Headsweats-sponsored athlete Jared Bassett prepares for the 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Written by Jared Bassett
As I began my post collegiate career with the U.S. track and field Championships and started to work towards the 2016 Olympic trials I had to make sure I made a list of smaller goals or tasks I needed to do a long the way. 2016 is a long ways out and I think it is important to come up with ways to keep yourself motivated each season. I feel it is easy to lose sight of why you are training everyday if you don’t.
The first mini-goal I have on the list above all else is to stay healthy! All of the hard work and training that you put in means nothing if you cannot stay healthy and be injury free. This involves doing all of the little things like foam rolling, stretching and icing after runs and hard workouts. It takes up time but it is what it takes when you are training at a high level. Nutrition plays a huge part in staying healthy. If you are not getting proper nutrition into your body, you are going to be more susceptible to injury as well. If your body can’t fully recover from the punishment you have administered, it will not heal and will most likely breakdown eventually. If you can stay healthy than you have a better chance of maintaining a higher level of training and fitness year round, which brings me to the next mini-goal on my list: maintaining a high level of fitness from year to year. As you train from year to year, your fitness carries over to the next and allows you build off of where you left off the previous year. So over time that level of fitness and performance builds on itself and allows you to improve. I have seen this take place during my college career. I went from being and 8:58 steeplechaser my sophomore year to an 8:36 steeplechaser my senior year. Those years all consisted of consistent training. So I plan to do that same thing leading up to 2016 just at a higher level and hopefully seeing another big improvement in my steeplechase time.
Between now and the trials I just plan on racing on the roads in the fall to build strength and race each spring on the track focusing on bringing my steeple time down and achieving an Olympic “A” or “B” standard a year before the trials. When I’m not racing, I will be logging a lot of miles, doing track workouts, along with doing strength training at least twice a week to work on balance, coordination, and overall core strength, which are very important when it comes to the steeplechase. They are little things, but they add up overtime and can really become beneficial down the road. So in conclusion I think the theme you can take from this is consistency over time. Athletes don’t become great overnight, they all have to put in the work for years before they begin to reach their full potential. That’s what I feel I am doing right now and I am very excited for this time in my running career and I can’t wait for 2016!
Headsweats Athlete Penny Comins didn’t let IM Lanzarote beat her – but it sounds like a tough as nails race:
Avoiding the hardest Ironman on the M-dot circuit has always been easy, but there comes a time when you have to face your demons and just tick it off. I entered. I then had the white sweaty feeling of fear. I had a long winter of hard training ahead to get to the level of fitness I needed to conquer the notorious hilly, hot, windy course on the Canary Island. What I hadn’t planned for was four punctures.
Snow, sleet and rain for four months wasn’t conducive to the training I had laid out to get to the level of strength I needed. Many Mazifuel vitamins were taken to ward off the constant lurgy that people had. Long rides and runs, often in the snow, my head was kept warm in my Headsweats beanies. I was determined to get the training in at all costs.
Luckily my determination was a key part of my training as come race day that skill paid off. Lanzarote is known for high sunshine hours so getting into my wetsuit, cap and goggles in a café at the start while the rain lashed down outside wasn’t how I had visualized my race start.
Taking it in my stride, or stroke as in this case, the swim went to plan. Getting out in the cold didn’t make for an easy transition with the loss of dexterity. Riding out in the pouring rain my lips were blue; I was thankful for packing my gillet in my T1 bag just in case.
I have never seen the island shrouded in such mist and rain. Water gushed out onto the road, bringing with it small shards of volcanic rock. One of which decided to shred into my tire giving me a puncture and holey tire. Luckily the mechanics were there in a flash and helped me change it. I continued on with a spare section of tube in my tire where the hole was. This didn’t last long and after two more tubes, my gas canister exploding and an extra tube and pump from number 536 Matty I was annoyed.
Patience tested, I could still see my tire going down as I rode on. I felt every bump in the road and had a fleeting thought to thank the inventors of tires with air verses the old fashioned hard tires. We have it easy now.
Resigned to the fact that I would just have to keep pedaling until I got to the finish as I had no more tubes or air left I pushed on as hard as I could. Then, like a calling from above, the mechanics wagon flew past as we were climbing the gorgeous Mirador. I chased after them, a five minute interval on the turbo. Seeing my distress they helped with a new tire. I was so excited to have air in my tire I floated to T2, having the sun come out helped too. I love the scenery of the island, its barren rawness makes me feel invincible and I absorbed it all.
