Category Archives: first time

Don’t Be A Dick

**EDIT….I was back and forth on posting this, but I decided to post it anyway.  Please understand that I am playing devils advocate here.  I understand that not everyone is being a dick when they post, but some are.  I am simply offering a point of view for you to explore. END EDIT**

 

Before I start I understand that this might be a bit hypocritical, however I continue…..

This past weekend was the Broad Street Run.  It the largest 10 mile race in the entire country, it’s an amazing race and if you haven’t done it I HIGHLY suggest you put your name in the lottery next year.  The support along the course is like no other, there is literally someone cheering from the start line all the way to the finish.  This isn’t going to be a typical review of a race though, it’s not a review or a recap at all…..

I have participated in this race for the last 4 years.  This was the first race I EVER participated in.  It holds a special place in my heart and I put my name in the lottery every single year.

I remember the first year I finished this race like it was yesterday.  The sense of accomplishment was something I simply cannot put into words.  The first year I did it was actually on a whim.  I was doing some running during the week but did not actually register.  One of my very good friends knew someone who needed to drop out of the race because of injury and so I got transferred in.  I was uncertain if I was going to be able to finish, I had only run 8 miles without stopping and it didn’t make sense in my mind that 8 was enough, but it was.

This past week leading up to the race, someone posted an article from someone from CSN, a local sports network here in Philadelphia.  If you want you can read it here.  The article was supposed to be “tongue in cheek” and funny.  I get it I guess, people who run “constantly talk about running”.  It was posted on a triathlon message board and the author was trying to make a funny; some people found it funny, others were offended.  Humor is of course subjective, so maybe you find it funny, maybe you don’t. It’s an opinion and opinions aren’t made to be right or wrong.  There is a grey area there.

After the race on Sunday I was browsing Facebook and I saw some status posts about how people were so glad they didn’t “pay to go running”.  This annoyed the shit out of me to be perfectly honest.  I wanted to comment on every single post and justify why people run, why people participate in races and why there is so much more to it than “paying to run”,  but I didn’t.  I let it go and decided to write this article instead.

Let’s address a few things here shall we?  First off, people are passionate about running, therefore people are going to talk about their running and their accomplishments.  Facebook and social media is an area for people to share things that are on their mind, things they are doing, or things they love.  If running happens to be one of those things, they are going to share it.  Just because YOU don’t find enjoyment in running, doesn’t mean you can piss in someone’s Cheerios.  People post about how they went to the Masters golf tournament, which mind you can cost thousands of dollars.  So you’re paying thousands of dollar to go watch someone hit a white ball?  You spend hundreds of dollars to go watch your favorite sports team play a game.  You posts pictures of your kids, your car, your house, your pool.  You post EVERYTHING about your life down to how your wiping you’re ass.  There are some people out there who don’t ever wish to have kids or maybe can’t, could give two shits about a nice car or can’t stand sports.  Yet I don’t see anyone bashing on them on a regular basis or when the biggest “event” in your life is going on.  Maybe this is just my own observation but it is something I have noticed.  Just because you don’t understand the idea of paying to run in a race, doesn’t mean you have to shit on people who do.  I guarantee there is something you do that someone else doesn’t share the same passion for.

Okay, so you don’t get it, you don’t understand what would possess someone to not only run, but to actually pay to go and “race” somewhere.  Allow me to try and explain this to you, if you have made it this far….

Some of us runners did not come from a running background.  Some of us start with the run walk method, some of us were significantly over weight, some of us have not been active for years.  We all have something in common though, we share a love for something that has helped us get out lives back on track with our health.  Many of us have or still are fighting a battle to become healthier.  Running is an outlet and we all have those, but running is more than that.  Running has given us back our lives.  Running in a race could be, and usually is the culmination of months or years of hard work.  When you diminish people for signing up for and participating in a race, you could be diminishing much more than you may realize.  People train for months if not years, depending on their race, in order to complete some races.  In the same way that people have bucket list goals to go to The Masters Tournament, The NBA finals, The World Series, The Kentucky Derby, The Annual Sales Conference for the top selling team.  A goal is a goal.  Your goal may be different than mine and that’s ok, but you don’t need to bash on someone else’s goal simply because you do not share the same passion.  I can tell you wholeheartedly that the first time I ever crossed a finish line at The Broad Street Run was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had.  It was months after I started my journey to lose weight and get my life back together.  It was quite possibly one of the most emotional moments I have ever been in.  Imagine feeling such a sense of accomplishment and then you log on and see one of your friends bashing on what you just did.  I understand that you may not share the same passion for running or triathlon, but I can most certainly promise you have a passion for SOMETHING.

