Monday, April 28, 2014

New Blogs... lots of International Triathletes!

Will Cannon (Melbourne expat on Gold Coast) -Breakfast enthusiast/Skinny triathlete with obese calves.

Axel Kussman (Toronto, CA)-12th Level Husband/Father/Engineer/Triathlete.

First Time Ironman (W Midlands, UK)-Embarking on my first Ironman triathlon. Follow my training, general babbling and other events in the run up to Ironman Wales 2015 @FTIM2015 

Triath-anon- Lover of all things swim, bike, run. Coeliac AND lactose intolerant - what are the chances? Blogs about training and stuff.

Meredith (NY, NY) - Training for NYC Triathlon!

Karen Iddings (Lake Havasu City, AZ)-Everyday athlete balancing training with real life. #Marathoner, #Triathlete, #Entrepreneur, Wife and best of all - a Mom! 5k PR 22:08; 70.3 PR 5:59:15
Karen Iddings on Twitter 

Leyna Odell (Dallas, TX)  I am a middle of the pack athlete and am taking on my first Half Ironman in September. I'm not fast, but I love endurance events.
Erich Wegscheider (CA) - Pro triathlete, ultra-runner, mountain biker, and alpinist taking on the world's toughest tests of endurance.
Twitter: @ewegsche

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tri-Interview: TriJetSet Found James Balcer: USAT Triathlon Coach

From Nic: I have been dealing with some neck and back issues for the past two weeks and making too many trips to my chiro.  For those with chronic pain issues, you know the vicious cycle I am talking about.  At any rate, through my multiple visits to him, I met James Balcer. James is a triathlete that founded TriJetSet that specializes on VIP race experiences.  Packages start at $100 and are very customized to the client.  I love the idea of being able to take the stress out of race weekend and wish him the best success for this season and beyond! Ck out his interview and site to learn more!

                                                                                     **As usual, NOT a sponsored post!

Tell us a little about yourself and your triathlon background & your inspiration behind TriJetSet:
Jet Set Performance is a culmination of years past, the marriage between two professional careers and an addiction. I grew up an accomplished swimmer that fell into triathlon in the early 90's, still in the era when a race was only 35 bucks :) It's definitely been amazing to see the sport and lifestyle of Triathlon grow into what it has become today and continues to blossom into. It’s such a positive outreach!

With that being said, after a shoulder injury my swimming career had me looking at new opportunities of staying competitive. I moved to Florida in ‘97 to be in the opening cast and crew for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and take triathlon head on to compete year round.

After leaving Disney I was still in the performing arts not to mention I had a fitness background. On one side, it was a blessed opportunity to perform for a couple hundred million people not to mention experience some completely luxurious places in the span of a decade. On the other side, I was an endurance coach and a fitness professional that specialized in postural correction, core stabilization and strength. Last but not least I was completely addicted to Triathlon.

It was the perfect storm! Travel the world; stay healthy and highly competitive in Triathlon all while indulging in some of the finest luxuries. And.... I wanted to share that experience with everyone.

I started Jet Set Performance as a Triathlon company that specialized in training hard and playing just as hard. Hosting camps and clinics with celebrity coaches and athletes so that my clients would have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best in different destinations coast to coast.

What would a typical package involve??

We are currently working on a portfolio of races but one around the corner is for the Sommer Sports Organization in Clermont Florida Mother's Day weekend. They are an organization that has been setting the bar high for 31 years and they are planning on hosting an all women's race weekend called Women on Fire. This weekend will be a 5k Saturday and Sprint Tri Sunday.

For that race alone we will obviously be there in full effect. We usually travel with a 20x40 VIP tent that provides us 800 sqft of space that we utilize for private packet pick up, recovery, massage, social atmosphere, Red Carpet experience with photographer, etc. We work with some really great corporate sponsors that promote a healthy lifestyle which are integrated into our package as well. It's not unlikely that during this event you'd experience a private pre-race dinner with a couple Pro Women Triathletes for a question and answer session and even a celebration dinner along with a Private Fireworks Cruise accommodating 20 people at Disney's Magic Kingdom with Champagne and desserts. For those looking for the full family experience, they can even add a private guided tour of the Theme Parks.

