2013 Triathlete Gift Giving Guide


Perhaps you’re a last minute shopper like me? Yes, I generally wait until December 24th to do my holiday shopping. Nothing like a little procrastination, right? I think grad school taught me that…

Triathletes are usually pretty easy to shop for since we typically like the latest and greatest technology that will make us fitter, stronger, and faster. Many triathletes have no problem shelling out $10,000 for the top of the line tri bike. I wish I had that problem…

However, sometimes it may be hard to shop for a triathlete because we tend to buy the newest technology as it comes out. If a triathlete has been in the sport for several years they may also have just about all the core equipment and some of the bells and whistles already, so what do you buy them?

Here is a list of items of various price tags to meet anyone’s budget and the needs of the triathlete in your life:

  1. Coaching – Perhaps your triathlete already has a coach or is thinking about hiring a coach in the New Year to help them meet their triathlon goals. Hint, hint – I’m still accepting athletes for 2014! Coaching is a great investment that any triathlete will see huge rewards from. Consider paying their coaching fees for a month or two or even the whole year!
  2. Race Entry Fee – Race entries can be expensive for any triathlete, especially if they are racing multiple events in a season. Ironman races can cost up to $700, while even the smaller local races can still cost about $100. Paying a race entry fee for your athlete will sure make them happier and more driven to do well in that race, just for you of course!
  3. Gift Certificate for a Bike Tune-up – Regular bike cleaning and tune ups are part of every bike owner’s yearly maintenance. Unfortunately, many of us tend to skip these very important things in favor of buying gear. A bike tune up several weeks before a big race can ensure that the triathlete’s bike is in working order and can make them faster! Who doesn’t love free speed!?
  4. New Tires – Bike tires are like car tires – they need to be changed when they become too worn out. If you live in an area where in snows a lot then chances are the triathlete in your life has to spend countless hours on the trainer riding to nowhere. Some triathletes buy special trainer tires (which are a great holiday gift idea too!) or just use their regular tire, which will be completely worn by the beginning of spring. They would love a new set of tires for race season! Make sure you check their current tires on their bike to ensure you buy the correct ones.
  5. Swim Pass or Swim Lessons – Little known fact… swimming is expensive! Living in Maine, I personally don’t have a lot of options for indoor swimming pools. I would estimate that we have about 15 pools across the entire state. For those of you living in Boston or New York, you probably have 15 pools in one block! Lap swimming adds up quickly! Most pools in the Greater Portland area average $3-$5 a pop and if you swim 3 times a week that’s about $60 a month! Consider buying your triathlete a swim pass at their local swimming hole and/or swimming lessons. Even the most advanced swimmers can gain something from a swim coach.
  6. Gift Certificate to a Running Store – Support your local running store by getting your triathlete a gift certificate! That way your athlete can pick out their favorite running shoes, winter running clothes, or even stock up on sports nutrition. Win, win for everyone!
  7. Race Wheels – Every triathlete dreams of having fancy race wheels, myself included! Race wheels are expensive, hence why I don’t have any. If you don’t have $2000 to purchase your favorite triathlete some new wheels then consider paying their race wheel rental fee at their big race this season. TriBike Transport, Rev3, and many bike shops offer race wheel rentals on the big day for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a set.
  8. Body Glide – Every triathlete needs some Body Glide! It’s a tough job squeezing into your wetsuit on race day. Body Glide makes the perfect stocking stuffer!
  9. IronWar – Matt Fitzgerald’s book on the 1989 Ironman World Championships tells the grueling story of the battle between the world’s two best athletes – Mark Allen and Dave Scott. This book is an epic page-turner and your favorite triathlete won’t want to put it down until it’s done!
  10. Massage – Triathletes often spend too much money on buying the best gear and technology and not enough on the stuff that matters the most – proper recovery! Massage is a great and proven effective recovery tool. Consider buying your triathlete a gift certificate to their favorite sports massage therapist. Your triathlete will thank you later!

~ Happy Training & Happy Holidays!  

Lessons from Mandela: A Life of Love, Giving, and Triumph

On Thursday December 5th the world lost a great leader and peace activist – Nelson Mandela. Mandela was born as Rolihlahla (translates to “troublemaker” in English) on July 18, 1918 in the small village of Mvezo in South Africa. Mandela’s paternal great-grandfather was local royalty, but his family was ineligible to obtain the throne. Mandela attended a Methodist school as a child where his teacher named him “Nelson.” Mandela studied law at the University of Witwatersrand where he became involved in politics while living in Johannesburg. He became the founding member of the ANC’s Youth League. Over the years Mandela ascended to high-ranking politic roles and while working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities.


In 1961 he cofounded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe. In association with the South African Communist Party he help lead a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government, which led to his sentence to life in prison. Mandela served 27 years in prison. He was released in 1990. Mandela became the first black South African President in 1994. He formed the Government of National Unity in attempt to defuse racial tension in the country. During his Presidency he focused on land reform, combating poverty and expansion of healthcare services. Mandela unsuccessfully ran for a second term. He became an elder statesman and focused on charitable work to end extreme poverty and combat HIV/AIDS through his Nelson Mandela Foundation. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Mandela is often referred to as “Madiba” and as “the father of the nation.”


I don’t often talk about my real job and interests on this blog because frankly, most of you would probably be bored out of your mind. I have a Master’s degree in Public Health and currently work in healthcare technology and policy, which I absolutely love. However, my real passion and interest lies in international healthcare development. In the next few years, after getting my feet underneath me (and paying back SallieMae), I plan to go back to school to each my PhD so I can work in the field of international public health.


Nelson Mandela is one of the people that inspired me to follow my dreams and make a difference in the world. Unfortunately to many people today about the world, especially within the United States, we are extremely materialistic. We have to have the latest technology, clothes, etc. We take for granted the house over our heads, the water that comes out of our taps, and the food we put on our tables. Billions of people (including millions within the US) do not have many of the luxuries that we have been afforded by just being born within a developed country. As we go into the holiday season we spend our times fighting the crowds to get the best deals on the latest toys and technology for ourselves and our families.

Of course, I’m guilty in this too. No one is perfect. However, as I get older I realize that money can’t buy you happiness. Happiness must come from within. I find happiness in giving back to my community and making a difference in someone’s life. We, as human beings living on planet Earth, can learn many lessons from Mandela. He may be a controversial figure, but I think we can all agree that he was a great humanitarian activist giving a voice to the billions of people around the world that live on less than a dollar-a-day, lack access to basic human rights such as water, access to life saving medical care, and the ability to put clothes on their back, food on the table, and a roof over their heads.


This holiday season (and the other 365 days a year) consider doing the following in your community:

  • Donating or volunteering at your local food pantry or soup kitchen
  • Donating blood to your local Red Cross
  • Donating winter jackets, hats, mittens, etc. to homeless shelters and organizations collecting them
  • Donating money or volunteering to your local United Way
  • Volunteering at a Nursing Home and spending time with the elderly
  • Shoveling your neighbors driveway or sidewalk

Consider donating to:

  • A local food bank or charity
  • Water.org, where you can give water for life to a family without access to clean water
  • Provide a cow, goat, rabbits, etc. to a family to help bring them out of poverty through the Heifer International Fund
  • Partners in Health, an amazing organization cofounded by Paul Farmer to bring healthcare to communities in developing countries that need it the most
  • A favorite charity of your choice

No matter what you do this holiday season, remember the real meaning of the holidays. In the words of Albert Einstein, “I believe in one thing – that only a life lived for others is a life worth living.”

~ Happy Training!