What kind of a night light goes well in the child’s bedroom?

Lightening is a crucial part of interior decoration, also in your child’s bedroom. Good lighting should not only be fun to look at but also be aid your child’s development.

What to look for when shopping for kids night lights?

Firstly, be mindful of the light’s color. Manufacturers often used bright and vivid colors to stimulate and engage the child. When we choose things for our children, be it toys or something as simple as a night light, we tend to pick colorful designs that seem the most fun. And while your child might love that bright blue dolphin that illuminates their room, you should know that it can have damaging effects on the child’s sleep quality.

People have recently started becoming more aware of the fact that white and blue lights are disturbing our natural sleep patterns. We have started wearing blue light blocking glasses and smartphones now often come with sight protection filters you can turn on at night to avoid putting additional strain on your eyes when you browse Facebook before bedtime. Still, most kids night lights makers insist on creating ‘entertaining’ and ‘lively’ designs while overlooking the negative effects they can have on a child.

Why is blue light so bad for humans? It is not, as long as it’s coming from natural sources. Like most things, it has its advantages and disadvantages. We need blue light to boost our brain’s cognitive functions and to regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythm. The main source of blue light is sunlight. That’s why we usually feel more alert and focused during the daytime rather than at night (with some night-owls as exceptions). Other sources include fluorescent lights, led lights, and any kind of electronic screens. Being exposed to sources of blue light after sunset decreases the release of a hormone called melatonin that causes us to feel drowsy and helps fall asleep. Blue light tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime, messing up our circadian rhythm. That’s why we shouldn’t expose our children to blue light before bedtime. Let’s leave the bright colors to toys.

What colors should we choose then?

Kids night lights should provide gentle light that isn’t hard on the eyes. Choose a color from the opposite side of the light wavelength spectrum from blue – i.e. red. Red and orange shine with a warm and gentle light. Dim lighting should be enough for any child’s bedroom if you want to make sure that they sleep well and are properly rested tomorrow. There are still plenty of fun designs to choose from that don’t use damaging blue light. Let’s pick those to show night light makers that we don’t want products that are detrimental to our children’s health.

Another option is to ditch a night light altogether but that may be a bit extreme, especially if your child is prone to having nightmares or is afraid of the dark. By choosing a gentle orange lamp you can be sure that it won’t disturb the child’s sleep even if left on all night.

The Kona Crank #2 – The Hits and Misses

The Kona Crank #2 – The Hits and Misses

The Post-Kona Crank takes a look at those who made the race and those who missed out at what was a brutal day at the Ironman World Championship last weekend.

Hits:

  • Luke McKenzie – Pre-race Mckenzie flew under everyone’s radar. His standout-performance at Ironman Cairns was in the rear-vision mirror for a lot of scribes. On race day, McKenzie was daring and bold and got the just result for such an enterprising plan. According to Craig Alexander we have not seen the best yet of McKenzie either.
  • Frederik Van Lierde – When Van Lierde cruised by in the first three miles of the marathon he looked every bit in control of his world. Forty kilometres later he still was. Van Lierde is a brilliant winner and matched pace with all that mattered on the Queen K when the bike speed was ratcheted up a few notches. A worthy winner. What got us was the lack of talk about him in the press, which we noted on the Thursday pre-race.
  • Mirinda Carfrae – There has been a lot of talk about that marathon. What Carfrae did on Saturday was take records and blast the best that ever was off the best time sheet. Carfrae was a gracious winner but pre-race there was something about her that gave us a good vibe.
  • Liz Blatchford – After getting over her littering penalty, Blatchford showed what a patient race is all about. She steadily got herself back onto the podium with little fanfare and maximum effort. Given she had to race Ironman Mont Tremblant just qualify after her win at Ironman Cairns in June, it show’s just how resilient the Aussie-based Brit has become in just one season of long course.The Kona Crank #2 – The Hits and Misses
  • The Women’s Race – The top women’s pros are getting it right and are fun to watch battle it out. With five or six legitimate contenders each year this current crop of pros are lifting the bar again. Caitlin Snow included in that group, with another stellar marathon (2:58) display.
  • Speaking of women, keep an eye on the name Catherine Faux – She had the 10th fastest time for women and came from the 25-29 age group. Rumour is she has a lot of talent and while we understand the difference between being a pro and an age grouper, a 9:15 time is very impressive. The other impressive age grouper was Kyle Buckingham, an electrician from Cape Town who went 8:37:26 in the 30- 34 age group.
  • ‘Big Sexy’ McDonald on the IM Live Coverage – If ‘Big Sexy’ isn’t racing in Kona next year, the WTC would be doing well to get him back involved in the race day coverage. His voice and insights added a different element to the broadcast and there no doubt would’ve been a few extra ladies watching.
  • Tim O’Donnell – His progression over the past three years in Kona has been something to behold. A DNF in his first attempt in 2011, followed by an eighth last year and a career-best fifth-place and first American on the weekend. O’Donnell is beginning to shape and develop into a future contender and this result will ensure he only needs to race one Ironman ahead of Kona next year.

Misses

  • Pete Jacobs – The 2012 World Champion came into town with a swagger and some confident words, but on the day he only fired a couple of shots and was not a factor in the race at all. Leading early he was soon out-gunned and out-paced as the defending champion found himself relegated to nowhere. His form in Kona in the last three years has been meteoric so he can be forgiven for one omission.
  • Bevan Docherty – Docherty has always had swagger and this continued after his great win at Ironman New Zealand. But Kona is a long was from Taupo and it is fair to say Docherty’s last two championship races (Vegas/Kona) have been über failures. He has not finished either and now must go back to the drawing board to see what adjustments he has to make be a factor in Mont Tremblant and Kona next year.The Kona Crank #2 – The Hits and Misses
  • Andreas Raelert – For a guy who comes into Kona with a very consistent record, Raelert was never in the race and by 80-kilometres into the bike he was done. He swam badly and never got his race-mojo going. It was an unhappy day for the likeable German and, like with Jacobs, he is probably allowed a miss.
  • Product placement on Ironman Live – Watching the commentators, who on the whole did a good job, talk through things like Ironman-branded blenders on the coverage was excruciating.
  • Clayton Fettell – Fettell came to Kona to gain experience and at 150-kilometres into the bike was popped and peddling home. He has all the talent in the world, it may just take a year or two more to find the right mix.
  • Some disrespectful questions/comments – A lot of talk was aimed at Mirinda Carfrae’s marathon time post race. Yes, it was brilliant, and yes, we watched on course in awe, but when journalists get to the men’s presser and open up with questions to Van Lierde, who had no idea of his splits, and ask him to comment on Carfrae’s time directly, well, maybe it’s time to go to question and answer school and show some more respect. Two separate races out there.
Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2014 Qualifiers

Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2014 Qualifiers

The first list of qualifiers for the 2014 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mont Tremblant have been released and if all who’ve accepted make it to the start line, this will undoubtedly be the most hotly-contested edition since the event’s inception in 2007.

