Category Archives: swim

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!

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!

Tri the Wildwoods

1f9e7076-5a42-4290-aebe-c093ce8d229fTri the Wildwoods, it’s a laid back, beach run, FUN race. There isn’t really a better way to describe it. The whole atmosphere is super laid back at this race. Everything is down the shore, it’s fun, it’s inviting and it’s just an all around good race. Not to mention is has one of THE best after parties! If you are comfortable with swimming in the ocean you should absolutely do this race at least once in your life!

Rewind to last year and when this race arrived, I was done, cooked, stick a fork in me. When my alarm went off I legitimately considered going back to bed. That’s not a joke. This year I was in a much better head space. I was coming off of nationals, ramping up for IMAC and I felt good.

This is a Saturday race, so in order to save myself undesired aggravation, I took a half day from work on Friday to do check in and packet pick up. For me this has been a smart decision the last two years. Normally the line is around the block to pick up your stuff on race morning and I want no parts of that. If you have the ability, I HIGHLY suggest getting your stuff on Friday afternoon.

That being said, I picked up my stuff, had some delicious pizza (our waitress was closing and then RACING the next day!) and then turned in for the night. This race starts EARLY because they need to be done early, it’s a Saturday at the shore.

4:15 came early, however this time I woke up feeling good. Instead of driving over this year, I took the walk. It’s a few blocks but they are short and I avoid the nightmare of parking! Again super smart move if you can find a place close enough to transition. I got in and found a nice spot near the side walk (making my stuff easy to find out of the water) and set up camp. There were a few first timers around so I gave them a helping hand where I could and it was time to head down to the water.

This is an ocean swim, it is very well supported, very safe and very fun, if you’re into that kind of thing. The one thing that I knew was coming but somehow still threw me a little wrench was the 100ish yard jog down the beach before you got in. For some reason after this jog and through the whole swim I could not catch my breath. I am not sure if my wetsuit wasn’t fully on or what but I had some tightness in my chest. Luckily itrace_2081_photo_41343308
was a sprint so I could fight through the feeling and finish my swim.

Into transition and grabbed my bike. I found my stuff easily due to the sidewalk however my seat got caught on the rack and it wasn’t the smoothest transition. Looking back, the rack sat a little lower than the rest because of where it was and another spot probably would have suited me better. The bike is a nice out and back, closed roads, nice support from police. You are probably seeing a trend here, it’s a Delmo race, everything is ALWAYS well supported. The tightness in my chest seemed to go down a bit but I was still coughing and such after the swim.

race_2081_photo_41350939

Now the real fun began, the beach run. There is nothing easy about it, you’re running on sand. Yes there was some hard sand to run on this year due to the tide but either way, it’s tough. I was ready to be off the sand, my legs were screaming. Back up on to the boardwalk and I knew we were nearing the end, but dammit we weren’t close enough. The awesome part about the run is it is on the boardwalk so people are cheering and you get to run through the amusement parks which is pretty cool scenery for a run. As we were approaching the final stretch I could hear footsteps behind me on the boards. I said to myself this person will NOT pass me. As he came up next to me, I looked down and I could see a 2 on his calf but couldn’t see the other number. It didn’t matter, I knew he was in my AG and now he really wasn’t going to get me. For the last 3/4 of a mile we were shoulder to shoulder. I would give it a little gas and he would gas too. He would try to go and I would rein him back in. It made the run REALLY fun. As we went back down on to the beach, Mindy fr4c69d7c2-2acc-4e2a-841f-f869f6883417om Delmo was at the base of the ramp screaming for me and I took off. We hit the soft sand and it was like this dude was floating! He took off and I just couldn’t keep up.  We both crossed within 5 seconds of one another and he turned around and he said “Dude! Thank you, I would have never been able to do that run without you,” I said “Shit! Neither could I.”

