Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kinesiology Taping to Improve Athletic Performance and Rocktape Giveaway!!!

From Nic-  If you have been to any race in the past few years, even a 5K, you have seen people with the crazy tape on their legs or arms.  I have always wondered what the deal was with that and if it really helped.  As a gymnast in my younger years, i have not so fond memories of having my ankles taped everyday before practice with athletic tape so figured it was similar...  However, after meeting Abby, who is certified in Rocktape, I learned all about  the technology advancements and benefits.  I asked her to share her knowledge and some common taping methods on the blog and she was kindof enough to share her knowledge at a recent funrun in Chicago.  Hope you learn something new and ck at the bottom for a giveaway for tape!  Rocktape provided us some rolls for three lucky readers!!!

Kinesiology Taping to Improve Athletic Performance 
By Abby Kramer
If you watched the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, you probably noticed how many of the athletes were sporting tape all over their bodies. Since then, use of this tape has exploded and many athletes have reaped the benefits that taping can offer. So, what makes this tape so special?

Placing adhesive tape on the skin provides direct stimulation to our nervous system. By changing the skin via kinesiology tape, we are changing the brain, which in turn can change our physiology…pretty cool huh? Taping uses our skin as a “handle” and increases space between our skin and the rest of our tissues (muscle, fascia, bone, circulation, etc.) By using tape in different ways we can aide with things like pain relief, swelling and circulation control, facilitating or inhibiting muscles, improve range of motion in joints, and help with posture. Who hasn’t had problems in any of those areas, especially in athletes?

In recent years, many different companies have developed their own tape, each with it’s own qualities. I have used several different brands and by far my favorite has been Rocktape. I love Rocktape not only for its exceptional quality but also it’s philosophy on taping. As compared to most kinesiology tapes out there, Rocktape boasts 180% stretch in their tape, while most other brands average 130%. More stretch means a higher “snap back” on the tape, increasing that neurologic feedback we discussed earlier, and resulting in a better physiologic response.

Rocktape has the best adhesive I have seen in a tape, it truly stays on for 5-7 days, making both the provider and client happier. However, my favorite aspect of Rocktape is how they teach taping. Instead of taping individual muscles, they take a functional approach, taping the client in the movement they want to be in. For example, if taping a runner I’d tape them in a running stance to help correct their motion rather than statically taping their leg. Of course, we can also provide general taping for common complaints such as tennis elbow, IT band pain, and sprained ankles, which you will see some of shortly!

I have selected 4 different taping techniques for this article to show how taping can be so beneficial. All 4 of these I felt could be especially helpful for triathletes, as all of these have been common complaints of triathletes I have worked with in the past.

1. This is one of my favorite tape applications! It is so common in runners to have lateral knee pain. One of the most frustrating things is finding exactly what causes it. It could be caused anywhere from the foot up to the hips! This functional taping application addresses the whole chain and I have seen great results from it. As you can see the tape starts at the foot, supporting the arch, and goes all the way up the leg and around the gluteal muscles for stability.

2. Next, a common tape application to help with IT band pain. This application is designed more for pain relief, perfect to apply on race day if you’ve got that typical superior lateral knee discomfort we all know and love. A stabilizing strip is applied all along the IT band, with a compression strip (plenty of stretch) right along where pain is felt.

3. Shoulder pain is probably the most common complaint of swimmers. This is another application to reduce pain in the area. A strip is applied below the deltoid muscle and split around the joint for stability. Again a compression strip is applied across the painful area. Great to increase range of motion and decrease pain.

4. This was probably my favorite taping technique I learned at my certification seminar and I knew I had to share it with you guys! This is a technique for taping the diaphragm. We’ve all heard that it’s much better to “belly breathe” than “chest breathe.” However, that can definitely be a difficult transition to make when most of us have been breathing incorrectly for years. This technique serves as a great “reminder” to activate the abdominal muscles and aide in diaphragmatic breathing, making it uncomfortable to chest breathe. It’s so important to work on our breathing for everyone, but especially in triathletes trying to develop their aerobic fitness. This would be a GREAT technique to tape during training as well as competition.