The reigning World champions Melissa Hauschildt and Sebastian Kienle are set to headline this year’s edition taking place on September 7 in Mont Tremblant, Canada.

Joining Kienle on the men’s list of athletes who’ve accepted their slot includes last year’s podium finishers Joe Gambles and Terenzo Bozzone, as well as in-form athletes Jan Frodeno, Tim Reed, Richie Cunningham, Andrew Starykowicz, Brad Kahlefeldt, Brent McMahon, Lionel Sanders, James Cunnama, Bevan Docherty, Craig Alexander and Ivan Raña among others. Jesse Thomas is not on the list yet, but he recently tweeted his invitation to race and has indicated he will be in Mont Tremblant. Expect there to be a couple more roll downs in the coming days.

There will also a big shadow cast over this event by the Spanish superstar Javier Gomez, who will compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships for the first time in 2014.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2014 Qualifiers

There are some notable athletes who’ve chosen not to accept their slot, including Andy Potts, Tim O’Donnell, Bertrand Billard, Casey Munro, Tyler Butterfield and Paul Matthews.

The women’s list of July qualifiers is pretty incredible too, with Annabel Luxford, Heather Wurtele, Catriona Morrison, Svenja Bazlen, Meredith Kessler, Daniela Ryf, Helle Frederiksen, Angela Naeth, Lisa Hütthaler and Radka Vodickova to name a few.

Given she will be racing the Ironman 70.3 European Championships and Ironman Sweden it’s not surprising to see the 2012 World champion Leanda Cave turn down her slot.

Qualification for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship wrapped up on July 27, 2014 and this year will also be the first on the new rotating system announced by World Triathlon Corporation last season. In total, 42 men and 32 women have accepted the opportunity (at this stage) to race at this year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2014 Qualifiers

NOTE: This is not the final list, more spots will roll down and we will update the names below over the coming days.

MEN
1 Terenzo Bozzone NZL
2 Tim Reed AUS
3 Sebastian Kienle DEU
4 Joe Gambles AUS
5 Tim Don GBR
6 Jan Frodeno DEU
7 Richie Cunningham AUS
8 Will Clarke GBR
9 Leon Griffin AUS
10 Andrew Starykowicz USA
11 Brad Kahlefeldt AUS
12 Kevin Collington USA
13 Matt Chrabot USA
14 Samuel Appleton AUS
15 Tim Van Berkel AUS
16 Brent Mcmahon CAN
17 Lionel Sanders CAN
18 Callum Millward NZL
19 Ruedi Wild CHE
20 Jeremy Jurkiewicz FRA
21 Ben Hoffman USA
22 Trevor Wurtele CAN
23 Igor Amorelli BRA
24 Andreas Dreitz DEU
25 Filip Ospaly CZE
26 Josh Amberger AUS
27 Bevan Docherty NZL
28 Nils Frommhold DEU
29 James Cunnama ZAF
30 Javier Gomez ESP
31 Craig Alexander AUS
32 Clayton Fettell AUS
33 Albert Moreno ESP
34 Stuart Marais ZAF
35 Ben Collins USA
36 James Seear AUS
37 Alex Reithmeier AUS
38 Boris Stein DEU
39 Bart Aernouts BEL
40 Domenico Passuello ITA
41 John Polson AUS
42 Ivan Raña ESP
WOMEN
1 Melissa Hauschildt AUS
2 Annabel Luxford AUS
3 Catriona Morrison GBR
4 Heather Wurtele CAN
5 Heather Jackson USA
6 Svenja Bazlen DEU
7 Lisa Huetthaler AUT
8 Meredith Kessler USA
9 Jodie Swallow GBR
10 Daniela Ryf CHE
11 Helle Frederiksen DNK
12 Radka Vodickova CZE
13 Amanda Stevens USA
14 Angela Naeth CAN
15 Rebekah Keat AUS
16 Melanie Mcquaid CAN
17 Margaret Shapiro USA
18 Rachel Mcbride CAN
19 Susie Hignett GBR
20 Ruth Brennan Morrey USA
21 Valentina Carvallo CHL
22 Laura Bennett USA
23 Emma-kate Lidbury GBR
24 Camilla Pedersen DNK
25 Mary Beth Ellis USA
26 Mirinda Carfrae AUS
27 Lauren Barnett USA
28 Michelle Wu AUS
29 Amber Ferreira USA
30 Magali Tisseyre CAN
31 Laura Siddall GBR
32 Hallie Blunck USA
Top 10 Reasons Exercise Is Bad For You

Top 10 Reasons Exercise Is Bad For You

There are people who need to exercise, and who absolutely benefit from exercise.

Exercise has rescued obese individuals from a sedentary lifestyle, saved men and women from being ravaged by cardiovascular disease, and allowed for athletes to train their body to perform above and beyond normal capacity.

But exercise also has a dark side – dangerous disadvantages that affect thousands of people each day, and those disadvantages can be summed up in these top 10 reasons exercise is bad for you.

10. Exercise is addictive.

Consistent exercise causes the body to produce endorphins, which are hormones secreted by your pituitary gland to block pain, decrease anxiety and create feelings of euphoric happiness. But endorphins are chemically similar to the drug morphine, and so for many people, compulsive exercise
can be psychologically addictive. For regular exercisers, and especially for bodybuilders, triathletes, cyclists or marathoners, reducing or stopping exercise suddenly – or even missing one single workout – can result in depression, stress and anxiety.

This “mouse on a wheel” attraction to exercise can result in overtraining, missing family obligations and social gatherings because of an intense “need” to exercise, and a worry that fitness will be lost or weight will gain with a day of missed exercise. The pursuit of exercise turns from a way to experience the beauty of nature or spend time with friends to a feeling of going to work or being stuck in a rut.