I was still good for a 4th AG finish and 28th overall which I was really happy with. Unfortunately I thought awards started at 11 so I went back to grab a shower. Well they started much earlier and I missed my award on the podium. Womp Womp.

I had two take always from this race for sure that I think would have helped me BIG time. First was, I didn’t have any water the entire race. I didn’t take any bottles on the bike with me which was a stupid move and there was no water on the run except the very beginning. This was a poor choice, even for a sprint I will absolutely take water from now on. There is no need to try and be a hero! Second was, a gel would have probably been a good call just before the run. I think it would have given me that little extra boost that I could have used on the run. Like I said, lesson learned. I still had a good race over all with a swim and bike PR for this course!img_0001

Oh and one last thing I learned, don’t go straight to the beer at the after party, it will not end well, you will possibly smash your phone screen and your girlfriend will have to drive you home hahaha!

Up next is the big daddy!! Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City. I have been putting in a lot of work for this race and I am excited to see how this goes compared to last year!

Until then, 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!

Escape the Cape 2016

Escape the Cape is always an exciting race, I believe there is only one other race in the country that starts by jumping off a boat and I can guarantee its not as epic of a jump as ETC. This race will always hold a special place in my heart because it is where I completed my first international distance race. I remember that race like it was yesterday and as soon as I stepped on the ferry grounds, all those feelings came back.

This year I started my race weekend off on a rough foot. The week leading up to the race my power meter stopped working. It needed to be replace which meant on Saturday morning instead of leaving early for South Jersey, I was going to the bike shop. It was a stress that didn’t need to be added but it was something that was out of my control. With the new power meter installed we headed out and arrived at the ferry terminal with plenty of time.

078c37f9-cd5e-4c58-b583-d6974f2147d3Going into this race I was feeling really good, probably too good (more on that later). I did my bike check in, said hi to everyone and made the usual rounds. Unfortunately I was walking around with a bit more confidence than usual, but I had worked hard all off season, it was time to shine! I remember a friend texted me to say good luck and my response was, “luck is for chumps, I got this”. Not good, I needed to take a step back or it wasn’t going to end well.

 

Usually I stay with a friend right in Cape May and we arrive plenty early to the ferry in the morning. This year I dropped the ball and forget to get in touch so I ended up staying in Sea Isle which is only about a 20 minute drive. What I didn’t account for was the one lane traffic headed into the winery for parking. We sat and sat, and sat some more in traffic and I watched the clock tick closer to closing time for transition. At this point I was freaking out, again a stress I should have avoided, especially on race morning. Just as a point of reference, plan ahead and arrive EARLY. If you think you’re going to be too early, you can never be too early.

I got into transition just in time and set up my stuff to board the boat. The great tha1357371-c855-42b1-b906-b9087ac0b53aing about this race is that the boat is like a huge party, but you can escape it if that’s not your thing. I met some friends and we patiently waited for our time to jump. I was ready, I was confident and it was time to race.
bc46f28d-8892-4ece-a57b-d30e2ee1aeef

My swim went very well and I came out feeling great, now time for the bike which is usually my strongest leg. I was to follow a power file from Best Bike split. When I hit the turn I knew that’s when something wasn’t right. The power it told me to ride wasn’t going to bring me in where I wanted to be so I disregarded it and went for it. I was confident, I knew I could do it. Or so I thought. I hit the bridge for the last time and for whatever reason I decided to shift into my little ring, I didn’t do it the first time around so don’t ask me why I did this time. Well I dropped my chain and that’s when I about lost it. I put the chain back on and hammered the rest of the bike to “catch up”. This was also a poor decision. It destroyed me for the sand run and set me up for a sub par day all in all.

 

I left this race feeling deflated and nervous for nationals. All this work I had put in and it almost felt wasted. I talked with coach and we hashed a few things out. One I should not have hammered that bike the way I did. We still aren’t sure why the power numbers aren’t matching up b24a5d22a-f6f0-4714-ac02-417af665cb64ut that is to be figured out. There are still multiple take-a-ways from this race. First being, be prepared, not only with gear but with your timing. I shouldn’t have added the stress I did by showing up later and hitting traffic. This is completely avoidable and now I know it sets me up for disaster. Second is, even with a mechanical issue you don’t need to “catch up” to anything. I should have stayed within my numbers and played it safe. It probably took me about 2 mins to fix the chain. Even if I made that up hammering back, I lost that and more on the run. Third and possibly the most important is, this sport is supposed to be fun, remember to have fun!

This race served me up a huge slice of humble pie. Standing next to the stage, handing a6ef24232-7590-4736-ac53-2f587918f382wards to fellow athletes and not stepping up on the podium was a hard pill to swallow. I can’t help but think walking in with a big head, played a role in the way things went with this race. Yes I have worked hard, but that doesn’t give me the right to walk around like a smacked ass. Lesson learned, that’s not me anyway, and now I know I don’t want it to be me either.

Next up I have USAT Nationals out in Omaha NE and it should prove to be everything I have hoped for! Until then thanks for reading!

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

Super Pants! My Review of the Lava Pants and Lava Shorts

So I told you all I had some exciting news for you and this is the start of it!  I have been blessed to become a part of a great brand Xterra Wetsuits.  I have been racing in their suits since I started and they took really good care of me so I jumped at the chance to become part of their team.

With this I have had the opportunity to test and review two of their awesome training/ racing products their lava shorts and lava pants.  I would like to offer my thoughts on both in order to help you make up your mind on which would be best for your swimming abilities and training.

The Lava Pants
I first got my hands on the lava pants about a year or so ago when I came on with the Xterra team.  I was one of those people who used to pull on a wetsuit about once a week just to get used to have in on, swimming in it and taking it off before my main set.  The pants will ALMOST eliminate the need for that.  I say almost because it is always good to practice in your full suit, especially as a new athlete.  The lava pants however provide a great amount of bouncy when swimming in them.  They really mimic the feeling of swimming with a wetsuit on.  In my training the pants are good for about 10 seconds or so faster than just a normal swim.  They give you a great feel for what is going on with your upper body and move your hips into a nice position.  These are great for a cooler swim when the temps are lower but not quite cool enough for a full suit.  They are also great for active recovery swims where you are taking it easy.
Two things I will say about the lava pants. 1. I find that I do not kick nearly as much when I wear them.  This is OK if I am training for a wetsuit swim but I do not use them during every swim.  2. They are the bottom half of your wetsuit so if your pool temps are on the higher end of the spectrum keep that in mind.  I felt it a few times when swimming indoors.
The Lava Shorts
On to the lava shorts.  I just got my hands on these a few months ago and I really enjoy these for day to day swims.  They elevate the hips very well and are super comfortable.  I feel like I am putting on a pair of jammers when I pull these out of my bag.  These are great for indoor swims, elevating the hips but not interfering with your kick.  They are definitely made for a more experienced swimmer however.  When I first put them on and jumped in I could feel a significant difference from swimming without them but there is also a difference between them and the lava pants.  I like them because I can do my longer sets inside with them and not get hot.  I still get all the benefits of the bouncy factor with them, without getting on during hard working sets.  These however do not mimic the wetsuit position nearly as much as the lava pants however and I would not use them in a race situation.  I would elect to either use the lava pants or my full suit personally.
Xterra has two great products here that both have different purposes but if they are used correctly can really benefit swimmers and triathletes in preparing for their race.  I love both products and use them in my training throughout all different situations.  I cannot say enough about how much I love these two products and how I really appreciate what Xterra has done for me as a customer first and now an athlete.
Another piece of exciting news is that Xterra has opened up a chance for me to share my personal discount code with any athletes who are interested in purchasing these, or any of their products.  If you are interested please do not hesitate to contact me to receive up to 50% off their products!

