swimming, triathlon

Swimming In The Snow

No Comments 25 March 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-25 at 5.00.15 PM

What do you do when you have a surprise snow when you’re supposed to be doing a swim workout? Swim in the snowfall, of course! Continue Reading

interview, running, triathlon, Uncategorized

Mark Allen- World Greatest Endurance Athlete

No Comments 12 December 2012

So, what does the World’s Greatest Endurance Athlete do after he finds out he’s been so honored by ESPN?

What can you do to become great?

All this and more in this interview with Mark Allen!


Racing My First Half Ironman

1 Comment 03 October 2012

I raced my first half Ironman race this weekend, and have lived to tell the tale.  My wife Krista made the 7 hour drive with me to cheer me on to make it all the more special, with several friends from our local triathlon club, BEAT, racing as well.  My goal was to finish the race in under 7 hours (ironically, the time it takes to drive from Nashville to Augusta).  So did I reach my goal?  You’ll have to read on to find out.

A couple quick notes for those unfamiliar with half Ironman races or Augusta.  A half Ironman starts with a 1.2 mile swim, then goes to a 56 mile bike, and finishes with a 13.1 mile half marathon.  I started training in March for this.  Over that 30 week period, I swam 67,353 yards (over 38 miles), biked 1594 miles, and ran 339 miles.  That’s not a lot for a triathlete, but pretty good for a human.

Regarding Augusta, I learned that it was named after Princess Augusta of England, and is pronounced “Awww-gusta”, like you feel sorry for it.  And to an extent, you do- they have this incredible looking downtown on Broad Street that reminds you of Disney’s Mainstreet USA in it’s clean, old-timey feel, but probably 60% of the storefronts are empty.  However, the people and volunteers we met there were incredibly nice and helpful.  You really root for the town and hope that hosting the largest half Ironman race in the country helps in the rejuvenation of the area.

My goal time for the swim was 58 minutes. The swim is perfect, in that you don’t even need to know how to swim to finish it.  It’s a lot like being in a ‘lazy river’ with floaties.  You swim with the Savannah River current the entire way (as compared to some where you swim in a circular pattern or out-and-back) with a pretty fast current pushing you along.  It’s a wetsuit-legal race, which means you don’t have to make any effort to stay afloat since you’re wearing buoyant wetsuit.  Last month, it took me 45 minutes to swim a 0.9 mile Olympic distance race.  For this, it took me 34 minutes to swim 1.2 miles. Shocking.  I was at 34 minutes, 24 minutes ahead of schedule.  (Note: Before the race, they announced they’d have some girls who would be strippers for you after you got out of the water. But not that kind of stripper.  Wetsuits are notoriously hard to get out of by yourself.  For the big races, though, after you come out of the water and get your arms out, you let down on a mat and two people ‘strip’ the wetsuit off you, saving you a minute or so and some potential frustration.  It’s still funny to say, though.)

My goal time for the bike was 3 hours, 40 minutes with the first transition, about a 15.5 mph average. The bike course is hillier than you expect, but in a gradual way.  There aren’t any steep sections where you have to stand up and mash on the pedals for five minutes.  My goal was to keep an even pace and not chase anyone on the bike, so that I wouldn’t burn myself out.  About 10 or 15 times I had to stop myself from speeding up to catch someone who passed me.  I just had to keep at my own pace.  56 miles is a lot, so you have to keep your mind going a bit.  Your first name is on your number bib on your back, so as I passed women, I’d say their name and something encouraging (the women who were passing me were too fast to say anything to). For the guys, I’d usually drop some good-natured trash talk.  One guy and I kept passing each other, and had some pretty good banter going (you’re not allowed to ride side by side, so conversations are for a few seconds every few miles).  Finally, about 40 miles in, he had to stop at the side of the road and answer nature’s call, and that’s the last I saw of him.  After that, I pushed pretty hard and finished at 3:20, 20 minutes ahead of my bike goal time, and 44 minutes ahead of my overall swim + bike goal.