I hope a background in kinesiology taping and a few examples have been helpful! It can be a great tool for anyone. Whether it be taping to improve posture at your desk job or for athletic performance for a professional athlete it can help get the job done. It is important to mention though, that taping does not fix the problem! Far too many people tend to slap tape on and ignore their problems, which leads to injury. It can be a wonderful tool in training and competition, but it is crucial to address what is causing the muscle and joint imbalances and fix that. While tape can be applied at home, without assistance I highly recommend seeking a certified tape provider. They are qualified to assess weaknesses, apply the tape correctly to insure it isn’t affecting other muscles and tissues negatively, and get you feeling better faster! I hope this has inspired you to give taping a try, and feel free to contact me with any questions!

BIO: Abby Kramer is currently in the Chiropractic program at National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL and resides in Park Ridge, IL.  She is a certified personal trainer, holds an advanced level certification with Rocktape, and has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science.  She decided to take her passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle a step further and become a doctor.  She was a competitive swimmer in high school and college, and now a runner.  She has done 2 sprint triathlons and had a blast!  If she’s not studying or running, she’s enjoying time with her husband, 2 dogs, and her favorite city, Chicago.

Contact info for taping and availability:  Charge $15-30 for taping application or functional analysis and taping starting at $50.  She also provides taping for groups before races.  Contact her for details.  Small travel fee applied depending on distance required.

Standard to many of the other giveaways we have done.  Not trying to reinvent the wheel and if you already follow us on social media...there isn't much you need to do except log your entries in rafflecopter!  And if you don't, join the club!  All the ways to follow us are right at the top right side of the page.   Three winners will receive a roll of tape... good luck!!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tri-Friend - Jamie (Rochester, NY)

Meet tri-friend #12, Jamie from NY.  Her and her husband have their eye on IMLOU2014! 
Read about their journey and follow her at:

1. Tell us a little about yourself in a few sentences
Hi everyone! My name is Jamie and my husband, Mike, and I live in Rochester, New York. I grew up in Maine near Acadia National Park and didn’t appreciate it as much until I moved away. I work at a college as a sign language interpreter. Other than training for road races and triathlons, my husband and I enjoy spending time with our dog and two cats and visiting as many lighthouses as possible.

2. You started with a couch to 5k program, what made you make the leap to triathlons?
Back in April 2011, I told Mike that I wanted to try the Couch-to-5K program and he agreed to do it with me. We were both competitive swimmers growing up, that’s how we met in college, and right before we ran our first 5K (as adults, we both did cross country in middle school) I said that I wanted to do an Ironman.  We had been talking to my dad, who had done triathlons when he was younger (but rowing instead of swimming), and I got the idea in my head. Doing triathlons was a pretty natural progression for us because of our swimming background.

3. What is your A race you are focusing on this year?
My A races for 2013 have already both passed.  Earlier in the year, Mike and I did the Cleveland Marathon. It was our redemption race, I wanted sub-5 hours and Mike wanted a marathon finish (he DNF’d our first marathon).  We also just did our first 70.3 back in July, the Musselman Triathlon.  We both finished and it was an amazing day! We still have another marathon coming up in October, but that one is more for fun since it is my hometown marathon. Our A race for 2014 will be our first 140.6, Ironman Louisville.

4. Favorite brick workout?
Mike and I try to incorporate as many brick workouts into our training as possible. We primarily do bike/run bricks, but there are times when we do run/swim bricks as well.  Our triathlon group has a weekly run/bike/run workout that I enjoy. It is short, 2.2 mile run/11 mile bike/2.2 mile run, with an even shorter option for those who wish to do so.  The atmosphere of this workout is almost like a race and it definitely is hard to hold back.  I enjoy run/bike/run bricks because they help you get used to transitions but keep the run off the bike at a shorter distance. They are also helpful for duathlons, which we do from time to time.

