Friday, May 23, 2014

Tri Interview Israel Antonio

From Nic. Excited to feature another paratriathlete that is affiliated with the CDifferent Organization.  This is one of the befitting charities of the Chris Lieto event in a few weeks.  Israel Antonio is a Chicago native and looks forward to shining at ITU 2014 and 2015 ITU Worlds.  If you participate at ITU, look for him!  Sure he will have a smile on his face!

1. Tell us a little about yourself
     Born and raised in chicago, I loved playing sports throughout my childhood.  Whether in organized leagues, on school teams, or with neighborhood friends, I enjoyed baseball, basketball, and football.  I was never the biggest or strongest, but frequently, I was the fastest. when I was fourteen years old, I lost my sight overnight as a result of detached retinas.  Because I did not experience any head trauma which often causes detached retinas, my doctor's best explanation was that my retinas slowly detached over a period of six to eight weeks, but I did not see evidence until the fateful day on which I woke up unable to see clearly.
2. How I became interested in triathlons.
     I have always wanted to achieve a physique similar to that of Bruce Lee.  After experiencing a broken heart due to a young woman, I started to put on massive weight which was a combination of fat and bulky muscle.  Then I discovered Fit TV's Fit Nation hosted by celebrity trainer, Gina Lombardi which inspired me to examine my lifestyle and make some changes.  Simultaneously, I started watching another Fit TV program, Insider Training where I watched one episode over and over.  that particular episode featured Lokelani McMichael who in 1995 became the youngest person to complete an Ironman Triathlon when she was eighteen years old.  I was so fascinated by her story and achievement that I was inspired to research whether I could compete in triathlons.  Every search engine result kept including one name.  A roofer, film producer, actor, model, triathlete named Matt Miller who had founded the C Different Foundation to help blind and visually impaired individuals pursue their dreams of competing in races.  I reached out to Mr. Miller who immediately responded to welcome me to his family.  I did one half marathon with the C Different folks at which point Matt insisted I register for the New York city triathlon only months away.  I did.  I completed my first triathlon and have been racing ever since.   
3. My 2014 race season.
     I have ITU Worlds Chicago on June 28.  Paratriathlon US Nationals in Tempe on September 21.  If I'm lucky enough to be selected for Team USA Worlds squad for the second consecutive year, then I will race at the Paratriathlon World Champs in Canada in late August.  I plan to pick up a few more triathlons during the summer months if I can.  I will close out my 2014 season by racing my fifth consecutive Chicago Marathon in October as I attempt to qualify for Boston for the fifth time.
4. My favorite of the three disciplines.
     Running is my favorite of the three disciplines.  In some way, I feel that I am still in search of the speed from my youth which made me one of the fastest kids.
5. Advice to those wishing to guide para-athletes. 
One of my friends said it best, "Find someone slower than you and guide them."  Because it will be your responsibility to call out obstacles on the course, warn other runners, or offer many verbal cues as you are running, I believe it would be dangerous to attempt to do all this with someone as fast or faster than you.  Other athletes or guides might argue with this next point, but I do not believe there is a one size fits all method of guiding.  Each blind and visually impaired athlete is a different individual with his or her own preferences.  Make sure to get to know him or her.  Feel free to ask plenty of questions.  If possible, volunteer to go swimming, cycling, or running with the person several times to find a comfort level and communication system which works best for you and the person.  There are several local and national organization which are always in need of people to volunteer as guides, but a great way, if you can, is just reach out and get to know an athlete individually.  Most of my guides are my friends first and foremost who happen to be elite or pro athlete athletes who over time would let me know of their availability to guide me. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Chris Lieto coming to Chicago!

Excited to share that Christ Lieto is coming to Chicago with proceeds benefitting MoreThanSport and CDifferent


Base Performance, Fitness Formula Clubs, and TriMonster™ are proud to welcome Chris Lieto to Chicago. Chris is a 3-time Ironman Champion and founder of MORE than Sport™. Join us as Chris shares his experiences of training, racing, nutrition, purpose, and giving back. Fundraiser event will include a silent auction and exclusive raffle prizes. Proceeds benefit MORE than Sport and CDifferent.

Monday, June 2nd
SIP – Southport & Irving (SIP)
4000 N. Southport Ave.

5:30-7:30pm VIP DInner
8-9pm Evening with Chris
- Red carpet photo/autograph opportunity
- Unlimited beer & wine (VIP wristband)
- Three course fine dining experience (see options below)
- Includes "Evening with Chris" Q&A session

- Admission to Q&A session with Chris 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tri-Pro: Erich Wegscheider

From Nic:  I always admire people that make big leaps of faith in their life to pursue their passions, rediscover themselves or just want an adventure. Erich, a pro triathlete, just made the jump from Cali to Bali and am excited to follow his adventures... however, I had to laugh when he said he had to move b/c he was "sick of the California winters"... Sorry Erich, this Chicagoan doesn't give too much sympathy towards that statement :)

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your recent move to Bali (if you don't mind, mention your transition into turning pro, people love those stories)

I got into triathlon while attending the University of Oregon, where I raced on their club team. My first triathlon was OSU’s Beaver Freezer and I was hooked after that! Heck, I even began scheduling classes around when lap swimming was available. After graduating, I wanted to do something different, so I decided to explore triathlon at the elite level. I spent a good year and a half readying myself, made the jump in 2011, and won my pro debut at the Lavaman Waikoloa. I've had a mixed bag of results since then, but still love competing and the pursuit of PRs.

As for moving to Bali, it falls into the same category mentioned above - of wanting to do something different. I love to train, race, and travel, but those activities don't exactly pay the bills. Full-time work never allowed for enough training or travel, so I decided to try and create something that will allow me to dictate my own schedule. Of course, that in and of itself requires a great deal of time, but it'll be worth it in the long run given my priorities.

2.  What is on your schedule for 2014 and what is the tri scene like in Bali?

Upon moving here, I was really looking forward to the Bali International Triathlon, but the race isn't taking place this year due to the Indonesian Presidential Elections. So, the tri scene is non-existent. All in all, training here is actually quite difficult. The roads aren't ideal for cycling, so I had to buy a trainer and have done all my riding on that. There’s also no tracks or flat ground to speak of, so all my runs - including tempo sessions - include quite a bit of elevation. While it’s far from a tri mecca, training here is definitely making me stronger.

As for the rest of the year, I will be stateside for part of summer and will be racing both the Leadville Trail 100 MTB and Trail 100 Run - that'll be my first 100-mile run. After that, I'm eyeing Ironman Lake Tahoe, Challenge Rancho Cordova, and if I can swing it, La Ruta de los Conquistadores (a 3-day mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica).
3. Out of the other endurance events you have done, which one complimented your triathlon training?  Do you have a favorite discipline.

Mountain biking for sure! It’s complimented training, in that it’s helped me develop a better pedal stroke, build leg strength - they don't call it mountain biking for nothing - and perhaps most importantly, it’s really helped with my bike handling skills; roads seem a lot wider and manageable after spending enough time on single-track!

Running is my favorite discipline based on its simplicity. Particularly trail running. There’s something about it that makes me feel like a wild animal on the loose.

4.  What has been your biggest challenges since your shift of focus on your business vs. triathlon... any tips for others?

Time-management. I’m in the process of redesigning my website and often lose several hours to that, because I get so immersed in refining design elements and developing a content strategy. That site and its challenges are my passion, so it’s understandable. However, deadlines and defining dedicated work only times have given me more balance.

5. Favorite go-to workout.

Honestly, I'm just a workhorse and do whatever I'm told to do by my coach, Muddy Waters. Though, push-ups and crunches are things I do everyday.