I didn’t lose focus of the mini goals and set out to run a good marathon, even though I had been out on the bike over eight hours. I put my favorite pink and white Headsweats visor on, downed a Viper Active gel and was off. I love running and enjoyed the sun going down over the ocean. The wind was still immense holding me at six minute kilometre pace on the way out and allowing me to clip along at four minute 30’s on the way back.
Finishing is always a special moment, the finish line feeling. Yet this time I felt like I had won a war. I will be ever proud of this medal. The hardest Ironman, on the hardest conditions day they have had with four punctures.
This is the first installation in a several-part series that will attempt to answer the question: “What does it mean to be a young professional triathlete?” Over the course of the 2013 season, we will follow Chris Wiatr, a 21-year-old, second-year pro, as he deals with the ups and downs of training, competing, working, managing relationships with sponsors, and more. Chris is a Headsweats-sponsored athlete, and this article was originally published on TriTrackers.com.
Part I: First-Year Struggles
Ask the average American to name a professional athlete and you’ll hear “LeBron,” “A-Rod,” “Peyton,” maybe even “Danica.” Recognizable by first name alone, these icons of sport are synonymous with American culture. They, along with their teams, provide thousands of jobs nationwide, create countless secondary markets, and drive fashion trends (sometimes questionably).
The names Craig Alexander (“Doesn’t he work down on the second floor?”) and Julie Dibens (“Is she that pro golfer?”) aren’t likely to inspire recognition, even among well-rounded sports fans.
How about Chris Wiatr? Nothing?
He is a 21-year old senior at Lake Forest College, a small private institution located outside Chicago from which he will graduate in May. He was born in California but speaks with a slight accent that hints at his Polish ancestry.
Wiatr is also a professional athlete, one of the growing number of young pro triathletes across the country.
In a sport that has, until recently, been dominated by converted runners and “swimmers who can run,” Wiatr found triathlon at the relatively young age of 14. By the time most triathletes his age signed up for their first local sprint, Wiatr had been training and competing for five years. He enjoyed a successful junior elite career, finishing sixth in the USAT standings in 2009, but soon aged out of the division and began looking for a level of competition that local events couldn’t provide.
Three years, pro card in hand, Wiatr found himself sitting in the pre-race meeting at the 2012 Lifetime Tri Minneapolis with a who’s-who of U.S. triathlon: Hunter Kemper, Andy Potts, Bevan Docherty, Cam Dye, Sarah Haskins, Gwen Jorgensen, among others. An underdog story if there ever was one, the narrative of Wiatr’s pro debut did not feature a storybook ending. In a 20-man pro field, he exited the water 15th but overreached in the early miles of the bike and was spent before the run ever started. Wiatr finished in 2:05:51, last among the pro men and over 18 minutes behind the winner, Kemper.
For Wiatr, the result was less important than the experience. With the rest of his professional career ahead of him, Wiatr was already counting down the days until Lifetime Tri Chicago, full of optimism.
The field in Chicago was again stacked, but Wiatr was markedly less star-struck. Wedged in between Cam Dye and Greg Bennett at the start of the swim, Wiatr wasn’t fazed and managed to stay in contact with the second pack. Despite heavy rain and cross winds, Wiatr rode well and finished the bike in 1:00:30, improving on his Minneapolis split by five minutes. Wiatr struggled uncharacteristically over the final 5K of the run, but his performance was good enough for 14th among the pro men – a positive note on which to end his first season as a professional triathlete.
What makes Chris Wiatr’s story interesting, however, is what we’ve yet to see. In 2013, for the first time, Wiatr will have a coach. He also began his training in earnest several months earlier than he did last year. And no longer competing for Lake Forest College’s cross-country team, Wiatr can devote his entire year to triathlon.
Last year, “uncharted territory” was a phrase that signified Wiatr’s inexperience at the professional level. This year, that same phrase describes his untapped potential.
If you haven’t already seen Hideki Kinoshita a.k.a. RunKino at a race, you most likely will in the near future. This marathon runner is all over the place – running races, pacing friends, raising money for charities, offering giveaways to his fans, you name it. And for the month of May, Kino is the FIRST EVER Headsweats Athlete of the Month! Below, he answers our questions on how he became a runner, why racing is such an important part of his life, and what’s in store for him next.
1. How long have you been a runner?
I ran my first race in June 2007, but it was a “one and done” type deal. It was a New York Road Runners 4 mile race for the first ever Japan Day in Central Park, but I found it so hard that I did not want to run another one. After cheering for a couple friends at the 2007 NYC Marathon in November, I caught the running bug and joined my first running club and started training for races. That is when I became a “runner.”
