Category Archives: run

Escape the Cape 2017


As some of the readers here may know I do not do a typical race report.  I do not give you the play by play of everything I did (at least I try not to) however I give you some snippets from the race weekend and how I felt, how it went etc.  With that said here is the recap from my experience at Escape the Cape 2017.

A little back story….If you read my first race recap here you will remember that I attempted to do a small local race to try and qualify for nationals.  You will also recall that I thought I qualified last year at Tri the Wildwoods when I was 4th in my age group out of 42 racers.  Long story short – there were a few guys that didn’t show up for that race and so the age group dropped below 40 which did not put me in the top 10%.  After reading some of the rules I believe that regardless of the number of racers, you need to be in the top 3 but I am not certain.  The rules for USAT are a little confusing.

Any who, leading up to Escape the Cape I checked the number of people in my age group so I knew exactly how many people were in it, where I needed to place(or at least where I thought because the rules are a little confusing), and what time it would take to get there.  I always have nerves leading up to races but this was a weird mix.  I was having moments of “You are a badass mother fucker” thoughts after some awesome training days and then I was having self doubt regarding the race and qualification.  I think this is normal, I mean it is normal right? No, just me….?

I knew going into this it was going to be a fast race.  The races are drawing much more of a competitive field and I am ok with that; I love the competition.  I looked at some times from last year and they were pretty quick (still not sure how these dudes and chicks crush the 5K with sections on soft sand!).  We did a small taper leading into the race but nothing like what I would do for an A race or a longer distance race.

As with my first race of this season, this one was also relatively close so I was able to leave Saturday morning and get to check in around 11.  Getting there early and getting my stuff always calms my nerves a bit because I don’t feel rushed.  I got a good night sleep Friday night in my own bed which is key because I knew I wouldn’t sleep much on Saturday night.  Seeing and talking with people I know before the race is also something that really helps chill me out so I spent a lot of time hanging around the expo and talking with people.  It was great to see and hangout with Chris from Kaenon Sunglasses and John from Tri Everything.  Two awesome dudes. I got in a nice shake out ride and swim (I have never really had the chance to swim the day before but it was awesome!).  Then it was time to find the house.

Time to stuff your face with pasta, plenty of water, stickers, tattoos, etc. Ya know…all of the normal stuff you have to handle the night before.  As I anticipated I did not sleep much the night before.  We were staying in an older house and the door didn’t close all the way so it kept knocking together.  Not too loud but loud enough to keep me up and it was like a scene from a creepy movie where the gate is knocking in the wind.  Regardless I was ready to go when the alarm went off at 3:30.  If you happened to catch my post from last year you will know that I pushed it WAY too late getting to the parking area and so I wasn’t about to do that this year. Learn from your mistakes people! I was on one of the first shuttles out and set up by probably 5:30.  This was good and bad.  Good because I was in and ready, bad because now I had about 30-45 minutes to kill….thats not good for the head on race morning for me.

Luckily I found my friend Gina and we got on the boat together.  National anthem started the morning off and then we were off the dock; it was go time.  I waited for the Olympic distance athletes to go off and then I pulled on my suit.  Just as I was about to step up and jump this lady rudely walked right in front of me.  I had half the mind to say something but karma is real and I don’t need any bad juju on race day.  Off the boat I went and it was a beautiful swim.  The water was so much calmer than last year and I was out before I knew it and my swim felt really good.  One thing I have been trying to work on this year is pushing my swim.  My paces in the pool have been dropping but for whatever reason I do not push my potential on the race day swim. The first two races this year I have felt much better about the swim though and I hope to continue this.

I told myself I was going to take my wetsuit off in the water but got caught up in the race and just ended up taking it off in transition.  The bike felt strong, really strong.  I knew that to hang with the fast guys in my age group I needed to hammer pretty good and I had that in the back of my mind.  I came off feeling pretty good and it was on to the run.  I kept telling myself to keep it cool because I knew the sand would get me but I couldn’t help it.  The legs felt good, so I went with it.  I watched my pace drop in the sand but I gained some back on the pavement.  After the turn I just kept telling myself “head down and run”.  Coming down the final stretch, I don’t think I have ever been happier to see the turn into the ferry terminal.  I was giving it all I had to come as close to 1:08 as I could but unfortunately I came up short.  I knew I didn’t put together what I needed to win the age group but I still felt like I put together a solid race.

To this day I still don’t like to look at the results and find out my place because I like to be surprised.  If you ask me why, I can’t answer that for you. I am not sure why to be honest.  This day was no different; as everyone made their way to results I went to get a beer.  I met some friends and just hung around.  The anticipation began to kill me though and I needed to find out where I stood, after all, this was for nationals. I got someone else to go to the tent for me…I found out that I was 3rd!!  I knew that I had qualified!!  Little did I know that there were 11 some odd guys that did not show up…

When the time for awards rolled around I came to find that I was 2nd because the age group winner also won overall so he was removed.  However in the days since I read on the USAT site that if you are removed from the age group for awards, you are placed back in for USAT rankings.  This would push me to 3rd out of 26 for the official USAT results.  I also read there is a round up rule where if you were 3/25 you still qualify.  The only issue is that the results have not been submitted to USAT yet so I still do not have a definitive answer on wether or not I can book my tickets for Omaha.

In the days since Escape the Cape I have tried not to focus on the results and the USAT email that has still yet to come.  TRY is the key word.  I have gotten right back to training, crushed both of my field test for the bike and run and resumed training as if we are going to Omaha.  On the inside though I am freaking out, I want to know what is going to happen more than anything right now.  Sitting and worrying about a stupid email isn’t going to make or break my season though.  I have had seasons where I haven’t raced nationals and one where I have.  It won’t be the end of the world if I don’t go (at least that is what I keep trying to tell myself).