I am not writing this article to change anyone’s mind about running, racing, triathlon or people posting about their fitness accomplishments.  My goal here is to simply play the devils advocate.  You may not share a passion for running and you don’t understand why people do it and then why they need to post about it.  I get that the article was written tongue in cheek and I get that people posting on Facebook are simply trying to make a joke, or maybe they aren’t.  Just think for one second who your post might be affecting once it is out there. There will always be people who are trolls, no matter what you post, they will find something they don’t like about it.  They may also just hate on it because that’s simply the only thing they know.

Or don’t think about what you are posting because you could care less what runners think and they shouldn’t take things so seriously, I mean it is JUST running *insert eye roll*.

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

Barrier to Entry

With 2017 right around the corner I got to thinking about people who may be interested in doing something they have always dreamt of but were hesitant for whatever reason.

When people learn that my passion is triathlon they almost immediately follow that up with something to the effect of “how can you afford that?!” Or “how much did you bike cost?”

*humble brag, yes I have a very nice bike*

However, this bike for one would not have been possible without some amazing people helping me when I was in to this sport and just coming out of college and two you do not NEED a bike that costs thousands in order to participate in a triathlon.

In this posts I will break down some of the most common misconceptions about the barrier to entry for this sport and some “hacks” on how you can start, train and finish a race on a budget!

Gear:

First things first, lets cut to the chase, you will need some gear, without question. In the very least you will need the follow:

Swim

  1. Swim suit- you can find these pretty inexpensive on swimoutlet.com or at a local shop. Most times you will have better luck with cheaper prices on line but in the off season check out local or big sporting goods stores. You should be able to pick one of these up for somewhere around $20.
  2. Goggles- There are hundreds upon hundreds of varieties here. You can get them for as cheap as $5 and as expensive as $30. This really just depends on what you prefer. I really like a few different types. The cheap ones are “swedes” you can get them pretty cheap, they are very minimalist but they get the job done. Middle of the road, a little step up would be something along the lines of the Speedo Vanquisher. These provide a little more cushion, the are great but still under 20 bucks. The top end would be something along the lines of the TYR Special Opps. I have the transition lens model in these and I really like them a lot for triathlon swimming and open water swimming. They provide a great field of view and are very comfortable. Again these are over $20, could be upwards of $30 depending on what you choose, but these are the “top of the line” so to speak.
  3. Swim cap, do not buy one of these, ask a friend, ask the pool where you are going to swim or send me an email (ian@thedoitforyourself.com) and I will send you 3 swim caps. There is no point in paying for one of these because everyone has at least 5 they aren’t using.

In all honesty that is it for the swim. You really don’t need much to get started. Most pools have the gear that you need for the swim (fins, kickboard, bouy, etc.). Remember you are just starting out, lets get a feel for things before we start getting too involved with gadgets and tools.

Next is the bike, possibly the most expensive.

  1. First and foremost you will obviously need a bike. You do not need a $10,000 bike. Allow me to repeat myself. YOU DO NOT NEED A $10,000 BIKE. When I first started I was put in contact with someone who was in a bike group/club. Turns out another member was selling an older bike and I could pick it up, upgrade a few things and be on the road for around $500 bucks. Granted I ended up very lucky in this, but my point is, shop around, look at models from last year, used models and talk with people who are in the sport. You do not need something brand new (unless you can great a great deal!) and you do not need something top of the line for your first bike. I have seen people race on mountain bikes, beach cruisers, hybrids, just about anything with 2 wheels.
  2. Helmet. You are riding a bike on the road, you need a helmet. You can also get deals on these. Rudy Project has a ton of ambassadors out there and they have discount codes on their helmets. I have had 2 of these helmets and I have loved them so far, check them out. You other option is going to a shop or somewhere that sells helmets. My only piece of advice here is to make sure that whoever you’re getting it from, knows how to fit a helmet!
  3. Water bottles, cages, etc. When you first jump in to the sport you do not need the pedals with the clips and the Garmin and every other bell and whistle for your bike. Just grab the basics! Two bottle cages on the bike(the thing that holds your water bottle) and two bottles. 9 times out of 10 if you buy your bike from a bike shop they will cut you a deal on cages and probably throw in bottles with their logo. Platform pedals will do the trick for you just fine and I bet you dimes to donuts you’ll be quicker in transition.
  4. Bike clothes. At a minimum (depending on your budget, preference and your distance) I would suggest getting yourself a pair of cycling shorts or bibs. The difference between the two really comes down to preference. The “bib” style has suspenders that come over your shoulders whereas the shorts don’t.