5. Any advice to people starting the journey where you began?
While I wasn’t a first time runner, I had run cross country in middle school and freshman year of high school; I hadn’t run in over 10 years. I basically had to teach myself how to run and the Couch-to-5K helped me be able to do so. There were definitely times when I would get frustrated and wanted to quit, but I never did.
I would tell people that even if you never plan to do an Ironman, or even race a 5K, to never give up and to always believe in yourself. Sure, there will be days when it is hard, that happens to all of us, but you will see improvement in your fitness, endurance, pace and distance. Never limit yourself because you think you can’t do something, I never thought I would want to or be able to do an Ironman but Mike and I are going to attempt that feat next year.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Enduropacks Winner and Ambassador Opportunities for Bloggers

Theresa won the 30 day Enduropacks supplements!!!! Congrats! An email will go out to you shortly on how to claim the prize. 


Enduropacks is excited to announce they are looking for ambassadors and I wanted to pass along to all of the tri-bloggers... as you are what they are looking for! Below is the information they have on their website. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsored athlete, please apply and be creative! Make sure to include all your links to your social media and anything that sets you apart from others. See the information below from their website. ALSO, PLEASE LET THEM KNOW YOU WERE REFERRED BY US!



Become an EnduroPacks Brand Ambassador!

EnduroPacks is looking for energetic ambassadors to represent our brand and mission.  We are looking for athletes who race regularly, are involved in the endurance community, are active on social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and (preferably) have a permanent blog of their own.  
EnduroPacks welcomes newbies to elites of all endurance sports to apply.  

What will Ambassadors receive from EnduroPacks?

  • Free 3-month subscription to EnduroPacks (90 training days).
  • 25% off any additional packs you purchase thereafter. 
  • EnduroPacks t-shirt. 
  • Feature on with your picture, bio, and all social media/blog links. 
  • Cross-promotional support via our social media for your blog/website. 
  • 10% discount code for your friends (with a 6% revenue-share on any sales made with that code). 

What do we ask of our Ambassadors?

  • Be an advocate for EnduroPacks through social media by sharing your experiences with the product and it's impact on your training.*
  • Contribute 3 blog posts or podcasts over the course of the year to our EnduroPacks blog. 
  • Wear our Enduropacks shirt to 3 races and send us pictures so we can post them on the site or through social media (this could be before, during or after the race as permitted). 
  • Ambassadors must not promote any other dietary supplements. 

How do you apply?

Please email us at to us and include the following:
  • Who are you? What's your story? Why would you be a good fit for us? 
  • What's the typical number of races you participate in per year?
  • Why are you interested in being an ambassador? Have you had a similar relationship with any other sports nutrition brands? 
  • Any relevant social or blog links that demonstrate your network reach. 
We are accepting submissions from now until November 1, 2013 and we will contact you by November 15, 2013. 
*During your 3-month subscription, we would expect a weekly post on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram related to (and tagging) EnduroPacks. For the rest of the year we would expect a monthly post.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Enduropacks Giveaway

Excited to announce another giveaway sponsored by Enduropacks.  In honor of the Chicago Triathlon, we will have a giveaway with a ChiTriBlogger twist!  We will have the raffle open till Saturday at Midnight and look forward to some tribloggers reviewing their product in the near future.   Good luck to all those that enter and to any of you racing ChicagoTri!

From their website:

We’ve done the research. We’ve cracked the essential product mix. And we’re bringing you everything you need for your endurance training in the most effective, convenient formats.
Created by professional athletes, tested on the field!

  • Each pack includes a 30-day supply of liquid multivitamin, glutamine tablets, amino acid patches, and concentrated electrolyte spray.
  • All of our products are GLUTEN-FREE, U.S.-MADE, contain NO GMO and only use ORGANIC ingredients.
  • You'll also receive our monthly Aid StationⒸ (a pack of personalized samples, discounts, and exclusive offers) .
  • Your subscription does not automatically renew.