I have up until the 19th of June for the official results to be submitted to USAT and then probably a few days for the email to come through.  Until then, it full steam ahead.  Everything is going as if we ARE going to Omaha.  I will keep this page updated when I know more but please follow me on my other pages below as well.

Last but not least, I just want to say thank you to everyone.  Thank you to my amazing sponsors who support me in this sport, my friends and family who build me up and calm my nerves, and all of my followers.  I love hearing from you during race week and after the race regardless of the outcome.  All of the support does not go unnoticed and it really means everything to me.

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!

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!

Life update, the start of 2017 season and YouTube

I did a life update a little while back and I promised to continue them. Here is life update and the start of the 2017 season.

In that post, you can read it here, I talked about feeling some symptoms of adrenal fatigue. I said that I was taking a supplement that was supposed to help with that. I actually stopped taking said supplement. I am not sure if I wasn’t consistent enough with it or if it wasn’t actually working but I stopped. What I did start doing in putting my phone away from my bed with the alarm on it. Instead of having it right next to me where it was nice and easy to hit snooze, I moved it across the room where I needed to actuallyy GET UP out of bed to shut it off. I have a consistent time for when I wake up and I am trying to stay as consistent as possible when it comes to bed time. I have found that these two things are really helping me.

The last thing that I did not mention in my earlier post but I wanted to throw in here is that I purchased a pair of blue light blocking glasses from amazon. You can find the ones I bought here. These glasses block out the blue light that comes from TV, phone, and computer. From what I have read, blue light basically confuses your brain. Your brain accepts the blue light and gets in confused with the same type of UV light from the sun. When this happens it is hard for your brain to shut off because it thinks it is day time. I have these glasses by my bed or in my bag and I just throw them on when it starts to get dark out. It could be all in my head or it could be that it truly works but for 10-15 bucks, I’ll take that chance any day. Since wearing these glasses I have a MUCH easier time falling asleep when I lay down vs. when I don’t wear the glasses.

The second point I wanted to make was on the intermittent fasting that I started doing in the early months of 2017. It was working very well for staying in a calorie deficit. When I was trying to keep calories down, especially on rest days, using this method DID work. However since then, training has ramped up. The intensity and volume is in full swing right now to prepare for the season. Intermittent fasting has since stopped. I was just not eating enough when I was fasting and the window was too small to try and eat enough to fuel for the next workout. Just as a point of reference I did not see anymore weight drop than if I were just staying strict about my macros for the day. The weight loss was EXACTLY the same, so if you are thinking about doing intermittent fasting because you are going to shed more weight, that is not what I found in the least bit.

Last but not least, RACE SEASON IS HERE!! Wohooo, round of applause. There were times where I thought it was never coming. Sometimes it is hard to think of those goals when you are grinding away for two hours on the trainer and there is snow on the ground. However race season has FINALLY arrived and I couldn’t be happier.

I decided to jump into a small local sprint race this past weekend. It was called the Rivewinds Sprint Triathlon for those of you who are located in the PA, MD, DE, NJ area. If you are looking for a great, small town race feel early in the season I HIGHLY suggest you check this one out. The swim takes place in the Riverwinds Community Center pool and then the bike and run are around the surrounding area. It is a great little race, it is well organized and I really tip my hat to DQ events on this one. If you want to check out their races, I will link them here.

I won’t give you a long winded recap of this race because I know that those can get boring. What I will tell you is that the community center where this took place was beautiful, the swim was well organized, and the course was great. I never touched the person in front of me during the swim and the person behind me never touched me. We did a snake through an 8 lane pool and we were in and out. I made one mess up on the bike which was completely my fault because I was not paying attention and I got off course just a bit. The run was smoking fast on the path through this center and it had a slight uphill right after the turn around at the beginning of the first mile. I had one goal and one goal only for this race, win my age group. I wanted to qualify for nationals early in the year and go enjoy the rest of my Sunday. I looked at some times from last year and saw that 53 minutes won overall and my age group winner was somewhere around 55-56 minutes. I finished the day in 56:13. There were a lot of firsts for me, one being a really solid swim. I looked at my watch as I entered T1 and it read 3:17. This included exiting the pool and running outside so that was probably closer to 3 minutes. Very solid swim for me. The bike was not my best but not horrible in just over 27 minutes for the 10.5 miles and I was only seconds off my PR sprint run split. All in all, it was a great day for me to get out and test my off season fitness.

Now for the bad news. No one in my age group went over an hour on the day. 1-4 overall were all in my age group….Needless to say, I did not win my age group and therefore I have not yet qualified to go back to Omaha. I was disappointed about this. Don’t get me wrong there were a lot of great take aways from this race and I have a lot of good fitness for so early in the season. I just hope that I can continue to carry it into the full swing of this season and punch my ticket to go back to Omaha. Stay tuned!

I thank you guys very much for reading. I look forward to sharing this journey with you on the road to Omaha!

All for now.

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself.

PS incase you did not know, I have launched a YouTube Channel. I will be documenting my journey to get back out to Omaha here! Please check it out and share your thoughts with me! ❤️

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

Running to Lose Weight

I’m going to run because I want to lose weight. I am going to do a triathlon so I can shed some pounds. Oh you are a triathlete, you must be able to eat WHATEVER you want!

These are all statements I have heard on a regular basis. Yes running would aide in weight loss, doing a triathlon would help you be in a calorie deficit, but no triathletes cannot eat whatever they want. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Let’s break this down a little further.

Yes I have lost and successfully kept off a lot of weight and yes I am also a triathlete. However those two things do not necessarily go hand in hand. For me, I lost a majority of my weight through resistance training. Participating in endurance sports has only aided in keeping the weight off.

When you’re beginning a life changing journey, such as losing weight, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Let’s dive into them.

  1. Pick activities that you enjoy- Maybe you don’t like running endless miles, maybe you are intimidated by the free weights, maybe you don’t like traditional cardio. Whatever the case may be, there are 1,000 of ways to get your heart rate up and get your sweat on. Even if you don’t like anything, there are some things you dislike less than others, do them. This doesn’t have to suck, you can get enjoyment out of working out and it can actually be FUN. Some other easy and fun ways to get moving would be to get up and walk around your office 1 every hour. You can use your lunch break to go out for a nice walk instead of sitting at your desk. Even simple things like taking the stairs over the elevator can add up over time! If you enjoy running or cycling or swimming, by all means, incorporate those activities into your plan. Just know that in order to get the results that you are most likely interested in, it would take hours on end of these activities in order to achieve the goal of fat loss.
  2. Don’t pick activities based on calories they “burn”- Odds are, even if you wear a heart rate monitor, the calories burned are slightly off. Wearable devices can be up to 50% off when it comes to calories burned. There is no way to get a 100% accurate account for calories burned outside of a lab and having lots of testing done. Pick
    activities based on number one, not based on the perceived calories you could burn. If you pick an activity you even somewhat enjoy you are much more likely to continue.
  3. Weight loss or fat loss come down to 3 things- intake, expenditure, and progress. It is much easier to measure intake and progress. Intake is counting your calories or your macros. “Macros” short for macronutrients are the three large categories foods can be broken into. Carbohydrates, Protein and fats. You can choose to measure by the number of macros(in grams) you are eating or the amount of calories. The decision is really up to you, there are arguments for each and it really depends on YOUR preferences, I can’t tell you which one I think is better. What I can tell you is that proper nutrition (i.e. lots of good veggies, fruits and lean meats) will keep nutrient intake up and assist in keeping calories low. Expenditure is the amount of calories you burn (again very hard to accurately track). Lastly is progress, this can be measure a number of ways, either on the scale, through body fat tracking or through measurements. I just want to forewarn you that measuring too often can cause a feeling of standing still. You do not need to measure everyday if you don’t want to and for most I would suggest not. Doing measurements once a week or maybe even once every two weeks may be better as this will yield changes and decrease chances of dropout. You can use calipers and a friend to measure you body fat loss or you can use a measuring tape that a tailor would use. Some of the common areas to measure would be around the upper arms, thighs, neck, waist, and midsection.

Here are a few more things to consider when you are starting your journey for fat loss. Most people are actually more interested in losing body fat, not body weight. Therefore, burning calories does not equal fat loss. You can shed some pounds by merely by burning more calories than what you are eating. It’s probably safe to say that you would also like to burn fat more than just losing weight. So becoming aware of what you are consuming would be very beneficial to your goals. If you monitor two of the three things listed in number three above, you will be well on your way to your goals! PS if you are interested in reading a short post about setting goals check out this post from last week! I will write a more detailed post on setting goals next week!

When developing a plan or working with a trainer, you should be performing a mix of cardiovascular activity and resistance training. This plan paired with monitoring your consumption will enable you to track 2 of the 3 keys for fat loss! Just as an FYI if you have hired a trainer and they are handling your workouts for you, follow what they say. Every trainer has a different process and a different approach. Many even vary their approach from client to client, so don’t compare your workout to anyone else’s. They are the professional, just trust them!

Lastly but possibly one of the most important things to note! As previously mentioned, calculating the number of calories you are burning during exercise is complicated. Never, ever, EVER attempt to loosely estimate the number of calories burned OR the number of calories you are consuming. People have historically and wildly over estimated how many calories they burned. On the flip side of that you will underestimate the number of calories you are consuming. You do not need to be 100% accurate and weigh everything down to the gram when tracking, however, use a tracker. There are many options out there, if you prefer counting calories try the MyFitnessPal app. If you find yourself more interested in counting macros check out this app by Mike Vacanti.

I want to wrap up by giving you a few example workouts you can do for cardio that will help during your fat loss journey.

  1. If you are doing cardio in the traditional sense you can do steady state or interval training. For steady state cardio you want to go for a set amount of time, at the same effort. This effort should be somewhat easy. Say if you are walking or jogging on a treadmill next to someone you should still be able to have a conversation with them. You words should not be broken but you should still be breaking a sweat. If you are doing some form of interval training it can be broken down in many ways. 1 minute hard followed by 1 minute easy is a great way to get started. Your work intervals should be hard, you should be counting down the seconds until you get to stop!
  2. When you are first becoming aware of your nutrition there are a few key things to key in mind. Processed foods are one thing that should be avoided. Now is it ok to have ice cream and pop tarts here and there, yes absolutely! You want to abide by the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the food you are eating should be clean. Lots of fresh vegetables are good, along with fruits and lean protein such as chicken, lean cuts of beef and turkey breast! Being prepared with these foods or even snacks in the fridge at work or in your desk will help keep you from getting into a situation where you are trapped with poor choices. Nuts and seeds also make for a great snack to keep in your desk or car. Just remember that nuts have a high fat content (although they are good fats) you still want to limit them.