My goal for the run was 2:14 minute for the 13.1 miles and 3 minutes transition time, a 10 minute per mile pace. The run is incredibly flat, and does a modified two loop course down and around Broad Street. One of the highlights was at the beginning of the two loop run, where I saw Krista cheering for me on the side of the road.  I flipped my visor bill around backwards, and gave her a big kiss as I passed.  A guy running behind me yelled, “Well done!”  I turned around and replied, “And I didn’t even know her!”

There were a lot of spouses with kids lining the roadway, too.  They’d been selling cowbells, and I saw a little daughter pause her ringing long enough to ask her dad, “Do ants have ears?” If they do, that anthill she was by was in for a long day.

The first half of the run went perfectly.  I wasn’t pushing the pace at all, and was running about a 9:30 pace, and I intentionally had to slow myself down.   Then the cramps hit.  First my right hip.  Then my left quad.  I was stopping at every water stop to get pretzels, water, and Ironman-aid, or whatever they call it.  Eventually, I’d just stop by the rest stations and chat for a bit, trying to work out the cramps.  Then my right calf and my left calf started to cramp.  The frustrating part was that I still had energy- when I was running, it was probably at a 9 minute pace or so.  Finally, when I was just 0.2 miles from the finish line, closing enough to hear the music blaring and people cheering, I got my worst cramp.  My big toe completely curled under my foot.  It was bizarre to see.  I had to take off my shoe and pull with both hands to get it to stop cramping.  I knew Krista and friends would be at the finish line, and I wanted to run down the final stretch instead of limping, so I took an extra couple of minutes to stretch out my foot.  I was able to turn the corner and gingerly run the last 100 yards, finishing the run in 2:24 minutes, and 11 minute pace, 13 minutes slower than my goal time.  I finished the race in 6:22, 38 minutes faster than I’d planned.  Overall, I finished in 2,194th place out of 3,335 racers, and 309 out of 416 men in my 35-39 age group.

I raced this half Ironman, and am running the 200-mile over-night, over-mountain Ragnar Relay race to raise money for Servants Heart Ministry.  If you’d like to donate, please do so here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/robert-dublin/teamshm.  Thanks!


*photos by Sherri Kerstetter

the darins, triathlon

3 Generations- 2 Tris – 1 Day

No Comments 19 July 2012

Photo: The Tennessean

When we first suggested to The Tennessean the story of 3 generations of Darin women doing their first triathlon on the same day (including my wife, daughters, sisters-in-law, nieces, and the star of the show, my mother-in-law), we weren’t sure if they’d run the story. Well, maybe they’d have a blurb if we were lucky.

Not only did they run the story, but they put their picture on the front page (next to LSU football coach Les Miles), and then gave them almost two full pages in the the family section of the paper, including the biggest picture I’ve ever seen in the paper (guessing about 8 1/2 by 11).

To read the full article, go here, or pick up an actual newspaper at the store!

To learn more about the Girls Tri It On triathlon (SUPER short, women’s only) on August 18, go to Team Magic’s website here.

To give your child their first chance to do their own triathlon, check out the VACO Kids Triathlon here.

To learn more about the best triathlon club on earth (and they have cool shirts, too), go to BEAT’s website here.

expo, half-marathon, kids, marathon, running, triathlon

Going to the marathon expo with kids? You HAVE to do this.

No Comments 27 April 2012

Extra Snickers bars? Check

If you’re going to run marathons and race triathlons, you have to get your family on board.

One of the best ways to get your kids to love it is to have them go ‘trick -or-treating’ at the race expo. My girls, 5 and 6, absolutely love this. They each get one of the many bags vendors hang out, and then they go around to all the vendors and say “trick or treat!” And since they’re cute little girls and not greedy adult runners, venders just love giving them tons of free stuff. At the last expo we attended, I got a few gels and a bottled water from vendors. My girls each got tech tees (adult medium, but who cares) race finisher medals, a bunch of gels, bars, waters, gatorades, shaving cream- probably $100+ in free stuff. The girls didn’t want any of it, they just had fun ‘trick-or-treating”. And I had enough gels to last for months.

Scary Disney Marathon Poster!

As my friend Shawn says, “Kids are expensive! You might as well get some money back from them.”

