December 3, 2013 on 4:22 pm | In Charity, Community, Giving Back | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Polly Jansen. Although this took place earlier this year, we thought it a good one to share during this time of thanks and giving. Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter – pjansen!
As a member of an athletic community, I have learned from some amazingly gifted people, but the thing I appreciate most in my friends and fellow competitors is their eager willingness to give back to the sport. One such example recently popped up when I attended a training class for my new job. As participants, we were asked to introduce and tell something about ourselves. One of my new colleagues, Awolu, shared how he had come from a war-torn area of Ghana and never owned a pair of sneakers until he graduated from high school because his village didn’t have access to them. Awolu went on to explain that he has been in the United States for nine years and periodically purchases used sneakers to ship back to his village in Ghana. He is taking a trip there to work with a middle school in July and plans to send a shipment of shoes at the end of June.
Intrigued, I had to meet him afterwards. “Awolu,” I said, “do you really PURCHASE the used sneakers?” He assured me that he did, but confirmed that he would also take donations. I said, “Don’t purchase anymore shoes right now. You will have your whole shipment by mid-June!”
That evening I messaged Dan Gordon, founder of the Wissahickon Wanderers, a trail running club in Philadelphia that I have been a part of since 2004, and pitched the idea of collecting shoe donations from club members. We decided that since the Wanderers are holding informal trail races each Thursday in May and also helping to put on the Wissahickon Trail Classic 10k on June 8, that we would encourage the runners and volunteers to bring their used shoes to go to the students in Ghana.
This past Thursday we collected our first round of donations and will continue to do so through June 8. I really appreciate the support so far from the athletes in my community and it’s refreshing to see everyone come together when there is a need and they have the capacity to help. It seems like such a small thing because everyone has used running shoes laying around, and we are so happy to be able to share something of ourselves that we often take for granted. I thank Awolu for this opportunity and hope the students feel renewed energy as they lace up these kicks and put their best feet forward!
November 28, 2012 on 9:25 am | In Athlete Profile, Giving Back, Sponsorship | No Comments
We recently partnered with a new charity, Team Ariana, and I was curious about the amazing girl spearheading the foundation. I was able to send her some questions so we could get a better feel for the organization and the girl behind it. To learn more or to give to a great cause, visit the website or Facebook page.
How did you get started in triathlon?
When I was younger (Age 7 in Second Grade), I had tried sports like soccer, basketball and softball. I just could not find the right fit for me. Then, two of my friends’ (boys) dads told my dad about these kid triathlons they were participating in. My dad asked me if I wanted to give it a try. I did and the rest is history. I was hooked! My earlier years were spent learning about all three sports, nutrition, gear and competing in many local and national championship races. Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to start racing in adult triathlons, but only if my dad would do it with me. Now we do them all together! This year I competed in approximately 15 duathlons and triathlons, including two Olympic distance races.
What made you decide to start racing for charity?
As I progressed into the adult triathlons, a lot of attention was being placed on me. I was usually one of the only kids racing and I was beating most of the adults. I decided that I wanted to shift this attention away from me and onto a cause that was more worthwhile. I created Team Ariana last year and kicked it off at the beginning of the 2012 racing season. I united my sponsors and created a web site, a full Team Ariana race wear line with my awesome sponsor Champion System, and provided a way to raise more awareness and badly needed funds for the Vogel Alcove. The story on the Vogel Alcove also goes way back as my younger sister, Gabrielle, deserves all the credit for introducing it to our family. The Vogel Alcove is a special place which gives young homeless children and their parents a start at a second chance in life. They provide schooling and healthcare for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old and case management for the parents, which helps them prepare and find work, and ultimately a real place to call home. Twenty one different local homeless shelters, domestic violence facilities, etc. feed into the Vogel Alcove.