With the Midwest playing host to Rev3's Wisconsin Dells and Cedar Point it would be a great opportunity to incorporate the whole family as we specialize in our Famous TRIcation experience along with our celebrity experiences. We have a truly unique company that loves having fun and spreading the message about the Triathlon lifestyle. As we are ironing out some of the details for Rev3, it’s our mission to be the Red Carpet Experience for Endurance Athletes (and their families).

On a side note we love helping charities too, so a generous portion of a Jet Set Experience is donated to charities such as Wounded Warrior Project, American Heart Association, St. Jude, Diabetes Foundation, ASPCA etc.

What is the price range for experiences that you offer?
Depending on the race and that race's volume, it could be as easy as adding an A La Carte experience all the way to a premium package. Some of our premium packages could include products and a separate training vacation to the destination prior to race day. You can even include individualized training. Nicole, each race is extremely different and custom tailored but participants can expect a starting price of only $100 in addition to race registration (depending on the package of course) for their very own exclusive VIP experience.

Do you offer other options than travel package?

I’m an individual that loves to be challenged both personally and professionally. I still offer private / group triathlon coaching and personal training services. I love helping people achieve their goals on a personal basis.

JSP is a one-stop shop and a 360-degree company that even includes great coupon codes to the products we have sponsorships with, even discounts for race entries. I'm very excited to be a partner / co-owner of a new Carbon Wheel Company called Carbonic :) The wheels are absolutely amazing and gaining a ton of buzz, you’ll have to check em out!

Although Jet Set Performance specializes in destination experiences, this company is striving to be a premier resource for endurance athletes through and through.

I absolutely love the multisport lifestyle and the camaraderie between everyone. We all train hard whether it's your first or 101st race not to mention we all go through the same learning experiences. Triathlon is so much more than swim, bike and run. It is a testament to ones will, breaking barriers and sharing a love for an environment that keeps you healthy and gains friendships for a lifetime. We have a ton of great Jet Set Experiences in the 2014 season and very excited to share them with the community!


About James:
National Academy of Sports Medicine
USA Triathlon Coach

Originally hailing from the Southside of Chicago, James started his academic career at Western Illinois University in 1996. With his love for health and wellness he continued his education with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and is a USAT Certified Coach through USA Triathlon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kinesio-Taping Seminar in Chicago

Many of you enjoyed the posts we had about taping and techniques for endurance athletes.  Abby, has been featured on the blog before and is hosting a clinic for Chicagoans.  Here is the info for their event:

Have you been exposed to kinesio-taping and have no idea on how to use it?

Would you want to learn how to know where to apply tape and the best application procedure to get the best results?

Do you have 4 hours to learn a technique that you can use the next day on your patients, friends, and family?

Muscle Vector Taping (MVT)© is a specific application protocol for kinesiology tape utilizing manual muscle testing as a diagnostic tool.

Come learn from Dr. Konrad Grzeszkowiak and colleague Abby Kramer about what kinesiology tape is and how the application of tape during specific movement can help your patients (and yourself) reduce pain, increase range of motion, and increase muscle tone.

In addition to learning about the most up to date and relevant research about kinesiology tape and its uses, you will learn:

~ How to evaluate and asses lower extremity movement during basic movement screens

~ How to manually muscle test accurately and consistently the major muscles of the lower extremity

~ How to use Muscle Vector Taping© technique to facilitate an inhibited muscle and improve motor movement patterns

Included with this seminar is a free roll of Rock Tape (kinesiology tape) and a printed version of the power point presentation - where you can refer to the techniques of taping taught; the manual muscle tests shown; and the functional assessment screens that teach you how to accurately diagnose the major dysfunction in the lower extremity.

Seminar Cost: $50
First 5 to RSVP get an extra $10 off for a total of $40*

*The Tape alone is $20 a roll at retail stores

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns please contact:
Dr. Konrad Grzeszkowiak: OR
Abby Kramer:

Our mission is to provide an inexpensive, efficient, and effective method to find and correct dysfunctional movement patterns in the body. These dysfunctions can be corrected with minimal intervention using manual muscle testing and kinesiology tape as a method of enhancing movement and function while decreasing pain.

Muscle Vector Taping (MVT)© is a specific application protocol for kinesiology tape utilizing manual muscle testing as a diagnostic tool. Taping for specific muscles in a specific vector of movement increases muscle tone and response. This method of application has been studied and proven to be effective in increasing muscle tone, and leading the practitioner to the primary muscles of dysfunction. is a specific application protocol for kinesiology tape utilizing manual muscle testing as a diagnostic tool.