2. When & where did you run your first marathon?
I ran my first marathon a year later at the 2008 Yonkers Marathon on 9/21/2008 in Yonkers, NY. It is the second oldest existing marathon. The oldest is Boston. Yonkers is known as a very hilly course used by veterans to train for target fall races like Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia. The cutoff was 5 hours, and I finished in 5:00:15. Luckily, the RD did not cut me off. If I had been cut off and my first marathon was a DNF, who knows how I would have felt? I might have quit after that.
3. What’s the key to your training success?
The key to my training success is to focus on a reason to motivate myself to put on my running shoes and go out the door to run at 7am in the morning or late at night, when I could be sound asleep. My current focus is to improve my marathon PR time so I can BQ and enter the 2014 Boston Marathon, and run it to honor the victims of the bombings.
When I start to make excuses to myself not to run, I just think of four names: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, & Sean Collier. When I think of their sacrifice, it puts everything into perspective and I quit making excuses and go out and run. Any pain I feel during races, I try to suck up because I am one of the lucky ones to have survived Boston unscathed. I feel lucky to just be alive. Running is a celebration of life, and I no longer take it for granted. There are so many people who aren’t able to run, so those of us who can are very fortunate.
My good friend Justin Wood and I have kicked off a fundraiser for The Boston Foundation, to help the city out. I am currently training harder than I ever have, typically logging 60 to 100 miles a week, in order to BQ. I recently lowered my marathon PR to 3:15:12 at the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon in Minnesota on 5/11/2013. Here is our fundraising site, in case anyone want to take a look at it: http://www.crowdrise.com/BostonMarathon2014
5. What’s the funniest/strangest thing to happen to you at a race?
When I ran the 2012 LA Marathon, I ran a fast first half in 1:36, but then began suffering in the second half, which took me 2:01, finishing the race in 3:37:00. It’s not too shabby of a time, but in the last half mile, I was outkicked in the end by a 20 year old guy wearing a full body Gingerbread Man outfit from the movie Shrek. It was really embarrassing because I am usually the one outkicking people to the finish line. The guy blew past me and I just couldn’t keep up with him. It was a combination of him being fast and me bonking badly. He finished in 3:33:42.
7. Let us know any races you have completed & upcoming races – are you training others or is it for yourself?
Wow, I just ran my 135th lifetime marathon / ultramarathon, so there are too many races to list. In the past 3 weekends, I ran 4 marathons and a 50K ultra in 5 different states. Besides the BQ goal, I am finishing up a goal to run a sub-4 hour marathon in all 50 states. I have 2 states left and hope to finish them off this weekend at the Colfax Marathon in Denver, CO on 5/19 and then at the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT on 5/26. To see my list of sub-4 states, visit: http://www.runkino.com/p/50sub4.html
I have begun to pace others in races, as a way to pay it forward from the numerous people who have paced me at races in the past like Marco Cheung, Mike Moschitta, Wayne Bailey, Derrick Tsang, Rick Thiounn, Dave Carlsson, and Emily Hansen. Without these caring folks, I would have never achieved my first sub-4 race, my 50th state marathon in Hawaii in a sub-4 time, and 100 miler finishes in Ontario, Canada and in North Carolina. My first official pacing assignment was the 2013 New Jersey Marathon, in which I teamed up with pacer veteran Otto Lam as the 4:00 pacers. I finished in 3:59:58 and he finished in exactly 4:00:00, so if you average our times, it comes out to 3:59:59, which is a perfect pacing job for the 4 hour group. I couldn’t believe it.
I can’t claim to “coach” any individual runner, but I do encourage others to build up their miles with me and join me at marathons and ultras to prepare for goal races and 100 milers. Many of these friends end up qualifying to become fellow Marathon Maniacs. They know who they are, and they (along with their significant others and parents) jokingly continue to call me a “bad influence.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this Q&A! I hope you try out Headsweats brand athletic headwear and see for yourself what a great piece of apparel it is and how it can help you perform to your potential. It sure has helped me over these past few years of distance running.
Wonder what the ‘Duchess of Disc Golf’ has been up to lately? Continue reading:
It was recently announced that I was awarded ‘Disc Golfer of the Year’ for 2012 in the annual Storky Award ceremony. This award was given for my efforts to spread the frisbee gospel in Africa during my 4 month modeling contract in 2012. I was lucky enough to open a temporary course, hold 3 clinics, one tournament and donate several baskets and discs to a local school. Here are a few pictures during my African travels:
Hello from Capetown!
Watch my personal video series, “Disc Golf in Africa” here:
Thank you for your support during the 2013 season!
~ Holly Finley