06/24/15

Take a Stand

There’s been a lot of buzz in the air in the sport of triathlon recently for a couple of reasons:

1. Equality in the sport for women

2. How much do pros matter

Let’s start with the issue that probably isn’t as big of a deal to most people (so I won’t spend a lot of time on it), but hits close to home for me – how much do pros matter.  Last year, Ironman announced they would be cutting how many races would have money at them.  One of them was Ironman Louisville… which is my hometown.  After the race, I started the #keepourpros initiative to try to make a stand and make the voice of people heard that wanted to have pros at the Ironman races that lost their prize money.  I specifically remember people telling me that they wouldn’t do a WTC race (such as Ironman Louisville) without pros at it.  However, some of those people have signed up for those races.

Quickly moving on to the more pressing issue, EQUALITY.  A quick recap of what has been the issue here.  The world championship in Kona has very limited space on the peir.  The pro men get 50 of those spots, and women only get 35.   Last time I checked, 35 is a lot less than 50!  This makes it a lot harder for women to get to Kona.  I recently read the blog on Ameber Ferreira’s website (a former Maverick Multisport athlete).  It is a great case study on how this effects even some of the best women in the sport… especially the up and coming athletes.  Ironically, Ironman recently announced 3 additional spots on the pier for women.  However, those 3 spots didn’t go the professional women.  The three spots have been allocated for the WTC Women for Tri Board.  Spots that I would assume are being paid for by those three females.

I know that not everyone will agree that pros are important… but I know that people will agree that equality is important.  If you are concerned both or one of these issues, then you need to do two things.  First of all, sign up for different events.  Whether it is a local race, Challenge Family, HITS triathlon… whatever it is, support the companies that support equality and support pros.  If you say you don’t agree with what Ironman is doing, but still sign up for their races you are basically casting a vote of approval.  As long as Ironman has money coming in, they won’t change anything.  Consider if a politician said he/she was against guns, but decided to do a 5K run that all the proceeds went to the NRA. The press would be all over that and having a hay day with it.  It’s basically the same thing that pros and age groupers are doing still doing Ironman races but don’t agree with one or both of these important issues.

Secondly, if you want to sign a petition for 50 Women to Kona click here and let Andrew Messick see your name!

Will pros take a hit for a year or two if we do this?  Yes! But if you want to see change a sacrifice is needed.  For myself, I won’t be racing Ironman races for the rest of the year and have no plans of racing with them in the future.

02/3/15

Training in Groups

When I first started getting serious about triathlons, I did most of my training on my own. I hired a coach and pretty much did everything to get race ready solo. I had a lot of room for improvement and the progress came relatively quickly. But in the last 18 months, I came to the realization that if I wanted to get faster I needed to start training with people that would push me, challenge me every day, and maybe even humble me a little bit. I slowly got outside of my own training bubble and began searching out other groups to train with on a regular basis.  The purpose of this blog is two fold: 1. Encourage people to find a group of people that will challenge/push you to new limits in training (or any area of life), and 2. A small way to say thanks to the groups I train with in Louisville on a regular basis.

Maverick Multisport connected me with the Lakeside Seahawks, a local swim team in Louisville, KY that has consistently ranked in the top 10 in the nation for kids swim teams. Simply put, these kids can swim! Not too many kids that are literally half my age (some less than that) can deflate your ego in the pool outside this swim team. Between the kids challenging me outside my comfort zone every week and the coaches being more than helpful with critiquing my swim stroke and providing crazy swim sets, where I was in the pool and where I am at now is literally night and day. So, thank you to all the kids on the team for allowing a 27 (almost 28) year old triahlete take part the lane. I don’t think you all know how much you’ve helped me develop into a better swimmer/triathlete.

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Moving along in the order of the race, I started seeking out cyclist in Louisville (Purple rides group) that are Cat 1 and Cat 2 riders around the middle of last season. They were kind enough to allow a guy with aerobars show up to their group rides and not turn me away. They definitely helped me stay motivated on the bike and push through discomfort that I wouldn’t be able to get through on my own. So, hopefully I’ll be seeing more these guys in 2015 once the weather warms up.

Most recently, I started running about three times a week with Spalding University’s Cross country and and track team. Coach Kevin and Coach Sowder were okay with me showing up to their practices as they fit my plan given to me by my coach, Brian Grasky. I feel like a big part of what I was missed while training on my own was the track and speed work that we’ve done on the track recently. I’ve noticed my aerobic runs have gotten faster, my tempo runs have become faster and I have more confidence in how fast I can run. The guys on the team have been great in not only pushing me outside my comfort zone, but also helping me enjoy running more than I ever have.

