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March 22, 2021

Top 12 Reasons to be a Triathlete

In this episode we count down the “Top 12 Reasons to be a Triathlete.” Host Andrew Harley is joined by John Mayfield, Elizabeth James, and Jeff Raines for a celebratory look into what makes our sport so special. Will your reason be mentioned? Listen in and then join us on social media to tell why you love being a triathlete.

TriDot Podcast .078 Top 12 Reasons to be a Triathlete 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: It’s a countdown show. Today I’m joined by three of our TriDot coaches and we are counting down the top 12 reasons to be a triathlete. It will be a fun celebration of all the reasons to love the sport in spite of its occasionally high price tag. So, join us as we talk through a hot dozen reasons to swim, bike, and run your way to obsessed triathlete status. Counting down with us today is Coach John Mayfield. John is a USAT Level 2 and Ironman U certified coach who leads TriDot’s athlete services, ambassador, and coaching programs. He has coached hundreds of athletes from first-timers to Kona qualifiers, and professional triathletes. John has been using TriDot since 2010 and coaching with TriDot since 2012. John, how’s it going today friend? John Mayfield: It’s going great friend. Andrew: Next up is Pro Triathlete and Coach Elizabeth James. Elizabeth is a USAT Level 2 and Ironman U certified coach who quickly quickly rose through the triathlon ranks using TriDot. From a beginner to top age grouper to a professional triathlete. She’s a Kona and Boston Marathon qualifier who has coached triathletes with TriDot since 2014. Elizabeth, how are you today? Elizabeth James: I’m doing well, Andrew. Thank you. Andrew: And last, but not least, is TriDot Coach Jeff Raines. Jeff has a Master’s of Science in Exercise Physiology and was a successful D1 collegiate runner. He’s qualified for the Boston Marathon multiple times and has raced over 120 triathlons, from competitive sprints to full distance Ironmans. Jeff has been coaching runners and triathletes since 2009. What’s up Jeff? Jeff Raines: Man, Andrew. This is going to be a great episode. We basically get to tell the world why we love what we do and why we love the sport. Can’t wait. Andrew: Yep. I am 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 countdown conversation, and then wind things down 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: Here at TriDot, we have an incredible ambassador program with enthusiastic athletes that train with TriDot and represent us in the triathlon marketplace. Each year when the new ambassadors are officially accepted into the program, we send an official hat or visor to crown each ambassador a member of the team. Many of the ambassadors will immediately hit social media with a picture in their new ambassador hat or visor. So for our warm-up question today, if you could put any celebrity in a TriDot ambassador hat or visor and have the image of them wearing TriDot gear hit social media, who would you pick? Now there could be a variety of reasons here. It could be sheer entertainment value of having a certain person in this hat or it could be because it’s somebody who would make a good TriDot ambassador. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Coach Jeff Raines, let’s start with you. Jeff: You know I, in the moment, I thought quickly of Chip Gaines, from Fixer Upper. He’s just such a cool, fun, easy to relate to guy. He has actually run a marathon. My dad lives in Waco and he’s seen him at a local gym. So he likes to work out, he’s such a cool guy. You think of him with his little tool belt on. Maybe tool belt and TriDot hat? And he’s just a good ambassador of the sport, funny guy, easy to relate to. He would bring a lot of entertainment and keep the sport fun. Andrew: Yep, that’s a great pick. He’s a hilarious guy. Chip and Joanna, they throw a marathon every year in Waco. It’s called the Silo District Marathon. A great event down there that they founded. I could see him making a good triathlete and getting on board with the brand and rocking that hat as he’s on tv fixing houses. Jeff: And actually, the Ironman 70.3 Waco, Texas race, on the bike course you bike a rock’s throw away from their property actually. Andrew: Yep, and Waco has become a tourist destination because of the television show. Onto our next coach, Coach Elizabeth James. Who are you picking for this? Elizabeth: So, I’m going to say Kevin Hart. Andrew: Oh, fun! Elizabeth: Yes. I mean, definitely entertaining right there. Andrew: And he’s a runner too. Elizabeth: Yes. He has a fantastic fitness regimen. So, good athlete, fun guy, I think that would be great to see him in a TriDot cap. Andrew: Yep, absolutely. It’d be fun to see him spread his wings from doing half marathons and marathons and see him hit the Ironman course. He’d be a cool celebrity to have out there on race day. Coach John Mayfield? John: I guess we kinda all went down the same path cause mine is kind of in line too. I was thinking of the Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Andrew: They do a lot of movies together. John: Yeah, they do. So he just seems to be a super cool, super fun guy that everybody seems to like. I think he’d be a great addition to our ambassador community. Andrew: And surely he would be someone who would like the challenge of Ironman. John: Yeah and he’s got the Hawaiian roots and all that. He definitely does not look like your typical triathlete. I can’t imagine him swimming, cycling, or running really. I know he can pick things up really well. But those guys are always up for a challenge, so maybe it’s in his future? Andrew: Yeah, no great picks from all of you. I’m usually not the one to cheat and throw out two, that’s usually other people on the team. Not going to mention any names. But I couldn’t pick between these two because I have very different reasons for these two. The first one is music artist Post Malone. Now not somebody who comes across like an endurance athlete. Not somebody who you would expect to see in a TriDot ambassador hat. And for that reason I think it would be funny. Just selfishly to see Post Malone on Instagram wearing a TriDot ambassador visor. Listen, I’m not the tattoo guy. I wish I could be the tattoo guy. I don’t feel I could pull off the tattoo look. I love it when folks, like John yourself, you've got the half sleeve on one arm, you look at athletes and celebrities who have that, I think it looks bad-A. I just don’t think I could pull it off. So Post Malone has a very unique look that somehow works for him. It’s very fitting for him. He’s in some Lay’s chips ads and he just fits that brand very well. Just selfishly I think it’d be really fun to see an image of Post Malone in a TriDot ambassador hat because he just has such a unique look compared to anyone else out there. John: I think you should try a face tattoo. You don’t know until you try it. Andrew: Yeah I should try it. I should just casually try getting a tattoo put on my face. Yeah, good thinking John. So the one I wanna give a shout out to that I think makes more sense, and I am not at all a New England Patriot fan. I’m not a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. I’m not a Tom Brady fan. But I think it would make sense for an athlete like Tom Brady to, once he finally decides to stop winning Super Bowls and move on from NFL football, I feel like he would make a great triathlete. He would make a great long distance Ironman. He is obviously very regimented in his nutrition. He’s famously regimented in his training. He’s a type-A personality. I feel like if he got on TriDot and trained for an Ironman, that is a dude who would crush it as he moves into his 40’s and 50’s as an athlete. He’s got the pedigree and he’s got the drive and the discipline. We've talked on the podcast before about how when you’re younger it’s easier to go hard and short. As you start to age, your body naturally gets better at endurance. So I feel like Tom Brady, when he retires from football, would kill it as an Ironman triathlete. Imagine Tom Brady is a TriDot athlete who’s a TriDot ambassador rocking the hat on Instagram. That for me fits. Jeff: He would have his sun glare paint under his eyes during the entire Ironman. He’d probably put it on in T1, maybe before the swim if it would stay on. John: And Gronk’s gotta come too, obviously. (laughter) Andrew: Yeah where Tom goes, Gronk follows. That’s a one-two package deal. Great picks from all of you. Curious to see what our audience has to say here. Surely they’ve got some great picks as well. If you are not a member of the I AM TriDot family Facebook group, go join that group if nothing else than to participate in these goofy Monday warm up questions. Go find this post on the Facebook group right now today. What celebrity would you want to see rocking a TriDot hat and being a part of the TriDot ambassador group? Curious to see your answers. Can’t wait. Main set theme: On to the main set. Going in 3…2…1… TriTats: Our main set today is brought to you by TriTats. Whether you’re a seasoned Ironman or gearing up for your first local sprint tri, TriTats will help you make your mark. These tough, stylish, and easy to use race number tattoos make you look and feel like a pro. I, personally, have raced countless local sprint and olympic tris where I showed up thinking I had plenty of time to settle into transition only to find a massive line waiting to be body marked. Switching to TriTats has allowed me to show up on race morning with my focus on the finish line, not the body marking line. If you have an Ironman race this year, their Iron Tats are made especially for you. Iron Tats body mark you for that one key race and include the all-famous M dot logo. Friends don’t let friends race with Sharpied on numbers. So as a friend of the podcast, head to tritats.com and use promo code TriDot for 10% off your order. Again, that’s tritats.com promo code TriDot. Andrew: So listen. We are not at all the first triathletes to sit down and talk through all the reasons to be a triathlete. Plenty of swell folks have come before us and considered this topic. But with all the hard training and all the recent race uncertainty, with everything triathletes have lived through in recent memory, we wanted to take a week and remind ourselves of how wonderful the sport is and how much it enriches our lives being triathletes. So, we did our research. We read some great articles out there from publications like Men’s Health Magazine. USA Triathlon had an initiative called Time to Tri. So on mytimetotri.com there’s a great article on reasons to be a triathlete and give the sport a try. Active.com had an article about this. So we did our research, looked around at what other people in the sport were saying. We brainstormed what we think are great reasons to be a triathlete. And we came up with the official TriDot podcast 12 Best Reasons to be a Triathlete list. So, let’s hit it. Let’s see what they are. I’m going to lead us off with reason number 1 to be a triathlete. It’s just a variety of sports. It’s the training variety. It’s the 3 sports in one. There’s nothing like it. This is what appealed to me when I got into the sport. Just to stay healthy, I was running. After I got off work, I’d go for a jog. Not training for anything, just trying to stay healthy. And man after a while you’re like I’m sick of just going out and going for a jog. So the variety of the sports, some days you’re swimming, some days you’re biking, some days you’re running. You don’t get that from training for a 5k. You don’t get that training for a Spartan Race. So I love that variety. Several other people gave a shout out for this. You’re training for 3 things at once. It makes you a really well rounded athlete. Coach Jeff Raines, what is reason number 2? Jeff: Reason number 2 to be a triathlete. I would say it’s a play off of what you just said, Andrew. Because there’s the variety, you don’t get sick of it as much. Too much of one thing can be a bad thing. Because there’s so much variety, you get a broader, general health and fitness improvement. It’s great for aerobics, muscle mass, bone density, your joints, and mobility. You have such a good variety. Our sport we do supine, upright, seated. We get different postural positions. Andrew: Works different muscle groups, different energy systems. Jeff: Exactly. And all disciplines are great for cardio in general. Swimming, let’s break it down real quick. Swimming builds and maintains your upper body muscle mass. Cycling and running, not so much. Cycling and running, they build and also maintain great lower body muscle mass. Swimming alone doesn’t do that as much. Cycling and swimming without running can let your bones get soft. But they’re easier on the joints. Running too much can be bad on the joints. But done in moderation with your tri training, it isn’t too bad. It helps build and maintain bone density. It’s the greater impact, greatest resistance against gravity, which is the number one reason and way to increase bone density. Strength training in in that aspect, as well. So it’s important as triathletes to add strength training in as well. To work the lateral plane. Swimming is straight or up and down. Cycling is straight or up and down. Running is straight or up and down. So that strength component along with the 3 disciplines, you never get sick of it. You have a great variety. Overall great lateral movements. Just great for your body in general. Andrew: Great stuff, Jeff. Such a good reason to be a triathlete. It’s going to keep you healthy. It’s going to keep your whole body healthy. It’s working the entire athlete as opposed to just working one aspect of the athlete. You’re not just going into the gym and picking up heavy things and putting them down. You’re functionally training your body to do something. So it's just great for general health and fitness. Great reason there, Jeff. Coach Elizabeth James, what is our third reason? Elizabeth: Well just like our second played off the first, the third one will play into what Raines was just saying. Andrew: Look at that. Elizabeth: It’s almost like purposeful or something. Reason number 3 to be a triathlete is just the positive influence on your lifestyle and/or your mental health. Raines did a great job there of really outlining some of those big, physical benefits. But being a triathlete goes beyond just those fitness gains and the increase we have in our physical health. There are some incredible benefits for our mental health as well. We think healthy body, healthy mind. It all encompasses our wellbeing. Being a triathlete can help with mental health just from taking the time to go for a run, taking the time to exercise, that self care and time for yourself. But there’s also some great medical studies on how activity and sport and training can have a positive impact on mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD. There’s some very good research and literature about the benefits of it on that. And from a lifestyle perspective, triathlon is a sport you can do almost your entire life. It’s not just when you’re young, you’ve got this small window of opportunity to be in the sport or do well in the sport. It really is a lifestyle. And since we have these 3 sports and there are all of these physical and mental benefits, it is something you can do for the great majority of your life. Andrew: The training you do for this sport it gets you outside, it gets you moving, it gets you active. And that can do so much to just alleviate some mental stress, some anxiety. Exactly what you said, Elizabeth. And it’s just a great sport to get into. Being a triathlete reinforces so many other healthy habits. To be a triathlete, to get all the training in and get the training done right, you have to think ahead and plan out your week. So you’re on top of your schedule more to do the training well. You’re on top of what you’re eating more. Elizabeth: A lot of people will clean up their sleep and nutrition habits to do the training. Andrew: And that’s kind of what we’re talking about with the improvements to your lifestyle. It can really take other aspects of your life and force you into improving them because it helps you balance your family and work life better because you’ve got time constraints and you’ve got to get all these things done and just your overall lifestyle. There are times I’m tempted to go grab that 10 PM cookie before I head to bed because I want something sweet and I think to myself, “I ran 6 miles today and calorie wise that cookie will negate one of those miles and I don’t want to do that.” So it really helps reinforce positive things in your life. Great reason there, Elizabeth. I’m going to introduce reason number 4. I call dibs on this one, sorry John. You haven’t talked yet, but I’m going again cause I like this one. Reason number 4 to be a triathlete: it develops total body physique. It helps you get lean and muscular from head to toe. Jeff Raines, you said it in reason number 2. It trains the whole body. It trains all the systems. It trains all the muscle groups. I remember very distinctly before I was a triathlete. And the reason I started swimming, to be honest with you, I was watching the Olympics however many years back, when Michael Phelps was still swimming. And I was watching one of those races, one of those events. One of the commentators on the broadcast made a comment. They were talking about the physique of swimmers, their strength, how strong they are, how lean they are. And you look at those swimmers and they’re in their swim suits and not an ounce of fat to be seen when they’re peaking for the Olympics. And one of the commentators made a comment of when you think, as an average athlete, when you picture what you want your body to look like, look at the professional athletes that compete in that sport. Because there’s a reason why their body looks the way it does. Their body is trained for that sport. Soccer players do not look like pro swimmers. Pro swimmers do not look like ice figure skaters. Marathoners do not look like sprinters. You need certain muscle groups to be strengthened to be ready to rock and roll for certain sports. And when you look at professional athletes, it’s that healthy, lean muscle from head to toe. Health wise, that’s what I’m shooting for. I don’t want to be the super jacked guy at the gym who lifts all the time. If that’s your thing, awesome. Great for you. That's a cool thing. But I really just like the whole body toned fitness that triathlon gives you. And when you look at the pros, that’s what they have. We’re not nearly there. Elizabeth more so than the rest of us. But the training will help you over time get that look. John: So, more than a decade in, I’m still waiting on my lean, muscular head to toe physique. But I will definitely say I’m much better than I would be, had it not been for triathlon. Even as I mentioned before, things like diet, that's my motivation to eat clean, to maintain lower body weight. I’m not there. But I'm better than I would be, had I not been concerned with carrying all those pounds around the race course. Jeff: Little disclaimer, your physique may get better doing triathlons, but your tan lines will get worse. Andrew: Some people like that though. Some people like showing off, “Look I trained outside. Look at where my Garmin sits on all my long run and bike sessions.” Jeff: So I know a guy, huge cyclist. And on his quad he has this huge, perfect tan line. Super tan lower leg. Super white upper leg. But what he has is a tattoo of a cyclist riding on that line. Like a little bike on his quad. The wheels are right on that line. You never see that tattoo unless he raises up his bike shorts. But I thought that was hilarious. Now he has to buy the same length shorts the rest of his life for that to be cool. Andrew: And see, if Post Malone got into the sport, he could add a tattoo for that very reason. Okay, I want to hear from Coach Elizabeth James on reason number 5. Elizabeth: So reason number 5 to be a triathlete is to challenge yourself or stretch your comfort zone. And this is actually one of the main reasons that I got into the sport. Just to see, could I do that? And then once I was in the sport, it was okay I just finished a sprint. Could I do an Olympic? Could I do a 70.3? And then it was could I be on the podium? Could I make it to Kona? Could I earn my elite license? There’s always room for your personal best and setting a new goal and bettering yourself as an athlete. And I just think this is an incredible sport to be able to challenge yourself and continually improve and stretch your comfort zone and really attain those new goals. Andrew: What I love along those same lines is that it’s different for everybody and on race day somebody out there, my goal for Ironman Texas is to go sub-12:00. But the same effort I put forth for sub-12 may take somebody else that might take them sub-10:00. Somebody else, their dream goal may be to go sub-15:00. Those are all admirable efforts because it’s not that goals are better or worse based on the time. It’s just for you, that would be a killer race. So it’s relative to everybody. Everybody can be out there on the same day pushing themselves towards a goal that’s just as lofty for you as it is for me. So there’s room for everybody to challenge themselves. There’s room for everybody to dream. For me, 140.6 miles seems bananas crazy to me. I just can’t wrap my head around it. For some people, that’s normal. That distance doesn’t crush them. I can do a 70.3 and walk away from that without being destroyed. But for some people, that 70.3 is like their Ironman. For some people, just finishing a sprint or Olympic is their bucket list. And that's great. Wherever you’re at in your fitness journey, the dreams and the goals and the challenges can be different to really meet you where you’re at in your journey as a triathlete. Everybody can challenge themselves on any given day in any given race. Elizabeth: And one thing that’s so great about that is the camaraderie behind it. That whatever your goal is, when you're out there on the course, there is such a positive.... Andrew: You’re in it together. Elizabeth: We can do this. Whether you’re first to the finish line or coming in back of the pack, there are people there to cheer you on and celebrate that accomplishment with you. Andrew: Yes, absolutely. Coach John Mayfield, I haven’t pitched one to you yet. Let’s go to you for reason number 6. John: So reason number 6, the badass factor. And I think this just, all those points you made on number 5, really tie into that. This is something special. Andrew: It’s a badass sport. We don’t swear lightly on this podcast. So know that we mean it. There was not a better word to use here. It’s badass. John: It is. And you look at other hobbies, other things that people get into, and it’s just not the same. I’ve talked on the podcast before about back in my previous life, prior to triathlon, I was a golfer. I loved golf. It was a ton of fun. But it wasn’t badass. I never finished a round of golf and was like, “Yeah, I”m badass.” And I think a lot of times triathlon is so opposite of what we do when we’re not triathloning. So most triathletes have a 9-to-5 job, maybe put on a suit or get dressed up, and it’s not at all triathlon. You go sit at a desk and you work cerebrally or different things. It’s just different. Andrew: Nobody accidentally gets in a 4 hour bike training ride. John: No and even the kits we wear, they kind of look like superheroes. The spandex and all that. They’re badass too. We even dress up like badasses. It’s so obvious when you tell someone or someone sees your Ironman shirt or Ironman tattoo. It’s like you’re a triathlete? Wow. And they acknowledge that. So it's not just us telling ourselves that. But everyone recognizes that you’re a triathlete. Whether you’ve done one sprint or you’re an Ironman, it’s still the same. And you can’t just go out and fake it. You can’t just say I’m going to go do a triathlon. Andrew: You have to earn your way to the finish line. John: Exactly. You can go out and pay green fees and go play golf and have a good afternoon with your buddies hitting the ball around. Or you can go out in the driveway and shoot hoops. But you can’t do that in triathlon or you’d be really sorry if you did. But it’s just that. It takes dedication. It takes commitment. It requires or it rewards those who really grind and push themselves. We love training, but the training kind of sucks. It’s uncomfortable and it hurts. We talk about that all the time. That’s part of the experience. There are a lot more comfortable things we could spend our time and our money on, but they’re just not badass. Andrew: So my wife and I, we don’t have kids. Lord willing, one day we may. And so my wife will throw out, “What would you do if our kids got really into theater? What would you do if our kids got really into singing or dancing or art? What would you do if our kids got into some weird sport like archery? What would you do?” I feel like my response is like I want my kids to know whatever you get into, whatever you want to do, be a badass at it. Don’t half heartedly do a couple things. Find what you’re passionate about. Find what you enjoy. If that’s math and you want to go to math camp, great. Be a badass at math. With triathlon, you have to go all in. You have to reach that finish line, to earn that finish line. You have to be a badass at the sport that’s already inherently badass. This is my favorite reason on the entire list. We could have led with it at number 1 and just called it a day. But if you’ve reached that finish line, you’re a badass. So reason number 7, let’s go to Coach Jeff Raines. Jeff: Race day. They’re so different. Races in general for triathlon, they’re funner than other sports, but they’re so different. Every race is so different. Basketball, you’re on a court, you got the hoops, you got a ball. You try to mirror the exact same conditions: size of the court, free throw the same centimeters away from the rim, all these things. Brendan Hansen and I, gold medalist and Olympian, on a podcast before previously talked a little bit about this… Andrew: Gold medal Olympic swimmer. Jeff: Yeah and track, I came from a track background, every race is arguably the same. It’s not in the same location, but the track is the same distance, terrain, everything. Triathlons: there are so many cool aspects to race day. No two races are the same. You have off road triathlons, swimming in a lake, river, or ocean. You can do it in the mountains. You can do it on the highway, fast and flat. Every one is so different. It is so awesome. But also, you get to race alongside the pros. I’m not playing football next to Tom Brady ever. I can sit in the stands and watch him. But we get to race along the pros and races are fun, cause every one is different. Andrew: That was reason number 7 to be a triathlete. The races are more fun than other sporting events, other racing events. I’m sorry. We’re biased, but it’s still true. Us being biased doesn’t make it any less true. Triathlon races are more fun than other races. I will fight you if you disagree. Reason number 8, Coach John Mayfield, what have we got here? John: Reason number 8. Man, if being a badass was number 1, I don’t know what this one is. Number 1.1, for me. For me, this is huge. For me personally, my top reason and what I most appreciate about triathlon is the community, the tribe that we are as collective badasses. I have such depth of relationships and friendships that have come from triathlon and I value those so much. It’s people that I’ve had the opportunity to train with, go and spend hours and hours logging miles on the bike and run and in the pool. There’s just something to that. It’s a camaraderie. It’s a brotherhood. Depth of relationship there, it’s just unique. Also with the athletes I’ve had the opportunity to coach. To share in their experiences. I’ve been able to celebrate their wins and losses. There’s such a depth of the relationship in that. Andrew: When we travel to races, I’ve seen you guys get so invested in how your athletes are doing on course and I’ve seen you guys get more emotional about your athletes' finishes than I’ve seen you get about your own finishes. You don’t get that in other sports to the same extent. John: For me, so many people that I love are from triathlon. So for me, and I know that’s not unique. There’s a great club culture within triathlon. Most people are associated with some sort of club, whether it’s local or nationwide team. Because we value that community. There’s something about being in the same kit, seeing someone out on the race course, who you know or don't even know, but you’ve got the same kit. You have that shared experience. So I think it’s a very unique thing that we share. If you get it, you get it. And not everyone understands it from the outside. But I think it’s one of those things that attracts people to the sport. They see the camaraderie, they see the fellowship. I think as Jeff mentioned, one of the most special things about race day is it’s an opportunity to come together as a community and do this thing. So for me, the community is huge. Andrew: Yeah it’s part of the reason why I’m never disappointed when I have to wake up at 3 or 4:00 in the morning for a race. It’s always worth it to get out there on course with other athletes and do that thing. It’s just so fun. Jeff: And also that community aspect. Triathletes, as a rule, as John says frequently, are cool people and they’re generous. Andrew: They have great stories and great histories and great goals. Jeff: If you’re ever at a race and you need something, your community, you don’t know them. They’re from another country even. But they’re at the same race, so you’re together. People are so generous. You need something, they’ll give you the shirt off their back. They trained 12 months for this race, but you need help on race day, this is my race and I care about 5 minutes on my bike split. But that guy is trying to change a float on the side of the road, I’m going to stop and help him. And people, as a rule, triathletes are very cool in that aspect. John: There was an amazing picture of this, probably 10 years ago in the Ironman World Championships. It was when we had the Iron War Number 2 with Craig Alexander and Chris McCormack running shoulder to shoulder in the last couple miles of that race. They’ve been together forever and it was who’s going to win the race? They were so close to pushing over who’s going to hang on the longest and win this thing? And that’s a huge thing for them. But in that moment, I believe Chris McCormack took one of the sponges he had and handed it to Craig Alexander. He was effectively helping out the guy he was trying to crush, trying to bury him. But in that moment, there was still that shared ‘we’re in this together.’ We’re both suffering. And I know those guys both respect each other on and off the course. But I think it was just the epitome of that here’s these guys doing everything they can to better each other in the moment. And most people wouldn’t understand that. Gross. He just shared a sponge he’s sweating all over. But obviously those of us further back in the pack very much invested in the success of one another. Literally the most important race of the year, the guys leading the race, trying to win it, still share that same thought. Andrew: I think all of us sitting here at this table on this podcast, we’ve made triathlon in this season of our lives, we’ve made it the majority of our life. By working for TriDot and investing in athletes and helping them get to their own finish lines. We didn’t do that because we just love race day. We didn’t do that because we love our bikes. We do that because we love the people and we love our tribe and we love the community and we want to do everything we can to help other athletes in this community reach their finish line and get that same enrichment from the sport that’s given so much to us. Great reason there, John. Moving on to reason number 9 to be a triathlete. Coach Jeff Raines, what is it? Jeff: Inspiration. The inspiration is a factor. Setting an example to others. Especially for me, an example for your kids. We all know that this sport can get addicting. You do your first one, maybe you borrow a bike, you get it done and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. I need more of this.” And when you think you’re tired of that, you go now I’m going to do the Olympic. It never ends. So just having that fire lit under you, it’s inspiring. Seeing what other people go through and still come back for more. It’s that classic example of halfway through the marathon in your first full Ironman, why am I here? Why am I doing this? Sunburned and blisters and then the next day, you sign up for another one. So there’s just an inspiration factor. I don’t think I need to explain any more than that. I think we all get it. John: One of the things I was thinking of as you were talking about that, how this is a badass sport. When I was saying that even when someone hears you’re a triathlete, they say, “Oh wow, that’s amazing.” A lot of times, the follow up is, “Oh, I could never do that.” And it’s like no you absolutely could. And so many of us are the “if I can do it, you can do it” case. And I think that is so cool that oftentimes that first reaction is more people think they can’t. But in reality, pretty much everyone can. So that’s a great one. Elizabeth: And also the life lessons from triathlon with the hard work you put in, the consistency that you have, aspiring to big goals. There’s so many other life applications of that. I found that day in and day out when I was an elementary school teacher. I don’t have kids of my own to inspire them, but in terms of inspiring others and being able to take the lessons that I learned through sport and just have that be an example and a conversation starter with the students I was working with was an incredible experience as well. Andrew: That totally checks out. Just being able to reinforce it’s good to dream big but then you’ve got to put in the hard work to see those dreams come to fruition. No matter what you want to be a badass in, whether it’s triathlon or math, that application from triathlon goes to every industry, every hobby, everysport. Great reason there. I want to move us on to reason number 10. This is another one I call dibs on. Reason number 10 to be a triathlete is the cool equipment, cool bikes, cool running shoes. We triathletes are trendsetters. We do things first. We’re the earliest adopters as far as the latest and greatest of gear and tech because we want to finish as fast as we can on race day and by golly we will do whatever it takes. We will buy whatever it takes. We will look as ridiculous as it takes to accomplish that goal. And I got this one from, I want to give a shoutout to Kelly O'mara. She’s the editor of Triathlete Magazine. She writes a column for Triathlete Magazine called the Salty Triathlete. It’s my favorite column that the magazine puts out. They’re always just very funny. It’s just a very funny look at the different aspects of the sport. We had Kelly on the podcast share on a cool down she read one of her Salty Triathlete columns that joked about pool etiquette and pool training. But she has a Salty Triathlete column that says, “You’re welcome, endurance sports. Triathletes are taste makers.” Her opening paragraph it this. It says, “When triathletes stuck bars on the front of their bikes, cyclists laughed at us. When we created wetsuits with thinner neoprene in the shoulders, surfers mocked us. When we started running around in speedos and compression socks, okay everyone made fun of us then too. But who’s laughing now?” And she goes on to write about everything that cyclists have adopted, that surfers have adopted, that swimmers have adopted, that they scoffed at when triathletes started using it first. When they started seeing that it worked for us, they started to adopt it. I’m sorry, there’s some road cycling purists who are going to get mad at me, but TT bikes look so much cooler than regular road bikes. I’m sorry, they look like freaking rocket ships. We’re trendsetters in that way. We’re willing to adopt anything and use anything. So the gear that you will inevitably collect, whether it’s borrowed, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or whether it’s brand spanking new because you’ve got the coin for that, whatever you’ve got the gear that we get to use, the bikes we get to climb on top of for that bike split, it’s just a cooler sport in terms of the gear and stuff that we get to use. John, let’s go to you for reason number 11 to be a triathlete. John: Reason number 11. This is another one that’s near and dear to me, so thanks for throwing it my way. It’s the travel, the experience, and the venues. I’ve been so fortunate in my career and in my job to be able to go to all of these races and experience these host cities and these venues. And I love to travel. I have that wanderlust of I want to go and I sit at home for too long and I’m ready to go. That’s why 2020 was so rough, not getting to travel. I really missed it. So in addition to the community that you get to meet at all these, there’s something about these places that are even unique in that travel aspect. When you have that quintessential travel, they’ll go to places like New York City or Los Angeles or those larger touristy areas. But the great thing about traveling to races is they’re not in those cities. By and large they are off the beaten path. Maybe they’re B or C type cities. That’s nothing against these. They’re super cool. I’ve fallen in love with several of the cities that host these races that I never would have gone to otherwise. One of my favorites, and I hate the fact that the race isn’t happening, is Louisville. I went to Louisville the first time and I absolutely fell in love with Louisville and I enjoyed going back every year and I hate that, as of right now, Louisville isn't on the schedule. But it’s just such a neat place and I probably never would have gone there otherwise. Another one--Chattanooga, Tennessee. Why would I ever have gone to Chattanooga, Tennessee? But it’s a gem. It’s a super cool little town that I really enjoy. Santa Rosa, California. Really neat place there. And there’s so many. And there’s really opportunities at all these large venues to go somewhere you wouldn’t normally go. Great people, great things to see and do, food to enjoy and all that kind of thing. I really enjoy getting out on the road, experiencing these host cities, these different races, and then all of the people there at the races. Andrew: And even at the local sprint and Olympic level. You don’t have to do an Ironman 70.3 or full Ironman to get what you’re talking about. There are so many all over the country, all over the world, local sprint and Olympics that are in really cool places that you can take the family to. You can take the family to Orlando, Florida, let them go to Disneyworld and do a sprint or Olympic on the coast of Florida. Or you can go to any state in the US. So many beautiful courses in Canada. So many beautiful courses in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, or all over the world. And you can travel to places and, whether it’s a state away or the other side of the world, you can experience someplace different. And if you want to go to a big ticket city, Ironman has races in Barcelona and in Sydney--no, not Sydney--there are major races in major premiere cities all over the world. But there’s also the way you’re talking about. You can explore an unknown gem of a town. So I’m with you John. I’ve many times talked up my love of the racecation. Of using triathlon as a great reason to travel somewhere new. Elizabeth: Just even outside of the racing itself, I love traveling to different places to experience a new place to ride or to run. I just got back from a trip biking in Arizona for half a week and touring the Scottsdale area by bike. And that was fantastic. I got to explore a bunch of new roads, fantastic climbing. We stopped at a wine bar at the top of one of the climbs and biked to breakfast another day, so you really get to experience the local flavor by bike or by run. So that’s another opportunity outside of the racing is the training. Andrew: So this brings us reason number 12 to be a triathlete. I hope you guys have enjoyed this countdown. We’ve really put a lot of heart and soul into what we’ve shared today. Elizabeth, what is reason number 12 to be a triathlete? Elizabeth: Alright. So to close out our dozen reasons here, reason number 12 is the finish line and the medals, the bling, the race