The run.

  1. At a minimum you will obviously need a pair of running shoes. My best advice for anyone who is starting out is the same advice I got when I first started. Go to a running store, have them look at your gait (the way you run) and they will put you in shoes that are right for you. Over color, over look, over how cool you think they are, the fit matters most. In order to stay injury free and avoid further problems down the road, please take this advice.
  2. Other than shoes, running is also relatively inexpensive. Of course you might want a pair of shades, a hat or visor but again these are all based on preference. You can usually pick these things up on amazon or in the clearance bin at a local store. Don’t be ashamed to shop the clearance bins!!

If your goal is to do a triathlon or any race for that matter, the best thing to do, is just sign up. Don’t wait until you think you are ready or for your friend to sign up with you or anything of that nature. Sign up, especially now when race fees are still cheap. If you need to find a race in your area, google “Tri Find” or just google triathlons in “insert your city/town”. You will find loads of races near you!

If you have any questions, please send me an email ian@thedoitforyourself.com. I am happy to talk through things with you and answer any questions you may have. Remember anyone who is in triathlon or anything for that matter, started in the same position you are in!

Thanks for reading!
It would mean the world to me if you shared this with someone who is considering a triathlon this year!

All for now
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

Did they just call my name…?

Grab a coffee, beer, glass of wine or your favorite beverage of choice, a nice blanket and find a comfy spot because this is going to be a long one. 
This started on Friday. I packed up all my goods, bike, and clothes and headed to Sea Isle to stay with some friends. This way I could wake up and take my time getting my bike over to transition and I wouldn’t be rushed. I hate the feeling of being rushed and it was something I did not want to do at all this weekend. I got down there and basically passed out right away. The next day I woke up and had some breakfast. Went to pick up coffees and some wheat grass for myself. 

Yes it is strange but it’s actually quite tasty!
I enjoyed my wheat grass, coffee and some breakfast. I decided it was time to get ready to head over to Atlantic City. I was going to go for a ride but I had to get my bike to transition and go to my meeting all by 1pm so again…didn’t want to rush. Grabbed a shower and I was off. 

The welcome center on the AC expressway.  
When I arrived to AC I went straight to my hotel. I figured since I forgot my parking pass for the field I could just park my car at my hotel and then walk my bike over. Well the hotel had a different plan. There was no parking garage so I was required to valet my car. Not happy but no big deal. I walked over to the field just in time for the meeting, which was silly because all the info covered at the meeting, was in the packet I already read…

After the meeting I went into the expo and picked up my packet and all my race goodies. My bike and bags were all waiting with the bell hop because my room wasn’t ready so I knew I had to go back to check on that. When I turned my car in they also told me that I was nuts for trying to get out of the city later for dinner with the miss America parade. What I decided to do was put my bags upstairs and drive my bike over, then just leave from the field. It worked perfect…silly bell hop. 

Sand sculpture inside the expo. 

I went and had dinner with my parents and some friends to carb load and what do you know….made it back into the city just fine. When I got back in I was tired but couldn’t settle down. I think I unpacked and repacked my transition bag half a dozen times. My roomie was laughing at me so I decided it was time to turn it in. Alarm was set for 4am and out I went. 
I about jumped out of my skin when the thing went off and was up and ready to go in a matter of minutes. I was buzzing around like a bee with excitement and all kinds of other emotions. I gathered all my things and it was off to transition. 

When I got there I found my bike just as I had left it the day before. I unpacked my things, laid out my towel and dug into my protein pancakes. They were a little cold but I had to get something into my stomach. I stood there, head phones on, just trying to get into the zone. 
It was getting close to 6:30 so I went to the bathroom and came back to start stretching out. As I was stretching, the sun started coming up over all the casinos and it was absolutely perfect. 
I then heard the guy come over the loud speaker….transition was closing. Time to pile into the swim stage area…as I stood there a calm came over my body. I’m not sure where it came from but I just became comfortable with what was about to happen next. I looked over and saw my parents, my friend and his mom who had all coke to support. I ran over quick and hugged them and then headed out. 
We worked our way closer and closer to the swim start before I knew it my race buddy and I were down the ramp and boom into the water. The water was a beautiful 75 degrees and it felt amazing on this chilly morning. As I started I told myself that it was just the same as Wednesday night club swims. 4 strokes, mark, head down and keep swimming. Before I knew it I was around the green buoys and headed back to the dock. As I was going back my goggles began to fog. By the time I got half way back I could barely spot the mark but they were so big I could keep and eye on them. As I took a stroke I felt something wrong, round and squishy…I knew exactly what it was and I don’t think I have ever swam as fast as I did the last 25 yds or so. 
Up the ladder I went and on to the dock. I ripped my goggles off and ran up the mat into T1. 
I ripped off my swim cap, glasses on, helmet on, shoes on and I was out. Over to the mount line and I was on my bike before I knew it. We had to go through sand and gravel, which was a bit of a challenge but if you took your time you were good. 

