2016 TRI-MANIA Summit and Expo

Yesterday, Debbie, the kids, and I attended the TRI-MANIA Summit and Expo in Boston. It had been five years since we attended a version of this annual New England triathlon community pre-season event. Admission to the expo was free, though there were a series of seminars and races that were fee based. Back then, it was called Multisport World. TRI-MANIA was a good event. There were more than 80 exhibitors at the Boston University Fitness & Recreation Center on Commonwealth Avenue.

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Walking Comm Ave. brought back some good memories. I attended BU from 1990-1992. I didn’t finish there, but I have good memories of those first two college years. I walked past the registrars office on Comm. Ave. where I “withdrew” in August of 1992. I came home for a couple semesters, worked on a lathe at Horst Engineering, and then returned to Boston College to finish my degree in 1995. That’s a story for a different blog post. My freshman experience at BU was in Warren Towers at 700 Comm. Ave. on the 7th Floor of “C” Tower. It was fun to show the kids the window of my dorm room, which looked straight towards Kenmore Square and had a fantastic view of the iconic Citgo sign. I wish I had some good photos from those days, but alas, it was the days of film and I’m not in the mood to search old albums on a Sunday morning. The Fit Rec Center didn’t exist in this form back in the early 90’s. It’s an awesome complex with an amazing pool, climbing wall, cardio equipment, weights, and gyms. West Campus at BU has been completely redone with multiple new buildings including the Agganis Arena where the hockey and basketball teams play.

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The main gym of the Fit Rec Center was the site of the TRI-MANIA event. We saw a lot of friends, including several from our club, the Hartford Extended Area Triathletes (HEAT). Debbie and I know a lot of people in the New England endurance sports community and it was fun to catch up with so many. We drove up in the morning in time to join Coach Al Lyman for his 11:00 A.M. Kettlebell Training for Triathletes class. Coach Al has coached Debbie for many years, so she and fellow Pursuit Athletic Performance athlete, Lisbeth Kenyon (also of TTBikeFit) assisted Al. Debbie signed me up before I had a chance to ask, so I was “forced” to do some exercise on a Saturday morning. Over the last five years, I’ve seen lots of kettlebell activity in our home gym, so it isn’t a foreign concept to me, but admittedly, I never swung one until yesterday. Coach Al still can’t get over the fact that I live with a fitness professional who is dedicated to core strength and stretching; and all I want to do is “ride my bike.” We both chuckle at that. I’ve gone through stretches (pun intended) where I focus on functional strength, stability, mobility, and balance, but when things get busy, I always seem to fall of the wagon.

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Regardless, thanks to a push from Debbie, yesterday, for an hour, I jumped back on the wagon and I hope to keep the momentum going. We spent most of the hour focused on the Turkish Get Up, which Al proclaims the single best exercise you can do. It’s going to take a lot more practice for me to figure out the technique. Maybe I’ll start practicing later today. Listening to Al reminded me of my “gluteal amnesia,” one of the phrases I’m most fond of hearing from him. Al was also ably assisted by his girlfriend, Terry Williams, his son A.J., and A.J.’s girlfriend Liz. We have had a blast hanging with the Lyman Clan in recent years and we were last all together last year at the Miwok 100K.

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The expo included many exhibitors in a variety of categories, including retailers, coaching services, event directors, health and wellness services, nutritional products, training products, and gear. The keynote speaker was Mike Reilly, the “Voice of IRONMAN.” At the end of the day, they held a “You Make the Call Contest” where attendees were invited to give their best, “You are an IRONMAN!” Mike is famous for belting out that phrase as each athlete crosses the finish line. I was fortunate to have him call my name at the 2010 IRONMAN World Championships. One of the best parts of the day was when our six-year old daughter entered the contest. She surprised us when she changed the script and yelled into the microphone, “Dad, you are an IRONMAN!” I caught it on video and that really made me smile.

She didn’t win, but we were really proud of her for standing in front of a large group and giving it her best shot.

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Amongst the old friends I got to catch up with, was Will Kirousis, from Tri-Hard Endurance Sports Coaching. Will was a teammate on Team Horst Sports from our founding in 1997, through 2000. Will is also the person that first introduced us to Coach Al, and he was very helpful when I was training for my first three long distance triathlons in Lake Placid, Brazil, and Kona. It was great to see Will at his booth, and hear about his success. We sort of made a pact that we would return to the Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run this year. Debbie and I missed the race in 2015, but it’s time for us to return. Registration opens in May!

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There were a lot of neat things to see and try. I was particularly intrigued by energy bits. I like the fact that they only have one ingredient. I got a sample to try. There were a lot of samples at the expo and I think I’ve had enough energy food for one weekend. After we left the expo, Debbie, and kids and I stopped in Watertown. We shopped at Fastachi where they sell amazing gourmet nuts. Then, we dined next door at Red Lentil. We got home in time for the kids’ regular bed time. I’ll be back in Boston on Tuesday for work, but for a day, the travel was all fun.

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It’s been tough for me to get motivated for sport in 2016, but attending TRI-MANIA this weekend gave me a little boost. It’s always fun to see the latest gear, fashions, and of course, it’s great to see our longtime friends. Now it is time to stop writing about triathlon and start doing it again.

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