t-shirts. Basically the swag. But most of all, I’m going to go back to the first part--the finish line. The reward for the journey, the miles, and the hours that you’ve put in. I love when John does the race recon webinars that this is the moment that’s going to bring you back. You hit the red carpet at the Ironman and this is the moment that you want to soak in. In terms of the swag and stuff, it’s not necessarily the gear. But today, I have on my Ironman Wisconsin jacket. And as I was grabbing that to get started for the day, I was like, “Oh man, that’s cool.” The memories associated with it. My first Ironman. And wow, look how far I’ve come since then. Just all of the memories associated with the swag that comes with it. Andrew: The medals aren’t just medals. T-shirts aren’t just t-shirts. They’re reminders of that adventure that you took. That challenge that you crushed. It's a great reason to keep going back, the finish line experience. So I have to be honest with you guys. One would think that that’s reason number 12 and we’d be closing down the main set to be moving to the cool down, but I lied to all of you. I lied to our listeners. I lied to John Mayfield. I lied to Elizabeth James. I lied to Jeff Raines. This podcast is not at all the top 12 reasons to be a triathlete. It is the top 13 reasons to be a triathlete. I’ve got a bonus reason that I’ve been keeping in my back pocket right here for the end of the show. None of you know what it is but me. Maniacal, evil laughter inserted here. You would not have a reason to listen to the TriDot podcast if you were not a triathlete. So, reason number 13 to be a triathlete is because it gives you a logical reason to listen to this amazing, wonderful podcast. We would call you crazy if you were not a triathlete and you listened to a podcast about triathlon. So thanks for being here. Thanks for listening. We like to think that we are the bonus reason number 13. Jeff: Amen, brother. John: Can you do that again with a little more enthusiasm this time? Cool down theme: Great set everyone! Let’s cool down. Andrew: So we’ve talked heavily today about all the glorious reasons there are for being a triathlete. It was fun for sure. But I would guess that 99.9% of our listeners today are already triathletes. So in the spirit of being a triathlete is awesome, what is one nugget of wisdom you would share today about how to become a tri evangelist of sorts and get a friend or a coworker or somebody else involved in the sport? Coach Jeff Raines, what advice would you have for that? Jeff: Well first of all, I think most triathletes are already huge evangelists of the sport and they just don’t know it. Leading by example. Maybe you’re at work and you go run on your lunch break, come back, shower, and you’re back at your desk. Little things don’t go unnoticed in that regard. Now, I will say, there are some triathletes that go a little too far with being evangelists and it kind of reminds me of that funny little pun… Andrew: Do not club your coworkers over the head with your day to day training. Jeff: They don’t want to know every detail of every workout. I know. And it kinds of reminds me of that how do you know who the triathlete in the room is? You don’t need to know. They’ll tell you or they’ll let you know. Talk about your passion. Lead by example. But don’t be overwhelming in talking about your passion. But people will and they do see your drive and your commitment. Andrew: Coach Elizabeth James, what would you say to somebody in terms of tri evangelising or getting friends or acquaintances involved in the sport? Elizabeth: I think one thing for me that was really big in getting started was the opportunity to go with someone else. And this is something that I encourage other triathletes to do as well. Instead of just talking about the bike ride you’re going on or the run, really invite someone else to come with you or go with that person that is just getting started. I don’t know that I would have picked up the cycling as much as I did except for a fantastic woman who said here’s the bike you’re going to buy and this is the trip we’re going to go on and she probably pedaled so slowly, probably like zone 1 heart rate, for hours and hours while I was learning to get out on the roads and learning how to bike. But that sparked a huge passion for the sport for me. So, not just talking about it but really helping people get into the sport. Andrew: Coach John Mayfield. John: Those are all really great and those are kind of along the lines of what I was going to say. But I think something that we can do to help is to make it approachable. At first, it is this big, badass thing. And it’s scary and daunting. There’s all this great equipment that can be used and incorporated in. But it’s as simple as going for a run. Most anyone has a pair of shoes that they can go for a run in, and that’s the first step. So I think it’s great advice, it’s huge. So many of us got started because someone else invested in us. Elizabeth was right on. When I’ve been in those situations, it’s super rewarding. I may not have done the training that I had on my training plan for the day. But going out and helping someone come along, introduce them to the sport, make sure they have a great first experience, that’s much more important than whatever was on the training plan for the day. Andrew: Well, that’s it for today folks. I want to thank TriDot’s very own Jeff Raines, John Mayfield, and Elizabeth James for counting down the top 13 reasons to be a triathlete. Enjoying the podcast? Have any questions or topics you want to hear us talk about? Head to TriDot.com/podcast and click on “Submit Feedback” to let us know what you’re thinking. We’ll have a new show coming your way 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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