Monday, February 24, 2014

New Blogs!

Kristine Harper (Sugar Land, TX/Boulder, CO) - Elite gymnast turned amateur elite triathlete training for Ironman Boulder (my 2nd) with my future husband (his 1st) :) 

Mike Kirkman (Lithuania) -After living in New Zealand and England, I now spend most of my time based in Lithuania. I've completed many sprint and olympic sized events and have booked my first half ironman this year, with a view to complete my first ever full Ironman at 'Challenge Wanaka' in NZ in 2015. 

Chang Noi - (Cali) a middle of the pack triathlete from California offering a blog featuring (generally) a lighter side of triathlons

Jessie Bohner (Chicagoland)*Crush Teammate* -Swimmer turned Triathlete. Training for 70.3 Racine and USAT Nationals!

Chris Vokaty- (S Carolina) Triathlete, Marathoner, CPT/GPEX, endurance junkie and fitness columnist.
Tony Demakis (Chicagoland)*Crush Teammate* - I am a dad, husband, graphic designer, triathlete, cook, hockey fan, founder of , creator of

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tri-Friend: Aaron Scheidies

As the Olympics wind down, wanted to feature another athlete that has his sights on RIO. I met Aaron briefly back in 2012 when we both were doing Rev3 Dells.  They made a special announcement about him competing and he was the first person to start the time trialed swim and was really inspired to see him rocking the half.  Aaron is a legally blind fast triathlete. He was the first disabled triathlete to break 2 hours in the Oly distance and looking to represent USA at the ParaOlympics in 2016!  I love Aaron's blog and his positive attitude. He even did his Top 10 Blunders in 2013. The gumdrop one was my favorite.  

1. In your bio, it says you started triathlons in high school, what was the appeal of them to you?
Well to be honest, the only reason I am probably in the sport of triathlon is because of losing my vision. I always had a dream of being a professional soccer player and when I was young and had better vision I was a very good ball sport athlete especially soccer. When I started losing my vision, in particular in middle school and high school I began struggling internally with the realization that I would have to do things different. I fell deeper into a hole of depression, OCD and an eating disorder and it wasn’t until I found endurance sports that I saw the light and began changing my life around.

I started by joining the high school cross country and swim teams and then added track. As I began to push myself harder and day by day come to grips with the fact that I was losing my sight, I learned how to be resilient. I began to look for new challenges to partake in and I had heard about a short sprint triathlon in northern Michigan, the Mark Melon Triathlon and i told my parent I wanted to do it. I completed the race and as I explain to many others that ask, triathlon is kind of like Pringles, “Once you pop, you can’t stop.”

2. Favorite discipline- Swim/Bike or Run?
This is always a difficult question because I feel like it changes every month. I always wish we could just call the sport of triathlon one discipline so that I never have to pick a favorite. Well, I started swimming first and the water has always been a place where I felt freedom from all the stresses of society. I know most triathletes would not say this but the water is a place of relaxation for me. On the other hand, I have really grown to love cycling because I love speed and risk. Running has probably become my best over the years. At the current state of mind I am in right now I would say that running is my favorite.

3. Tell us a little about the C Different Foundation?
The C Different Foundation is a 501-C3 non-profit that pairs blind/VI individuals up with sighted guides in order to participate in active lifestyle events and competitions. The C Different Foundation also strives to inspire, educate and change society’s perspective on the blind and visually impaired. I am a mjajor spokesperson and ambassador of the C Different Foundation but I did not found the organization. To get involved with the C Different Foundation go to

This C Different Foundation is not to be confused with my own personal movement CDifferentwithAaron which overlaps in some way in terms of purpose. The CDifferentwithAaron movement hopes to show that if you change your attitude you will change your world and if you allow yourself to view the blind/VI community differently you will discover so much more potential in this world. My website is and those that venture here can get a chance to venture “Through My Eyes” in my blog where I put the readers into the shoes of a blind/VI individual and experience the struggles and triumphs of everyday life in a totally different world.

4. Favorite race moment and why?
My favorite race moment was probably when I broke the 2-Hr benchmark in an Olympic Distance triathlon to become the first athlete with a disability to accomplish this feat. This occurred at the 2008 Lifetime Fitness US Open Triathlon in Dallas, TX. Since then I have broken this barrier many times but this was a major moment for me. It was a moment that helped break down barriers for those with disabilities and really demonstrate to society that we can not only compete but we can compete at the highest of levels in the sport. I have had many great moments in my athletic career but this was definitely one of my greatest.

5. What are your triathlon plans for the 2014 season?
The 2014 year begins my Road to Rio 2016. Triathlon will be a sport in the Paralymics for the first time in Rio and I hope to be on the podium when this time comes around. Before I get into my triathlon season I will be doing the Boston Marathon on April 21st which will be my 3rd Boston Marathon in a row. After Boston, my focus will shift to speed as the triathlon will be a sprint distance race in the Paralympics. I will race the USAT Paratriathlon National Championships at CapTex on Memorial Day in Austin, TX and then the following weekend will compete in the PATCO Championships in Dallas, TX. At the end of June I will compete at the ITU Paratriathlon World Cup in Chicago and then at the ITU World Championships on August 30th in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. I have other races throughout the year but these are the major ones. You can view my full 2014 race schedule on my website at

As he mentioned, followed Aaron as he  
"experiences the struggles and triumphs of everyday life in a totally different world"

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Waves Gear Towel Giveaway

Still feeling in a loving mood, 
here is a belated Valentines Giveaway!  
One person will recieve a $30 GC for WavesGear!  (amount will cover a towel and shipping!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Click HERE if you can't see giveaway to enter through Rafflecopter site

This review was done by me and I was given a towel for review (no other compensation given)

A while back, i was given a Waves Gear Towel from the founder himself, Blake M.  I have known Blake for almost 10 years and have loved watching his company grow into what it has been become.  Waves Gear first introduced their floating sunglasses to the market and then expanded to towels. The towels are made from microfiber and dry faster and fold smaller.  

When i learned about his towel launch, i told him how awesome these would be for triathletes.  He immediately offered for me to review a towel and gave me one to try out.  [**  Disclaimer ** I was given the towel for review but no other compensation was given. ]

These towels are awesome b/c they are significantly smaller than "normal towels."  As you can see with my comparison towel, Waves Gear actually covers more surface than a "normal towel."   This is great for my transition bag as it literally can fit into a waterbottle pouch. If you don't believe me, i took some pics.  The "normal towel" is a pottery barn towel I use to shower with. 

I took these pictures when i first got the towel and have used it probably 6 times since (2 showering and 4 times swimming.)  I do not believe the towel is designed for everyday shower use as it isn't as absorbent at the 'normal towel' (which is why it can be so small)  However, for swimming it was great and am very excited to use during triathlons.  Because the towel dries noticeably faster, there is a large chance my towel will be dry if i don't put it in a heap b/c i am so slow :)  (one positive for lack of speed.. no more soggy towels to go home with)  But even if it was wet, you could easily put in a quart zip up bag! 

Definitely recommend this towel for triathlons and beach use.  I can't wait to take it for a spin when the weather FINALLY breaks here in chicago.  Waves towels retail for $25 dollars or a three pack for $60. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tri-Life: Meal Planning for Training Athletes by Alexandra Economy, RD

Alexandra is a recent addition to Swim.Blog.Run and is a registered dietitian that is training for IMWisconsin.  I have loved her recent entries and in the spirit of the Olympics, I wanted to re-publish one of her recent posts.
Tri-Life: Meal Planning for Training Athletes by Alexandra Economy, RD
January typically kicks off the training season for many athletes preparing for spring and summer events. Training can vary from day to day in duration and intensity, and as your training changes you should be adjusting your eating as well.
A great resource provided by the United State Olympic Committee sports dietitians (Go Team USA!) is the following plate guidelines designed specifically for athletes and their training. These are fantastic visual tools for you to use when designing your meal and training plans.
Easy Training Day
This plate plan is designed very similar to the MyPlate guidelines as easy training days don’t require a huge adjustment in nutrition. Notice that there is a dotted line between the protein and whole grains section indicating to increase protein portions and decrease carbohydrates slightly for weight management. Athletes looking to lose weight and keep the lean can benefit from this extra bit of protein. Protein can help aid in satiety (feeling of fullness), and assist in maintaining lean muscle while you are working to decrease your calorie intake and lose excess weight.
easy training athlete plate
Moderate Training Day
As training intensity and duration increases, so do your needs for carbohydrates. You’ll notice that the fruit has been moved to the side of the plate to make room for the extra grains needed at mealtime. Vegetables, dairy and protein are still the same as an easy training day. Note, that fat recommendations have tripled from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon.
moderate training athlete plate1
Hard Training/Race Day
On a hard training or race day, it’s crucial that you are replenishing energy stores to help your body recover faster and more efficiently so that you can bounce back and can continue with your training. You’ll notice that this plate has increased the grains portion to half of the plate! Most people love their carb foods (myself included) so it should be pretty easy to adjust this meal. Just remember that fats, protein, veggies, fruit and dairy will also provide you with key nutrition for the day, so don’t forget about them!
hard training athlete plate

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Blogs... Follow Friday!

Erik (Netherlands) -Sports l Business l Triathlete l Netherlands l Doing what I love!

Matt Jennings (Chicago) - Triathlete/Sports/BigCity  **NEW TO BLOGGING!

Chris- (Seattle) Overweight guy (currently down 50+lbs) working on sticking to Paleo and completing my first sprint/oly tris as well as some 5k/10k/1/2 marathons

Amanda (Chicago)- Lawyer with a very costly swim/bike/run habit. A little clumsier than the average bear, but always emerge with a smile. Team 

Meg Shipman (Annapolis, MD) -  Glass half-full! Team Rev3 Triathlete, Kiteboarder, surfer, trail-runner, dog-lover, biker, scientist.... LivingSTRONG.

