Category Archives: swimmer

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!

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!

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!

Iroman 70.3 Atlantic City

ironman-atlantic-city-triathlon-copy

The 70.3 course of Atlantic City…I have wanted a second crack at this course since the week after the race last year. I was upset, I knew I could have given it a better effort and I wanted another crack. I remember when Steve called me about the upcoming season and I said can you please tell me if I will ever get another crack and he said no. I was almost heart broken. Until the announcement was made, Ironman was coming to Atlantic City!

Taper week after a huge block always throws me through a loop when it comes to this sport. I had a few shorter, speedier workouts going on but I still had extra time on my hands. I finalized a few things on the bike, had my gear ready and decided to check the weather for the weekend. If you ever want to check the weather during taper week, let me tell you DON’T!!! It’s a horrible idea. Just don’t do it. You can’t control the weather, let it be.

I am super lucky because AC is only about two hours from me so leaving Saturday morning is completely within reason and I can get to check in and still have time for legs up and relaxing. I got down nice and early so I could shake out the legs and take my time doing the check in thing. Some how I lost track of time and spent a little more time on my feet at the expo than I initially wanted to but it wasn’t anything detrimental.

I got checked in to my hotel, had my dinner and packed it in. I was getting bottles ready and checking gear and I knew I needed to get some sleep but just couldn’t settle down.

We left for transition at 5am, as we started over the bridge towards Bader Field, we hit dead stopped traffic just as we did last year. We knew it was going to happen, they warned us of this issue. When you have 2,800 athletes all trying to get to the same place it is bound to happen, I place NO blame on Ironman or Delmo for this. We were lucky enough to have someone driving so we jumped out and walked the rest of the way to transition.

From there I entered and got set up. I was racked right next to two athletes who I have known since I started. I said my hello, gave them hugs and then went on my way. My swim wave was late and I don’t like being packed in with a bunch of people so I waited to head over to my wave until they were close to the front.

We got in the water and I did a little bit of a warm up. I have to admit the only thing I was nervous about was my wetsuit being too tight from Wildwood and having a similar experience of not being able to catch my breath again. As we were lining up I experienced something I have never experienced before.

Someone in the wave jokingly said “Don’t forget to start you watches!” and everyone gave a chuckle. Then someone says “in all seriousness, good luck fellas!” It seemed like all in sync everyone began to wish each other good luck. I NEVER had this happen before and it brought me chills and a sense of calm.

Through the swim I was fe7_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_005841-4088276eling great! I could see the red turn buoy off in the distance and I felt like I was moving through the water well. Three strokes later I heard someone yelling “ TURN, TURN!!” I was very confused. I knew I wasn’t at the red buoy but I followed everyone and turned. Back to the finish and someone grabbed me under the arms, pulled me out, unzipped my suit for me and I was on my way. It was incredible, its like they did the thinking for me and I just had to focus on getting ready for the bike.

The bike course is great, the ride on the express way is so safe and fun. Exiting, the roads were a bit rough through Pleasantville but the loop itself was beautiful. I was bouncing back and forth with a guy in my age group and we were joking having a lot of fun. As I approached somewhere around mile 40-45 I started hurting a bit. I got out of the saddle for some relief and I looked down at my Dave Mirra decal on my top tube.20_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_036335-4088289

I said to Dave “please just help me through this last bit, just get me to the run and I got the rest!” As I came to a turn there was a local business along the road. Parked right in the front row, facing the street was a giant black Ford Raptor (the truck that Dave owned) starring me right in the face. At that moment I knew he was there and I made it through to T2.

On to the run and I knew what I had to do. The first 3ish miles are on the old run way in Bader Field. It was mentally tough however, I would take this run set up over the run course from last year any day of the week. Yes running 3ish miles on blacktop at 12 noon is not fun. It will always beat running passed the finish 3-4 times on the boardwalk though.

I was cruising through the run and ticking the miles off. I walked each aid station, took in water, food, then water again in that order. Mile 8 hit and I realized I had to go to the bathroom, there was no putting it off. I couldn’t bring myself to just pee while I was running so I struggled with my kit to pee in the boardwalk restroom. This probably added a good 3 min to my run time. Coming passed Boardwalk Hall I saw my mom and girlfriend. Once I saw my mom it was like no one else was on the run course, I could hear her screaming from when I passed all the way to the pier. It sent chills down my spine. I hit the turn and I knew it was 2 miles left, I dug in and just went for it.47_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_064855-4088316

Coming down the finish chute is always special, but this day, I can’t even put it into words. My goal time was 5:30 and I ended up going 5:35. I celebrated every second of coming down that carpet.

The first person that greeted me after I crossed was KT from Delmo and she gave me the biggest hug and made sure I had everything I needed. I made my way to find some food and more water and I ended up running in to Steve. I thanked him for everything and I said “remember that phone call? Remember I said I wanted one more crack? I had a 25 minute PR from last year, so thank you!” He proceeded to say something to the folks he was with and they all looked over at me. To this day I am not sure what it was but I can imagine he gave them the very brief story of my journey and I can’t thank him enough.

