February 22, 2021

#IBeatObesity: A Triathlete’s Story

Our sport is filled with life-changing moments, inspirational stories, and forever friendships. In this episode, you’ll be motivated and inspired by all three. Triathlete Adam Cook shares his multisport journey that has impacted his life forever and set him on a wild challenge that took him all of 2020 to complete. Gain motivation as he shares about his major lifestyle changes and the heart-warming bond of friendship he developed with his coach, Doug Silk. Cook shares, “I didn’t know that when I signed up for a triathlon coach, I was also gaining a best friend.”

Intro: This is the TriDot podcast.  TriDot uses your training data and genetic profile, combined with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you better results in less time with fewer injuries.  Our podcast is here to educate, inspire, and entertain.  We’ll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches and special guests.  Join the conversation and let’s improve together. Andrew Harley:  Hey folks welcome to the show!  We’ve got a fun one today.  Before we get rolling if you could take a sec, and leave us a rating and review on the Apple Podcast App, we would love you forever for it.  On the show today we have two  first time TriDot Podcast appearances.  Every triathlete has a story and I am joined by an athlete and coach duo to hear about one TriDot athlete who has used triathlon to get healthy and took on a unique challenge last year. I am pleased to welcome to the show TriDot athlete Adam Cook.  Adam has been in the family business since he was 6, owning two tractor and lawn and garden equipment dealerships in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Adam also owns a frozen custard restaurant.  He has been an active triathlete for two years now and is a three-time Ironman 70.3 finisher, with one full marathon, several half marathons, and multiple sprint distance tris on his young resume.  He just hit his two year anniversary as a TriDot athlete. Adam I usually try NOT to date when we record and post our shows…. But today’s a little unique.  You are fresh off celebrating your two year anniversary on TriDot and it’s Valentines Day!  What a crazy coincidence.  So from all of us at TriDot to you.  Happy Valentine’s, two year anniversary, and welcome to the podcast! Adam Cook:  Thank you Andrew!  I’m excited to be here. Andrew:  Also joining us is TriDot Coach Doug Silk.  Doug is an FBI Special Agent and TriDot Coach based in Washington DC.He has raced over 100 triathlons since starting in the sport back in 2010.  In those 100 plus races he has 19 70.3’s, 4.5 full distance Ironman, and 3 adventure races.  Doug has been coaching and training with TriDot since 2018.  Doug, how’s it going today friend? Doug Silk:  It’s great.  Thanks for having me. Andrew:  I’m Andrew the Average Triathlete, Voice of the People and Captain of the Middle of the Pack.  As always we’ll roll through our warm up question, settle in for our main set conversation with Adam and Doug, and then wrap up with our cool down.  Lots of good stuff, let’s get to it! Warm up theme: Time to warm up!  Let’s get moving. Andrew:  A quick glance at both of your social media accounts shows an impressive amount of color coordinated triathlon gear with Adam going all in on eye-catching orange and Doug trending toward the high-vis neon yellows.  The two of you combine to literally be a ray of sunshine.  If you were upgrading a current tri item that does NOT currently match your color scheme of choice and buying it in orange or yellow to continue the theme, what item would you most want to match next?Adam, let’s start with you. Adam:  Well, since I sell orange tractors and lawnmowers, orange is obviously my color.I’ve had my eye on a pair of orange Bontrager Velocis cycling shoes for a while now that would match my bike and race kit. Andrew:  Yep, that’s a great pick.  Gotta get the shoes matching the rest of the kit for sure.  Adam, tell everybody just kind of what are some of the tri items you have right now that are already in that orange color scheme. Adam:  My Speed Concept tri bike is orange.  I got a new race kit this past season that is also orange and has my business name on it.I’ve got some orange running shoes, orange cycling gloves.  There’s several orange pieces. Andrew:  Long story short, you cannot miss Adam out on the course.  Adam I trust that you on top of all the orange, you put the TriDot Ambassador visor or hat on for race day, correct? Adam:  I do. Andrew:  Adam, on behalf of TriDot, I do apologize that our color scheme is red and black and not orange so that your ambasador hat and visor doesn’t completely match the rest of your kit, but so happy and so thrilled that you rep us anyway.You’re the man!  Coach Doug Silk, for you I kind of mentioned just a moment ago you kind of gravitate towards the neon yellows; that high vis colorway. You have a mountain bike in that colorway. You have a Trek in time trial bike in that colorway.  Why does your eye gravitate towards those neon yellow items? Doug:  Well, I think that a lot of times when you’re out on course you see a lot of people out on course and it’s kind of hard to track people.  But it’s easy for my wife to spot me because everything is neon yellow; my bike, my helmet, generally my kit.  In fact, I’m currently designing a new Team Silk Coaching kit.  The biggest challenge I think for me is finding shoes that…like Hoka doesn’t have a lot of great colors right now.  So finding ones that are neon yellow is always a challenge.And of course I’m still trying to convince TriDot to incorporate a neon yellow logo design at some point. Andrew:  So Doug, we’ve got to call Hoka and we’ve got to show them your Team Silk tri kit.We’ve got to show them your bike and get them to make you a neon yellow themed running shoe just to complete your outfit on race day.  We’ve got to do it.  We’ve got to hook you up.  As far as for me, obviously the TriDot colors are red and black and I was already kind of already all in on the red and black even before I was on staff with TriDot, training with TriDot.  My Merc time trial bike is red and black so when I came into the TriDot family as an athlete it was just a natural fit to buy a TriDot kit and to rep that on race day.So my kit already matches my bike and I’ve got a black POC time trial helmet.  So most of my race day items already are in that black and red colorway. The one thing that’s not though, when we go out for the swim course we’re wearing a wetsuit or wearing a speed suit and my wetsuit is black with blue logos.  Obviously we have our TriDot swim caps, but we can’t wear those on race day.You have to wear whatever color you’re assigned by the race.  So there’s no guarantee out on the race course that I can have something that is red and black out there on the swim.  So if DeSoto, my wetsuit of choice–I love their two piece DeSoto T1 wetsuit.  If they could make me one that was black with red logos or black even with a red TriDot logo instead of the black and blue logos that they come with by default, that would be my way of getting black and red out there on the swim course which is the only part of the race where I do not have that color currently.  So that would be my pick.  But hey, our audience.  We want to hear from you guys.  We’re going to throw this out on social media so go find the I Am TriDot Facebook Group and this question will be put out there.  I’m going to give Doug and Adam some homework.  I definitely want you guys to post some pictures of what we’ve talked about.  We need a race day picture of the two of you in your Team Silk kit, in your bright orange Cook Tractor kit.  But we’re going to ask the audience.  What is your color scheme of choice?  Are you an all black kind of guy or gal?  Do you like a bright color of some sort?  Do you mismatch and just go all out and it’s a little different every time?  Whatever your color scheme is, let us know what it is and then tell us what would be the next item you would want to purchase to continue matching that theme. Main set theme:  On to the main set.  Going in 3…2…1… TriBike:  Today our main set is brought to you by TriBike Transport.  If you are traveling for an upcoming race, let TriBike Transport ensure that your bike gets there race-ready and stress-free.  TriBike Transport is the original fully-assembled bike transport service for cyclists and triathletes.  I love traveling for a race and after registering, the first thing I do is book TriBikeTransport for my bike.  You start by using the easy online reservation form to guarantee space for your bike.  Then, about one week out from the race, you’ll drop off your bike fully-assembled at one of their conveniently-located partner shops.  Your bike will enjoy a smooth ride all the way to the race site where you will pick it up near T1 ready to race with your bike fit position untouched.  Thousands of athletes have trusted their gear to TriBike Transport and you can too.Learn how by heading to TriBikeTransport.com and as a friend of the podcast, use coupon code TriDotPod for $25 off your next booking. Andrew:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over again… I truly believe the everyday triathlete is the heartbeat of the sport.  There of course, is such thing as an average athlete, but there is no such thing as an average athlete story.  I never get tired of hearing about your experiences in the sport and today I have Adam and Doug with me to share their stories and talk about their coach to athlete friendship.  So guys, nobody is born a triathlete.  We all have that decision day where we give the sport a look, sign up for a race, and it’s on from there.  Tell me how you both got into the sport in the first place.  Doug, you’ve been a triathlete longer than Adam and I both so let’s start with you.  How did you get started way back in 2010? Doug:  Well, I had a friend of mine that we were both huge Lance Armstrong fans.  So we used to watch the Tour de France all the time and Lance was having a 90 mile LiveStrong Challenge in Austin, Texas.  For 4th of July in 2010 he basically said, “hey I’m going to bring a bike over for 4th of July.  It’s 15 miles between my wife’s house and my sister’s house and we’ll ride in between.”And I was like, “oh, how hard can that be?”  Famous last words! Andrew:  Yep! Doug:  I sucked on his wheel the whole time.  It was windy because it was Naples, Florida so it was windy and hot. Andrew: You’re on the coast. Doug:  I got done.My butt hurt.  My legs hurt.  I was pretty much done and I was like there’s no way I’m doing this again.  Then two days later he was like, “Come on.  Get back on the bike and do it again.”  I was like, “alright let’s do it.”  So we did it again and he started talking to me about going to Austin with him and doing this LiveStrong Challenge.  He was like, “Look, I’ll let you borrow this bike and you can just start riding.”  And I said, “Okay, let me see how I like it.”  After a couple weeks of riding three days a week I really fell in love with just cycling and being outside and seeing how much ground I could cover.  So I was like, “alright I’m in” and he was like “okay so now that you’re in on that there’s a triathlon in like three weeks.”And I was like, “okay is that like the swim, bike, run thing?”  And he was like, “yeah.”  He was like, “It’s not going to be hard at all.  It’s like 400 meter swim, a 13 mile bike, and a 5K.”  And I was like, “okay I could probably do that.”  So I went down to the beach, I mapped out this 400 meter section and I swam haphazardly out in the water. Andrew:  Yeah.As well as you knew how to swim, right? Doug:  I was like, “oh as long as I can get through that, right?”  So we get out to the race and that morning it was the Miami Vice…they called it Miami Nice.  It was a sprint distance race and we were the last crew to go because at the time I weighed 255 pounds.  So I was racing clydesdale.  We were the last group to take off.  Well about half of the wave started and a huge thunderstorm came in and they pulled everybody out of the water and we were like, alright are we even going to get to go.  Then they re-got everybody in the water once the storm passed and we started going.Well, we get like 12 minutes into the swim and I’m at the turn around point and I was thinking that should be where I’m finished and we got back to shore and he and I were like the last two swimmers in.  I’m yelling at him like what happened and he said, “I think it was 750 and not 400 meters.”We get off the swim.  We get on the bike.  We’re riding together and I get a penalty for drafting because I had no idea.  I start the run.  I start cramping on the run and basically have to walk the whole thing.  I crossed the finish line and immediately said, “When is the next one?” Andrew:  It’s amazing that after all of that…it didn’t go well, it didn’t go right, and after all of that the response at the finish line was just that.  