When approaching this journey you need to keep one thing in mind, its about consistency not perfection. You don’t have to weigh food, you can estimate, you can measure progress and you can play the long game. If you are someone who is over weight, you did not get that way in a month, 6 months, a year, maybe even 2 years. This is not going to change over night. Consistency is the game here my friends.

As alway if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me ian@thedoitforyourself.com.

Until next time!

Thanks for reading, it would mean a lot if share with a friend!

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!

8 Tips to a better open water swim

Oh my God, you do triathlons? I have heard you get kicked in the face.  I heard people punch you in the swim.  I heard people have died!

kona-swim

Yes all of these things have happened in an open water swim.  However it is not a guarantee they will happen in every race and I have some tips to help you have a better open water swim the next time around.

FYI before you read on, these are in no particular order of importance, they are all important.

1. Sighting

Sighting can be very tricky and I am going to talk about two main points here.  Keep your eyes low and look at the big picture.

Let’s talk about the first one, keeping your eyes low.  If you have had some sort of swim instruction/coaching or you come from a swim background you know that head position is very important for swimming efficiency.  When you lift your head to sight, your legs are going to sink.  It is inevitable. Alligator swimming in swamp water Alligator mississippiensis Anhinga Trail Everglades National Park Florida USA The key here is to use what I like to call “alligator eyes”.  Picture an alligator and how low their eyes are when it comes to the surface.  You are striving to do the same. Keep your eyes low to the water, then turn to breathe and you do not have to sight every time you need a breath.  Some people can sight every 3 breaths and some more.  You need to find what works for you.  Another great thing to do is watch the ITU races the next time they are on TV.  Those folks can swim and you don’t even realize when they are sighting some times.

 

The second tip on sighting that I have is to focus on the big picture.  At least take a glance at the course map that someone took the time to put together.  Once you have an idea of where you going, see if you can preview the course.  If not see if the course is at least set up and you could go take a look at it.  KNOW YOUR COURSE! Next don’t try to find the bout every time you sight.  The best thing to do is take a mental picture of where the buoy is.  From there you can focus on a tree or landmark while you are swimming in that direction.  This way you will never waste time looking around for the buoy thus dropping your legs, slowing down, etc etc.  As you get closer to the mark you will be able to find the mark much easier and focus in on getting around it efficiently.

2.Technique

Obviously all of the technique you have learned/use in the pool should transfer to open water.  There are a few things that are important to keep in mind when transitioning to open water.  Some people have a tendency to swim with their eyes focused forward for two reasons.  One they are too worried about finding that buoy when sighting(not anymore ;]!) and two they are worried about running in to someone’s feet.  If you are swimming your line and sighting, someone isn’t going to just pop up out of nowhere.  The second piece of technique that is helpful in open water, ocean especially, is a high, relaxed elbow during recovery.  Especially important when you are dealing with waves and chop!

3. Goggles

This is quite possibly THE most important aspect of goggles.  Just because you have goggles that are great in the pool, does not mean they will work well for OWS.  I prefer the TYR Special Ops 2.0 during open water.  They have an awesome field of vision and the transition lenses prevent the need for multiple pairs of goggles.  No matter what brand you go with you need to make sure they work for you.  You should also keep in mind that tinted lenses are not great in low light situations and low light goggles will fry your eyes out of your head if it is sunny.  Most people have multiple pairs.  Which even route you decided to go RACE MORNING IS NOT THE TIME TO TEST GOGGLES! As with anything you should test it multiple times before you decide to try it in a race.

4. Drafting

Drafting is 100% legal during the swim leg of a triathlon.  This is the only place it is legal and so some feel as though you should take advantage of that, others feel as though it is inconsiderate.  Here a few things to keep in mind when drafting.  You still need to sight.  If you are drafting off of someone who is swimming all over the course, how much energy are you really saving? You also need to be considerate of the swimmers around you.  If you are drafting off of another swimmer and you keep bumping in to them because of your draft, that is inconsiderate and you are now impacting their race, bad move.  Yes drafting can save you energy on the bike and run if done properly, especially if you are not a confident swimmer, however it can cause a laundry list of problems as well so just keep that in mind.

5. Warm-Up

This is more in regards to the race situation rather than an OWS practice.  If the race allows you to enter the water prior to your wave start or the start of the race, TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY! One you would be a fool not to and two, your body is going to have a chance to get used to the temperature of the water and two you will have a chance to warm up your muscles.  A great pre-race warm up would be a little swimming nice, easy and relaxed.  Follow this with a few pick-ups to get the blood flowing to the muscles and then round out with some easy swimming.  There are times that you are not able to get in the water before the race however if you can, it will really help with the feeling of loosing your breath as soon as you jump in to race.

6. Practice

Unfortunately with swimming there is absolutely no way to get better to increase your comfort level then getting out and doing it.  A pool is WAY different than open water and vise versa.  You just need to get out and practice.  Practice with a wetsuit and without.  Practice stripping it off, putting it on, different goggles, how to sight, etc.  Everything you are going to do on race day should be practice before hand in an OWS setting.

7. The start

The start of an open water race or a triathlon seems to have a lot of mis understanding surrounding it.  People think this is a melee with fists flying and people coming out with black eyes.  This can be the case, however, it can also be avoided just as easily.  If you are not confident, hold back.  You race time with not be impacted all that much it you wait 30 seconds to a minute and then begin your swim.  Starting off to the right or to the left and holding that line will also help prevent this.  If you have a tendency to round very close to the buoy you have probably been hit a time or two.  You don’t get a faster time by swimming closer to the buoy.  You may even gain time because you have to deal with the mess.  Round the mark towards the outside and keep your line and you will be just fine.