Post race there was a lot of complaining about parking, swim course etc. It was clear that the swim was cut short. We later learned that the conditions got very dangerous very quick and the lifeguards, race officials and other personnel made a decision that needed to be made. I will say this, their job is quite possibly one of the hardest jobs anyone has to do. They will always have someone who is unhappy, however, any time safety is in question, I will NEVER complain about a shortened course. They made dreams come true on September 18th and that is something they will remember forever. Kudos to EVERYONE involved in making this day something amazing.

This is it for the season. I have one open water swim but the triathlon season has come to an end. I have taken some time off just to get myself settled and ready to transition into the off season. I would just like to take the time to say thank you. I say it after every race but I will say it every single time. Thank you to everyone who got me to the start line, who supported me and held me up on the days that weren’t so great. Also thank you to the ones who were there to celebrate the days that were amazing.

Lastly I would just like to leave you with a picture that captures my every emotion during this finish of the run.

56_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_090558-4088325

 

Until next time, 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.

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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!

USAT National Championship

This is it, this is the moment that my entire season has been surrounded and it is finally here!

To say I was excited for this small racecation was an understatement. I had never done anything like this before and although there was some stress, things were planned and I couldn’t wait.

I had everything packed and ready to go. I check, double checked and triple checked everything. I had everything I needed and we were ready to rock!

Our flight left early so I left my house with plenty of time to check the bike and get through security. Everything at check in went off without a hitch. I chose to go with the Sci-Con TT bag for my bike. Unfortunately I am at least an hour away in each direction from a shop that does shipping so this was my only option. We also could not get a direct flight to Omaha so my biggest worry was having my bike make the plane change.

When we arrive in St. Louis it was awesome because so many triathletes were at the gate headed to Omaha and it made for great people watching that’s for sure! We boarded our plane to Omaha and my excitement level was through the roof. Things were going so smoothly I almost couldn’t believe it. We arrived in Omaha and now was the moment of truth, did the bike make it? I found my suitcase no problem and then I went over to the oversized door. It opened, three bikes came out and then it closed…..no bike. I WAS DYING!! Then it opened again and out she came. We were on our way!

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We checked in and I got my bike out of the back and there was a nice little note from TSA. Everything was all over the place and I wasn’t happy. I pumped up the tires and made a make shift stand to make sure the gears were ok. Since TSA didn’t put my towel back on my rear derailleur, the hanger was bent. I was freaking out. I called an uber right away and went over to get it fixed. I’ll save the long story, let you know the guys at the tent were amazing and they got me back up and running in no time.

I’ll save the day to day details because it will make for a boring read and I’ll just give you the cliff notes. Friday I woke up, it was my birthday =]. I had coffee and a scone in bed thanks to my wonderful girlfiend, did my shake out and then my buddy Jimbo and his girlfriend arrived! This is when things got really fun. We left the girls at the room and he got to see the pre race check in and everything. Having him there for that brought a sense of calm over me. He kept things light, we joked, we laughed and it kept my head clear and the nerves down.

That night we hit a local Italian joint for dinner. The reviews were great, food looked amazing, so we figured why not. Long story short again, the service was down right god awful. It took 25 minutes for me to get a bottle of water. There was a party of four that sat behind us, got everything before us. It made things a little tense and stressful which I was trying to avoid after Escape the Cape. All in all we finished up, the food was delicious and things were not THAT bad.

Race morning came early! Jimbo was up with me at 4:15, we jumped on the shuttle nice and early and we were off. I set things up and then instead of staying in 165e82b5-cd1e-4689-af6d-92ae949a302ftransition as I normally do, I went out and hung with him. As I said early, he kept me calm and cool. We joked and laughed and it was the most calm I have ever felt on race morning.

The gun went off and before I knew it the swim had come and gone.  I was off my goal by a few minutes but I was happy with it.  As I was coming up swim exit, I had no clue there were metal steps waiting for us.  I took one step and ate it.  I ate it hard, but didn’t think anything about it.

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On to the bike and we were off.  I thought I was a pretty good cyclist, until this point.  I have never been passed by more people in my life.  This is truly the best of the best.  I looked down at my Garmin at one point and again, the best bike split numbers were WAY off.  This time by over 10 minutes.  I got to a point where I actually said to myself, I am ripping this chip off and not finish this race, I am not racing Ironman AC, I am fucking done.

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Needless to say that did not happen, but the thought was there.  When I started the run Jimbo was waiting right outside of transition for me.  I told him my foot hurt pretty bad as we were running out and that I thought about stopping, but I remember him saying “you’re not going to do that, you’re going to finish this damn race!” My foot hurt but I did what I had to do and actually had one of my better 10k’s I have had in quite some time.  It was no PR but it went better than I thought it would thats for sure.  The finish line was amazing, so many people, cheering, noise makers, just absolutely amazing.