Like, hey when are we doing this again? Doug:  There was nothing that went right about the day.  What I loved about it was I played college sports.  I played college basketball and if I had a good game we could still lose.What I loved about triathlon was what you put in is what you get out.  There’s nobody else to blame.  It’s just you.  So I set a goal to get better and I dropped 50 pounds in three months.  The next race that I did was four months after that and I placed third in my age group. Andrew:  Wow!That’s great. Doug:  And I just tried to learn everything I could about the sport and how to get myself better. Andrew:  And now you’re a certified triathlon coach, you’re having success with TriDot, and over 100 races later… You’ve come a long way Doug.  Come a long way.  So Adam for you, getting into triathlon was part of a much more meaningful weight loss journey.  Tell us about where you started, what you changed, and where you are now in your health journey. Adam:  Alright Andrew.  Well for those who don’t know my story, three years ago my weight had ballooned to 475 pounds and I decided I had to do something to kind of take my life back for my kids.  We were in Disney World and I couldn’t ride any of the rides.  I couldn’t fit on any rides.  I couldn’t walk around and I was like you know, I’ve got to do something to take my life back and I elected to undergo gastric sleeve surgery in January of 2018.  Which for those that don’t know reduces the size of your stomach to roughly the size of a banana.  So it lowers your food intake obviously.  I told my surgeon before the procedure that my goal was to do an Ironman race and he just kind of looked at me like I was crazy because I’m sitting there almost 500 pounds talking about going to do a triathlon, but I was completely serious.That was my goal. Andrew:  I’m sure he had never heard that before from somebody sitting on his table.  Yeah. Adam:  He looked at me like I was crazy, but I was serious.  I initially lost 130 pounds in the first three months after the surgery and then I began to run and ride my bike and I lost another 100 pounds after that.I then discovered TriDot and signed up with Doug as my coach and in the first year I completed three sprint triathlons and I ultimately completed my goal of Ironman 70.3 Augusta in September of 2019. Andrew:  Adam, that’s just incredible.  I love that you were on the table with the doctor and you already had that dream of being a triathlete way before you had the health to do so.  So from all of that, what is your weight down to now? Adam:  I got down to just a hair under 250.  It’s up a little right now due to last year’s training and not really focusing on what I need to, but Doug and I are working on that.  He’s on me every day about that. Andrew:  16:15.You guys started working together as an athlete and coach and quickly developed a friendship that you proudly display on social media as a tri bromance.  There’s an epic picture of you guys on social media after a local race where you’re posing on the podium prom style as if you guys were prom dates and it was hilarious.  It would have been very difficult for somebody to miss that post on the I Am TriDot Facebook group with the amount of comments and likes that it got and with the bright tri kits you guys were wearing.  Doug, tell me about those early days working with Adam and how you’ve seen him develop as an athlete over that time. Doug:  Well, I was honored that Adam reached out to me and I think that I have a special and a unique ability to understand clydesdale athletes because I have been one.I struggle with weight.  I go up and down when I’m not training effectively.So when Adam reached out to me I was really struck by his story and I could also tell that he had a very strong drive and he wanted to do great things.  When we started working together it was great right from the beginning.He was eager and wanted to– he was thirsty for knowledge.  So we talked all the time and eventually we began talking every day, sometimes on several different platforms, and we built this friendship that was built off of trust and confidence.  Now I consider him one of my best friends which is difficult sometimes when you’re coaching because you’re having to tell your best friend to suck it up and do what he doesn’t want to do.  And when he doesn’t want to do it sometimes that line can get blurry of whether is this your friend telling you this or is this your coach telling you this.  But we have maintained that very well and I think a lot of that comes with communication and that’s what I love about TriDot.  It gives me this ability to be able to communicate with my athletes on a very personal level and I truly do believe that Adam is a part of my family.  I am very thankful that he found me and it has helped me kind of relight the fire in myself just by watching him and his drive.So it’s been great. Andrew:  Yeah, and I’m sure every TriDot coach listening to this has an athlete or two or three on their roster who just have a story that just pushes them and inspires them and reminds them of why they love the sport of triathlon so much.Adam, for you having Doug’s guidance and his friendship in your corner for those first sprints, for that first 70.3 Augusta; how has it impacted your experience in the sport? Adam:  Well, I honestly signed up for TriDot just kind of on a whim.  I got one of the emails about the preseason thing and I went full in with the full coaching package right off the bat.  I selected Doug out of the list of coaches because he, like me, was a former college athlete and had experience with the bigger clydesdale athletes like myself.  Like he said, we exchanged one email and then a phone call, and as they say the rest was history.  I tell people I didn’t know when I signed up for triathlon I was also gaining a triathlon coach, I was also gaining a best friend because Doug and I like he said we literally talk every single day about training, life in general, and we also exchange the best memes every day.  The knowledge and the down-to-earth, real world approach he brings to coaching has been life changing for me especially on race day and surviving on the race course when the unexpected happens.  Just little things that you wouldn’t know from reading a book and things like that.I mean, in Augusta last year when I got on the run course the heat index was over 100.  We had talked about a race plan the day before and just small things at the water stop of pouring one cup of water on your head and he literally told me to throw one cup on my crotch to keep my core cool and that’s something I wouldn’t have done.  So we did one cup of water on the head, one cup of water on the crotch, we drank Gatorade, we shoved ice down the front of our tri suit and we went to the next water stop.  I probably wouldn’t have survived that day.  Just the little things like that that he was able to give me that I wouldn’t have known. Andrew:  I mean to have your first 70.3 be such a hot, miserable day out there on the run course.  To have that coaching expertise.  To have those tips that Doug was able to talk through with you pre race, that just shows so much the value of the coach to athlete relationship.Adam, something else really cool from last year.  You made it a goal in 2020 to run at least one mile every day and many of us, we enjoyed your daily updates.  You would post to Facebook often where you did your mile, when you did your mile to show you did in fact run one mile every day.  What inspired that mission in 2020? Adam:  After we finished up the 2019 tri season I was kind of in a lazy rut per se and didn’t do much working out the last few months of the year.  So I started on January 1st and I said, “I’m going to go out and run a mile today.”And it actually started just kind of as a joke on my Facebook post that day.  I said, “I ran a mile every single day this year.” which was only the first day of the year. Andrew:  One for one. Adam:  Then I decided I was going to try to keep it up.  Doug kind of tried to talk me out of it at first because integrating it with my other training.  But then it was like, hey if you’re going to do this, you need to go do it.  So I decided to document it on Facebook every day with the hashtag #IBeatObesity in hopes of inspiring other people to change their life and anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Doug:  For me when he says I tried to talk him out of it, at first I wanted him to understand the training fatigue that it would produce for him if he wasn’t used to that.But when we actually started talking about it and made sure that he was running those miles in zone 2 and not going out there trying to kill it.  We had to walk him back a few times because he’d get so excited and go out and run super fast and I’m like, look we have other training goals to hit.  I was so proud of watching his journey that it became some days and I’d be like, “Hey have you gotten it in yet, because I haven’t heard from you about it.”  And I was as excited as he was.  So it was great. Andrew:  Throughout the year you’ve got your normal training sessions.  You’ve got your swim days, your bike days, your run days.  So the run days that was easy, I mean you just did your run session and within whatever your running session was you were completing a mile by default.  But then you had to run a mile on top of your normal swim and bike sessions.  Was there ever a point in the year where you just wanted to call it quits?  Maybe the weather was bad.  Maybe you just weren’t feeling it that day.  Maybe you were tired from your normal tri training sessions.  Was there ever a point where you almost called it off? Adam:  Ironically enough, I picked a leap year to do this so I had a whole extra day to run.There were several times I ended up running in the rain or 10 o’clock at night just to get it in.  I even ran two days on the treadmill when I had a fever of over 102, against my wife’s wishes I might add.  Honestly what helped me not quit was the documenting it on Facebook and Doug too. Andrew:  Peer pressure. Adam:  The peer pressure because like I said I would post “Run at least one mile every day this year.  Day yada, yada, yada.”  I’d see people around town or they’d come in my store and they would ask me, “Have you ran your mile yet today?”  And honestly along with wanting to do it for myself and then not disappoint people who were cheering me on.  It kept me going. Andrew:  So that last mile, December 31st, 2020, how did you feel as you completed the last mile, that last run? Adam:  I was actually out of town.  I was in Ft. Worth for the Mississippi State Football bowl game and it was pouring down rain and 30 degrees so I ended up running it on a treadmill at Planet Fitness.  It felt great to accomplish that feat because I don’t really know many people who have been crazy enough to do that, but at the same time I was kind of relieved it was over because…and for the record like I said on January 1st of this year I did not run a mile. Andrew:  Better follow up question.  How did Mississippi State do in their bowl game? Adam:  We won.We didn’t win a whole lot last year, but we did win the bowl game. Andrew:  25:04.When you started your one mile every day campaign on January 1st, there was no way to know that 2020 would go in the direction that it did with just all the race cancellations, the deferrals, etcetera.  How did you guys as athletes just stay focused and stay positive in the middle of such a wild season?  How did you just keep at it with the training each and every day? Doug:  It was extremely difficult for me personally with races because some races didn’t cancel until the last minute so you were training full up onto the race and then I know like 70.3 Texas they cancelled three days before the race. Andrew:  I know 70.3 Lubbock up in West Texas, same thing.  People had already traveled.  People had made their way out and just days before the race…I mean same thing.  It just got axed. Doug:  I woke up that morning getting ready to get my boys up and in the van and everybody packed up.  My bike was already there with Tribike Transport and I was ready to go.  Then Adam texted me at midnight because he was up and saw the text message because we were supposed to race that race together.It was extremely difficult.  We tried to keep– I know Adam and I were in communication all the time and I just kept trying to keep him motivated and that would also keep me motivated.  A lot of times as a coach you face the same issues that your athletes are having.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached out to John Mayfield and said, “Hey buddy.  I’m having a hard time right now with my training.”  And he’s been great for me and Adam and my other athletes have been great for me also because they keep me motivated and we kind of keep each other going.I think that’s what 2020 has done for everybody.  We’ve learned to rely on our friends and family a whole lot more than maybe what we did before.  So that’s at least one positive that I’ve taken out of this is the ability to rely on my friends to pick me up and I hope that I’m doing the same for them. Andrew:  So Adam for you, did having that one mile every day goal did that help you stay motivated in your training for the season?  Did that kind of give you something else to focus on besides the craziness of the back and forth with race schedules and what not? Adam:  It helped to give me…you know I had one goal with that to focus on that I knew I was getting in.  But it was hard in the racing because it was early on.  It was like a letdown emotionally and mentally to do all this training and then the race not happening.  Doug kept me focusing on the fact that we were eventually going to race one day and we had to be ready especially with Deep South that was coming in the fall; DeepSouth Triathlon. Doug:  Yeah, we got lucky.  After Ironman Maryland I decided to go ahead and pull the plug even before they did because I wasn’t going to be able to do Deep South Triathlon with Adam.  But once I cancelled Maryland I was in discussions with Adam about whether or not Deep South was going to happen and when it looked like it was I made the commitment to go there and do that 70.3 race and we got to race together so it was fantastic. Andrew: Yeah, let’s talk about that race just a little bit because Adam your company, Cook Tractor Company, was the primary race sponsor for the Deep South Triathlon.Both of you guys raced it.  TriDot podcast regular Coach Jeff Raines raced it along with many other TriDotters.  So for you Adam, what was it like kind of experiencing another side of this sport?  Kind of going behind the scenes of a race as an official race sponsor helping get the race organized and going. Adam:  First of all it gave me a newfound appreciation for the race directors and what they endure to make these events actually happen behind the scenes.  It was also kind of nice to be involved in some of the planning of the race like designing the medals and the swag and getting a premium bike rack spot right next to the porta potty.  I even got to park my motorhome right next to transition so Doug and I got to spend the night and it was a short walk to transition on race morning. Andrew:  Very nice! Adam:  It was awesome to finally share the course and the race day with my coach and there’s an awesome video of me running down the finish chute and Doug is standing at the finish line holding my medal jumping up and down, screaming “Get here!Get here!”  Because we knew I was close to my 70.3 PR which I ended up beating by two minutes by the way.  Like you said then we got to share some pretty nice prom-pose pictures together on the podium after the race as well. Andrew:  Yep, no that’s awesome!  It sounds like it was an awesome race.  Adam, you of course got to do a couple of races during 2020 which really was a gift.Any of us that got a race in, that wasn’t the norm.  Most athletes did not.  So for those of us who were able to line up and get a race in, it was just a gift to be out there on course again.  Adam, for you in the races that you got to do, what were some of the highlights for you from the 2020 season? Adam:  The biggest one was October, getting to do Deep South 70.3 here in Mississippi.  I got to do several local 10K’s and 5K’s.  I had the privilege to run the Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon in December with the Ainsely’s Angels group and I pushed a 180 pound, awesome individual in a race chair for the whole 13.1 miles.  So that was a little extra challenge in itself. Andrew:  Yeah, no kidding.  So Doug for you, I mean you raced the Deep South Tri as well and you also did some adventuring racing in your 2020 season.  Tell me about your on-course experiences last year. Doug:  Well, like you said I got to do Deep South which was an amazing venue.  The race directors put on a fantastic race.  So if you can get to that race I highly recommend it.  It’s a beautiful swim.  The bike is kind of rolling, but really nice and the run is great.I actually set a PR for the first time in about seven years at the 70.3 distance. Andrew:  Nice!  Outstanding! Doug:  I knocked nine minutes off of my PR.  A lot of that was being driven to get back so that I could be ready for Adam and cheering him to the finish line.  It was awesome to be on course with him and with Jeff and a lot of other TriDot athletes.I remember seeing them out on the course and that’s just a fantastic feeling to know that you have teammates out there in a place that you might not know anybody. Andrew:  Yeah, it really adds so much to race day, right?  To be out on course in the TriDot kit or in a TriDot hat and to see other athletes in that.  Whether you’ve met them or not, whether you know them or not, you know you come from the same tribe.  I mean at Challenge Daytona I got passed by a guy on the bike course who was wearing a TriDot kit.  I caught up to him on the run course and chatted briefly and literally met him on the run course in our TriDot kits on the Daytona Motor Speedway.  Now whenever I see Troy post to the I Am TriDot group it’s like, “Oh, I know him.  I’ve met him.We’re race friends from Daytona.”So it really adds a lot to the race day experience and it makes sense that having so many TriDot athletes do the Deep South Triathlon that really added to you guys’ race day. Doug:  It was and other than triathlons, obviously, most of those got cancelled, but I got the bug with adventure racing after watching the Eco-Challenge and I decided to give it a shot.  I did a six hour race with my wife and then I took on a 12 hour course with my buddy Charles and we were one of only five teams to finish and clear the whole course. Andrew:  Wow! Doug:  For those that don’t know what adventure racing is, it’s compass and map navigation.It’s mountain biking.  It’s canoeing.  There’s a lot of different things that they could add in there and I’m really excited about adventure racing because it keeps you engaged the entire time.  There’s no lul in the action.  If you haven’t watched Eco-Challenge, go watch it.  If you’re a triathlete I think you might really enjoy it.  I’m really looking forward to in April I’m doing a 24 hour race with Charles and a couple of other friends here; David and Alan.We’re going to be a four-man team and we’re doing the 24 hour race here in April and we’re pretty stoked about it. Andrew:  So with the day-to-day triathlon scene, like you can go to Ironman’s website, you can go to USA Triathlon’s website.  You can go to a website like TriFinds.com or a race company’s website to find a race to sign up for.  With these adventure races where do you even go to get into these things and find where races are, when they’re happening, and how to register. Doug:  You know, I just Googled some of the local ones and once you find them then you go on their Facebook pages and then they’ll update you with races.  I was lucky enough two weeks ago, I did a nine hour adventure race here.  It was 11 degrees at the start. Andrew:  Wow! Doug:  Which was not fun.  I was not really enjoying that part of it.  But we had a great day and I finished 7th in the solo category. Andrew:  Congratulations! Doug:  Thank you!It’s pretty humbling because it’s such a new experience.  Being out there I feel like I am constantly learning.  Even in triathlons I feel like every race, even sometimes every training session, I learn something about myself or something that I can put forward.But in this everything is new.  So it definitely is a different feeling. Andrew:  Yeah and I think I would encourage triathletes listening to this to just kind of be reminded that there are other ways other than racing a tri to get to test out the fitness you’ve gained with the swim, bike, and run training.  I mean, Doug, there’s adventure races like you’re doing.  Things that are outside.  Things that are outdoors.  Things that are in the woods.  Things that don’t necessarily rely on a big mass group of people gathering together.There are things like Adam, what you did where you decided to kind of create a challenge for yourself and run one mile every day and just make that a goal for the year.  There’s all sorts of things that athletes can do to take the fitness we’ve gained, to take the hard work we’ve put into our training, and have some fun with it.  I think for triathletes we’re cautiously optimistic that racing is going to be back this year and better than ever.  But even if it’s not or even if you just choose to kind of sit out another year or couple months to kind of wait for things to settle down before you sign up for a race, there are other things you can do.  I love the example that you guys have set.  I love the challenges you’ve both been able to take on.  I would love to see more of our athletes find creative ways to take their hard earned fitness and apply it.  So thanks for sharing about your races guys. Just to switch gears a little bit.  Something else just from seeing both of your social media accounts and being friends with you guys, a big thing for you both is spending time with your family.  Both of you just have very active kids and very active families.  How has triathlon and your participation in the sport given you a platform to set an example of a healthy, active lifestyle for your kids? Doug:  Well, I think for me, my wife and I are both very competitive not only in the sport of triathlon or running races, but with each other.  My boys are 4 and 2 and they’re sponges for everything.  You know Dax, when 70.3 Texas cancelled he was supposed to run the kids race at 70.3 Texas and IronKids actually sent the race bib and the medal and everything to the house and we mapped out a half mile course and he was so excited to do it.  We had a finish line for him and he wants to do what Daddy does.  You know, it’s really special for me every time I come home from a race…first of all when I go to a race my wife says, “Podium or don’t come home.”  That’s not always possible, but it always pushes me to try and every time I walk in the door my son is waiting for my medal.  So they know what we’re doing and they’re watching.  I started doing 100 push-ups a day and I started having my athletes do that when we’re not able to get in the pool because that can also help strengthen your upper body. Andrew:  Yeah, no kidding. Doug:  And my 2-year-old will jump on my back and say, “Daddy push-up?”  They’re always watching and I hope to just inspire them to step outside their comfort and to push themselves to be the best that they can be in anything that they do. Andrew:  Adam, your daughter is already an incredible athlete herself.  Does watching her train for her own events kind of inspire you to get up and put in the work every day for yourself? Adam:  It does because I mean, honestly, I don’t like to admit it, but I missed out on a lot of her sporting events when I was overweight because I was tired or didn’t want to walk to go see this or was sitting in the car.  So changing my life with the weight loss and getting active has allowed me to be a much greater part of their daily lives and attend all their school and sporting events.  My daughter is a four sport Varsity athlete at her school and I even got her to do the Mississippi Kids Triathlon this past summer and she said it was going to be her one and only race, so we’ll see. Doug:  Famous last words. Andrew:  A lot of us have said that. Adam:  Yeah I said that one day too.  But she is a great swimmer.  That’s her sport.  She is the defending Mississippi private school state champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle.  So only if I could take after her in my swimming I’m sure Doug would agree… Andrew:  Adam, what is her 50 and 100 time? Adam:  Her 50 time is like 25-26 seconds.She just makes it look so easy.The kid’s triathlon that she did had a video of her swimming.  It was her first time ever open water swimming and she just made it look so easy and I’m like, you know, just flopping around in the water. Andrew:  Guys as we head into the new season, kind of like I said optimistic that the world is working it’s way back to health and race schedules will begin to look more and more normal, what are you guys targeting next?  What are your current hopes, dreams, goals, and kind of the next chapter of your tri journeys? Doug:  I think for me this year…I mean I had some pretty big goals last year for races and I was really pushing my training to try to set PR’s at the 70.3 and Ironman distance and only Florida happened last year.  So only some people got to race fulls.  But this year I’m hopeful that maybe Maryland will happen again and if so I’m hoping to set a really big PR there.  I’m hoping to also push that 70.3 PR a little bit faster.  Most importantly I’m really excited about these adventure races.I know I kind of got called out by John Mayfield on this podcast because Elizabeth James is going to be on our hopeful, eventual Eco-Challenge team. Andrew:  And she took John’s spot, right?  Is that what I heard? Doug:  Well, it wasn’t really a taking anybody’s spot.  But, I mean, if you had to choose between Elizabeth James and John Mayfield who would you pick? Andrew:  You know, I need to take the audio from that episode.  It was episode 61 and the warm up question I asked Coach John Mayfield and Coach Elizabeth James if they were to do a race that was not a triathlon, that was something out of a box, not a typical road race; what would they pick?And they both said that they would want to do an Eco-Challenge.  So let’s do this Doug.  Let’s throw to this audio.  I’m going to put this audio in the episode and we’re going to hear from Elizabeth and John themselves exactly what you’re talking about.  That moment where John kind of threw you under the bus for replacing him on the Doug Silk Eco-Challenge Team.  Here is a little bit of that audio from episode 61. John Mayfield:  It’s extreme. Andrew:  Well I’ve never heard of the Eco-Challenge. John:  I want like the glamping version.I want like a three to four hour version where I don’t have to sleep in a tent and like I don’t get bug bites or anything like that, but I want to go in and climb on some rocks and swim in the river. Andrew:   I feel like that kind of defeats the point though. John:  It probably does. Andrew:  Elizabeth, what about you?  What would your race of choice be if it’s non-triathlon, non-mainstream, something different and unique.  What are you picking? Elizabeth James:  Well, John absolutely stole mine.  Eco-Challenge. Andrew:  Eco-Challenge?  That’s your answer too? Elizabeth:  Yes!  That is exactly what I was going to say. Andrew:  I’ve never heard of this and both of you guys are saying this. Elizabeth: I do have to admit that I just recently heard about this, but since that time I’ve already got my team established and they’ve started training.  So, I mean big shoutout her to Doug Silk, Charles Gerard, and this is embarrassing.  I don't know his name, but the Air Force instructor that teaches land navigation. Andrew: This is like forgetting one of the Avengers if you're an Avenger. Elizabeth: Yeah, that's pretty bad.  I have not met him yet, but I'm excited and kind of to that point I'm also relieved that I don't have to be the navigator for my team.  We've got an expert in that role.  But yeah, we've already got a team together, we've looked into this, and the endurance aspect and the long distance is an intriguing part for me.I'd say it would sound to be a little head-to-head competition there. Andrew:  Team Mayfield versus Team James on the same Eco-Challenge race? John: So I'm actually just now finding out that I was replaced. Andrew:  On this team? John:  Yeah, because my boy Doug was like, "Hey, come do this Eco-Challenge race." Andrew:  And now he's doing it with Elizabeth? John:  Yeah. Andrew:  There's some TriDot drama up in here. Elizabeth:  Maybe I'm second pick here, I don't know. John:  I'll just say good call.  I don't blame him at all. . Andrew:  That was a smart call.  Yeah. John:  Props. Andrew:  Yeah and so Doug, in the end even John Mayfield on that episode agreed with you that you made the right call.  I agree that you made the right call. Doug:  Yes. Andrew: If I were going to pick somebody from the TriDot team to be on an Eco-Challenge team I would pick Elizabeth James and that’s no knock on me, that’s no knock on Coach John Mayfield, that’s no knock on Coach Jeff Raines.  You know, a lot of great athletes in there, but Elizabeth is just a top notch athlete, so yeah, we all get it. Doug:  And honestly I would have been honored to have either one of them.  But you have to have a female and even though John’s hair is kind of long, I don’t think that they would count him in that realm.  So Elizabeth is going to basically destroy the rest of us on our team and I’m hoping that she’ll be able to pull us along.I know if you’ve watched Eco-Challenge they tied a rope around the one guy and was pulling him along.  That’ll be me behind Elizabeth probably for most of the race.  I’m excited about it. Andrew:  Yep.Well, and I know Coach John Mayfield is scheduled to do Ironman Maryland.  Doug, you are scheduled to do Ironman Maryland.  We’re hoping Ironman Maryland happens.  So Coach John Mayfield and myself will most likely be there so we’ll be excited to see you there in person and get to cheer you on.  I encourage all of our athletes listening to punch both of you guys into the tracker that day and watch how you do as Ironman Maryland unfolds.  Adam, for you, what are your target races and your goals for the year? Adam:  I’m just hoping racing actually happens this year to get back to whatever normal is going to be from now on.  I’ve got Chattanooga 70.3 on the calendar in May and my Deep South Triathlon 70.3 again here in October.  Doug keeps trying to entice me into a 140.6 with him and ultimately it’s my goal to do that before I turn 40, so I’m down to a year and a half we’ve got left to get that done. Doug:  It’s coming Buddy!  Don’t try to walk away from it now. Cool down theme: Great set everyone!  Let’s cool down. Andrew:  While I have Adam and Doug with me today I thought I would keep them on just a little bit longer for the cool down.Guys, our audience hears from me all the time in regard to the gear that I’m using, the nutrition I like, etcetera.So before we sign off today, what are maybe two or three tri items that have just made a huge difference for you that you would encourage folks to go check out? Doug:  Well I tell all of my athletes I think the two biggest things that you can upgrade for yourself to make yourself more efficient are power meters and the Di2 electric shifters.  But power meter is probably the single greatest upgrade that you can have in my opinion because it affects both your training and racing and it will give you benefits in each.  It’ll allow you to target more in your training and then on race day it’ll help you maintain what you should be doing where there are other factors that can affect your heart rate.  So I think that that’s huge.  I think the Di2’s are important if you live somewhere where there are hills or constant changes in elevation.  If you live in Florida, maybe it’s not the first upgrade that you want to make, but if you’re racing or doing things other places it’s been a huge help for me to do.Then I also think that having a smart trainer goes right along with the power meter because it allows you– I can’t tell you, I probably rode two times outside last year.  Everything else has been on my trainer.  So I just throw on Netflix and I put my TriDot workout into Zwift and I let it go.  So I’m getting 99’s and 100’s on every one of my workouts and it correlated into a really fast bike time at the Deep South Tri.  I think that if you can have that.  I think just for comfort I know that Adam and I both use the AfterShokz headphones which I like for both if you want to use them on the bike or the run because it allows you to hear everything that’s going on around you. Andrew:  Yep.  I do have a pair of the AfterShokz headphones.Big fan of wearing them for workouts.Adam and I are both actually wearing them right now to hear each other on this interview.  Adam, for you what are a couple of items you would encourage folks to check out? Adam:  I’m going to mirror and steal some of Doug’s answers here.  I definitely agree on the AfterShokz headphones.  Doug actually introduced me to those at the ambassador camp last year and let me try his out and that’s all I’ve used since then.  It can be much safer when you’re out, like I said, running or biking on the road.  You can hear your music and whatnot and you can still hear everything around you so it’s much safer.  Then I would definitely agree on the smart trainer even though Doug’s going to say that I don’t use mine near enough.  I think that’s a very wise investment that helps with integrating the TriDot program to the fullest of its potential. Doug:  If I could add one more thing, I think that often overlooked is nutrition, right?  We talk about it all the time and I don’t think it gets practiced enough while you’re doing your workouts.  We practice it on our long runs and long rides, but we don’t always practice it the other times.  I’ve done all kinds of things from Infinite Nutrition to Base Salt, whatever.In the past I’ve used Gatorade Endurance and that’s what’s on the course.  So if you want to practice what’s on most Ironman courses, you really need to start using the things that are out there so that you don’t have to carry so much on the course. Andrew: Yeah, that’s a great point. Doug:  You’re about to do your first full Ironman, and I’ll tell you.  That gets to be very difficult to figure out how you are going to incorporate and get the nutrition you need in the middle of the race unless you can start incorporating the things that are on courses.  So that Gatorade Endurance formula is built for endurance athletes.It has twice the sodium and three times the potassium of regular Gatorade.  It’s built to give you the electrolytes that you need for that distance.I highly recommend using that as well. Andrew:  Yeah, my brother and I when we were teenagers we both had dirt bikes and there was a really big dirt bike park in Central Florida where we lived.  We would go ride dirt bikes for the day in the woods and he was very good at it and I was not super good at it so I would just try to keep up with him without crashing and dying and Gatorade Endurance Formula for those long days dirt biking was our jam in hot, humid Central Florida.  From that and from using it in high school, college tennis, I know my body handles Endurance Formula very well.  But for athletes out there, race day is not the day to find out out on course if your body likes or dislikes Gatorade Endurance Formula.  So to your point Doug, it’s great to get it into the training pain cave with you and find out before race day if that’s something that agrees with your system or not. Doug:  Yeah, the last thing that you want on course is to have GI issues because you haven’t figured out what you’re doing for nutrition.  Those porta potties are not as close together as you think they are. Andrew:  Yep.They are not as close together as you think they are and the deeper you get into the race on race day, the deeper they begin to smell.  So yeah, you want to avoid those as much as you can.  I tried to think about this for myself.  I was trying to think of one tri item or one tri training thing that I haven’t talked about yet on the podcast that’s fairly new for me and as I’m building towards Ironman Texas, the long rides are getting longer, the long runs are getting longer.  Kind of a new way I’ve found to kill some of that time particularly when I’m in zone 2 on a bike ride indoors on the trainer is the chess app.  I was a big fan of chess growing up.  My grandfather taught me how to play when I was a kid and I haven’t played in years.  But I watched the Queen’s Gambit on Netflix which is a tremendous series and it kind of resparked that desire to break out the chess skills and dust them off a little bit.  So the chess app through the app store is a really cool resource for that.  While I’m on the bike trainer I can play someone in real time wherever they're at in the world.  I can take chess lessons.  I can do chess puzzles.  Just while I’m sitting in zone 2.  You know sometimes you can take 10 or 15 minutes just kind of looking at the board and deciding what your next move is going to be and before I know it, I’ve made three or four chess moves and 30 minutes has gone by in zone 2 on the trainer.It’s just been a really different way to keep my mind occupied while I’m sitting there on the trainer.  So if anybody out there is a fan of playing chess, I highly recommend the chess app just to kill time during some of those long workouts. Well, that’s it for today folks.I want to thank athlete Adam Cook and his coach Doug Silk, for sharing their stories with us today.  Shout out to TriBike Transport for partnering with us on today's episode.  As you get back to racing this year head to TriBikeTransport.com to get your bike to the starting line ready to rock and roll.  Have any triathlon questions or topics you want to hear us talk about?Head to TriDot.com/Podcast to let us know what you’re thinking.  We’ve actually had a number of athletes do this lately and have some great topics coming up that were suggested by you, our podcast audience.  So keep those rolling in.  We’ll have a new show coming your way very, very soon.  Until then, Happy Training. Outro: Thanks for joining us.  Make sure to subscribe and share the TriDot podcast with your triathlon crew.For more great tri content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.  Ready to optimize your training?  Head to tridot.com and start your free trial today!  TriDot – the obvious and automatic choice for triathlon training.
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