8. Tips for athletes without access to OWS

Now for those of you who do not have access to open water, all hope is not lost.  You have the ability to practice some open water situations in the pool.  This will obviously not be identical however practicing this will at least help you more than not doing anything at all.  Practicing swimming lengths of the pool with your eyes closed or with paper in your goggles will help with the low visibility in open water.  Please only attempt this in a lane you have to yourself with plenty of space! Swimming with multiple people in one lane will also be helpful to get used to sharing space.  4 or more adults would be ideal.  Last thing is, if you are a coach, grab a kickboard and give you athletes a love tap every once and awhile.  There will be some contact, although minimal and they need to get used to it.

Hopefully something here is helpful for you during your open water swimming and race this season.  If you find value here please share with a friend!

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!

Sacrifice

 

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Triathlon, quite possibly one of the most selfish sports of all time.  Think about it, how many sports out there require long hours of solo training away from friends or family?  Am I saying this to scare you? NO! Not at all however this sport takes sacrifice and anyone who is considering joining or stepping up to a longer distance I feel as though this is something that everyone underestimates.  Let’s talk about some ways to keep your friends and family happy while you still hit your goals in things you love.

I am going to give a few tips that will help you balance life, work and your family while you are training this season.  Let’s face it, the spring is right around the corner, they are calling for temps in the 70’s here on the east coast next week.  If you want to have a successful season and keep everything balanced, read on.

Be open with everyone around you.

Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned vet this is something that EVERYONE should do.  Tell the people around you about your goals and aspirations for the season.  If you show them that you are serious and you have goals set forth they will be more likely to support you through this journey.  Along with this everyone who is around you will not be able to say well this isn’t what I signed on for.  Be up front and open with everyone.

I can remember when I signed up for my first 70.3 and the people around me did not know what exactly that meant in regards to training time.  If I was open about the goals and what my week looked like it made things easier.  Telling someone up front that you need to go ride you bike for 3 hours on a Saturday is much easier to take rather than the morning of just dropping it on them.

 

Include spouse, kids, friends when possible.

This is something that can be more difficult but if you can pull it off correctly, you will win and that’s a promise.  Including people in your workout can be challenging because you have a very specific plan when it comes time to train. However if you can include things like group rides this will make everyone feel involved.  One thing that worked well with my training was to do the indoor or more structured workouts on the trainer while watching tv with my girlfriend. We were spending time together (granted she was relaxing and I was working) but we were still together rather than me disappearing for that time.

 

If you have children, you can include them in the workouts as well! Now I am by no means telling you to take the little juniors out on your Sunday 20 miler.  Use some common sense here but if you have a zone 2 run, your kids could ride their bikes along side of you.  Two people who are super awesome about this are Ironmom Kim and her husband Taylor.  It’s no secret that kids need to get outside more.  Here is your golden chance to get them moving and have fun with them in the process!

 

Have a plan!

Lastly it is super important to have a plan.  If you have a coach, which obviously is the ideal situation, however I understand not a reality for everyone, then take the plan that they give you and share it with everyone who needs to know it.  You can work with your coach on constructing the week if you have things to work around.  We all have lives, coaches understand that and most of us are athletes too.  We get it, but you have to be open with us just like you need to be open with your family and friends. After you have your plan, put it n the calendar, put it on the fridge, put it somewhere that everyone can see it.  Have you kids cross the workouts off or days once they are completed, keep everyone involved and it will make the process more enjoyable for everyone.

 

I understand that this s all easier said than done here, but it is my goal with this post to shed some light on things that you may not have thought of.  I also understand that the balance of this looks something more like a cat on a tight rope over a pool, rather than one of those plate spinners or the guy juggling the chain saws.  However if you are open and keep everyone involved, with time, things WILL get better.  This is not going to happen overnight people.

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The last thing I want to tell you is that no matter what there are a few things that are going to happen.  Number one, you WILL miss a workout.  It is not the end of the world. Don’t try to make it up.  Pick up the next day where you’re supposed to and keep right on moving.  Number two if you have kids, you workout will get interrupted, kids fight or bicker, someone drops something, shit happens.  Get off your bike, handle the issue and get back on.  Guess what, what are you going to do if you get a flat on the bike or you shoe is untied on the run?  You gonna just call it quits right ther?  Nope you’re going to fix the situation and then keep going.  So do just that in training.  Lastly there are going to be times you have to get up early or stay up late.  It’s just part of the game.  How bad do you want it?  You wanna get better?  You wanna hit that goal or crush that PR? The days when you don’t feel like doing it are the days you need to do it most!

 

If you found something of value here, please share with a friend or family member.  It is much appreciated.

 

All for now.

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

Back At It!

There has been some time that has passed since my post after the radio show and I apologize. Things have gotten busy post graduation and with the holidays things just got out of control, but I am really trying to find more time to post here when I can(I feel like I have said that before).  That being said, let’s get down to it!

The holidays were insane here.  It was a constant go with seeing various family members, remember those who aren’t with us, etc.  I love the holidays however, because you get to see and connect with people who you haven’t seen in forever.  Most of my family is pretty local but some live over an hour away so we only get to see them a few times a year.  When I was sitting talking with one of my relatives, she told me that she had found my blog.  Now most of you know my rule, if you read this, we don’t talk about it, because then I will know who reads it and I may write differently or leave things out, however I let this one slide.  So she told me that she had found the page through a mutual friend.  They had commented on something and as she followed the trail, she landed here.  Even better, as she thumbed through the posts she thought, man this is awesome, this guy is doing great things!  The kicker, she had no idea it was me!!  She hadn’t seen me for some time so she didn’t recognize the pictures.  Once she figured it out, she was amazed!  I love that people can come to this page and find things that inspire them, no matter what it is in!

During the radio show and after, I received some advice from my athletic trainer to take some time off from running and cycling.  At the end of last season I was battling some issues with my IT band and instead of taking it easy after the race I continued on with my training….Not the best idea on my part.  So he shut it down for two weeks and I was only allowed to lift and swim.  For the first few days I went insane.  I walked into the gym and looked at all the people on the dreadmills and thought I could just go for a little, who would know? But I didn’t and I am glad I didn’t.  After some rehab and lots of foam rolling, I was cleared to start easy runs again!  For the first time in my life I actually missed running, I never thought I would say that.  I have done a few runs since then and I am feeling good so let’s hope this carries into the season because things are going to start picking up again.

During this time of no running, I knew I had to do something.  One of my friends lifts everyday and since I don’t have to go to school anymore, I figured I would ask him if I could join.  Working out with a buddy makes everything so much better.  They push you and you push them and you really leave the gym feeling like you gave it your all.  Last weekend we were hitting chest and as we got started he said to me “Let’s really get after it today and help each other out.”  This hit me, I was really helping him and he was really pushing me in order to get that edge and better myself.  Having someone there to support you in whatever it is that you are doing makes all the difference in the world!

Last weekend when I was at work, one of the clients mentioned they had two tickets to the Eagles game that night.  Eagles playoff game? Um yes please, but wait it gets better, not only did they have tickets but they escorted a friend and I to the game in a limo, we hit a tailgate party before hand at the ballpark and then went back home!  It was an incredible experience and we saw an awesome game!

You may be thinking well why is he bringing this up? He rarely talks about his personal life…there is a method to the madness.  When we were walking over to the game we got to talking.  One of the guys said you know I have been working out and I am bettering myself, but I want a goal to work towards.  I thought hmmmmm, that sounds familiar.  So I shared with him that I started in the same place.  I started with one goal and now that has transformed into much more.  I find myself in the weight room trying to get stronger in order to improve my sport.  I am running 400’s, 800’s and tempo runs in order to get better and I am holding myself accountable.  I have a goal of what I want to do for next season and I know that if I don’t do what I need to I will NEVER reach that goal.  Once you set a goal, no matter what it is, you need to do the same.  You need to fight and fight until you have no more and then….you need to fight some more.  It is not going to be easy, but if you want something bad enough, you will stop at nothing until you get it!

As for now, I am just in a maintenance phase.  I am building strength in the weight room thanks to the wonderful help of a friend.  Today he really pushed me on the dead lift, which I haven’t done in forever.  He pushed me to try a weight that I was unsure of and the last thing he said was “hit it man, I got a hand on your back if you need it!”  THAT’S what is is all about!!!  Forget the triathlons, the training, the sweating, all of that….that is what life is all about, good friends who will have their hand on your back no matter what.  I thank my friends and family for teaching me that and showing me all of the unconditional support they show me everyday.  I leave you with one last thought….How are you helping the people in your life? How are you supporting the ones around you? Whose back are you putting your hand on and better yet, whose hand is on your back? Hold on to those people in your life, because you may need them when you least expect it….

All for now
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

The end of the beginning

It’s here….it’s finally here! Tomorrow marks the end to the beginning. Does that sound backwards? It kind of is and it kind of isn’t. Tomorrow is the first day of the last three days of my undergraduate career at West Chester University. It literally feels like just yesterday I was walking into the welcome day for student teaching and now I am beginning my last three days. It will be a bittersweet last three days for me. I will miss my students from both schools and the relationships I have built with all of them. I am excited for what’s to come next and where life will take me. 

In the final days and hours of student teaching I still have things to take care of. I have to apply for my teaching license, renew clearances and get on sub lists. My goal is to start subbing soon after students arrive back in school after their holiday breaks. The threat of graduation is looming and at times overwhelming but I am excited as well. 
As for my training, it has taken a backseat in order to complete the things I have needed to complete. I still train but my runs are shorter and my swims are less challenging. I am taking the advice from my mentor(who has been absolutely amazing) and taking things easy for now. There is no sense in going hard right now when my first race isn’t until June. One thing I have noticed is I feel like complete CRAP when I miss workouts. When I make the time to workout my days and my attitude are 100% better! Things are going to pick up after the new year and I am excited. I will start a 21 day cleanse and hopefully work to shed these last few pounds and really get into race shape for this season. I am excited for this season. I will be doing a few Olympic distance races along with a few sprints. I talked to the owner of a local bike shop today and I think I will be racing for their team next season which I am super pumped about. It’s going to be a great season and I am so excited for the things to come. 
The last thing I want to share with you is something that I have been kicking around for awhile but I will finally start pursuing. This summer I have a goal to become a motivational speaker who will speak at kids camps in the surrounding areas. My plan is to share my story with children and adolescents who are just getting started or looking to get started on a weight loss journey. I have been exploring ways to give back to a community that has given me so much and I think this is a great way to start that journey. With the childhood obesity epidemic at an all time high, there is no better time than to reach out to children who may need some help. I am looking forward to taking on this challenge and embracing it to it’s fullest. This is not for a monetary gain on my part, I plan to speak for free. I just want to reach out to children who are in the same shoes I was once in. This will take hard work and dedication but I’m willing to put in the 110% necessary in order to pay back this community. 
Along with this journey, I wanted to share another group that is on their own journey. Two guys I graduated from high school with are going on a cross country journey to spread the word of being who you are. They are a dynamic duo who both have faced their own challenges. Check out their site and first video. Keep it up Jon and Levi!! You guys are going to do incredible things together. 
http://jonandleviadventure.com
http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata_player&v=cq7Sj6Eqhkk&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dcq7Sj6Eqhkk%26feature%3Dyoutube_gdata_player
I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone. All of my readers, all of my Instagram followers, my Facebook followers. You are all absolutely amazing and I would not be able to keep plugging along without you. The more important thank you goes out to my friends though. The ones who have been there from day one, the ones who have texted me on race days and random days. The ones who say congratulations and the ones who say hey keep on keeping on. You’re amazing and you all are my immediate support system and I can’t thank you enough. I will repay all of you I can promise that. 
As for now it’s off to bed so I am well rested for tomorrow. Thanks again for reading. 