Erin Lockwood (Washington DC)  -Triathlete, Marathoner, The U, Georgetown, Ravens, Zeta, ,XTERRA Wetsuits, Headsweats and SOAS Ambassador

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tri-Coaching: Flip Turns for Triathletes - by US Masters Certified Swim Coach Brett Collins

This article comes at a perfect time for me (Nic). Short backstory:  I was recently swimming next to my son during his group swim lesson and loved seeing my little guy swim laps. He did however represent 8-bit Mario swimming when asked to do the breast stroke (like when mario is swimming and keeps popping his head above water) but other than that, he was holding his own.  However, when it was time to practice flip turns, he didn't want to do them citing "water gets up my nose" and "my mom says she never does them".  The instructor responded "well, your mom isn't here and i think we need to learn them"  ... too which josh responded "she is actually right there" and pointed to me like 5 feet away.  Yeah... umm.. that's embarrassing. Well, josh had to do the flip turns and i was happy he had to do them and not me...

That evening, i read this article and had to chuckle at the irony.  But wanted to share with others as the article sites some good reasons to consider them during tri training.  I can't promise I am converted but I do think I will give them a go this summer.   

Flip Turns for Triathletes 
by US Masters Certified Swim Coach Brett Collins of
**NOT a sponsored post**

For nearly all swimmers regardless of your means of competition (triathlon, open water swimming, or traditional competitive swimming) the majority of your training takes place in a pool because it’s typically much more convenient finding an open body for water; the open water swimming season for most of us is also compressed to just a few months each year due to frigid water temperatures, thus your forced to an indoor pool whether you like it or not.  Waves, visibility, and taste of the water aside, the major difference between indoor and open water swimming are the walls and the lingering question: Should I do flip turns?

For those that are unfamiliar with the concept of flip turns, it’s where a swimmer essentially performs a summersault at the wall to transfer their momentum in the opposite direction (shown above) instead of touching the wall with their hand before heading back in the opposite direction (this is called an open turn).  Based on my experience, unless you arrive at triathlons or open water swimming through the sport competitive swimming odds are that you do not perform flip turns, possible are intimidated by the concept, and most likely don’t see the need in learning flip turns.  It’s probably no surprise, but I’m a believer in everyone performing flip turns and let me share some strong arguments why.

The biggest reason everyone should perform flip turns, this includes you triathletes, is that it’s the most efficient and fastest way to get off the wall.  With an open water swimming focus you may not be concerned about getting off the wall fast, but let’s reframe the same concept: if you’re not getting off the wall fast and efficiently transferring your momentum, then you’re slow and inefficient at the wall.  Digging into this thought a little deeper: if you perform an open turn (touching the wall with your hand) you’re going to slow down before you get to the wall and inherently create a mini break for yourself (wanted or unwanted).  Thus think of a flip turn as a way to maintain your speed, level of exertion, and keep your heart rate up.  So by performing flip turns at every wall you’re going to better mimic an open water swim by maintaining your momentum lap after lap.

A second benefit is that flip turns force you to maintain breath control since you most likely will hold your breath longer than swimming regularly; you also need to perform a controlled exhale as you flip to prevent water from entering your nose, furthering the breath control exercise.  Therefore this can help prepare you for handling waves in the open water where you go to breathe and your greeted with a wall of water.  By performing flip turns you will become more comfortable with the hypoxic feeling and not panic if you have to hold your breath for a few more strokes than planned the next time you swallow a wave.

Finally, a few lesser benefits are you’ll swim faster with little change in any other aspect of your stroke, you’ll most likely find that flip turn are fun once you get the hang of them, and lastly there is a “coolness” and confidence factor that comes when you consistently perform flip turns. I guarantee you that people will look at you differently in the pool and most likely will respect you more in the water.  I’ve also found that the intimidation of flip turns can also work in your favor by having people shy away from swimming in your lane if they’re not a strong swimmer.

So hopefully I’ve convinced you that flip turns are at least worth entertaining if you’re already not already on the flip turn bandwagon.  Consider it a challenge, a worthwhile challenge.  Remember that while looking cool is a pleasant side effect of flip turns, there is true training value in flipping at the wall instead of performing an open turn.  Now I would consider it unfair to convince you to perform flip turns and then not provide any advice on how to achieve the task.  Thus, next week I’ll provide some tips on how to perform a flip turn, but until then mull it over and open yourself to learning a new skill.

Written by Brett Collins, US Masters Swim Coach Certified
with TZCoaching
Brett Collins is a lifelong competitive swimmer who started competing
in triathlons after college. Brett is a certified U.S. Masters Swim
Coach where he has coached Age Group and Master's swimmers dating back
to 2004 and now is the head swim coach for triathlon focused swim
programs with TZCoaching in the Chicagoland area.