Half way down the expressway I realized my garmin got messed up and it thought I was on my run, not my bike. It still had the time running though so I was pacing myself off of that. My goal was 1:15:ish. I looked down and at the bike turn around I was somewhere around 30 min. I knew if I could make it back to transition and onto my run in 45 min I would hit my goal. My goal was 1:15 based on times turned in from last year and I really wanted to make top 10 for my age group. I finished my bike, dismounted and came into T2. Bikes shoes off, belt on, sneakers on and gel. I was out of T2 and headed for the boardwalk run. As I started my run I made the mistake of hitting lap on my watch which ended the activity. I simply started it over again really quick and figured I could just have a different log for my run. As I approached the boards I found this guy who I decided to pace with. He was a few strides a head of me the whole way out. I slurped down my Powerbar gel and grabbed a cup of water from the station. When I looked up I could tell this guy picked up his pace a little bit, so I had to do the same as not to lose him. I kept checking my pace on the Garmin and it said 7:49. I assumed it was acting screwy because I messed it up and didn’t think anything of it. 
I came down the boards and got to the base of the bridge. Although the hill was small I had to dig deep to hold pace with this guy. As I hit the peak I could see the finish line. I was going to do it…I was going to make it!!
I came down the finish chute and my body was filled with emotion. I could hear my cheering section going wild and it only made me run faster. I did it, I did it, I DID IT!!!!!!  They handed me my finisher medal and a bottle of water and I went over to see my family and friends. They all said that I was flying. The time said 1:35 min. I was bummed because I didn’t want to go longer than 1:30 but I knew I didn’t start 10-15 after the first swimmer.

 

From there I cheered for my race buddy and another friend who was doing the race. We all gathered together and took some pictures and went to stretch. 
Now time to hit the results tent. I went to pull up my name but there was nothing there. My dad had already seen my time but I told him I wanted to see it myself. So I was bummed…he some how pulled it up and I took a deep breath. 

1:05:50!!! I absolutely crushed my time that I had in my head and pulled of a 7th in my age group. I was beside myself at this point. I had hit both goals that I set out to do and surpassed them. 
I went back into transition and packed up all my stuff to take to the car. Everyone decided to head into the seafood festival. I was ok with it because even though it was 10am I needed a beer. So we hung around for awhile.  They started the awards and one of my friends joked about me getting one. We knew I wasn’t though and my folks were ready to go. Plus I had to go clean up all my stuff in the room so we started to walk back to the car. We could still hear the PA system and my friends mom looked at me and said, “they just said your name!” I thought she was kidding…I said no way, must be a different guy. She swore on it however so I texted someone still inside and sure enough they did!  I went back in and went up to the stage. Apparently the results I saw were wrong and instead of 7th in my age group I took 5th!!!!! I was freaking out. 

There are so many thank you’s that I owe but I will try to keep it on the shorter side. First of all, Jimbo, you’re the man. You started this train rolling and I know you won’t take the credit but just enjoy it. You were at every transition today and yelling the loudest the whole way. I can’t thank you enough for everything…especially the post race stretch. Thanks again brother!

Next, Meg, can’t tell you how proud of you I am for sticking with this. I know you were equally as nervous as me but you stuck with it, you came out and you killed it. Amazing! Congrats again on 2nd in your age group. 

Last but not least, Penny, you’re awesome and amazing and I can’t thank you enough. You offered advise and calming words of wisdom when they were needed most. You were very supportive the whole way and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything from you. Congrats on your top 10 AG finish and crushing your times 🙂

Brandon wasn’t there but he’s helped me more than I could have ever imagined and I truly thank you as well, you’re the man and good luck in Augusta!!
Ron, thank you so much for everything with the bike as well. Without your help I would have never had a bike!
I’m sure I forgot people and I am sorry but I swear your support is sooo appreciated. Thank you to everyone who texted me or messaged. Anyone who gave me the slightest bit of love, it helped believe me. Thank you to everyone on Instagram, so of you I have never even met but you sent so much love!!
Last but not least thank you for all of the people who told me I couldn’t or I wouldn’t. You gave me the strength I needed to get through the race. I couldn’t have done this without any of you. 
Ok no more…
All for now,
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself