the venue that day. TODD: Yeah, yeah. And we ended up making it to the West Side Market. We got one of those cinnamon rolls from Michelle's and then we also got this really interesting, it was like a cinnamon pecan crisp. So, it was like a cinnamon roll but it had been flattened like a pancake and it was crispy. And that was really good too. So yeah, West Side Market, that was a really cool place. Not just for like bakery but they had a lot of produce and a lot of, you know, meat. JESSE: Right, and basically anything you could want. Yeah. TODD: Anything you could want. It’s a giant farmers market. JESSE: Yeah. My last question for you and I'll let you go after this. I like to ask different athletes this. If you could only eat one thing for recovery for the rest of your life, what would it be? TODD: Cinnamon rolls. For recovery, okay, so are we talking like, if this food that I eat will automatically give me good recovery or-- JESSE: I mean, like some something you eat now, you know, like I use a particular recovery mix. Some people like chocolate milk, some people like-- If you could only do one because like I use different things depending on what the workout is. If you could only pick one, what would it be? TODD: Oh, man, just give me like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Like that's all I need. I mean, it's got some good carbohydrates, it's got good fat, it's got some protein. So, like it's not as bad for us as cinnamon roll. It actually like replenishes you and makes up for that loss glycogen and the protein, muscle damage. So yeah, I would probably say just like a PBJ, that's my jam. Creamy peanut butter, all right, none of that crunchy nonsense. All right. ?? 15:01> get crunchy, like get out of here. And I really like the cherry, cherry jam. That's also...that's got some good you know, antioxidant recovery-- JESSE: ...antioxidant in cherry. TODD: Yeah, that's my go to, peanut butter and jelly creamy. JESSE: I’ll have to remember that. All right. Todd, if people want to follow your exploits and see what kind of cinnamon rolls you’re into the future, where can they find you? TODD: Yeah, so I'm @ToddBuck1, T-O-D-D-B-U-C-K-O-N-E on Instagram and Twitter. And just Todd Buckingham on Facebook. And you can find me on my website at, where I post a picture of every single cinnamon roll that I've eaten. I've also got race results, which are less important than the cinnamon rolls. But yeah, race results, upcoming races and I write a blog sometimes when I'm not so busy writing my dissertation, so yeah. JESSE: Good deal. Thanks for coming on today, Todd. TODD: Hey, thanks, Jesse. Appreciate it. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2

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