Thursday, March 15, 2018


As we did with Ice Breaker (3/24, a week from Saturday) & Salem (4/21), here are our TOP 10 REASONS why you should go big or go home at St. George 70.3. We don't recommend you make this your triathlon debut, but if you have some races and training under your belt maybe these will push you over the edge...

10) We'll start off with an obvious one from "RED ROCK BACKDROP: Enjoy the unique and stunning natural surroundings of this Southwestern race." Yeah, yeah, yeah we know St. George is beautiful... NEXT!

9) If you're on the fence and this is an incentive for you, you have until March 19th for your race materials to be personalized (eg. your name on your race bib as well as some of the shirts they sell).

8) Being the North American 70.3 Championship race adds to the energy, and the pro forum on Thursday is always a good time.

7) The Utah Tri Buzz crystal ball predicts May 5th to be 65 degrees & partly cloudy, with 1-2 mph winds*

6) Race #3 of the inaugural Utah Triathlon Championship Series. Get a race or two under your belt in the spring months and set yourself up for a great season.

5) When it was being debated as to whether or not St. George 70.3 should be a Utah Triathlon Championship Series race, fast and wise Andrew Hall told us something along these lines... "we have to support St. George as well as the local races, or it will eventually go away." This rings true to us.

4) Snow Canyon will be a piece of cake for you this year, no doubt.

3) YOLO... go get another epic adventure!

2) Inarguably the most prestigious road triathlon in the state, with a national and international field.


Link to register: St. George 70.3

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Shout out SUTC!

Just wanted to give a quick shout out today to SUTC. Despite doing an interview a few months ago, just recently did Utah Tri Buzz have the chance to meet up with new SUTC President Shawn Jaca.

Shawn's enthusiasm is contagious, and SUTC is up to some great things. Regardless of where you live in the state, take a look at their site here:

The more we can get to know each other as a state tri community, the better.
Also, if you're doing St. George 70.3 and heading down to train, make sure to reach out for some "southern hospitality" and tips for the course!

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Monday, March 5, 2018

The Triathlete's Physical Therapist: Stephanie Shew

There's a famous poem you may have heard about a triathlete named Humpty:

Humpty Dumpty ran on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

But Stephanie Shew could, salvaging Humpty's race season.

Before we get to the interview, please allow me as Utah Tri Buzz editor to offer my witness regarding the truthfulness of this poem!

After trying to manage an injury for several weeks, I finally got smart and sought out Stephanie's expertise. In addition to the hands on work she does, the strength/flexibility stuff she prescribes, etc, it's been awesome to be able to ask specific things triathlete to triathlete... "so, St. George is 2 months away... do you think I can still give it a go or would that be stupid?"  "I was gonna do a 60 min tempo run today... what would you do, should I just swim instead?" etc, etc. 
She can relate, and will help get you back on track while mitigating loss of fitness.

5 stars!

What’s your professional background as a PT as well as your athletic background? How did you first get started with triathlon?

I received my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Utah in 2013, following receiving my Bachelor's in Exercise Physiology, with minors in Chemistry and Nutrition in 2009. I was lucky enough to jump directly into Outpatient Orthopedics following PT school, and have been working with the same company since graduation. I am currently a Clinical Director with Registered Physical Therapists, Inc at the Life Centre.

Stephanie at her triathlon debut, Ice Breaker 2015

I was a competitive gymnast growing up, and commuted 45 min each way to practice 5-6 days/wk. So, I have been used to a fairly hectic and regimented schedule from a very young age. I competed throughout my grade school years and then decided to not pursue gymnastics further in college. My body had dealt with its fair amount of nagging injuries and challenges, as well as I wanted to focus on academics. I also dabbled in short distance track events throughout high school, but gymnastics always took priority. I actually really enjoyed sprinting, but didn't have the time I would have liked to commit to it.