Easy instructions to enter and you can enter everyday: (Only small print.. we can only ship to the US)  Good luck!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tri Friend- Alberto Navarro (Miami FL)

Love Alberto's story as he is one of the few that has won a Kona Slot via the lottery.  His road was a bit bumpy leading up to it but seeing his kung-fu jump at the finish line was amazing!  Check out his insightful interview for those who want to daydream about their chance of "winning the lottery."

Follow Beto at:

1. Tell us a little about yourself
Back in 2005 I was a sedentary professional couch potato, with being at my heaviest at 180lb. From there my journey started, I decided to change. I was really depressed and stuff, but I decided to put balls in the wall and do it. I discovered running. 10 min in the treadmill would kill me and felt like forever!, SO boring!.

Got an iPod, put cool music and started to look forward to run to hear the tunes. I used to take the car to the gym, and suddenly I started running to the gym. I started doing 5k (which I thought was the longest distance ever!), and kept the challenges coming, 10k, half-marathon and then the full marathon.

Never thought I would run these crazy distances, and after doing these races I thought... "What else is out there?", "what else I am capable of doing?". Let's give it a TRI. I run already, lets add swimming and biking to the equation!

From there it started, learning to clip on the bike came along with a lot of ground kissing, but never got discouraged, I kept on trying and trying! So hard to do not only one, but THREE sports! Finally I did my first triathlon, a sprint distance! Such accomplishment! Keep them coming! Olympic distance triathlon! , so this is what the Olympians do, awesome!!! What else I can do?

How about running a half-marathon after swimming and biking! Bring it!!! My first major injury came along with it, but I finished it! Not only that but I signed for a race that involved 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a FULL marathon at the end!!! What is this madness all about?

Able to move my knee again, I trained and trained, booking up long training hours on the weekend (9 hour training days? That is normal!). Finally I accomplish what many (including myself) though impossible, finishing an Ironman.

My journey of 8 years. From a 10 min sufferfest in the treadmill to an insane 17 hour challenge. My question to you is… what have you done to challenge yourself? What have you done to prove that anything is possible and make your dreams a reality?

2. You raced Kona in 2012, can you tell us about your journey getting to the start line (i.e. how you got your entry and how you trained differently in anticipation of some of Kona's challenges)
The race that inspired me to become a triathlete haunted my dreams. Until the dream became a reality and got the chance to race the Ironman World Championship. I literally played the lottery, the Kona Lottery, and got one of the 100 sports available. When you wonder that around 8000 people apply for it annually, and just 100 get in… YES, I was VERY lucky to get a spot haha, I should have played the real lottery instead!

So that’s how it started. Unfortunately the road to Kona was not an easy one. It started badly. 3 weeks before my training started I suffered an accident and sprained my ankle really badly. I had torn a ligament, sprain 2 ligaments and had a bone contusion. I couldn’t believe I had messed up my once in a lifetime opportunity to race Kona. I was devastated, and the doctor said I wouldn’t make it.

I was in crutches for a month and couldn’t walk, and supposedly I should be training already. When the cast was off, I started physical therapy 3x a week, and started swimming first. I could feel pain in the ankle while kicking and worse when I would flip turn and kick from the wall. Few weeks later I jumped on the bike again. But no running, at all, I could just barely walk straight.

I knew Kona was hot, and Miami’s weather took care of that. Additionally I knew I had a big climb ahead in the road to Hawi, and Miami is pancake flat… and the only thing hilly here is a bridge. But really my objective now was not to get the fit to tackle Kona, but to get fit to at least start the race. I was doing the impossible to get my ankle better and prove everyone wrong. Many of my friends trusted me and helped me one way or another and I couldn’t let them down. Whatever will happen in Hawaii I would just have to “embrace the suck”.

8 weeks before Kona and finally I could start running. Not full speed as before the injury, but at least it was something. It was just in time to hit the long miles. It was really tough, not only physically… but mentally.

In summary I was unable to walk for month and a half, and I had to restart everything from scratch. The road to the Kona start line was a hard one. No words can describe the emotion of finishing it, after the bumpy road I had. Is times like these when you have to get tough and just do it. It was a big lesson of how to deal with injury while training for something bigger than yourself.