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Of course, I have to say thanks to my coach Brian Grasky for looking at these training schedules from the swim team and cross country team and telling me when it is good to join them and when workouts can be tweaked a little to fit the plan to get me race ready. Otherwise, I would be aimlessly training. He has gone above and beyond already this year to help me use my local resources to get faster while taking his vast knowledge of racing and performance to know when I need to do things on my own.

World Class coaching from beginner to elite athletes

So thank you Lakeside, Purple Riders, Spalding XC/track team, and Brian Grasky for making training my fun, motivating me, humbling me, and contributing to the success I’ve had thus far.  And making training much more enjoyable than training on my own.

01/28/15

Duro-last national sales seminar 2015

Over the last few days I was able to go to TX with my in-laws and wife to join Duro-Last in their national sales conference.  Literally everyone in the company was there from private contractors, to regional sales reps, and people from corporate.  Even the wife of the man that founded the company years ago.  I was able to connect with several of the people that agreed to sponsor me for the 2015 season and got to know some of them a little better.  I also talked about ways to help market their product, what I had planned to do as far as advertising for them, and some of their ideas.  Over all, they were very pleased with what I’ve done in the last couple months since they agreed to sponsor me.  It is always good to hear from the corporate side of things that they are happy!

But, why Duro-Last?

Last year was the first sales conference I attended (due to just being newly married into the family.  My father-in-law is a private contractor for Duro-Last in Louisville, KY. Roofing Solutions is their company.)  I was very impressed with the company for two reasons:

1. They strive to be the very best in the industry – they pride themselves in manufacturing the best products for flat roofing.  Even though they are at the top of their game, they always are looking for ways to improve and become more efficient.

2.  They were founded on, and still practice, Christian business principles – The company stands behind their products and sees value in the “little guys” that help keep the business open.  They work with private contractors to ensure their satisfaction.  I heard it from several private contractors both last year and this year: “Duro-Last is the best company to work for.  I’ve never been let down by them.”

I felt like we had a lot in common: desiring to be the best in all areas of life and doing so in a moral and upright way.  No cheating.  Just hard work and giving credit to God, the one that gave me the ability and resources to train/race at a high level.

So, thank you, Duro-Last for getting behind me for 2015.  I had a great time in Galveston, TX… meeting new people, getting antiquated with people from last year, and, of course, getting some quality training in some warm, sunny weather!

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A little family fun at the welcome party!

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Moody Gardens had an aquarium and rain forest.  We had access to both of these during the welcome party.

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One of the many sharks!

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Texas Turtle!

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A nice sun burn from 2 long rides outside

DCIM134GOPRO

01/24/15

Maverick Multisport 2015 pre-season camp

This is the third year that I’ve been on the Maverick Multisport team, and it is the second year of having a pre-season camp. The team director, Chris Hutchens, worked extremely hard to make this camp a success and have a TON of value in it. Big names from the triathlon industry came into town and helped make this camp a success, such as John Cobb, Christie O’Hara, Alex Bok, Michael Foland, and Jeremy Brown. Due to the time restraint of getting everything done, the camp was very structured. But we managed to get everything done, somehow. Bike fits with John Cobb, spin scans with Christie O’Hara, lactate threshold testing with Jeremy Brown, nutrition talk with Michael Foland, and a talk on the business side of triathlon from Alex Bok. Words can not express how much this last weekend motivated me to make 2015 the best season yet. I also feel extremely lucky/blessed to be part of Maverick Multisport. To only be in its third year and be able to attract the quality of sponsors we have as a team is remarkable, to say the least. I owe a lot my success that I started having in the last couple years to Maverick Multisport and the sponsors associated with us.

I decided to make a video recap of the weekend instead of the typical written blog, because I feel like I can’t put into words what I experienced this last weekend. It was truly amazing! I’m incredibly thankful for the support of the sponsors and teammates as we begin the 2015. Again, thank you to everyone that helped make this last weekend successful and an enjoyable experience.

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12/27/14

strength and conditioning for runners and triathletes 5

Another strength and conditioning video.  This time I threw in swiss balls routine and a homemade TRX routine.  After all, most triathletes are flat broke, so I made my own using supplies from any home improvement store.  2 lashing straps, caribeaner, PVC piping, and rope.  $20-ish vs over a $100 for store bought TRX bands.  Works just as well too.

This video is brought to you by:

Duro-Last Roofing – located in Michigan, this company makes flat roofing supplies to make the best roof in the world.  Go to www.duro-last.com  to find a local contractor to install your new flat roof.

and

JayBird – wireless earbuds and activity tracker with their new Reign product.  check them out at www.jaybirdsport.com

10/16/14

2014 triathlon season in review

My first attempt at a video blog.  Hope you all enjoy it.  Thanks to everyone that had a part to play in this last season… already looking forward to 2015!