I first got into triathlon because of a good friend from grad school. We had gotten into some 1/2 marathons and marathons, but nothing crazy. It wasn't until after PT school that I got into triathlons. My friend asked if I wanted to do an Ironman, I said "Someday. It is on my bucket list." Her reply, "Ok, good. Because I just signed up for the St. George half." We only had a couple of months to train, and neither of us could swim more than a length of the pool. We figured we should do at least one tri before St. George, so we signed up for Ice Breaker. We muddled our way through together, but survived. Luckily, we were able to attend tri camp with SLTC a couple weeks before St. George. Everyone was great at guiding us and answering all of our pestering questions! Race day was not ideal for me, ended up with significant nutrition problems, and DNF'd during the run. I told myself that I wouldn't listen to my friend EVER again, but 5 70.3's and one full Ironman later, I am still at it, ha!


What are your favorite races you’ve done, and plans for the upcoming season?

Ironman Santa Rosa will always be near the top of my list, mainly because it was my first full...but it was a great venue and I really enjoyed the course! I always enjoy St. George 70.3 because of how many local racers there are. No matter where you are on the course, you always see familiar faces. Coeur d'Alene 70.3 last year was gorgeous and a lot of fun, so I'm hoping to race that again this year. As always, all of the local races are always a blast!

After a crazy race season last year, my first 140.6, and keeping athletes healthy with work, I am taking this year a little easier. I have Oceanside 70.3, St. George 70.3, and hopefully CDA 70.3 on my list this season thus far. I'm hoping to get a couple of local sprint/olympic races in this year as well.

What are the stupidest things triathletes can do, i.e. common recipes for getting injured?

Ha, triathletes in general do a lot of stupid things...I mean who really wants to participate in a constant activity for up to 17 hours at a time??

That being said, the most common thing I see is overuse injuries and people not listening to their body. Triathletes are notorious for overtraining and "pushing through" a nagging injury. A lot of people panic if they miss a workout or when a race is approaching faster than they expected.

a little PT mid-ride.... here, bite on this cracker for the pain

On a scale from 1-10, from your perspective how important are each of the following:

Stretching 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Comments: This has been a great debate for years! Stretching and strengthening are both things that tend to be overlooked. We like to get our workouts done, shower, and get back to life. Research has shown that stretching prior to exercise has not proven to prevent injuries any more than an active warm up. Stretching muscles that are not warmed up (either passively or actively) can do more harm than good. I like to tell patients to always try to do an active warm up. This can be muscle activation drills/exercises, light spinning, brisk walk/jog, dynamic stretching, and then progress into your workout. 

Stretching post workout is ideal. Your muscles are warm and have been used, so take advantage of that! It is a great way to recover and let your HR slow down.

top of the world with Mary Day and Perry Hacker

Icing stuff 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Comments: This one is hard to put a frequency to, since it is so dependent on the person and injury/recovery. Ice is typically used to facilitate a decrease in swelling and manage pain. When using ice for these purposes, I would recommend icing 10-15 min, up to 3-4 times/day. Just make sure there is a layer between you and the ice (you would be amazed at how many people give themselves frostbite). There is also a fair amount of research out there about contrast baths (hot/cold) for muscle recovery. But, I won't go into that rabbit hole right now.

Kona 2017 with Perry Hacker and Rory Duckworth

Strength work 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Comments: Strengthening should go hand in hand with stretching. You want to be strong/stable within the range of motion that you have. There are people that are Gumby-like, and there are people that are bricks. You want to be in between that. Like stretching, strengthening tends to get overlooked. I think it is important for athletes to be "functionally strong." We need our bodies to hold up for hours and hours at a time. A lot of injuries surface because of compensations over a prolonged period of time. Our bodies are great at compensating and getting what needs to be done, done. But, they can only hold up for so long. This is where strength work comes into play.

My general rule that I tell patients is to do light strengthening exercises to "wake-up" your muscles that you will be using for a particular discipline. This can include bandwork, dynamic stretching, etc. It is also important not to push strength work to fatigue prior to a long/hard workout. Those muscles will already be tired and performing hours of activity will only exacerbate poor biomechanics, which can lead to further injury. A Physical Therapist can give you some good ideas on key exercises to address your specific deficits.

volunteering at Kona 2017

Scenario for you: Jane Triathlete starts a run and notices a new pain in her knee. She hadn’t felt anything prior, but that brick the other day must have caused some inflammation. What’s the best course of action in that moment? Stop and go home? Continue cautiously? Rub some dirt on it and go faster? Other?

