Consistent training and following the plan is a sure sign of race day success. And that is why we are turning the spotlight on Tasi Karabinis! His coach, Jim Hallberg, said that not only is Tasi committed to his training, he is a good communicator about what's going on and that helps to develop the athlete-coach partnership which ultimately helps an athlete get to his/her goals. Tasi is in a situation that many triathletes face in that they have to balance their love of triathlon with family and work. However, Tasi quite simply goes about it in a refreshing way. He has two small children, one who was eager to join him throughout his training (literally, see the photo), plus he runs a coffee roasting and distribution company in Oneonta, New York. Tasi pulled it all together for a PR at Ironman Santa Rosa and we would like to recognize him for bringing it all together and achieving his goal!
1. You live in NY. How does your summer training differ from your winter training?
The biggest difference can be summed up in one word…Trainer. The weather doesn’t really impact my running since I prefer to run in the cold but it does mean the bike is on the trainer for several months. Winter training in NY means hours on the trainer and unfortunately, winter in upstate NY can be October to May sometimes. The trainer because is a necessity living here so you have to deal with it but Jim kept the workouts interesting and challenging which made it much easier this year than in the past. It was actually fun this year—some good hard workouts from Jim, college basketball or football on the iPad, and when I was lucky Addison (she’s 7) keeping me company running on the treadmill alongside the bike trainer.
2. You own a family coffee business that serves the entire north east called B & K Coffee. What are your thoughts on caffeine and training?
I’m a little biased (I think everyone should drink coffee and lots of it) but I am all for caffeine and training. For me personally, I use it as a psychological boost or as a special treat on longer days just to provide a sense of normalcy to the day. I have a shot of espresso every afternoon so I typically use an espresso flavored gel on longer bike rides just to make the workout seem like a regular day. Just don’t overdo it before a workout—as Jim recently told me after I confessed to having 5 shots of espresso before a run and wondered why my heart rate was a little high that day for the run.
3. What is one of the most fun workouts Coach Jim has given you?
There have been a bunch of workouts that I’ve really enjoyed. Jim had me do a swim workout Race Start Speed 4x200 which was a really hard workout for me but I really enjoyed it. The thought may have entered my mind that Jim was trying to kill me that day but I managed to survive and had fun doing so. He also managed to keep the trainer fun with a bunch of hard interval workouts. My favorite was the 10x1 min and 10x2 min hill climb workout.
4. You recently raced Ironman Santa Rosa and had a PR. What is a favorite memory from the race?
The whole day was really a great day. The views of the vineyards made for a pretty remarkable backdrop on the bike course. Unfortunately, our 5-month-old came down with an ear infection before the race and the rest of the family was unable to fly out for the race so the pictures of her “watching” the Ironman feed on an iPad were pretty special.
5. From NY to CA, that's a big distance to travel for a race. What advice do you have for other athletes traveling for an Ironman?
Get there early!! This was the first race I have done that required shipping bikes and flying. Getting to Santa Rosa on Wednesday was a good decision but I probably should have arrived Tuesday. There is just so much to do leading up to race day when you are that far from home—registration, checking out the course, finding places to eat, and getting race morning nutrition set up that the earlier you can get there the better. Not to mention the time it takes to loosen up from the cross country flight.