We started helping Vogel by donating all our birthday presents to them, creating donation drives and visiting the children to bake cookies, do art projects and play. But that just did not seem like enough. I wanted to do more. Once my sister and I realized that these sweet children don’t even have a bed to call their own, not even their own pillow, I knew I could make a difference. Team Ariana was the answer. When I am racing and pushing as hard as I can, I find a way to push harder knowing I am doing it for these children. I have so much and they have so little. I can endure a few hours of pain for them. This year alone, Team Ariana has raised over $37,000 and we are not slowing down one bit!
Do you participate in other sports outside of swim/bike/run?
Yes, I participate in volleyball at my school!
Have you inspired any friends or family to participate in triathlon?
Definitely! My dad was my number one equipment manager before I started doing adult triathlons. Now, he does all my races with me and even completed his first Ironman this summer! More importantly, I think I have opened up other kid’s eyes to the reality that they, too, can make a difference. I have heard and seen other kids finding a way to give back to their communities by finding something they believe in and going after it. Some do it through triathlons, and others through sports they love. The main thing I want to get across to other kids is that I am proof that one kid CAN make a difference.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
Well, I typically have 3-4 hours of homework every night so a typical training week during the school year is a little different than a training week during the summer. Also, my training changed when I began focusing in Olympic distance tris versus sprints. First off, my coach is awesome. Coach Steen Rose has always made sure that my training is balanced with my other obligations. More importantly, he makes sure I am always having fun. After all, I am still a kid! During the school year, each week I will typically balance 2 runs, 2 swims, 2 bikes, resistance training and yoga. My coach changes up my schedule, but the weekends usually involve longer bricks and more endurance work. We also use Training Peaks which really helps me in my weekly and monthly planning.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? ,
Looking at your results, it’s easy to see that you’re a fierce competitor. Do you have any dreams of racing as a professional some day?
Absolutely! I would like to (1) complete my first Ironman before I finish high school and (2) become a professional triathlete sometime in my career.
Who is your favorite triathlete (both male and female)?
Hunter Kemper and Sarah Haskins. I got to race with them both in the Toyota US Open Championships!
What is the toughest subject in school?
What is your favorite subject?
English, Spanish, Math, and Science
How do you decide what your goal is for how much money you want to raise for Vogel Alcove, and does that goal change from year to year?
This is my first year of raising money for the Vogel Alcove. When I started earlier this year, my goal was $10,000. We hit that so quickly that I raised it to $20,000. Once we passed that I raised it to $50,000! It has been so great to see so many people and companies help support me, Team Ariana, and the Vogel Alcove. This really is an awesome sport with a phenomenal support group.
How do you spend your down time (what’s your favorite non-athletic thing to do)?
Playing with my friends (sleepovers, movies, fun sports) and doing fun activities with my family (traveling, cooking, etc.).
What’s the hardest part about triathlon training?
The hardest part about triathlon training is usually not the training itself, but finding a way to structure my schedule so I can fit it in. I have found that taking breaks from my homework to train really allows me to recharge and focus more on my studying.
Are your friends into triathlon as well, or do they think you’re crazy?
I met my best friend (who lives an hour away) through triathlon racing. She is my BFF and I wish I could see her more. My other friends don’t race, but are supportive. Some have come to see races, but many don’t like getting up that early and they generally think I am crazy!
February 29, 2012 on 12:22 pm | In Giving Back, Sponsorship | No Comments
By the TriCats
Sunday, February 27, 2012 marked the date of some major competitive events for our country: there was the Oscar Awards, the Daytona 500, but most importantly, this day marked the 4th annual TriCats Splash and Dash hosted by the University of Arizona TriCats.
The TriCats put on this aquathlon every February in order to raise money for their upcoming trip to the Collegiate Triathlon National Champions. The race is an 825-yard swim followed by a 5-kilometer run on the University of Arizona campus. Plenty of local Tucsonans as well as collegiate athletes from U of A, Northern Arizona University, and Arizona State University come out to race this fast-paced aquathlon.