It would depend on what type of pain it is. If it is sharp and debilitating, definitely stop, go home, and contact a PT or orthopedist. If it is a dull ache/discomfort, sometimes this is a sign of imbalances and overtraining. In this case, proceed cautiously. The discomfort may calm down after warming up. If it does not, stop. Missing a workout because you are too cautious is not the end of the world. Listening to your body is always important. As a general statement, pushing through an injury is not the best advice...

How about over the next few days… what’s the best way to nip something minor in the bud? Is it best to shut things down for a bit (or just swim, etc.) or is it generally ok to start workouts and see how you feel?

I wouldn't completely shut things down. "Motion is lotion". Light, painfree, activity is always good. You can always adjust a workout based on how you feel. I have had a fair number of patients think that they "have to get a workout done", and end up injuring themselves further. I like to tell patients that pain is their guide. If activities flare-up your injury and pain levels, you need to back off a little. If you are able to make it through a workout with minimal increase in pain, and it doesn't linger, you are right on track. Gradually increase activity/intensity as your body allows and WITHOUT increases in pain levels. If a pain is consistent for a week, does not improve with rest, and you aren't able to participate in activities, contact a PT. PT's are trained to screen injuries and refer out if they think it is something that needs additional evaluation.

CDA 70.3

From a scientific standpoint, what causes typical “overuse” injuries… as in, what happens to ligaments, tendons, muscles, etc. to sometimes push them over the edge into injury land?

Overuse injuries are usually caused by a sudden increase in training or training with bad biomechanics. Like I mentioned earlier, your body is great at compensating and allowing you to perform desired movements. However, if there is an underlying abnormality/imbalance in regards to flexibility/strength/stability, something will give at some point in time. Your body can only compensate for so long. Most overuse injuries are tendon related...where muscles attach to bone.

I'll try not to sound really nerdy..."Tendinitis" is an acute tendon injury due to repetitive loading. As it becomes more chronic, it technically is a "tendinosus" or "tendinopathy". In tendinopathies, there is a degeneration of the tendon, microtears, disorientation of fibers, vascular trauma, and localized swelling. There are several stages in pathology, and if not addressed appropriately, injury can progress on the continuum.

Climbing around in her "free" time. No tendinitis here.

Let’s say you have a particular area that gives you trouble over time… (flares up, you deal with it, heals, flares up the next year, etc). What’s the best way to stop an injury from reoccurring after you’re back in your training groove?

The best way to manage an injury is to find out what the underlying cause is. Many things are just "band-aids" and mask the problem. Having someone with a trained eye look up/down the chain will help prevent further injury. It is also important that once an injury is managed, to stay on top of it. This may mean continuing to perform certain exercises/stretches that were prescribed to you during your time of injury. I often see patients return with a flare-up of the same injury, however they had also stopped doing the things that had helped them manage those symptoms beforehand.

When should someone see you vs. powering through on their own? How do you help people get back to what they love, and how can they get started with you?

With having direct access to PT's now, I would err on the side of caution and get an injury checked out as soon as you can. PT's are trained to screen injuries, direct care, and get you back to activities faster. If we suspect that there is something more involved, typically a PT can get you in to see an Orthopedist faster than you can on your own. It is especially important to have an injury evaluated if you have taken some time off to rest, but has not been improving over the last couple of weeks. It is always easier to rehab an injury when it is acute vs chronic.

Ironman Santa Rosa

At RPT, we offer free consultations and can typically get people in that same day. A PT will meet with you, do a quick screen, and determine what would be best for you. That could be therapy, referring to another Physician, or kindly telling you that you are a hypochondriac. If I think that you would benefit from therapy, we get you started by managing your symptoms. A more comprehensive evaluation takes place and exercises can be personalized to you and your injury. As you improve over time, changes to your specific plan will be made so that you can get back to what you love!