Save money when shopping with my sponsors with these codes:
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08/27/14

Keep Our Pros part 2

So my original plan to get signatures for #KeepOurPros the day of the race at Ironman Louisville and at the awards ceremony didn’t really work out.  Not because of lack of interest in the cause, but because I sustained an injury that severely limited my mobility.  So it was time to figure out a Plan B:

I started an online petition to collect signatures from people that want to continue seeing professional triathletes at all of the Ironman branded races that will be loosing their pro prize purses in 2015.  9 full distance and 11 half distance races will be loosing their money and professional field.  Here is a few reasons why it is bad for the sport:

1. This will make it much more difficult for pros to get the exposure they need for sponsorships.

2. It will make the top 20-30 triathletes in the world very profitable and leave the others at a severe disadvantage when trying to compete with them.

3. Having races with smaller prize purses allows new pros to get some recognition and move up the ranks.

4. Having age groupers now being able to say they are an Ironman Champion lessens the accomplishment of any pro being able to say they won an Ironman.

5. Less foreign athletes will spend time in the USA in the summer because of the lack of races with prize purses and could spend their summers in Europe instead where all the races kept their prize purses.

6. Pro triathletes at events inspire people to get involved in the sport and bring value/legitimacy to the sport. No other sport in the world allows pros and amateurs to race together on the same course under the same conditions.

 

Several things will be different when IM Louisville rolls around next year in October:  No returning champions to be interviewed on the news, no pro panels, no racing down to the final 100 meters of the race to claim the win (McDonald edged out Gerlach by 17 seconds after 140.6 mile journey), no one will care who will win, etc.

Please sign the petition to Keep Our Pros and share it on your facebook page and Twitter handle.  Share it to your local triathlon club, cycling club, running club, etc.  Spread the word and be sure to hashtag it with #KeepOurPros!

Our goal is 10,000 signatures by Kona, which is October 11, 2014.  We have about 6 weeks… so spread the word and sign the petition!

 

08/23/14

Keep Our Pros

This week has been very bittersweet for me.  Ironman Louisville will be running its last pro race in just a few hours from now.  And, because of that, it will be the last time I participate in my race… my hometown race.  The decision by WTC to cut the prize money from half of the full distance triathlons they host in the USA has literally hit home!

Over the course of the week, I was on 3 different pro panels.  Every time someone in the audience asked the question what we thought of the decision.  Of course, all the pros thought it was a horrible decision for several reason.  But here are just a few:

1.  New pros will have a harder time getting recognition from sponsors (and therefore money).

2.  Foreign professional triathletes used to come to the USA for the summer because of the abundance of races to choose from.  With that not being the case anymore, these pros may stay in Europe for the summer.

3.  More traveling costs to get to races since only one might be within driving distance now.

 

I started thinking about how we (as pros) could come together and make a movement against WTC.  Something needed to be done, because if we just sit back and take it, WTC will keep throwing their weight around.  I had an idea to use social media to start a movement that will hopefully spill over from IM Louisville into IM Wisconsin, IM Lake Tahoe, and IM Florida:

#KeepOurPros

Myself and two of my teammates will have a petition to sign at this event at Makers Mark located at 4th Street Live right by the IM Louisville finish line.  (For some reason, I can’t insert a hyperlink, so copy and paste this to your browser: https://www.facebook.com/events/266504916873694/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming)

We will also be going around at the awards ceremony collecting signatures.  We will then publicly deliver the petition to Ironman with your signatures… age groupers, spectators, pros, family, friends, anyone that feels the need to keep the pros at EVERY Ironman race to help keep the race special.  What other sport out there can you participate in right along side some of the best athletes in the world… none!

Also, I would challenge you that if you don’t agree with the decision by WTC to cut the races with pro prize purse, don’t sign up for WTC races.  Choose other ones like Challenge Family.  Every time you sign up for a race by WTC you are casting a vote… a vote that agrees with what they are doing.

08/3/14

IM Louisville, Kona Slots, and Pros

Ironman recently announced that several races will no longer offer pro prize purses, and the money from those races will be reallocated to other races to increase the prize purse and also pay 10 deep.  I can’t say for sure how this will affect the pro race fields, but I’m guessing that now the races left with pro prize purses will be very hard to place top 10.  It will be just as hard or harder for pros that are starting out in the sport to collect enough a money from the races to cover their traveling expenses.  Those at the top will be making lots of money, while the ones getting started in the sport are at a disadvantage due to covering their expenses by working another job, coaching, etc.  I am not saying that every professional triathlete should be making a ton of money (just like starting quarterbacks should make more money than the back up), but I think their should be some sort of travel stipend or something.