This year, TriSports offered a new twist on the event and agreed to give a $500 gift certificate to anyone who beat the fastest TriCat racing the event. Since most of the TriCats had their hands full setting up the event, only three of our athletes raced. Beat three collegiate athletes. Sounds easy right? Wrong. Among the three TriCat’s was Ben “The Newt” Kanute, a freshman sensation from Chicago with high hopes of winning Collegiate Nationals this year.
Competing in the event alongside Kanute were two Canadian elite triathletes, Andrew Yorke and John Rasmuseen, who are in town for some warm weather training. Yorke and Rasmussen, are both high quality swimmers and can hold their own on the run course and Kanute was sure to face a challenge. In addition, The Newt was assigned to swim in lane number 1, the farthest lane from the transition area meaning he would have the longest run coming out of the water.
Not surprisingly, The Newt completed the short swim with Phelps-like speed and was first out of the water. Yorke followed close behind and it was clear that the race would be won by the strongest runner. Yorke cut Kanute’s lead to a mere 22 seconds with just a mile to go on the run, showing a valiant effort and some all out guts. Kanute, noticing his lead slipping, stepped up his game and showed why he is considered one of the best young triathletes in the country. Coming across the finish line in a blazing 24:04, and The Newt took the title home for the TriCats.
The 4th Annual Splash and Dash was a great success and a lot of fun for everyone who participated. The TriCats were able to raise some money for their upcoming attempt at winning a National Championship and provide a fun racing atmosphere for the Tucson community.
A great thanks to Trisports.com for all of their support and to everyone who raced and volunteered!
Want to help the TriCats go to Nationals? Donate here! Invest in the future of the sport!
January 12, 2012 on 7:50 am | In Giving Back, Solar | No Comments
November 30, 2011 on 12:16 pm | In Announcements, Community, Giving Back, Random Musings | No Comments
We are once again raising the bar on what we feel a true triathlon store should offer in the way of amenities. You must have an indoor pool (check), you must have a dedicated bike fit studio (check), and you must have a treadmill to do foot strike analysis (check). Our newest addition – Port ‘o Potties.
Seriously, how many of us practice using these things? You really need to know the ins and outs of these giant plastic stink tanks. Sit or squat? Use TP or run it a bit dirty? Share or wait in line? These are all decisions we have to make when racing and we think it is important to practice every aspect of racing. So, next time you are at a store that says they are a triathlon store you know what to ask them – Where is the pool, fit studio, treadmill AND Port o’ Pottie. See you in line at the races!
November 17, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Community, Employee Adventures, Giving Back, Life at TriSports.com, Random Musings, Uncategorized | No Comments
This weekend is the 9th edition of Ironman Arizona and for all 9 of these, the TriSports.com staff, family, friends and loyal customers have been on the course volunteering and racing. This year will be no different. Our great customers from around Tucson, Phoenix and beyond come out in droves to support the TriSports.com aid station that is nestled under the 202 and Mill Ave bridges. This aid station serves as a safe haven for volunteers, racers and spectators because of the built in “roof” above. Along with volunteering, we have four great staff members, representing four different departments (customer service, accounting, buying and management) stepping up to the line representing the red, white and blue of TriSports.com. All combined, over 40% of our staff will be involved with the event in some way, shape or form.
I have to say that we are very fortunate to work in our facility because it really does feel like the entire TriSports.com staff is behind you. They understand when you had a hard day on the bike, a great run or a meeting in the Pain Cave. Most of the time when you see someone dragging in this building, it is because they just tortured themselves on some epic workout. Why? Because we live the endurance lifestyle, it is what we do, it is who we are. See you up in Tempe!
November 15, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Community, Giving Back, Random Musings, Solar | No Comments
There are three things in life I will fight for:
1) My family and friends.
2) My business.
3) The environment.
This is a story relating to #3 on my list.