RPT has 9 locations around the Salt Lake Valley, so it makes access and scheduling availability more convenient. I am located at the Life Centre building in Sandy. At the Sandy/Life Centre clinic, we offer some unique services like dry needling, IASTM, running analyses, and aquatic therapy. You can find all of our locations and information on our website. Any of our clinics should be able to get you in that day or the next, so you do not have to delay your training too long!

I am always available to reach by email and office phone. It's always great to get athletic, motivated people in the clinic! If you have an injury, come in and we can get you the care that is needed!


I am also at RPT Recharge Sports Performance. I am there doing injury evaluations and work closely with them and their members. Make sure you check their facility out, as it is a great relaxing recovery tool!

CDA 70.3

Anything else you’d like to share?

Hopefully, I am not the only one that really enjoys their job. But, I can honestly say I do enjoy what I do. It is one of the most rewarding things to see someone get back to what they love, and know that I helped them accomplish that. I am definitely never bored with my job. There is always research on new techniques to keep up to date on, and no 2 injuries are ever the same. Everyone's goals are different, and everyone responds differently. I am definitely the nerdy one that reads journal articles for fun and listens to podcasts at 1 1/2 speed. But it keeps me on my toes and I am able to get you back to what you love!

Food for thought...I was asked this during my PT school interview. Why are manhole covers round? Not square, triangular, hexagonal, dodecahedral, etc.??

I hope to see all of you out on the course this year!

Humpty doing his happy dance in a sick new race kit

Related Posts

Buzzworthy: New SUTC President Shawn Jaca

Curls For Girls: Interview with SLTC Founder Rory Duckworth

Skye's the Limit! Interview with Local Pro Skye Moench


Wednesday, February 28, 2018


First of all, prices for the IceBreaker go up at midnight tonight! As a refresher, here are our Top 10 Reasons To Break the Ice. Whatever reasons you choose for yourself, come join this season kickoff race & party March 24th!

Sign up now and save:

Secondly, in case you missed it, check out this fun announcement from RaceTri. Can you beat the RD??

This quiet unassuming gentleman in the grey shirt holding the microphone is one of RaceTri's illustrious race directors.

There was a time, many years ago, when he could swim, bike and run rather quickly. Then, he became a race director and got fat.

Well, the time is now - Joel Hinckley, RaceTri Race Director, is challenging you to beat him and his extra 40 pounds (and his 15 minute head start) at the Ice Breaker.

Introducing RaceTri's first ever "Beat the Race Director" challenge.

Joel doesn't even know where his bike is, can't remember how to swim (has a torn rotator cuff) and averages a 9 minute mile when he goes running. He also enjoys frequent trips to Crown Burger whenever he passes it and can readily direct you to any of Salt Lake County's Crown Burger establishments without referring to Google Maps.

But today, it is official - Joel is returning to Triathlon.

Let's see if you can beat him.

Sign up today and take the "Beat the Race Director Challenge".

Joel is also challenging Aaron to do the same at the Salem Spring (April 21st) and didn't ask for Aaron's permission to issue this challenge.

Related Posts

Top 10 Reasons To Break the Ice

Top 10 Reasons To Hit Up Salem Spring

Monday, February 26, 2018

New Utah Triathlon Team!

Intermountain Healthcare is well known for being the largest healthcare provider as well as the largest employer in the state of Utah.

What you may not have known is it's also the title sponsor of Utah's newest triathlon team.

Intermountain's recently announced CEO, Dr. Marc Harrison, just so happens to be an avid triathlete on the side.

He wanted to create a team based on the following principles:

1) Triathlon for all as a way to "LiVe Well" in a healthy lifestyle
2) No membership fees, and everyone is welcome at all team events
3) All members will have access to an experienced triathlete "mentor" to help navigate beginning and/or improving in the sport

That's the jist of what's been communicated to us so far... stay tuned for more info as it's announced, and feel free to check out this site to learn more! Intermountain Triathlon

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Killing It! Interview with Perry Hacker

Perry Hacker has shown up on our radar 3x of late. First of all, he was near the top of the list as a Most Improved Local Triathlete - 2017, followed by a strong showing at Ironman Arizona. Last but not least, two weeks ago he churned out a Boston Qualifying marathon... no big deal.