I also read Eric Limkeman’s blog and agree with a lot of what he said there.  The term professional triathlete is a very loose term. Very few triathletes can actually make a living doing it, and the value of a professional triathlete is hard to quantify.  Pro’s do their best to represent companies and companies do their best to promote their athletes.  We don’t make a ton of money off of them, and they don’t make a ton of money off of us either, so the compensation is probably fine from the companies.  I’m not asking to make millions, or even be considered rich.  I just think that Pros need to reconsider chasing points for Kona and not getting paid, or not getting paid enough to cover traveling expenses.  I know I plan on doing more Challenge Races next year as a business move to help me collect more money at races… and because I don’t think Ironman is a company to support right now.  Plus I know that at least this stage of the game for me, Kona is out of my reach.

Speaking of Kona, there has been lots of talk about having equal representation of male pro and men.  IM also talked about cutting the number of pro men slots down and increasing the number of pro women.  I don’t think this is right due to the proportion of male vs. females in the average Ironman race. From the pro start lists that I’ve looked at over the last few years, their is usually between 2 and 3 times more men than females.  Currently, 50 pro men and 35 pro women get to toe the line in Kona.  So even though there is 2-3x more pro men vs pro women, men only get about 1.5x more slots at the pier in Kona.

Some people think that equal slots on pier in Kona would send a better message to young women getting started in the sport.  However, I think that is not the case.  If people think that the pro men and pro women should have equal slots, you could argue that the F18-24 (the AG with the least amount of participation in IM races) slots should have equal representation in Kona as the M40-44 (the AG with the one of the highest representation in IM races).  If for some reason women out numbered men (which they probably do in comparison of F40-44 vs. M18-24) then the women should have more slots in Kona and be in proportion to the number participating.

At the end of the day, we (triathletes) can make a difference a vote with our money.  If we continue supporting IM and their poor decisions (at least in my opinion), they will continue throwing their weight around and screwing both AG and pro athletes.  Be vocal and speak out… don’t just be complacent.

03/12/14

Primal Sport Mud Review

Recovery is vitally important to anyone that is training for competition.  Recovery is when the body gets stronger by adapting to the stress (training) that is placed on it.  Without recovery, we would continue to breakdown and end up getting slower and/or injured.  When training for an Ironman, 70.3, or any other long distance event, recovery becomes even more important.

When training at a high level, generally those that are smartest in their recovery are the ones that make the most improvement and beat their competition.  That being said, I know that I must do everything I can to help my body recover.  That is why I’ve turned to Primal Sport Mud this year after a trail run of it early this winter.

Primal Sport Mud comes from the idea that ancient warriors/athletes of putting volcanic mud all over their body to help with recovery and sore muscles.  Primal Sport Mud is basically that, minus the dirt.  They have removed everything except for the active ingredients and activated them to make them more effective.  With that being done, the molecules can absorb through your skin and into your body more efficiently and work much faster.  With using normal organic matter/mud, it would take several treatments to get the same effect as 1 or 2 treatments of Primal Sport Mud.  In the few months that I’ve started using Primal Sport Mud, this is what I’ve noticed:

1.  It helps with sore muscles – Just yesterday I did a fairly hard brick workout.  Afterwards my legs were sore and tired.  I applied it all over my legs and let it soak through.  I felt a lot better after it was done.  The next morning the amount of fatigue in my legs was significantly less than what it would have been without using it based on how I felt in last years workouts that were similar.

2.  It helps with inflammatory issues – I have had some inflammation issues this year in my IT band.  I think it has been due to needing new running shoes and also with the significantly higher volume in comparison to previous years.  I’ve applied it when I felt the pain coming on, and it has always been gone the next day.

When I was first learning how to use it, I was told to apply the Mud, wrap the area in plastic wrap, and then apply heat.  However, I found that using some two 2-gallon zip lock bags worked better.  I cut out the bottom of it and pull it over my upper legs.  I put the part that locks shut around the thickest part of my legs so it wouldn’t rip the bag.  Also, I could reuse the same plastic bags over and over again instead of using plastic wrap once and throw it away.  A small bag can be used over the lower legs in the same manner.  To clean it off your body, simply jump in the shower and rinse somehow with water.  The product is completely water soluble and safe to go down the drain.  It will come off your body looking like coffee going down the drain.

Most recently I completed a radio commercial for Primal Sport Mud.  I added pictures to it so I could upload to youtube.  So here is my 15 seconds of fame:

You can try Primal Sport Mud by going to their website and ordering the product there.  Use coupon code “maverickprimal14” for 40% off your first order and bring your recovery (and racing) to a new level!