35fdd46f-0295-44f7-a252-e34a25898cbfWe wrapped our trip up with a nice dinner Saturday night, great breakfast Sunday morni6d0bb4e5-292a-4aa6-abc6-2492ca8edcffng and then a few red bull and vodkas to easy the pain of having to come home.  Given the chance I will be back in Omaha next year.  This time however we have already planned for a Thursday to Tuesday.  The city of Omaha welcomed us with open arms and as one of our uber drivers said, its one of America’s best kept secretes!

I know this is a long one so I will call it here but I just want to say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! To everyone who texted me, messaged me, called me, and sent me well wishes.  Even from 1,000’s of miles away I truly felt it.  I would be lost without all of you and I can’t thank you enough.  Up next its Tri the Wildwoods Sprint which will hopefully bring a podium to get me back to Omaha!

 

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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!

Never Forget Where Ya Came From

Just and FYI, this post isn’t for the delicate flowers, or the children. It’s not decorated with pictures, there is cursing, but it’s raw, it’s real and it’s me.

It’s August 4th. In just one week I will be in Omaha Nebraska for USAT Age Group National Championship. It’s strange to think about this really. How did this all start? Why? (A question I often get). Lastly would, things be different without Delmo?

How did it start? Well that’s an easy one to answer. I started on a path to change my entire lifestyle, literally woke one morning and decided let’s flip this shit on its head! So that I did, I got some guidance from a man I am for ever in debt to, I worked my ass off and things began to disappear. It all sounds so simple when you write it that way, it’s not I’ll be honest, but you have to put in the work. I say it all the time in my posts on Instagram and else where, there are no shortcuts, it’s just down right hard work. Speaking of work, I realized I was working but I didn’t have a goal! All this hard work for nothing? I don’t think so, so I started brain storming. Another friend texted me out of the blue and said “Hey let’s do a triathlon” THAT’S IT! Without hesitation I said absolutely. We landed on the Delmo Sports Atlantic City Triathlon. After the race in Jersey, I was all in. I am still all in, I live, eat, sleep and breath everything triathlon. It is truly what makes me tick….Segway into my why!

Why? Why in the hell would you put yourself through this shit? Honesty, I asked myself the same damn thing last night after 400m repeat #4 with 4 left to go and the humidity setting in. I asked my coach the same thing after a “bad” race and he said this:

“You do this because it got you healthy, that’s why.”

He’s right I do and yes it did. I also do it to send out a big fuck you, that’s right I said it and I am sending out a big one, to every last person who poked fun, laughed, was just a downright asshole. That means you, the kid who said to me at lunch in the fourth grade “why don’t you just eat better? It’s not that hard, like just eat a salad or something.” Guess what asshole, it is that hard, I invite you to try it some time. And then again, I do it for myself, is that contradictory? Sorry, I don’t care. It’s to prove that you and I can literally do ANYTHING you set your mind to. Without a doubt, if I didn’t believe in myself, I would have never made it here, this is a very lonely, selfish and self fulfilling sport at times. If you can’t pull yourself out of the depths of that 30min interval at FTP in the garage, I am sorry but you’re never going to make it here. Lastly, I do it to inspire, to show people that again ANYTHING is possible if you are willing to go all in, but you have to be willing to go ALL in.

Last but sure as shit not least, would my journey have gone the same if I never came along Delmo Sports? This is one that I have thought about quite a bit, the short answer is no, I don’t think I would have had an experience like I did to fuel this passion elsewhere. My experience at the Atlantic City International Triathlon still hasn’t been matched. Ok I lied, last year was phenomenal as well, ahhhh shit who am I kidding, every year has been great! I keep going back, I can’t stay away! That’s because Steve puts the athlete first and he takes care of you from start to finish. His personality is electric, his team is unmatched, and god damn his wife cooks a hell of a spread for breakfast! But seriously the man knows how to do an event and he knows how to do it right. I have gone to other events since racing all of his and I get annoyed at the lack of attention to little things, most of which my friends don’t even notice. They are all “dude what’s wrong with you?” Well if you do a Delmo event, you will realize what you thought was world class before, is more like a third world country. If you have not heard of him or done one of his events, I urge you to look in to them. There are two events left this season, and if you like to party, you don’t want to miss Tri the Wildwoods. What’s that, you don’t like to party? That’s fine, check it out anyway. If you are feeling real daring, sign up to Escape to Lewes and jump off the ferry. Even if it is not this season, I invite you, I beg you to check out their events. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So this is it, this is my post to remind myself where I came from, how it started, and why I do it leading in to one of the biggest things I’ve gone for. I appreciate your attention and time. I thank you for your support and I look forward to seeing you out on the race course very soon!

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!

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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