With a trifecta like that, we knew we had to track this guy down and interrogate him on his success. Thanks for the time, Perry!

Standard question: What’s your athletic background and how did you get into triathlon?

I was mostly into weightlifting and skiing/snowboarding all through high school and college, and mostly into mountain biking when I moved to Utah. I started running in 2010 when I did my first 1/2 marathon at Walt Disney World. It was the Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon which ended at EPCOT park with a large food and wine party (which was the main reason I ran the race). I was hooked after that, doing many other running and Spartan Races, relays, etc., and started ending up on the podium. I was invited by my running group to do the Spudman Triathlon in 2014. I bought a wetsuit and a road bike and started training (I hadn’t ever road biked or swam before). I LOVED it, and was hooked. I did Jordanelle and East Canyon that same year, joined the Salt Lake Triathlon Club that December and then signed up for St. George 70.3 in 2015.

Perry @ his triathlon debut - Spudman 2014

According to your Facebook page you’re originally from the east coast. What brought you to Utah and how long have you been here now?

I'm originally from New Jersey. I came here for my college senior year spring break ski trip in 1988, and immediately fell in love with the mountains, sunshine, and big open skies. As soon as I graduated I moved right back out, spending the summer mostly in Southern Utah and then got a job with Snowbird. I have been here 30 years.  

You were 4th overall on our “Most Improved Triathlete” list, which compared 2017 results to 2016. What would you say have been the biggest keys to your improvement?

Getting a coach who helped me set up a good training plan, dialing in my nutrition, and looking at the sport in a different light. Up until last year, I never felt like a “competitor.” Last year I had some good finishes in local and IM branded events, which changed my mindset. I realized that I could really progress with good training and focus and get close to or even on the podium at some of the larger races. I ramped up my training both physically and mentally, invested in a new bike with a good fit and started training with power. This made me stronger and more confident in my ability as a triathlete. 

How has the local club scene helped with your progression?

The SLTC has been a huge help. Initially, it introduced me to a whole community of people who were doing what I loved. I was so new to the sport that being able to share experiences and knowledge with so many great triathletes has been so helpful. Not to mention support at races. Seeing so many club members getting to Kona and to 70.3 Worlds as well as winning local races has been a big push for me to compete harder. The club is a great community both athletically and socially. I love helping new members get involved and love to supporting the club any way I can. I’m pretty active on the Facebook page, and love to talk to people. So I hope I help people feel welcome and involved. I recently started training with Pat Casey at BAM and joined that club. I really love the facilities, focus on training and the community that BAM has. Pat’s strong focus on holistic training, achievement and success has pushed me even harder. Not sure there is another city where you have two amazing Triathlon clubs dedicated to the success of their members.

St. George 70.3 in 2016 didn’t factor into your "Most Improved" average mentioned above (average of Top 3 races), but out of curiosity what happened on the bike? How did it feel to come back with a very solid 6:09 in 2017, and what advice would you give to rookies on that course?

Oh man, St. George 70.3 was my first DNF. It hit me pretty hard. I was in the 2nd to last swim wave, and it was raining and freezing when I got out of the water, I didn’t have the clothes I needed and by mile 15 I was frozen, shaking, and almost hypothermic. I had to stop. I got in someone's warm car and it was over. I knew I wouldn’t go back out. It took me a while to get over that. So, my goal was to go back in 2017 and not only redeem myself but to PR my 70.3 time, which I did. It felt awesome. St. George was my first 70.3 in 2015 and coming back so strong felt amazing. It is my favorite 70.3. Advice I would give: The course is intimidating but it's not as bad as its reputation. Definitely get to St. George and get some time on the course. Even if it's just once. The swim can be cold. Prepare for it. Get in the water before race day so you get a feel for it. On the bike, be steady on the uphills and use the downhills to your advantage. Despite what you might hear, there is a lot of downhill on the bike course. For the run, hill repeat training. The first three miles of the run are hard. Nothing you can do about that. Just take it easy and get to the top. It’s very much a mental game. The rest of the run course is challenging but doable. The last 3 miles are all downhill. It’s a beautiful course, take it all in. Plus, there is so much participation from SLTC and BAM, so you are never alone on the course.

found this online... how SG '16 went for a lot of people!