The Fix: Include at least one day per week in which you do not exercise or your exercise involves no structure (such as playing a new sport). Unless you are paid for your physical performance, if your exercise ever begins to feel like a job, then switch to something new and fresh. Finally, engage in alternate ways to satisfy your brain, including cooking, wine tasting, music, new books, social events, and sex. If you do find yourself addicted to exercise, consider cognitive behavioral therapy, neurofeedback, and in severe cases, pharmaceutical interventions to break the addiction. Exercise addiction is not worth destroying your body and relationships.

9. Exercise Hurts The Heart

In one study, British researchers examined 12 runners and rowers with an average age of 57, who each had completed a total of 43 years of consistent training and 178 marathons, 65 ultramarathons, and 4 Ironman triathlons. Half of the athletes showed signs of fibrosis, or scarring of heart tissue, compared to none of age-matched “non-exercising” controls.

In addition, wear and tear of years of heavy-duty workouts or lifelong endurance exercise can weaken heart muscles – predisposing you to a condition called “ventricular arrhythmia” in which the heart beats erratically. This is probably due to damage to the right chamber of the heart, which can disrupt normal heart rate and rhythm, and this has literally put an end to the career of several pro endurance athletes, who engage in the type of training necessary for this problem to occur.

The Fix: Avoid excessive exercise, especially a combination of high intensity and high volume workouts. If you do find yourself in this situation, such as during the build-up to an Ironman triathlon, then engage in good warm-ups and proper cool-downs after each workout, and include at least one total recovery day. As much as possible, try to avoid competing in events such as an Ironman triathlon or ultra-marathon more than once per year.

Top 10 Reasons Exercise Is Bad For You

8. Exercise is associated with body perception disorders.

Body dysmorphic disorder is a psychological disorder in which you are excessively concerned about a perceived defect in your physical features, such as your arm or leg muscles being to small or your waistline not being thin enough. This can result in heavy, often socially isolated exercise to “repair the defect”.

Typically, this type of activity can begin in adolescence or early adulthood, but can stay with you your entire life as you strive to achieve or maintain the “perfect body”. You may turn to bodybuilding, marathoning, cycling or any other activity which uses the same muscles over and over again to try to hammer away at your perceived defects, even when it comes to the detriment of your joints or health. If you don’t have the time to exercise and address what you perceive to be a significant body issue, this can result in depression, social anxiety, and even social phobia, or complete avoidance of being in public, especially where your body might be exposed.

Often, you might justify your behavior by believing that you are a serious athlete who can never work too hard or too long at your sport, and this can often lead to excessive and addictive exercise in an attempt to control or lose weight, or sometimes to gain muscle or “sculpt” a body part.

The Fix: Learn to accept yourself for who you are, and understand that you are your own worst critic. Unless you’re an actor or a model, most other people really don’t care what your body looks like, so there’s no reason to be embarrassed. Striving for a perfect body is an uphill battle that will always result in failure at some point, probably when you’re 60, 70 or 80. There’s nothing wrong with looking good, but don’t become obsessed about it unless your income depends on it.

7. Exercise can break up families.

In 2010, The Wall Street Journal published the article “A Workout Ate My Marriage” describing how couples become increasingly conflicted as a spouse becomes obsessed with a particular exercise goal, such as extreme weight loss or an Ironman triathlon – to the detriment of time spent with family. Often, since the exercise goal can be justified as “noble”, it is difficult for a spouse or family member to negotiate with the over-exerciser to spend more time with family.

The Fix: If your goals require you to exercise “excessively”, then at least attempt to include family in exercise. Join a gym with free childcare so you and the spouse can exercise together, get a jogging stroller and bicycle trailer, and train indoors with the kids at home so a spouse can go enjoy free time.

6. Exercise can cause diabetes.

In my book “Holistic Fueling For Ironman Triathletes” I discuss the propensity for endurance athletes to spend lots of time at coffee shops and bakeries, engaging in daily chronic consumption of scones, big “healthy” muffins, baked goodies, bagels and artisan breads. Later in the evening, post “long training day”, they’re back to pastas, lasagnas, spaghettis, pizzas, and more carbohydrate laden foods. And in between these meals is a constant, steady intake of sugar packed energy bars, energy gels,
energy drinks and energy chews.

Not only do these constantly surging blood sugar levels cause sugar addiction and damage to blood vessels and nerves, but they vastly increase risk for Type II diabetes as the cell surface receptors for insulin eventually become less and less sensitive to elevated insulin levels attempting to shove all the extra sugar into the muscles.

The Fix: Break the sugar addiction. Go two weeks on a low carbohydrate diet, even if it means that exercise levels are decreased. If you’re addicted to exercise, changing to a lower carbohydrate intake can be near to impossible, so often, you must FIRST break the exercise addiction and then break the sugar addiction. This may require something as dramatic as an extended vacation to a place where A) you only have access to healthy food and B) do not have your bike, your gym, your swimsuit and goggles, and your running shoes.

5. Exercise destroys diets.

Whether you are trying to eat a diet lower in inflammatory compounds to manage an autoimmune disease or cancer, trying to eat a lower calorie diet to lose weight or teach your body to eat less, or trying to switch to a low carbohydrate diet as mentioned earlier, it is very hard to accomplish these nutritional changes while you are engaged in heavy exercise patterns.

This is often what causes people to stop healthy lifestyle changes: they get excited about changing their daily routine, eating better, and exercising more, but heavy exercise volume causes food cravings that make it impossible to adjust to a healthy diet, the individual becomes discouraged, and simply quits altogether.

The Fix: In my”REV Diet” book, the first phase (Reboot) involves precise instructions for reducing calories and detoxifying the body, but a key component of that phase is limited exercise significantly while the body learns to burn more fats, use less sugar as a fuel, and become accustomed to the dietary changes. One very good substitute for exercise during this time is yoga, which doesn’t burn a significant number of calories, and can be done without derailing the diet.

4. Exercise causes inflammation.

Endurance exercise can increase oxygen utilization to over 10 to 20 times the resting state, and all this extra oxygen consumption then increases production of free radicals, which are produced as the oxygen is used to convert energy into ATP for muscle contractions. This enhanced free radical generation causes oxidative damage to muscles and other tissues, and although regular physical exercise can build the antioxidant free radical defense system, intense and high volume exercise can overwhelm these defenses and cause significant free radical damage.

Oxidative stress from free radicals damages cellular proteins, membranes and genes and leads to a state of chronic, systemic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is implicated in diseases such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, MS, Alzheimer¹s, Parkinson¹s, premature aging and almost any debilitating, degenerative condition you can name.

The Fix: You can certainly put a band-aid over the problem by consuming a full spectrum antioxidant, but you can only eat so many berries, nuts and dark leafy greens before your stomach gets full. Eventually, you must give your body a break from free radical damage and simply stop exercising so much. Since endurance, aerobic exercise is the biggest culprit for free radical damage, try to limit this type of training. Even in an Ironman build-up, I personally avoid doing anything more than 1 long bike, 1 long swim and 1 long run each week – and everything else is short intense bursts or high intensity interval training, which you can read about in my article”Why You’re Wasting Your Time With Long, Slow Aerobic Workouts” which explains why interval exercise can cause lower blood sugar, increased hormonal response to exercise, lower insulin levels and increased fat burning with much, much less time spent exercising.

Top 10 Reasons Exercise Is Bad For You

3. Exercise is stressful.

The adrenal glands are two thumb-sized glands sitting atop your kidneys. They produce hormones like norepinephrine, cortisol and DHEA, which allow your body to respond and make adjustments to physical or emotional stress. If the intensity and frequency of the stress becomes too great, then the adrenal glands can begin to become exhausted, and the hormones that they produce can become depleted, resulting in serious imbalances that can cause issue like estrogen dominance in women or testosterone deficiencies in men.

The end result is a tired, chronically fatigued individual who has disrupted sleep, low libido, worn-out looking eyes, a set and stressed jawline, and a “skinny fat” body look no matter how much exercise they do. Sound familiar? I just described 90% of the marathoners and Ironman triathletes out there.

The Fix: In addition to incorporating the other fixes I’ve described such as lowering exercise and enhancing focus on recovery, you can pull yourself out of adrenal exhaustion with complete rest and recovery, avoiding caffeine and central nervous system stimulants, and also by incorporating stress-fighting and cortisol-stabilizing compounds like maca root powder and phosphatidylserine supplements.

2. Exercise damages the joints.

I was playing on the trail with my boys yesterday and a man ran by with a scowl across his face. Perhaps his sour disposition was due to the knee brace on his right leg, the exercise strap above his left IT band, and the compression sleeve on his elbow. Despite his body falling to pieces, he was limping along the trail, trying to push his body through a run. Since exercise is addictive, you’ll often see endurance athletes trying to push through and continue their chronic repetitive motion training no matter what, often to the continued detriment and breakdown of the body’s worn and tired joints.

I worked with a sports medicine physician for 3 years, and most endurance athletes that came in were trying to figure out how they could still do their marathon or triathlon even though they had plantar fasciitis, IT band friction syndrome, or shoulder tendonitis. They’d be miserable during their event, but would still do it. While you can certainly be “patched together” with braces, bands, sleeves, and cortisol shots to complete your event, you can end up taking years off your joints.

If you like the idea of knee replacements, hip replacements, and not being able to play in the backyard with your grandkids without teeth-gritting pain then strap on that brace and head outside to run through the pain. Otherwise, just stop.

The Fix: Run on a wide variety of running surfaces and terrains, and avoid only exercising in one plane of motion (running, cycling and swimming are typically only “front-to-back” activities). Instead, choose side-to-side motions like tennis, basketball or soccer, and attempt to address a wide range of musculature with your exercise patterns. Know when to identify whether you’re just pushing through pain because you simply must exercise, and find something else to do, like read a book.

1. Exercise causes premature aging.

In 4 Easy Ways To Ensure Your Skin Doesn¹t Look Like A Wrinkled Elephant From Your Outdoor Exercise Habits I describe how to make sure your outdoor, sunny exercise doesn’t end up giving you a face like a prune. But excessively wrinkled skin, which is vastly accelerated by the free radical damage mentioned earlier in this article, is not the only reason that people who exercise too much look worn and aged.

The heart has a finite number of beats, the back has a finite number of bends, and the cartilage has a finite number of shock absorptions, and once you’ve reached your quota, your body begins to fail. Combined with a fibrotic heart, worn adrenal glands, and chronic, systemic inflammation, you have the perfect storm for a prematurely aged and broken down body.

The Fix: In my interview with Arthur de Vany we discuss why an exercise program of sprint interval training and brief, heavy bouts of weight training is probably better for the aging individual. When this type of protocol is combined with very limited amounts of steady endurance exercise, goals like Ironman triathlon or marathoning can still be completed without excessive body aging.

So those are the top 10 reasons why exercise is bad for you. Please don’t misinterpret me, because I believe that a lifetime of healthy physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your body and your brain.

But a lifetime of indiscriminate, chronic repetitive motion exercise like a rat on a wheel is entirely another matter, and you ought to seriously reconsider your priorities if you are stuck in that rut.

Are you concerned that you may be exercising too much? Or do you think this is all blown way out of proportion? Feel free to leave your comments, questions and feedback at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com

DAN ATKINS – THE LIFE OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE COACH

DAN ATKINS – THE LIFE OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE COACH

Dan Atkins is quietly building himself an impressive stable of athletes up in Queensland in the junior and under-23 ITU ranks. Firstoffthebike.com’s Liam Bromilow caught up with Dan recently to find out a bit more about the talented coach.

On a rainy, blowy, Sunday afternoon I had the opportunity to meet team Dan Atkins. It’s a close-knit family of four with Dan, wife Katie, and two girls – six-year-old Ella and three-year-old Molly. At heart, Dan is a family man who loves his wife and kids, but get him on the training paddock and he’s as tough as nails with an intensity and focus of a Mensa recruit. But really, Dan’s family extends to 15 plus because if you sit and listen to him talk about his athletes, his smile glows with love and admiration. I took the opportunity to sit down with the talented coach over a plate of Subway Cookies and left with the following.

How did you get involved in triathlon?

I started triathlon way back in 1989 when I was at school. I was a footy player but always trained outside of football, particularly swimming and running. I saw a flier for a triathlon one day and went out and bought a bike. I raced, and all I remember was chucking up my guts at the finish line, but it gave me so much pride and sense of achievement that I was hooked. So I kept dabbling in triathlon but rugby league was my main sport until around 1993. The next year I competed in Noosa after doing some training with Brendan Terry. He was a no holds barred coach who trained athletes to their maximum.