Hopefully you have found this useful and if you have any questions or you are interested in purchasing please follow the links below to get in contact with me!

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

You had flappy jacks hanging off of there….

It’s Monday December 16 and it’s a day that I will never forget for as long as a live. When I started commuting to school I found a new love…The Preston and Steve show on 93.3 WMMR. They grace the radio waves of the Philadelphia area with their antics weekday mornings from about 6-11am everyday. I remember the first time I tuned in, comedian Todd Glass was on and I literally found myself doubled over in laughter listening to the show and 2 years ago I instantly fell in love.

You may be thinking well what does this have to do with your journey.  Well about a month or so ago they were talking about nutrition. As I heard the conversation I instantly thought of my journey and how my focus on nutrition has fueled my success. I also remembered their segment they do on “not so average listeners” who live in the area. I thought to myself you know I should write in to the show but I brushed it off and thought no way. 
Fast forward a bit and something changed, I don’t know what but I decided to send an email to producer Casey. I have them a short version of my story and told them I would love to share the full story with them in the studio. A few days later I received an email from Kathy asking me to come in. I excitedly agreeded and we set up a date, December 16th I would go in. 
Sunday hit and I couldn’t sleep. I had realized that I would actually be on air and not just in the studio to meet the gang. I also learned that I would be at the mercy of the listeners that day to decider whether I was worthy of the prize of $250. 
I awoke around 5:30 Monday morning and jumped in the shower…I was actually going to do this. I grabbed a cup of coffee and some breakfast before it was time to hit the road. As I was driving in I heard Preston say my name and I was beside myself. I was supposed to be there at 8:00 but thanks to hitting every traffic light on route one I was there a bit after 11. I signed in and sat patiently waiting for them to call me in. Casey popped his head out and called my name…it was time. 
I sat in front of the mic and the music filled my head phones….here we go. Preston cut in and started to talk about me.  My hands were probably twitching at this point. He addressed me and I began telling my story. I went through the highlights of the story and they asked me a few questions just about how I got started etc.  After sharing my story it was up to the listeners to decide. I received a ton of texts and messages from friends saying that they had heard me. It was so incredible knowing that they were listening and supporting me all the way through. 
I hung out for a better portion of the show and then it was time for the results…the listeners had voted and they were very kind to me. 78% of the listeners that day had decided that I was “not so average!” I was thrilled and beside myself and just overwhelmed. After Preston delivered this news he asked me about the inspirational aspect of my story. This was the climax for my visit to the studio. I shared with him and the listeners that to me, the most rewarding aspect is inspiring other people. Helping them see that anyone is capable of doing this, anyone can reach a goal they set, I am just here to show people that. 
This experience was absolutely incredible and I can’t thank the gang at WMMR enough for inviting me on the show. Hugest thanks to Preston, Steve, Casey, Nick, Kathy and Marisa for having me. I also owe Pierre a huge thank you for his kind words after the show. 
Here I am, post show with the whole gang. 
Although I gained 100’s of views on here and Instagram and even gained some more followers, it’s not about that for me. Yes I also won a cash prize thanks to the listeners, but again that isn’t why I went on. I went on to share my story. To show people that YOU can do this. Whether just starting or hitting a plateau after losing 100+ pounds, keep going!! At the end of the day I don’t care about the numbers, I want people to say, because I saw that page, because I saw that picture, I kept going

I can’t thank everyone enough for the support. From the listeners, to my followers and most importantly my friends. One of my friends said in a text today “congratulations man, you deserve it!” THAT is what it’s all about. It’s about supporting one another in order to reach a goal. Today I attained a goal of reaching thousands of listeners and if I inspired  just one of them, then I will sleep happy. Thank you…thank you to all of you. 
This is just the start as one of my friends put it and I am not stopping here. Tomorrow is another day and I plan to do everything I can to inspire those who find this page to keep going. 
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.