To learn more about Dr. Konrad Grzeszkowiak and Abby Kramer, read below!

Both Dr. Konrad and Abby are certified in Fascial Movement Taping (levels 1 and 2) and Performance Movement Taping through Rocktape. They are also both certified as Professional Applied Kinesiologists (PAK) through the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK).

Dr. Konrad has a long history in movement as a past competitive dancer, collegiate gymnast, and personal trainer. He believes that "movement is life" and that through movement we can function at our most optimal level. He has an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and graduated with his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from National University of Health Sciences. He also holds additional certifications as a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) and Performance Exercise Specialist (PES). He is currently practicing in Glenview, IL and working as a team chiropractor for a local gymnastics club. To learn more about Dr. Konrad and his practice,

Abby also has history as an athlete initially in the world of competitive swimming. She competed at a college level and since has become an avid runner. She is currently entering her 7th term in the Doctor of Chiropractic program at National University of Health Sciences. She has an undergraduate degree in Human Movement Science and is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. In addition to her schooling, Abby coaches a local swim team.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Blogs + Headsweats Winners!

New Bloggers and Headsweats winners below.  First to email me gets their pick of visors!

German AG'er with Kona dreams

Northeast Region- Athena triathlete who hopes to inspire people to put their best foot forward and conquer their goals. Anything is possible!  Powered by BLING is my journey to a more active, family-focused, whole food life! I am a breast cancer survivor, wife, mother and forensic scientist.

Jess (Nashville, TN)  - Triathlete by day, ER nurse by night. Proud back of the pack marathoner. Lover of neon yellow, carbo loading & training with my hubby @TrainerDavey. #FFA & #SPA

Holly Lowe Jones (West Coast)- Mother•Triathlete•Blogger•Model•Fitness

Sprint Distance Triathlete. Triathlon mad. Love the race, the tech and all the gear. IronMan in the making.
twitter @best_tri_gear

Cupcake Triathlete (Northeast Region )- I'm a baker and sugar artist, working mom, and aspiring triathlete - my blog follows my adventures in owning a home business with my husband, training and tri-ing, and juggling life's craziness with full time job and two gorgeous kids.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Triathlon 101 by Lauren Wong

Excited to share Lauren's new series: Triathlon 101. Many newbies find this site and will ask some of the same questions regarding their first tri. Lauren will be sharing her 2 cents on what you need to know!   She blogs over at  and you can connect with all her social media sites from her main page. Thanks Lauren and best wishes as you prepare for IMWI.  

So… planning for your first tri?

The weather is warming up around the country (and coming slowly to Chicago and the rest of the midwest), and if you've set a goal to do your first triathlon this year, it's time to start thinking about what you're going to do!

I'm excited to contribute my experiences to the Swim.Blog.Run & Chicago Triathlon Bloggers community on how to prepare for your first triathlon. Please do not hesitate to email me your questions at and I'll do my best to gather answers and share my experiences! 
Onto the first questions I get from newbie triathletes! 
What gear do I need?
Let’s break it out by swim, bike, & run. In general, think about what you’re used to using for any of these sports individually.
  • Swim: a swimsuit, goggles. The race will provide you with a cap.
  • Bike: bicycle, HELMET (!). What are you used to wearing for shorts, shirt & shoes?
  • Run: what are you used to? Also: visor or hat, maybe a handheld water bottle. Often times the run is hot & sunny, and you’re already 45+ minutes into your event.
Do I need a trisuit? What is a trisuit?
A tri-suit is either a one or two-piece suit that you wear in triathlon. It’s skin tight, and has a lightly padded chamois in the crotch. That helps provide some padding on the bike, but is quicker to dry out & easier to run in than the pad in a bike short.
Chicago Triathlon Finisher
There is no body forgiveness in a tri-suit – so be aware of that! Rock that body!
But if you’re preparing for your first triathlon, and you’re not sure if you’re going to do more than one, then you don’t need to go out and purchase one just for this event. You can make do with other things you have:
  • Swimsuit + Add Shorts (& Tanktop) for the bike & run
  • Sports Bra & Shorts for the swim + throw a shirt on top for the bike & run
  • Sports Tank + bikini bottoms for the swim + shorts for the bike
What about a wetsuit? It seems like everyone has one at Kona…
Kona is an Ironman race where the swim is 2.4 miles long. Your first triathlon is probably a sprint triathlon, so the swim is usually 700-800 yards in distance. Depending on the distance, and the weather, you may or may not need or want one.
There are a few advantages to wearing a wetsuit:
  • It can keep you warm in cold water
  • It can help you float. This can help if you’re: a) afraid of drowning, b) gives a nominal speed advantage since less of your body is in the water.
However, a wetsuit can slow you down as you have to take it off once you’re out of the water. I wore a wetsuit at one of my two sprint triathlons in 2012. I chose to wear it at the colder water triathlon, and that I didn’t need it at a warmer water one where I might not get enough advantage (comfort or time) to warrant the time it takes to take off the wetsuit.
2012-08-27-15.25.22.jpgIt’s a completely personal choice on whether you want one for your first triathlon. I recommend you checking out your race website to see if they have recommendations on wetsuits. You can also ask at a local triathlon store (or call one up if you’re going to a destination race).
If you DO choose to wear a wetsuit, you can look at borrowing from a friend or renting a wetsuit from a local triathlon store. I recommend trying to practice once or twice with a wetsuit prior to your race. You’ll want to practice putting it on, taking it off, and what it feels like to swim with the wetsuit.