Over time he began to see that I had coaching potential rather than competing potential, and suggested I take on a coaching role. Together we opened up a swim school at a small 25-metre pool at Wilston, in Brisbane. I developed as a swim coach, and over my time I coached a deaf child to an Australian record. After coaching the children of Michael Bohl (current swim coach of Stephanie Rice, Leisel Jones, Kendrick Monk, among others) he reiterated what Brendan Terry told me years earlier, and saw coaching potential in me. I had developed a special rapport with my athletes, and Bohl thought I could take some of them onto representative honours. I gave it my all, but we soon learnt that my passion was triathlon. From this (which was 2003), I developed DAT (Dan Atkins Training and Racing club) and I’ve grown from there.

DAN ATKINS – THE LIFE OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE COACH

Who did you mould your coaching philosophy on?

Again, it was Brendan Terry who impacted me the most as a coach. He was my first coach, and I loved the way he went about his business. I developed my methods and philosophy on how Brendan trained me through the ‘90s. We worked on the fact that every session should be as close to race-pace as possible. We don’t race slowly, so why train slowly? Obviously periodisation comes into play, but the important fact is to make sure consistency is developed and the athletes have the foundations to back up each day. I’ve experienced many things over the years and have come to learn that I need to question other coaches also, and use their knowledge to have impact on my athletes.

It’s easy to monitor how your athletes are going, but you do you assess how your coaching is going?

It takes a lot of reflection. Now being a high performance coach and having athletes compete at world championships and youth Olympics, I need to make sure that every session is the best possible for these guys. I take a lot of pride in what I do, so I’m brutally honest with myself in my reflections. I grade every session I do out of 5, and make sure it’s as close to a 5 as possible. Craig Walton has been a great influence on my coaching recently, and an excellent sounding board for some of my ideas.

Does coaching affect your Family life?

DAN ATKINS – THE LIFE OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE COACHCoaching is a 24/7 job, so it’s definitely hard to switch off at the end of the day. I’m always taking the job to bed with me, to the dinner table with me, even to the toilet with me. I struggle sometimes to let go. Leading up to the Auckland World Championships last year I had two girls that should’ve been put onto the Junior girls team, but the selection committee left it until a few weeks before to select the team. I fought tooth and nail to get both girls on the team, but, in the end, they only selected one. I took that one pretty hard. My family understands though, my wife Katie is the best you can get. She knows the relationships I work with and helps me out a lot.

What has been the highlight of your coaching career so far?

It’s hard to pinpoint because every day I have little wins and highlights. Getting any athlete onto a world championships team (such as Ryan Fisher and Emily Bevan last year) and Ryan winning an Australian junior title. But even the age group athletes I coach, it was amazing to see one of them race 33mins faster at Noosa last year, purely from trusting in the program and the process. That was a big win.

What advice would you give to coaches out there?

Most of all, ask questions! Get ideas off of others. We can’t know everything, so use other coaches as resources.

A few years ago (2011) you were an AIS scholarship coach. What was that experience like?

Shaun Stephens (former AIS triathlon coach) gave me a call and said an opportunity was coming up for a triathlon coach to spend 12 months working intensively with the AIS and develop their coaching. He said it was a great learning experience and would fast track my coaching education by about 5 years. I had to let go of DAT for the year, which is something that I really struggled with. It was thriving and taking leaps and bounds forward. I decided to accept the scholarship and worked at the QAS and AIS, particularly observing how a variety of high performances coaches work in a range of sports. It was a great learning opportunity and definitely something that has set me up to be where I am now.

DAN ATKINS – THE LIFE OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE COACH

Tell me about your High Performance squad in Brisbane and some of the names we can look out for?

DAT evolved from my need to coach. I wanted to be with athletes every day. I created my own High Performance group rather than following the Triathlon QLD pathway because I had my own blueprint, and honestly, I believe it works. The results show for themselves, with 7 girls (Emily Bevan, Sarah Deuble, Jodie Duff, Holly Grice, Anna Coldham, Brittany Dutton and Maddi Allen) ranked in the top 5 for their respective ages in Australia, and some junior boys (Harry Sweeney and Wyatt Westmoreland), who are about to hit the high performance scene. It has its good points in that we have flexibility to do our own program, but the flip side to that is that we receive no funding.

You recently parted ways with a potential superstar in Ryan Fisher, talk us through that.

In a sense it came on quick, but we also knew it was coming. We’ve been working together for a lot of years, and developed a big working relationship as well as friendship. The thing with Ryan is that he’s very much an individual and likes to make his own decisions. He was 100% committed at all times, but we just started to outgrow each other. He needed to try new things and train with new philosophies, and I didn’t want to hold him back from that. It’s left a massive hole in our squad with him leaving, but the squad is the better for having him there the last few years. I’m still Ryan’s number one fan and I can’t wait to see him medal at a big championship event in the near future.

What are your thoughts about the current state of the elite system in Australia?

I think we’re jumping the gun in labelling athletes as superstars or even saying that they won’t make it. They need time to grow and develop. Back when the F1 and St. George series were around, everyone had a chance to front up against each other and develop their skills against each other. They don’t have that at he moment. We need to get that carrot back in front of them to entice them to push each other and help each other along.

What are your thoughts on how we can beat the Brownlees?

Focussing on the Brownlees themselves will never work. We need to look at the fundamentals of coaching and training and what we’re doing on a daily basis to peg them back. At the moment they’re unstoppable because they’re so good in all three disciplines. We need our athletes working on their training to improve their three disciplines and compete with them on race day.

Inside the ’50 Women to Kona’ Movement

Inside the ’50 Women to Kona’ Movement

The push to get equal numbers for the men’s and women’s professional fields at the Ironman World championship is well and truly on. In this piece, Firstoffthebike.com’s Susan Lacke investigates the ’50 women to Kona movement’ .

In high school, Rachel Joyce wasn’t allowed to run the 1500-metre race on ‘Sports Day’. That was a “boys’ race,” her teachers said, and there was no girls’ equivalent.

Joyce, unwilling to accept that rule, took to the track and ran the 1500 metres solo in the first-ever girls’ race at her school.

“I felt passionately that as a girl, I should have the same chances as the boys,” recalls Joyce.

Today, Joyce runs much more than 1500 metres while racing. However, the Ironman champion remains a staunch supporter for gender equality in sport. Joyce is one of several pro women advocating for the ’50 Women to Kona’ movement, an initiative working to change the way the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) allocates slots at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Currently, there are 50 starting spots allocated for male pros; for females, only 35 starting spots are available – before automatic qualifiers.

“I want to see more women participating in sport and specifically triathlon,” says Joyce. “It is my view that having a disparity between the pro men and women starters sends out the wrong message to achieve this. It sends out the message that Ironman is more of a man’s thing than a woman’s. That just isn’t true.”

The push for equality has gained significant steam in recent months. Many more pros, including Beth Gerdes and Ironman Champion Mary Beth Ellis, have joined Joyce in advocating for equality in Kona.

Inside the ’50 Women to Kona’ Movement

 

Ellis has emerged as a leader in the initiative, helping to streamline and organise the message of her fellow athletes: “We’ve realised that it’s near impossible for WTC to listen to every voice. We wanted to find a way to unify so we can collaborate with them on ways to improve the sport.”

Gerdes says a key element of success has been identifying the goals and desired outcomes of all involved: “WTC is in fact a private business, and their job is to make money for their investors. It is not their obligation to ensure that women have equal opportunity in long course triathlon. However, with a vast market share in long course triathlon, I’d love to see them set an example for how we can promote the development of female talent in the sport. As age group women are a growing market share for WTC, I think that the top-down approach will benefit the business side in the long run as well.”

The group’s united efforts paid off, as Ironman CEO Andrew Messick recently agreed to sit down in with a panel of female pros including Joyce, Ellis, and Ironman World Champions Mirinda Carfrae and Leanda Cave. Several male pros, including Tim O’Donnell and James Cunnama, attended in a show of solidarity. Soon after the meeting, Messick announced in a press conference WTC would look at ways to implement an equal number of male and female starting spots in 2015. However, his statements hinted gender equality might come at a cost for male pros:

“The women we talked to were not at all focused on the number, they just wanted it to be the same. They didn’t particularly care if it was 55 and 55, or 40 and 40, or 30 and 30.  They just thought that as a matter of fundamental fairness that the number should be the same. So we’re going to look at that for 2015, but that might result in fewer men.”

Inside the ’50 Women to Kona’ Movement

Did the announcement reveal the selfish intentions of female pros to take away from the male field? Not quite, says Joyce. “The pro women don’t want to see the pro men penalised in order to achieve equality, but we did state that equality should be prioritised.”

Ellis agrees: “I don’t think any of the women want our progress to come at a cost of the men’s sport. I think ideally we can keep the men’s spots and grow the women’s spots over the next few years, with a clear timeline to reach equality in alignment with the increase of top-tier talent. As professionals, we want to create a dramatic, exciting event that garners so much media attention that we become invaluable to WTC and get the attention of some of the mainstream brand partners that support professional athletes around the world.”

The model proposed by female pros follows that of the International Triathlon Union, which touts gender equality as a core value. In addition to providing an equal amount of male and female starting spots and prize purses at ITU races, the federation prioritizes equal television airtime and media attention for males and females across all World Triathlon Series events.

“Look at ITU racing now,” exclaims Joyce, “the women’s race is as exciting as the men’s race, if not more exciting…the ITU is a real example of the importance of equal numbers. Creating equal world championships slots will encourage participation in triathlon from the grass roots up.”

Inside the ’50 Women to Kona’ Movement

“Equality begets performance,” says Gerdes. “If women are given the stage or the chance to perform at a the highest level, their performance will improve.”

WTC continues to gather information before making a final decision about the size of the male and female pro fields in 2015. In addition to Messick’s sit-down with pros in Boulder, WTC has solicited pro athletes’ thoughts and opinions via surveys about the current Kona qualification system. Until a final decision is announced, the women of the sport will continue their advocacy to bridge the disparity in representation at the Ironman World Championships.

“I look at the 50 top men in the Kona Points Ranking, and I think they are all deserving of toeing the line at the World Championships. I look at the top 50 women and think the same,” says Gerdes. “If the Kona pier won’t grow to accommodate 15 more women, maybe we should think outside the box about win-win situations.”

Atkinson takes Ironman 70.3 Cairns

Atkinson takes Ironman 70.3 Cairns

Australia’s Courtney Atkinson survived tough conditions and competition to win today’s Ironman 70.3 Cairns ahead of fellow London Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt and Tim Reed.

Whenever you attract a field that contains Olympians, a former Commonwealth Games champion, multiple Ironman 70.3 champions and the reigning Ironman World Champion, eye-popping racing is sure to ensue.

The inclusion of so many athletes with a background in ITU racing ensured the swim in the murky waters in front of the Cairns Esplanade was kept at an extremely high tempo.

After several lead changes, it was Shane Barrie who led the front group out in the super quick time of 23:15. He was joined on dry land seconds later by two-time Olympian Courtney Atkinson (23:17), Graham O’Grady (23:17), Joseph Lampe (23:21), Samuel Appleton (23:24), Brad Kahlefeldt (23:25), Michael Murphy (23:25), Pete Jacobs (23:27), Sam Betten (23:28) and Casey Munro (23:30).

Atkinson takes Ironman 70.3 Cairns

The big casualty from the swim was Tim Reed, who exited the water in 24:54, which left the Lennox Head-based athlete 1:39 down on race leader Barrie.

After attempting to launch himself off the front, Courtney Atkinson was quickly brought back into the fold of the lead group.

It did not take Reed long to find his bike mojo and he began chipping away at the lead group’s advantage which was being driven by Casey Munro, Samuel Betten and Graham O’Grady.

After hitting the turnaround just past the climb at Rex’s Lookout, riders faced a brutal headwind on the return journey towards Cairns.

The high pace being set by Munro, Betten and O’Grady combined with the headwind saw a number of those who made the lead group in the swim fall off the pace, including Jacobs, Appleton and Kahlefeldt.

Betten unfortunately fell off the pace just before they hit T2, leaving Munro, O’Grady, Reed and Atkinson to duke it out at the front.

By the four-kilometre mark on the run, Atkinson had established a 20-second lead on Reed, with O’Grady a further 30 seconds adrift.

The big move in the first half of the run came from Kahlefeldt, as the Queenslander surged past Jacobs, Appleton, Munro and Betten on his way towards the podium placings.

Atkinson takes Ironman 70.3 Cairns

Despite Kahlefeldt running the day’s quickest 1:14:22, it was not enough to stop Atkinson crossing the line in 3:56:34 to become the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Cairns champion.

“The head wind was brutal on the run, the wind was really tough today,” Atkinson said post-race.

“It’s not easy, I went through 10km on the run and I felt pretty good, then the time just kept slipping away and I needed to just try and get to the finish.”

Kahlefeldt’s scorching run ensured he took out the runner-up placing, with Reed taking out the last spot on podium thanks to a very solid bike/run performance.

“It was good for me to get second and have the short course boys go one, two. All credit to Courtney who pushed it on the bike. But that wind out there today was tough,” Kahlefeldt said.

“It was fantastic to hear people cheering for me all the way home; we don’t really get that in ITU so it was great to hear.”

Chris McCormack issues Lance Armstrong a challenge

Chris McCormack issues Lance Armstrong a challenge

In a recent interview with Competitor Group’s Bob Babbit, two-time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack revealed that a team of people had made contact with former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong about the prospect of a head-to-head, unsanctioned match-up between the pair in 2014.

Speaking after the inaugural Challenge Laguna Phuket, Chris McCormack was asked about how close he and former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong got to arranging an event before the American was issued with a lifetime suspension by USADA last year.

Chris McCormack issues Lance Armstrong a challenge

“Very close,” McCormack told Competitor Group’s Bob Babbit.

It was widely known that an event was in the works to feature both Armstrong and McCormack, but when USADA’s reasoned decision was handed down and the American was banned from sanctioned sport for life in 2012, planning abruptly ended.

Despite Armstrong’s current ban, McCormack indicated to Competitor Group’s Bob Babbit that he would still be willing to go head-to-head with Armstrong.

“Well, believe it or not, a crew of people contacted him recently – because I know he can’t race anybody, but I said ‘you know what, I’ll race you mate!’ I’ll race you. Only because – I don’t care if there are no accolades, I just want to race you.

“Just two old blokes, there’s no excuses, let’s just have a race.”

McCormack revealed he recently extended the challenge to Armstrong because the American is still someone he regards as a “competitor” and someone he would like to race in the future, even if that meant doing so in an unsanctioned, one-on-one type of event.

“Lance has done some horrible things and some amazing things athletically. You know, he’s still a competitor, and I’ve always been inspired by racing competitors.”

But the two-time Ironman World Champion said he really got inspired to reach out to Armstrong again because of a recent interview he read.

“I read an interview recently, where [Armstrong] believed he could win the Ironman World Championships. That was what sort of sparked my interest to contact him again. I’m like ‘hey man, you can’t go and make those sorts of statements without backing them up’. So if you really think you can win the Ironman World Championships, come and race me.”

Chris McCormack issues Lance Armstrong a challenge

Earlier today, Armstrong responded to McCormack’s comments via his Twitter account.

“Hey @MaccaNow – if you’re serious then gimme a call. Let’s discuss,” Armstrong tweeted this morning.

If any athletic match-up were to go down between the pair, it would have to be an unsanctioned event, as Armstrong is currently serving a lifetime ban for doping during his cycling career.

Armstrong’s last raced an elite triathlon back in October of 2012 at the unsanctioned Super Frog Half Iron-distance race in California in which he out-ran Australia’s Leon Griffin for the win. Armstrong also competed as an amateur a week later at the Rev 3 Half Full Maryland event as part of a charity effort to raise funds and awareness for the Ulman Cancer Foundation.

Armstrong has been a on big media campaign lately, breaking his silence with Cycling News and the BBC in recent weeks.

Any event featuring both Armstrong and McCormack would draw huge publicity, not just from triathlon but also mainstream press.

The multi-talented Todd Skipworth

The multi-talented Todd Skipworth

Straight after winning the age group championship at Ironman 70.3 Shepparton, Olympic rower Todd Skipworth gave firstoffthebike.com a few minutes to discuss his many talents and ambitions in triathlon.

After making his debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the lightweight fours, Todd Skipworth was in no mood for what many athlete’s go through, and often referred to as the post-games hangover.

For the 23-year-old, he had a goal to compete in the 2009 Ironman World Championship, and true to his work ethic and belief, the Western Australian qualified with a 9:03:03 at his local Ironman in Busselton and was on his way to Kona.

The now 24-year-old ventured to the Big Island to see what he could do, and perhaps even to the surprise of the man himself, he clocked a 9:41:31 to finish as the sixth-fastest 18-24 age grouper.

The multi-talented Todd Skipworth

Post-Kona it was back to business and trying to help Australia qualify the lightweight four for the 2012 London Olympics. Skipworth and his teammates enjoyed some brilliant performances in 2010, including winning the silver medal at the Rowing World Championships. But it was perhaps just the tip of the iceberg, as one year later the team would venture to Bled in Slovenia and win the Lightweight Four World Championship.

On the sixth day of action at the Olympic regatta, Skipworth and his teammates got their shot at a gold medal after qualifying as the third fastest boat in the A/B Semi Final.

After sitting in second place for the first 1500-metres, and with the country cheering on their every stroke, in a heartbreaking moment the Australian boat slipped back to fourth place, missing out on the bronze medal by less than a second.

You’d think after such an emotionally and physically draining campaign, a guy like Skipworth would be content to take some time off training and enjoy life for a bit. But after chatting to the Perth lad in Shepparton, it was obvious this is a guy who’s happiest when he’s training his guts out and pushing himself to the limit.

TIM REED – REFLECTING ON A BIG 6 WEEKS

TIM REED – REFLECTING ON A BIG 6 WEEKS

The most common question I was asked post Ironman 70.3 World Champs is how does it feel to be a world champion? It felt really good for a few days for sure but I think if I was the sort of guy who rocked around satisfied with what I have achieved I would never have gotten there in the first place. It’s been a crazy year where I achieved some career long major ambitions. I’m proud, absolutely, however I’m not satisfied at all. As is typical, my ambitions just got higher. When I first started racing the goal was simply to finish the race, then finish in the top 50% and then to win my age group etc.. It’s a never ending ambition re adjustment and I’ve come to accept that I find far more joy in working hard to achieve my goals then actually achieving them. In fact, in an ironic twist, sometimes I get quite depressed soon after achieving something significant. On the contrary, if I have a disappointing result like Kona this year, I become incredibly motivated and my general mindset is often healthier.

The common theme In the congratulation messages was how it was so well deserved and no one works harder. That’s kind, but simply not true.
Well, at least in the past couple of years it’s not. I know many pro athletes that train much harder and are doing it way tougher. I’m in such
a fortunate position with amazing sponsor support thanks to a great manager, I’ve had some good luck (hey, everyone needs it) and a
hugely supportive wife and extended family. In my mind there will always be guys more deserving but I learnt pretty early on when I turned pro
and was doing it far tougher that sport, like life, isn’t always fair. The more results you get, the easier it becomes to continue getting those results as the support network grows and the level of investment you can put back into your racing increases. There are many other people hugely deserving. Sometimes super talents who overtrain to their detriment, sometimes incredible hard workers who simply don’t have the talent.

TIM REED – REFLECTING ON A BIG 6 WEEKS

Either way, the common thought that the hardest worker wins is often not correct. In the 4 weeks between Sunshine Coast and Kona I put together some incredibly hard training and felt absolutely terrible. I had the exact same experience in Austria last year at the Ironman 70.3 world champs where I trained harder than I ever had only to have the worst power on the bike I’d had in years. Hard work, of course, is an essential ingredient, but it has to be the right amount, and that optimal amount is hugely individual and a moving target based on all the other stresses life brings.

In saying all that, I think for any person to reach the pointy end of their field in sport (or elsewhere) there has to either have been or continue to
be an element of obsessive behaviour. Old friends messaged me reminders of my early years when I was working full time, would get home at 530pm, and then complete three sessions finishing up at 11pm. Or when I would finish university for the day, wash dishes til 12pm at a local restaurant, and then go running until 1am to unwind before going to bed. Ridiculous antics that I could never pull off now without suffering a prompt divorce. It wasn’t beneficial to my racing at the time as I was always beyond fatigued but I have no doubt that the huge aerobic base I built in my early twenties thanks to an obsessive nature is paying dividends now. I owe a huge thank you to Grant Giles for all his guidance early on and teaching me that the foundation of any great endurance athlete is an enormous aerobic base. Not built over weeks or months but years.

I won’t go through the play by play details of how 70.3 Worlds played out as I’ve done that in enough interviews, however I will comment on the
role the Aussie crowd had in helping me keep up with Sebi. Perhaps the biggest cultural difference between the US and Australia is the unique
way in which we support our athletes. In America in doesn’t matter if you’re racing terribly or winning, the crowd is invariably positive and uplifting. “You’re going great man!” or “keep it up!” or “Way to go!” are some of the Yanks favorites. While Aussies support in a much more murderous fashion. “Smash him!” or “kill him Reedy!” were common themes and all support is laden with expletives. Even the “c” bomb was thrown my way. It seems it’s rapidly becoming an Aussie term of endearment but can get you arrested in the United States.

In the closing kilometers I can honestly say that the tremendous support I received, aggressive as it was, played an enormous role in digging out absolutely everything I had. So a belated thank you to those on course. Lots of people asking my thoughts on Lionel Sanders post race comments. I think he had some very valid points and much of what he said I completely agree with and have been saying for years. Sanders is an absolute phenomenon and a great thing for our sport. His ability to train the way he does for so many races each year, frankly makes him quite unbeatable most of the time. However, I know that when I get it right once or twice a year, I can come close to matching his cycling and running and my swim is a fair way ahead. Mt Tremblant we both rode most of the ride solo and rode the same bike split. His power reading was 1 zillion watts while mine didn’t look so impressive but people often forget there is probably a 12-15 kgs difference between us, the same as if Lionel is riding with two extra bikes on his shoulder. He ran much better as I cramped my way through the final 5kms but I walked away from that race knowing that when my bike is on I can compete with this guy.

If Lionel learns to swim, all hope is probably lost over the 70.3 distance. If Lionel learns to actually ride his bike, then we are also in pretty big trouble. He has the best engine on two wheels but his skills are a little lacklustre. Guys like Kienle or Dretiz have incredible power combined
with incredible skill. The few times I’ve ridden with Lionel I’m in shock with how much time he loses in every corner, descent or even dismounting his bike to get into transition. He is a clever dude though, I’m sure he’s already worked this into his plan for next year.

TIM REED – REFLECTING ON A BIG 6 WEEKS

Kona was a slap in the face and a harsh return to reality. The dream run since July was definitely over. A stark reminder that racing is an epic
roller coaster. We decided on quite a lot of training leading up to Kona, I don’t regret that decision, but I regret ignoring the signs of how worn out I was and not incorporating a bigger taper. All the over strained signs were there. Only sleeping 5-6 hrs a night and a seriously suppressed heart rate. Plenty of sessions where I would barely crack 100 bpm average. Strava follower comments thought it showed incredible fitness, and while I didn’t mind going along with that illusion, I knew it was fatigue. Leading up to Vineman I was in exactly the same place but because I know the 70.3 distance so well, I had the confidence do a very restful 14 day taper to get out of the fatigue hole I was in. I didn’t have that confidence with Kona, the distance still scares me and I didn’t make the right choice.

I appreciate the private messages from people calling me out for being weak for not finishing Kona this year. It’s a fair call. I feel Kona is the one
 race you should finish regardless of where you are at. I’m ashamed for not sticking it out. I was so despondent when I got on the bike and couldn’t push within 40 watts of race power that I let the negative emotion take over and made the call to get in the first car that could fit me in. I’m not sure I regret the decision but I certainly don’t want to ever DNF in Kona again.

A few quick thoughts on this years race:

– I still think that for most athletes, to have the best possible day you can in Kona, you need to be at least somewhat fatigued from the training load 4-6 weeks out. Daniela Ryf wasn’t quite as sharp as usual at the Ironman 70.3 World Champs but geez, she got it right on Saturday. Was amazing to watch.
– For those that don’t know anything about Patrick Lange, he is one of the nicest humans going around. Crazy talent, very smart. Pat will win
Kona next year.
– Is Jan the greatest of all time? Hard to compare eras but it's very difficult to argue against that label.
– A lot of guys who did 2-3 Ironman events this year prior to Kona didn’t fire. I think nearly all the top 10 guys all only did 1 ironman prior.

Watching pros who are very use to being at the pointy end of races gutting it out despite not being where they would like to be. Sanders,
Berkel, Dellow, Llanos, Mcmahon, Swallow, Ellis, McKenzie, Kessler just to name a few. It was dead set inspirational. I know that age group competitors face the same struggle when they are out there. However, there is not the same temptation to pull the pin and find another race to
keep the bills being paid. So perhaps I’m biased, but I think it’s pretty special when pros do this in Kona.

These guys inspired me that next year even if it’s not my day, I’ll throw logic to the wind and make sure I get to that finish line.

I’m so incredibly grateful to the team behind me. Thank you Monica and our extended families, my manager Evan (BPM sport), Matt Dixon and the Purplepatch team, Saucony, Trek, Bontrager, Alaska, Roka, Flight Centre Sports and Events, Clif Bar, Budgy Smuggler, Rudy Project, Transition Cycles Ballina and Rich Tyler.