3. We all know Kona is special but what were some of the hidden perks you discovered as a participant?
Is amazing the feeling you get from the town. Literally for a week, Kona becomes “Ironman City”. You see these 70 year old all chisel with 6 packs, everyone is damn fit! No wonder the best of the best go there. Is great to talk to the local shops, that have embraced the race every year and they will tell you stories. There’s a lot of freebies too and all the brands are doing something around… that you cannot really keep up with everything. You will see the Pros all around training or doing showing for the fans.

For me it was very special to be the only representative of my country, Ecuador, racing Kona in 2012. On Wednesday they have the Parade Of Nations, and I was the only one carrying my country’s flag (by the way that darn flag was heavy to carry! haha).

Another great memory I have was on my first day in Kona. My friends and I were walking around the hotel and we decided to check out the gym. As I opened the door to them another guy walks behind them. To my surprise it was Craig “Crowie” Alexander!!! My first day in Hawaii and the first person I see is the defending World Champion! I felt like a school girl in a Beatles concert! He was very nice, and exchanged some words with him, and of course took a picture with him J

4. What started the awesome finisher jump?

It all started when I finish my second marathon, 2010 ING Miami Marathon. Aside from practicing endurance sports, I’m a martial artist too. I practice Hung-Gar Style Kung-Fu and I have some knowledge in Jeet-Kune-Do, Brazilian Jujitsu, Hagganah, Muay Thai and Karate.

When I did it the first time, I just wanted to have a cool finish line picture… but I wanted something unique… something of my own. Most people finish rising their arms, full smile, but I just wanted something different.

I always remember my coach saying "Start like a cat, finish like a Lion!" Now it has become a custom for me to finish all my important races with a flying kick. It has become my signature finish move, it has several names: the Kick of Justice, the Iron Kick, Spider Kick, but the most popular is the Kung-Fu Panda kick! Haha. When people see the photos of the kick, a lot of people ask me how the hell I had the energy to jump so high and do that? (If you come to think about it, how the hell I can jump that high after running a marathon or an Ironman?) I finally found my answer. I take it as a celebration of life and what can be done when you put your mind and soul into something. Finish with a blast, finish big, FINISH STRONG!!!


 5. Every race report has amazing photos in every discipline, do you buy all your pictures, or do you have triathlon paparazzi following you?

Luckily there’s always someone of my team taking pictures of everyone racing, which I mostly thank them. Sometimes I do buy the race pictures, mostly of important events, or if I see a photo that I need to have, I would buy the whole pack, because it is cheaper. I always get the digital downloads.

Actually, the only time I had a paparazzi was in Hawaii. My friends that were with me were almost documenting my every move. I was starting to freak out with the presence of the camera on top of my face haha. Eventually it would be nice to have a sherpa following me on my races and take pics of me

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lifetime Fitness Kids Tri

For those looking for more information on the Chicago Kids Tri:  Check out this
video.  Should be an awesome weekend for triathletes in Chicago--- young and old!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

USAT Nationals... Media Version

Had an absolutely amazing time spectating nationals and meeting some of you.  Atmosphere was awesome and conditions were great.  These are some of my favorite pics from the day with the rest posted on a Facebook album.  Feel free to do what you like with the pictures, all i ask is that you like the FB or follow us at this blog/twitter.  Fair enough i think :)

Bikes that cost more than you want to know
A Women's Wave Swim Start- These girls were loud and fun

ChiTriBlogger Jeremy  killing it on the bike


Swim Start for Men

Tri Friend Ryan Olson warming up.. sans goggles

Team USA
Crush buddy with Chrissie Wellington and happy photo bomber
Love this
Swim Start
Before the first finisher

Warm Up
Chrissie and Ryan
#1 and #2 of the 70-74 AG

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Blogs!

.. and we have two frog fuel winners.  Congrats to Lauren and Brittany J!