Earlier this year we made the decision to install solar on our building. By June we had selected a vendor (Technicians For Sustainability) and by early July we had started the permitting process. This also included submitting plans to our BOA (Business Owners Association – it’s like a Home Owners Association but for the area our facility is located – the Butterfield Business Park). Fast forward to October and all of the permits, structural drawings, etc. were completed, which included getting a variance from the city because one of the structures holding the solar will go a couple feet into the easement of our property. We were contacted by TFS that they were ready to begin, what an exciting time – STOP! The day before we were to start construction we were contacted by our BOA that the architectural review committee, headed up by a local architect here in Tucson, decided to decline the installation of our project. Why? They stated a couple reasons, but mainly because you can see the solar panels from the road.
Yes, bureaucracy (and complete arrogance) at its best. Luckily the state of Arizona has a law that protects us – A.R.S. § 33-1816; however, it is a fight that I didn’t think we would have to address, especially considering the BOA had over 3 months to address the issue. Needless to say, we are proceeding with the project without the blessing of our BOA. This is for the environment, this is for my kids, this is for our future.
October 25, 2011 on 11:31 am | In Community, Employee Adventures, Giving Back, Life at TriSports.com | No Comments
October 20, 2011 on 2:14 pm | In Community, Employee Adventures, Giving Back, Life at TriSports.com | No Comments
Partnering with local organizations whose sole purpose is to help individuals seek employment that might otherwise be overlooked is just one of the many things that sets TriSports.com apart. Sustainability is one of seven Core Values defined by Trisports.com. Our definition of Sustainability states that “We make a conscious decision to be good stewards of the environment, develop and foster vendor and community relationships, provide a positive work environment for our staff and deliver an exceptional customer experience.”
Recently I had the pleasure of being introduced to San Miguel High School. San Miguel High School is located on the South side of Tucson. The High School opened in 2004, in order to create a learning community where students from families with limited financial means can have the opportunity to develop their full potential. To cover the tuition costs for the students, San Miguel forms partnerships with local businesses and the students work there as interns. In addition to covering tuition costs, the internships give students real-world work experience. A job sharing team consists of four students working one day a week and rotating on Fridays to fill one full-time entry level position.
With our growth over the past few years, answering incoming calls on the 2nd or 3rd ring was becoming a challenge. It has always been our belief that when you call TriSports.com you should get a live person. To address the issue, TriSports.com created a position called “Director of 1st Impressions” and hired a team of four students from San Miguel. Most likely the next time you call TriSports.com, one of the exceptional San Miguel students will answer your call and ask you “how can I direct your call?” In addition to answering all of the incoming calls they can also be found helping out in our accounting department with the many mounds of filing.
The students bring to work each day a great smile and an eagerness to learn. Having the opportunity to give back to our community by hiring the San Miguel students is one of the more rewarding experiences I have had as an HR Manager.
September 26, 2011 on 10:03 am | In Community, Giving Back, Life at TriSports.com, Solar, Water | 5 Comments
- Dual light controls in office spaces, along with plenty of natural light, so everyone thinks twice before flipping those switches.
- Zoned A/C throughout to ensure that only the spaces being used are being cooled.
- Extensive recycling – the recycling container is about 4x larger than the trash container, and it doesn’t stop with paper. We recycle the pallets that bring our shipments to us, the boxes that come in our back door, clothing, shoes, bike parts and more!
- Commuter program which encourages employees to bike to work by giving them a credit for every mile they commute, along with contests and awards to make it fun and interactive.
- Herman Miller furniture throughout, most of which is made from recycled material and can be recycled after its useful life.
- Carpet tiles made from recycled materials, which also make it easy to replace small areas rather than having to entirely re-carpet if something were to damage it.
- Greenbox program which gives our customers the option to receive a recycled box and packing material instead of new (about 90% of our customers choose this option).
- Shoe collection program which donates collected shoes to a local non-profit for reuse within the Tucson community.
- Bike parts are donated to Resource Revival to be re-made into art and awards.