We see your name on the St. George start list for 2018 as well. What are your goals for this year, both at SG and for the season in general? What other races do you have in mind?

I’m super excited for St. George this year. My goals are to beat my previous time by 30 minutes, with faster times in all 3 disciplines. I am also doing Boulder 70.3, Arizona 70.3 and IMAZ. This year I'm also doing a bunch of marathons (LA, Boston, Chicago, & Big Cottonwood).

Was Ironman Arizona last November your IM debut or have you done others as well? How would you summarize that race, and what was the key to running so well off the bike? (Perry ran 4:03 to close out a 12:10 overall time)

IMAZ was my 3rd IM. I did Ironman Coeur d'Alene on my 50th birthday in 2016, then Boulder in June 2017 before IMAZ in November. I hired Pat Casey as my coach after Boulder and spent the rest of the summer focusing on my goal of a sub 12 IM. Pat helped me focus not only on the physical endurance, but the mental endurance needed for such a long event. IMAZ was a great race, almost perfect weather. I loved the swim, and came out feeling really strong and energized for the bike. Smarter bike training helped me go faster without burning my legs up. The bike had a big headwind, which I believe was the main reason I missed my sub 12. I was confident on the run. My run training was solid, and I had just come off a Boston Qualifying time at Big Cottonwood. I was shooting for sub 4 hours and pushed myself pretty hard, but unfortunately missed it by 3 min. I’m going back this year to redeem that race with a goal of 11:30.

Talk a bit more about your marathons... is it true you went 3:26 at the Walt Disney Marathon in full Pluto?

LOL, I did get a 3:26 but not in costume. I am a runner at heart. Half Marathons had been my love traditionally, but lately I've really been into the marathon distance. I've done St. George and Disney 4 & 3 times respectively. Again, I never felt like a competitor. This past year I committed to getting a BQ. I qualified for Boston last September at Big Cottonwood Canyon with a 3:16, and will be heading to Boston this April. Big Cottonwood was the perfect race. Everything fell into place and I beat my goal time by 10 minutes. My plan this year is to BQ every marathon I run (7 this year). Aside from Disney, I did the Sun Marathon on Feb. 3 in St. George and finished with a 3:26:25. I have LA, Boston, Big Cottonwood, Chicago and possibly NY. I'm waiting to see if get in. My coach is not happy with me. ;)

Perr bear??? That you???

What’s your podium for top 3 favorite local races and why?

I love Salem Spring. Great little race with a fun swim, nice 2 loop bike course and a somewhat challenging run course. It’s an easy venue and a compact single transition. Lots of local participation. Next I would say Echo. Warm water swim, fast bike and nice trail run. The race is always well attended by almost everyone in the tri community. It is easy to get to, single transition, and both the sprint and olympic courses are great. Plus if you want to camp, you can stay up the night before right at the venue. Third, I’d say, Daybreak. This race has such a great local feel. It's a great spectator friendly event, nice out and back bike course with some really fast sections, and a great run around the lake with lots of people to cheer you on.


Anything else you’d like to share?

Triathlon has been a huge influence in my life and my mental and physical fitness. I appreciate all that the SLTC, BAM, my coaches and the community have done to support the sport and to motivate me to continue to progress. It’s great to see the BUZZ around all the new and revamped local races this year, there are some real positive changes. I am excited for a strong and successful 2018.

Related Posts

Buzzworthy: New SUTC President Shawn Jaca

Curls For Girls: Interview with SLTC Founder Rory Duckworth

Skye's the Limit! Interview with Local Pro Skye Moench