Adam Bosley (MD)-Graduate from the University of Maryland trying to make his print on the world. Whether in health care or in the triathlon world, my goals are limitless

Scott David Johnson (Chicago) -Wine Pro & Age Grouper with Aspirations. 2013 Wattie Ink Elite Team Member. Ambassador to the sport of Triathlon. Dad. Proud to mentor the next generation!

Travis Thomason (CO)- Triathlete first and foremost, but if something involves the outdoors, adventure or a starting line I want to check it out.

Bonnie Smith (FL)- Age Grouper; Swimmer turned Triathlete. Living a Paleo lifestyle for over 3.5 years

Andrew Kalley (NY)

Leslie Block (OR)- 3X Ironman, Aspiring Fast Runner, Enthusiastic Baker, Blogger Ragnar and Nuun Ambassador

Courtney Fields (NorthEast US) - An amateur triathlete attempting to work her way up from being a long time runner to an Ironman

Ian King (VA) -Triathlete best known for flawless execution of the reverse attack and domestiquing for @tri_bailey on training rides

Thomas Costello- (OH) Running 4 H2O Runner turned triathlete. Became active to help those around the world that need help. Providing clean water and hygiene to Zambia Africa and Cambodia Asia through Active:Water.  **Active:Water has been added to the charity section
Stephanie Middlebrooks (South) -  From the couch to Ironman 70.3, follow my journey

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tri-Friend- Steve Crossman (Australia)

Introducing our first International Tri-Friend- Steve Crossman!  I felt it only appropriate for it to be an Aussie as there are so many amazing pros that call the land of Oz home. 

Follow Steve at Crosso's Corner and on Twitter

1. Tell us a little about yourself and where you are from: 
I grew up on the NSW South Coast in Australia, an area called the Shoalhaven. Summers were ideallic with lots of days at the beach, growing up. I spent my youth playing rugby and socialised with mates - as you do! When I finished High School, I moved over to Canada to chase a girl (who I married!) and lived there for almost six years, mainly in Ottawa which is a great city with a fantastic multisport community. After getting in shape whilst working in a gym during my undergrad studies at the University of Ottawa, I got into some cycling and running. Triathlon was always something I wanted to give a shot, so, one winter night (after a couple of glasses of wine) I signed up for my first Sprint triathlon that forthcoming Spring. I was really dedicated to my training for that first triathlon and followed my program religiously! After racing that tri, and another later that summer, I was truly hooked!

Fast forward a few years and now I'm back in Australia studying to become a High School teacher in Wollongong - a beautiful city a little south of Sydney and the training grounds for a number of world class athletes including Olympian Brendan Sexton and U23 ITU World Champion Aaron Royle. Since that first triathlon, I've raced every distance from Sprint to Ironman and loved each one of them!

2. You are chasing a Kona slot, what is your plan to getting there as an AG athlete:
A good friend of mine and I, signed a 'contract' last year where we promised each other we would both qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2014, and Hawaii in 2015, before my mate gets the boot from m25-29. These goals are still alive so yes, Kona is a goal. In terms of qualification, I'm not sure where exactly it will be, as we aren't 100% on where we'll be living (My wife is Canadian so we may return to Ottawa). I will need to improve my swim, bike and run a bit to be in contention at most races, given our AG only gets one or two slots at most races. I will need to pick my race smartly, too. Perhaps at one of the regional championship events, or at a race like St Croix 70.3 where the odds are a bit better.

3.With so many pros from Australia, do you think triathlon is bigger there relative to the US?
There are probably a number of reasons why this tends to occur and I can't profess to have all the answers, but I have a few thoughts. Australians are pretty mad for Olympic sports, such as athletics, swimming and, of course, triathlon. Swimming is massive here and the athletes on the national team are superstars. In North America, on the other hand, I feel there is a lot of emphasis put on major-league sports. Football, baseball and the like tend to attract most of the athletic talent.

Also, given Aussies have a pretty close relationship with the ocean, most of us grow up in the water one way or another. Consequently, triathlon is, I think, not as big of a 'challenge' to get into for age-group athletes, if that makes sense. For professionals, many grow up in competitive swimming and find themselves getting into triathlon through the local club scene which is really strong. That being said, triathlon is still a niche sport so doesn't draw as much media as a lot of other sports, but does, I think, get a bit more press than the US which helps the local pros.

4. What is your A-Race this year?
Our local season will get under way in October. My goal for the season is to punch my ticket for Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Mont-Tremblant 2014. My A-Race will be Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. I hope, though, to have solid races at other events such as Shepparton 70.3 in November and the Huskisson Long-Course event in February.

5. Favorite discipline (swim/bike/run) and why?
The run. Easy. It's pure, it's simple, and you can't fake it. With cycling and swimming, there are a lot of other dynamics with the other competitors but, with running, it's all about you and how you've prepared, and how you've raced your race thus far. That, and it's my best leg so it's always fun passing folks on the run!

NorthShore Triathlon Coupon Code

Excited to share a coupon code for a new triathlon in the Chicago Area for all ChiTriBlogger readers.  It will take place in Wilmette (which is conveniently less than 10 minute from my house so I am excited about this new event!)

USE:  crushmultisport
for $15 off registration

Check out their website for more info

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tri-Life: Recovering from Injury - Charles Wu

From Nic: Recovering from injury/sx can be frustrating and isolating. I remember being 6 mths post op from back surgery (I had just run a marathon a month before the sx) and then, i could barely run a mile without 1. being winded and 2. being in pain.  The process was exhausting and could have used some encouragement during that time.  

I asked my friend Charles Wu at SingleDadTriing whom I met through our tri group, Crush, to share a little about his experience with his recent injury/sx.  I hope this provides some light at the end of the tunnel for any of you nursing an ailment.... we will see you on the course soon. 

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your tri background prior to your accident?
I’m a 33 year old single parent that lives in Lincoln Park with my amazing 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son. In addition to being a parent, I am the Chief Innovation Officer and a substantial shareholder of a $20 million / year telecommunications and technology services located in Burr Ridge, IL. I am also involved as a board member of several organizations, manage a few real-estate ventures and angel invest in a hydroponic lettuce farm that has recently begun delivering product to the shelves of Kroger’s and Whole Foods.
I was a football player (Strong Safety, Tight End) and sprinter (Triple Jump, Pole Vault & 200/400 m) in high school. Going into college, I ran track and cross country and discovered in my second year that I was better suited for middle distance (800 m). Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to explore this as I got involved in starting a business right about the same time (ended up leaving school after my 3rd year to pursue this full-time).

I neglected my personal health to focus on the business and my professional career. 10 years later, in 2011, I woke up and found myself living an unhealthy lifestyle and generally unhappy with myself. Around the same time, my life was turned completely up-side-down.

Needing an outlet to vent my anger, I initially turned to running, but at 205 lbs (as opposed to weighing 155 lbs in college), my knees couldn’t adequately support my extra weight, so I compromised by taking SPIN classes. That evolved into cycling, and then the natural thing to do seemed to be to start swimming. In early 2012, I decided to “get serious” about Triathlon and completed 1 Sprint and 2 Olympic distance races that season. By the fall of 2012, after losing 20 lbs in the 1st year, I became hooked, signed up for Ironman 70.3 Muncie in September. During a professional development seminar, I learned how to chop wood with my bare hands and set a goal of doing a sub 10 hour ironman.

I signed up for Ironman Arizona in November and started training.
Picture: Getting in shape: Jan – Apr 2013:

2. How did your accident happen?
I fell off my bike and broke my right collarbone, shoulder-blade and 3 ribs. Given the extent of my injuries, one would expect some type of earth-shattering story, but the reality is quite boring.
3. What was the extent of your rehab (sx/PT/etc)
I was extremely fortunate to have a great support network around me that gave me access to the best health and medical care available. For example, the father of one of my daughter’s schoolmates turned out to be a world-renowned Orthopedic surgeon at Rush. The mother of one of my daughter’s Sunday school classmates happened to be an ER doctor who called in a favor to help me get in front of the top Orthopedic surgeon at Northwestern. I was able to leverage other personal and professional connections to get opinions from the University of Chicago, Loyola and Advocate Health Centers.
After doing a lot of research and getting multiple opinions, I decided to get surgery and on May 14, 2013, a titanium plate and 6 screws were inserted into my right shoulder.
I’ve always considered myself relatively weak when it comes to mental toughness and pain tolerance, but I felt fine after surgery and just walked out of the hospital and took the kids to the playground that afternoon (though the sling made things a bit awkward).

Although my shoulder and back muscles were extremely tight, I got back on the bike trainer the next day and by the weekend (4 days post-op), was able to hold my right arm above my head.

Picture: 4 days PostOp:
The next day, I did my first Post-Op VO2 Max interval set on the trainer. The broken ribs made things a bit challenging and my power output ended up being ~15% lower than when I was completely healthy.
6 days PostOp, I went for my first run. My right shoulder / upper back was still extremely tight, and it was an extremely uncomfortable 2 miles of shuffling at 9:37 min/mi pace.

Picture: 6 days PostOp – First run:
As I continued to run, my shoulder / upper back muscles began to loosen and it felt better.
1 Week Post-Op, I did my first threshold test with a 1 hour simulated time-trial. By then, I was at about 90% (the broken ribs were still quite irritating).

Picture: 8 days PostOp – Threshold Results):
3 weeks PostOp, on June 5, I got back into the pool.
6 weeks PostOp, on June 21, I swam a mile in the open water, and was officially “cleared” for physical

On June 23, I completed an Olympic Tri, and despite an abysmal swim (came out of the water in virtually last place), I still had enough bike and run fitness to get 4th in my age group with a time of 2 hours and 21 minutes.

I started physical therapy on June 28 to work on flexibility and range of motion for my rotator cuff, and on July 14, 2013, managed to finish my first 70.3 in Muncie and placed 9th in my age group with a time of 4 hours and 50 minutes.
Ironman 70.3 Muncie Race Report:

As of today, I am fully recovered from my injury and back-on-track on my training for Ironman Arizona.

4. What was the most difficult part of your comeback? Taking responsibility for my situation, not letting myself fall prey to excuses and/or “victim-hood” and maintaining a positive perspective. Interestingly, I wrote some thoughts on this at the beginning of the year, and this gave me the opportunity to “eat my own cooking”
Blog Post: Turning Bad Days into Good Days
5. What do you feel like you have learned since returning from your accident.
I’m guilty of wanting to have a “perfect day” or “perfect race” and when that doesn’t happen, of giving up and starting something else. This experience has helped me recognize that adversity and unplanned events are a part of life and take responsibility for creating my own “good days.” I am able to apply this thinking to all aspects of my life and have grown tremendously y from this experience.

6. Goals for the upcoming few months/next year?
Short Term Triathlon Goals:
After coming off a recovery week upon finishing my 2nd 70.3 (Door County) with a 6 minute PR (4:44), I’m currently starting a 7 week intensity training block with a specific swim/run focus to get as fast as possible. At the end of this block, I would like to complete an Olympic distance triathlon in under 2 hours and 5 minutes, but recognize that my swimming is currently my main limiter. After a 1 week recovery, I will be starting a 5 week build phase that will culminate with a 70.3 in late October. With luck, I will achieve my pre-season goal of going below 4:30 in 70.3. 3 weeks later, it’s time to go sub-10 hours at Ironman Arizona.

Next Season Triathlon Goals:
Being in only my second triathlon season, I am still learning about myself and am genuinely curious about how fast I will be able to make myself go. At this point, my ambitions are sky-high, but I will hold-off on setting more definitive goals pending the results of this season. However, if my triathlon dreams could come true, some goals for next year include qualifying for 70.3 Worlds, Kona and getting an elite-level USAT license.