 Have fun at the expo!

cycling, running, triathlon

GearBuzz – The Groupon for Triathletes, Runners and Cyclists

No Comments 18 November 2011

It’s about time, but it looks like we finally have a ‘Groupon’ all to ourselves.  GearBuzz, brought to you by Competitor Group- the same folks of Rock N’ Roll Marathon Series, Triathlete Magazine and Muddy Buddy fame- will offer deals on products and services for the endurance community starting November 21.

I’m excited about it.  I’ve always been a fan of Bonktown.com, but adding the groupon mentality to it makes it a bit more fun- and we’ll probably have 24 hours or more to decide rather than Bonktown’s 30 minutes.  Happy shopping!

ragnar, running, soldiers, triathlon

3 Easy Ways To Say Thank You To Our Veterans

No Comments 11 November 2011

Today is Veterans Day, a day we remember and say thank you to those who’ve served and given their lives to protect our freedoms.   I decided to ask my friends who are veterans if they suggested any ways civilians like myself might be able to say thank you.  The first two below are organizations that were very near to their hearts, and were suggested by multiple people.  I also included some additional links.

We wouldn’t have the lives and freedoms we have today without our soldiers and veterans.  Please make sure to thank them today!

The photo above is of a young boy name Christian, son of Staff Sgt. Marc Golczynski, accepting his father’s flag at his funeral.  Marc’s friend Daryl Mackin realized that Christian would never again receive a present from his father, and that there were children all over the country who would never again receive a present from their fathers or mothers who had lost their lives defending our country.
Christian’s father wrote this in a letter to his mother shortly before he died in combat:

“We are warriors… we fight and sometimes die so that our families don’t have to… Stand beside us.”
The goal of A Soldier’s Child Birthday foundation is to do just that- stand beside fallen soldier’s families.  They aim to honor the memory of the parent by giving a meaningful gift to his/her children on their birthday.  If you’d like to help, you can do so here.



The Wounded Warrior Project assists soldiers who’ve been injured in action.  Being into triathlons and endurance events, I especially have a heart for the sporting portion of this group. It was great to see the soldiers with the Wounded Warrior Project running at Ragnar Tennessee last weekend.

Next year I hope to ride during another event of theirs, The Soldier Ride.  These rides take place around the country (including Nashville), and raise funds for the project.  If you’d like to donate or participate in a ride, you can do so here.

Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Special Operations Warrior Foundation provides scholarships and counseling to families and children of fallen or severely wounded special operations soldiers.   You can donate here.

A friend of mine let me know her husband lost his best friend last year in the well publicized Blackhawk helicopter crash, leaving behind his wife and four children- one who had only been with his daddy four weeks of his life.  The Special Operations Warrior Foundation gave his children scholarships.  As she put it so well, “It is strange to have it so close to home.  I think what most do not realize is the compounded effect of the loss of one life. It’s not just the families, it’s the brothers and friend as well.  Much like a pebble in the lake the ripple is huge! “

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS (http://troopssupport.com/)
This site contains links to several organizations that support our troops, including Operation Mom, Hugs for Heroes, and others.

It just takes a few minutes to give back and say thanks today!

ragnar, running, triathlon

Running Ragnar TN, 2012!

No Comments 03 November 2011

I’m running 196 miles with my Ragnar Relay team over mountains and through the night (last year, through sleet, rain and snow), 30 hours straight, from Chattanooga to Nashville Friday (aka tomorrow) and Saturday.  Follow, donate (please, it’s for an awesome cause!), and cheer!

Where are we? We’ll be posting handoffs, photos, and videos throughout the day and night!
Twitter @SHMinistry
Facebook.com/servantsheartministry (NOTE: twitter updates will be more frequent)
Youtube.com/12ozofawesome (you can see several videos from last year already, more going on through the race)

In theory, here is where I’ll be:
At 1:02PM on Friday- http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/tennessee/legs/5 (somewhere between Chattanooga and Jasper, TN)
At 11:39PM on Friday night- http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/tennessee/legs/17 (in the wilderness near Lynchburg, TN)
At 8:35AM on Saturday morning- http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/tennessee/legs/29 (cruising from Page High School to Trinity Park in Franklin)

Brian Lord: www.firstgiving.com/brianlord  (Krista, the girls and I will be visiting these kids next spring).

MAPS: http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/tennessee/course_maps

Thanks for your support!

In a nutshell, this past year, Servants Heart Ministry’s donations were down, so they had a tough decision- do they A) still serve chicken, rice, and beans for their meals, but stop feeding as many kids in Santiago, Dominican Republic, or B) feed as many kids, but cut out the chicken. Rob (my good friend, SHM co-founder, and one of our runners) told me the story of the time he had to be the person at the end of the food line, and had the difficult job of telling a grandmother that they didn’t have enough food for her grandchild- basically, that they had to turn her away and the child would have to go hungry.  So the decision was made- the kids would lose the chicken, but at least the same number of kids would have something until donations came back up.

So, we’ve set a goal of raising $2,675 (the cost of chicken for one month for the kids in the program), so all the kids can have chicken (and the much needed protein it provides) for December- sort of a Christmas present. (as of Thursday morning, we’re at $1,495)


active.com, athlinks, belmont, cool running, daily mile, running, triathlon, vanderbilt

My Top Five Favorite Running/Triathlon Links

No Comments 25 October 2011

Here are my top five favorite running links.  Some, I visit several times a week (or even daily, in the case of Bonktown), and they’ve all made planning run and triathlon training easier or more fun.

5. Cool Running Pace Calculator–   – I need every little victory I can get, and seeing that I dropped a 6 mile run pace from 9:21 to 9:15 per mile is a big plus.

4. G-Map Pedometer – brought to you by your friends at Google.  I use this to map out all my new runs ahead of time.  You can also use the elevation feature to see where the hills are- if you’re training for a race with big hills at miles 3 and 8, you can set up your training run to do the same.  You can also share your routes with friends, or people you’re inviting to run with you so they can stake it out ahead of time. Here is the Belmont-Vandy route I ran when I lived in that area. (By the way, all the Vanderbilt people reading this are really upset that I called it the “Belmont-Vandy” route instead of the “Vandy-Belmont” route, and almost made them spit out their chardonnay in disgust at being mentioned after Belmont.)

3. Daily Mile (with Electric Miles App)- .   #5 and #4 have more to do with planning and results. This has more to do with accountability.  Daniel C. White suggested this to me as a way to keep not just friends in the loop, but people who read my blog as well (you can see it over on the right).  It just looks bad if I haven’t put anything on for a day or two.  There’s also a nice little app (you can find it under Electric Miles in the App Store) that you can put on your phone to more easily download your info, and it just pops up on your blog.  If you decide to friend me on Daily Mile, you’ll get to see my picture of when I had an awesome Geraldo mustache!

2. Athlinks–  Once you sign up, it automatically adds in your races (you can usually find the race and add it if it misses).  I love to back and see the 39 of the 40 or so races I’ve done over the past 8 years, compare all my times, split them up into years or events, and see the improvement.  You can also pull up and compare how you’re doing against your ‘rivals’ (people who you may not even know who run 3 or more of the same races you’ve run) and your friends as well- kind of a facebook for runners.

1. Bonktown– This site has helped me save a TON of money.  I still strongly encourage folks to make their big purchases from their local bike/running/tri shops- but for certain things or taking risks on new products, Bonktown is great.  Every 20 or 30 minutes, a crazy 50%-90% off deal comes up (you can set it so the bottom right hand of your browser shows what is currently offered). I’d heard how bib shorts are all the rage, but they’re three times as expensive as regular bike shorts- UNLESS you get them on Bonktown.com.  I ended up getting a matching Castellini jersey ($99) and bib shorts ($129) for $110 total- not any more than I’d pay for regular bike shorts and a jersey, and they’ve been great- now I only want to wear bib short. I also get my Accel Hydro ($16 instead of $40) and some various odds and ends there like arm warmers, tri tops, or sunglasses.  Great site.

swimming, triathlon

Secret Tip – How to Pull in Freestyle

No Comments 24 October 2011

Secret Tip – How to Pull in Freestyle
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvAMq9rSzyU]

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