I leave you with one of my favorite pictures from last season. Most importantly don’t ever give up on your dream and don’t ever let anyone stand in your way. 
All for now
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself. 

Summer is officially out….

The weather has changed, temps are cooling off. Before longhairs will change color, the days will get shorter and I will inevitably trade my iced coffees for pumpkin flavored hot lates(not that, that’s a complaint).  I will trade my afternoon rides in the sun to indoor trainer rides. 

With the season change comes more change in training. Next summer I am stepping my distance up to the Olympic distance as my goal. Ultimately I would like to complete a 70.3(preferably the Miami!). On top of training changing I no longer have to get up and drive to West Chester anymore(again not a complaint in anyway!). 
My race is exactly two weeks out and I am getting super excited. The hotel is booked, bike will be tuned and fitted this week, the only thing left will be to get out there and kick some butt!! After a taper next week of course….
After my pull-up adventure on Tuesday I decided to do it everyday since then just because I could. When we were getting ready to change classes last week a student said to me “hey are you athletic? You look like you’re athletic.” I told him I was pretty athletic I guess. I wasn’t really sure how to respond to that.  For years I was never considered athletic. Now my students look up to me and tell me that I look athletic, to me as a teacher of health and physical education that is the ultimate reward!  If you are a regular reader you may remember the post from a friend who told me that I would inspire my students and this would further my passion…. Well she hit the nail on the head and I saw it here first hand. 
I was so excited about the pull-up extravaganza that I complete forgot to include my little story from last Sunday. I was leaving the club and one of the maintenance guys was freshening up the locker room. I stopped to chat with him because I haven’t seen him for awhile. We were catching up just shooting the breeze when he stopped and said “hey man I gotta ask ya something…that is if you don’t mind.” Naturally I didn’t care in the least bit. He wanted to know how much weight I had lost and etc. He proceeded to hit me with something I was not ready for. 
“You know man, they have all these hot women in that magazine, forget that, they should put you in there! You’re an employee…somebody real!”

I would have never thought anything about it but he was the third person who said the club should do this…that’s pretty crazy that three people who don’t work in the same department all feel the same way. It made me smile. 
As for this weekend, I packed the buildup and headed to the beach. I went for a beautiful ride this morning and this post is being brought to you from the sand of Sea Isle City, NJ. It is bittersweet, one I will be back in two weeks for my race, but it is the official end of summer. When I was driving down it was late at night and I had my windows down and the music up. I thought man I am going in to miss these days in a few weeks. But will fall comes changes and I am excited to see where things end up…where I end up. 
I hope everyone enjoys their holiday weekend whether it be with family or friends, new or old. I thank you, as always, for your continued support. Until next time…
All for now. 
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

Never Take ANYTHING for Granted

Things are super duper busy these days and I have been trying to find time to post more but I just can’t sometimes!! Things are going fairly well here though and I am loving the summer time.  Could be because it is my favorite time of year, could be the friends, family, the pool, the weather…Not sure what it is but I LOVE it!!

This past week was super busy but surprisingly super productive!  Last Sunday I went to a lifeguard in-service that I was dreading.  The month of July was designated to practice possible spinal injury extraction.  It is always a long meeting because it is a very serious topic and it is very involved.  Yes when life-guarding, everything is very serious, this is just one of the more involved and challenging topics that we have to cover.  We have been there for a long time in the passed and I knew I had to get up at 5 the next day so I just didn’t want to be there until 10pm or later.  Luckily things went very smooth and I even had time to make it home to catch Sunday family dinner!! 

Monday I was up at 5am, had a long day at the health club and then turned around and taught some of my private clients.  I picked up a new client that came three days this passed week and he is doing very well!  I also somehow squeezed in my lift on Monday which was the start of my “power phase”  It was a challenge to get through because I was exhausted but man did it feel great!

Tuesday I had work again and in the middle of my shift I had a super long break so I figured what better time than to go out and ride my bike!  Best and yet worst idea yet.  In my last post I mentioned how I wanted to feel my lifting when going into my bike, but man not like this!!  My legs were killing me.  Instead of feeling faster, I was feeling like I really had to push through the workout more.  I did have a good ride though and I am happy that I could take advantage of the opportunity to better myself yet again for the race! 

Here is my Strava from Tuesday.  13 miles still ain’t half bad!
 
Tuesday night was race night and as I have said before it is one of my favorite things to do!  We used a different main sail than we usually do and it messed us up for the first two races.  In the last race though we stopped messing around with the sails and configuration and just sailed the boat and we ended up taking a second which was pretty cool!  Had a total cheat meal at waffle house after the race but it was worth every bite!
Wednesday was pretty uninvolved, not much going on and super hot out.  I have been trying to swim more at the club, but the inside lap lanes are always taken.  Being an employee, I don’t like to take up space for members who are there to swim.  Luckily there was some space outside so I went out there.  Again, not such a good idea.  The pool is sooo HOT out there and it is very hard to get in the groove!  I have been trying to do more sets, like 5X100 with 20 seconds rest to improve my 500yd time and it was tough in such a warm pool.  I would put my face in and it would feel like bath water and when I came out for a breath there was no relief because it was so hot out!  After work and private clients I decided I was going to go for a run…..again, bad idea!!  Are you starting to see a trend here?! I am haha.  When it rains, I complain, when it is too hot, I complain….I need to go somewhere like oh I don’t know California 😉  The run was not my best to date lets just say and I didn’t break any records but I got out and did it.  If I can do it now when it is hot and disgusting out, come September, I will be kicking butt!!
I actually did 5.9 miles but forgot to hit start!
Thursday I had another long break so I went out on the bike again.  This time was much better.  I am still not as confident as I would like to be on the bike, but I am getting there.  I am way more confident than I could have ever thought when I was first getting started.  I went out on some back roads around here that can be pretty sketch and didn’t even think twice about it!  It’s funny to stop and think how far you come when you don’t over think things and you just go out and do it!
Here is my Strava, 2 miles further in 5 min ain’t bad either huh?!
 
Friday was back to work and the weight room.  I tried to swim again and ran into the same problem outside.  Super hot and super hard to get into the groove.  There is a guy who must have been a swimmer in high school and is now doing triathlons who trains at my club.  He came out and jumped in my lane and I thought great just what I need.  I have watched him swim before and he is a pretty good swimmer.  When I pushed off the wall to start my first 100 I wasn’t paying much attention to anything around me.  I came in and got my rest and pushed off for my second one and realized he pushed off at the same time I did…still never thought anything of it though.  We finished, I took my rest and then pushed off again, sure enough, HERE HE COMES. So I thought you know what, lets go.  I was keeping pace with this guy through my 100 the whole time!  He was doing flip turns on the walls and I wasn’t yet I still kept up with him through my set!  I was pretty siked about it to be honest.  I have watched him before and thought that he was good, but never thought that I could keep up with him.  NEVER DOUBT YOURSELF or what you are capable of!  I finished up my lessons and went straight for the weighted room.  I crushed my lift and when I was doing my pull over this guy asked if I had ever done them on a bosu ball instead of on the bench (same guy who is ripped who was super impressed about my broad street time from a few posts back).  I said no way I couldn’t do that and he said “man you absolutely could, just try it! You’d be surprised what you are capable of.”  He’s right and next week I am going to try it.  People like this keep me going that’s for sure.  This guy doesn’t even know me and he is pushing me to get better. So awesome.
Friday night I got an offer to go out with my buddy.  I was supposed to go out for dinner, but my plans ended up falling through and I was super bummed about that.  I really wanted to go to West Chester and grab some sushi after crushing a workout.  So we went to grab a drink and catch up.  When we were sitting at the bar we were joking about my biceps and my lift that day.  This is the same guy who got me started and who deserves more credit in the world for everything.  The conversation went on and he said man, you don’t even need me anymore.  You have the passion and the drive to learn things and make yourself better and you go out and find what you need to do that.  He was absolutely right, some times it just takes someone else to say it for you to realize it.  This also ties into a comment my uncle left on a facebook post I made…side note, Do It For Yourself is now on facebook, head over and join me! https://www.facebook.com/foryourself15 On the post he said it’s not about what you lost but what you have gained.  He was completely right.  Yes I have lost 90 pounds, but who cares, that is just a number, it doesn’t define how far I have come in the least bit.  I have learned so much and bettered myself so much more than some stupid number!
Today I went to play golf in a benefit outing.  There was a woman who was paired in my group because we did not have a full group and she was by herself.  I am not a women hater and I don’t give them flack for playing golf or think it is a man’s sport etc.  It did however kill our team and give us a disadvantage because she was holding us back a bit.  When we were there my buddy and I agreed we weren’t having fun and we just wanted to be DONE with golf for the day.  Although we did a lot of complaining I look back now and realize we were lucky to be on the course, have our health and be able to go out and do something we enjoy for the day. 
I came home and some family came out for the day who I haven’t seen in forever.  It was great to see them and catch up and see their kids, etc.  My cousin said to me at one point, “do you realize how amazing it is what you have accomplished?!”  I gave her an honest answer and I said no.  I don’t think what I am doing is amazing, it is something I should have done a long time ago.  Is that ignorant? Is it cocky or arrogant? I am not sure, but I don’t think it is amazing….I am chasing a dream that I have wanted for such a long time and now I am not going to be satisfied until I reach it!
Tomorrow is going to be a brick day, I am not looking forward to it, but I haven’t done one in a long while and I also haven’t done one with a real bike ride.  Previous brick workouts have been done on a trainer so I am excited to get out and do a “real” one.  After that my plan is to sit at the pool and just RELAX for once.  There is nothing going on for the rest of the day and I am super excited about that.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend, enjoy your Sunday if you have it off!  Hopefully I will see you all on the other side!  Thank you so much for your continued support and remember you are not in this alone.  You always have a friend in me 🙂  Join me on facebook, follow my journey and introduce me to yours, let’s do it togehter!
All for now
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself