Thursday, April 17, 2008

Laying out the plan

So life's been kickin' my butt a bit lately, but I wanted to get a post up to outline what I've been working on for my new team. I've been wanting to do this for a while and actually started implementing it about a month ago. I figured if I made the team, fantabulous--it will greatly help me in putting this together--and if I didn't, I was going to go ahead with my plan anyway the best I could. I am very excited to have the support of my team for this project and hope to make it even better than I originally planned!

Here's what's going through my head. You can hear my actual interview on the website, but I was rambling rambling rambling and so nervous I was shaking and I have a horrible Cleveland accent (think Aflac Duck), so I'd rather just write. :) (TacBoy and The.Bigun also caught me off guard so my rambling and bad accent is also on their latest rockin' podcast! ha ha)

Goal: I want to focus on getting young people (middle and high school age) into triathlons.


  • it is great for overall fitness
  • it complements all other sports and is fantastic cross training
  • it gives kids "something to do" that is healthy and NOT illegal or unproductive
  • it can bring families together to train and set goals
  • triathlon helps you realize how strong you are and what you are capable of--young people, like all of us, can sometimes use a reminder of this in the face of stresses they are dealing with


  • Create a website/blog called "The Tri Zone" geared toward young triathletes. This can be a place to share information, training suggestions, race reports, etc. I'm pretty technologically stupid, so it might just be a blogspot thing for this year.
  • Ultimately, I want this to be the foundation for a local club that any community can set up. Sometime in the near future I envision this being a "club in a box" that I can send to anyone interested in setting up their own TriZone locally. It's a relatively easy, local, grassroots-style club that I want to be easy for any parent to administer. Parents have enough going on already, so I don't want people to be intimidated by boatloads of work to get this going. Hopefully, the club can sort of "run itself" if the foundation is strong, and that's what I'd like to work toward.
  • Pilot this in my community (Northeastern Ohio) this summer. See what works, and what needs improvement. Tweak it, and spread it to other communities next summer.
  • I have picked a few races that we will focus on here: The CVAC Tin Man Sprint Triathlon, the Greater Cleveland Youth Triathlon, and the Huntington Beach Sprint Triathlon.
  • Implement a "Battle of the Schools" to get area kids interested in competing in a triathlon, meeting other people, and pushing themselves to be their best while challenging themselves

What I've done so far:

  • I am still in the planning stages here, but am getting some great support and help from my friends in my tri club!
  • I am starting to contact area Athletic Directors and Principals about setting up some kind of an informal group to try the Battle of the Schools. Another friend on the Board of CTC with me is helping contact some east side schools (Kenston and Chagrin) and I'm going to work on three west side schools (Rocky River, Bay Village, and Fairview).
  • I will contact all track and field, cross-country, and swim coaches in all 5 districts to drum up some of the obvious candidates, but I also want to open this to all kids because, as many of you out there know, quite a few people get into triathlon who NEVER did ANY of these sports in high school! (myself included--I never swam on my high school team--only club summer teams)
  • The focus of the East Side Battle will be the CVAC Tin Man, the West Side Battle will be the Huntington Sprint, and the Greater Cleveland Youth Triathlon will be the culminating triathlon of the summers for all five schools.
  • I'd also like to have some kind of picnic/recognition after the Greater Cleveland Triathlon is done to reward the kids for their hard work and celebrate with their families.
  • I'm trying to figure out how to handle a weekly training session on the east side (far, far away from where I live) but know that it will be no problem for me to lead one on the west side.
  • I need to also consider the EXTREMELY IMPORTANT logistics of safety and liability, so I plan on getting this in order ASAP.
  • I need to consider the eligibility rules of the Ohio High School Athletic Association for any fall athletes who compete in these local races. The last thing I want to do is have a kid be ineligible to compete in a fall sport because they did a "formal" race after such and such date!
  • My tri club just "stumbled upon" a local young triathlete who is doing her senior project on area triathlon clubs AND is on the JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM for USAT. Yeah. I plan on talking to her. A LOT.
  • My awesome former Coach also has a contact at USAT who is on the committee for Youth in triathlon, so I'm planning on picking her brain a bit, too.

So that's what I've been up to! Oh, and getting ready for this AP test. And trying to train as much as I can. That's pretty much sucking up most of my life at the moment. And, of course, spending as much time as I can with this guy:

I'll keep you posted on the progress of this! I am really excited!


Wes said...

Sounds like a great idea! Good luck!! One would think you are a teacher or something the way you have it all organized :-)

xt4 said...

2 things (I'm being logistical here - just assume my kudos on what a great idea you have, and how you're just the person for it, and how much I think you kick ass, etc, etc. etc. - you know all of this already - oh, and I'm not trying to be a bore with any of this, so hopefully you read it as supportive contribution to your internal discussions, and not in any way naysaying...): First, I think "Tri Zone" is a great concept - but the name is already quite affiliated with a retailer, "Tri-Zone". You might run into problems with that. Two, how do you approach the logistics of how expensive this game is? I'm thinking particularly bikes, but there's so much else just to get started - helmets, shoes, goggles, race entries, etc. etc. etc.

I'm behind this idea one thousand percent. I'm impressed with what you've done already and the ideas you have moving forward. Can't wait to see how this goes. You rule.

Also, my eyes just fell out of my head due to cute overload from JZ.

TriSaraTops said...

Of course not, X! Great suggestions! :)

Never heard of the Tri-Zone--good to know! I'm not sold on any particular was more that I couldn't think of any other name and just sort of have that as a temporary one. I definitely don't want to step on any company's toes or anything.

Yeah, cost is an issue. That's something I'm constantly battling with as a high school club advisor. I think I might be able to add to my resume "Car-Wash Organizer" after my 9 years in public education. :) I'm hoping by at least working on the kids already swimming and running, they will have some of the basics. But, any general pair of tennis shoes and cheap Target goggles will suffice for a sprint tri. Obviously we won't be expecting any tri bikes with these guys, and that's okay. Whatever's in the garage is okay. Or the neighbor's garage, for that matter. Flexibility is going to be the name of the game, and hopefully funds will follow somehow. It's all a work in progress, so thanks for the input!

triguyjt said...

great plans you have hammered out there....

btw i heard your interview and you did not sound nervous sounded very much together....

little guy is growing fast

j. said...

hey there tst.

i've got an idea for you that may be able to escalate your time frame and get your project launched a lot faster. i was going to email but couldn't find your address. can you drop me a line and I can fill you in. better than leaving a drawn out message here. or at least more drawn out than i've already drawn. i'll stop drawing now.


Anonymous said...

That sounds like a fantastic idea, and something that I would be interested in hearing about once you're done "trialing". As a mom I worry about what might happen to my kids when they hit teen years, which is also why I think as parents, we need to set them an example on what a healthy life style is.

Good luck with it.