What other questions do you have about triathlon? Let me know in the comments or by email at and I can discuss in a future week – or help get you resources to answer your question!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tri-Friend: Bryan Lamb

Met Bryan through the Headsweats Ambassador Program and have enjoyed following his blog.  He has detailed race reports, training recaps and product reviews.  Ck out our newest tri-friend!

Tell us a little about yourself in a few sentences:
I tend to be a guy who is very involved in different things with a ton of interests. First and foremost – I’m a father and a husband. My family is everything to me. Secondly, I’m an endurance athlete. Mostly triathlons and running (of all distances – from one milers to ultras), but I dabble in cycling time trials, paddleboarding, and other stuff. I enjoy surfing as well – really anything outdoors is where I find my peace. Do you have a day job? I work as a manager for a service/engineering department for a construction firm in Southern California. I live in Torrance, Ca and do most of my training in the hills of Palos Verdes. 

How did you get into triathlon... what are your current goals for the season?
I wrestled and ran cross country in college and when I graduated, I was fairly burnt out from the consistent training and expectations. So I stopped pretty much all activity (outside of surfing). My appetite, however, did not magically disappear and I ended up putting on quite a bit of weight. One day I looked in the mirror and decided to lose it – so I started jogging. That lead to me entering running races, which lead to longer running races, which lead to triathlons. My goals for the season are to be relatively competitive in every race I enter. Podiums are nice, and I’d like to be in the top percent of every race – but I realize that’s just not feasible for me. So when I say “competitive” – I mean finishing the race in a time that exceeds my expectations going in.

With that said, I’ve managed to podium 6 out of the 7 races I’ve done this year (either in my Age Group or Overall) – so I’m pretty satisfied with that. In terms of specific goals, I’d like to get a belt buckle at Leadman later this April, and break 9:30 in my two full distance races later this year.

Have you ever thought about turning pro? what do you think the major benefits are for staying as an AG'er vs. turning pro?
With enough specific training and dedication – I could probably be a “mid / lower tier” professional triathlete – but I have no desire to do so. There are too many things going on in my life that I value more than triathlon. It would have to be a 100% commitment from me and I just don’t have that kind of energy to commit for triathlon. I’ve considered it, as the successes I’ve had have been on an extreme “part time training” basis – and I’ve had success when I wasn’t training at all in smaller races – but I fully realize the demands the pro triathlete faces (through friends who are pro) and I don’t believe I have the ability to put the proper time, effort, and respect it would deserve to be a professional. With that said, I’m enjoying racing as an Age Group athlete and the freedoms that come with that.
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What is your A-Race for the season?
 A-Race this season is the 25th Anniversary of Vineman – which is a full distance triathlon in Sonoma, Ca. It’s been a bucket list race of mine and I’m finally getting to do it this year (which I value doing this over Ironman races). 5. what is your favorite training day (i.e. workout). Does rest day count? Haha. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have a favorite. I enjoy running, and going on a long run (which is typically my Sundays) is always a fun thing to do. Having the ability to bring my son along (pushing him in a stroller) has been something that has made those runs even more enjoyable.

Follow Bryan at: