You may have heard the phrase “It takes a village” before. While it has been used in various different contexts, in this post I am using it to refer to those who help me in pursuit of my athletic goals. Had you told me 10 years ago that I would be even close to being considered “Elite” at anything to do with sports, I probably would have laughed at you. Over the past few years as I have started to realize some of form of athletic potential, I have been fortunate to have the support of some really great businesses and the people behind them. While I have never done a blog post about these businesses specifically, I think it is important to for me to show thanks for who help me achieve my goals and why I believe in them. I may not make a salary from this sport, but I appreciate everyone that helps me whether big or small. These are all 100% honest reviews and this post was neither “required” or even requested by anybody other than my desire to write it.
Led by Dr. Rick Kattouf, Team Kattouf involves a number of services including individualized coaching, training plans, strength training, nutrition plans, nutritional supplements, and more. I first got in contact with Rick a few years ago before I started to find myself on the podium of races regularly. I was recently graduated from USC and was for the first time truly training on my own with no support. Rick took me in and helped me in my development with training and nutritional advice, as well as introducing me to his line of nutritional supplements. I was admittedly hesitant at first as much of this was different than what I was used to (and I’m a natural skeptic). But over time I have come to realize that whenever I follow his recommendations, results follow shortly thereafter. Over the past couple of years he has also helped me into the transition of becoming a certified endurance Coach. I am grateful for everything he has provided and look forward to coaching under the Team Kattouf umbrella for many years to come.
Outspokin Bicycles is a bike store that has 2 locations in the Columbia area and specializes in selling Trek bikes. As a prior sponsor of the USC Triathlon Club and Rebekah’s former employer, Outspokin has been paramount in me figuring out how to go fast on a bicycle. While the reality these days is that it may be possible to get cheap bike parts online, knowing how to properly assemble and maintain a bike is something the internet isn’t necessarily so great at. Their mechanics and owner Brian Curran are pretty much the only ones I trust to keep my Trek Speed Concept operating smoothly. Outspokin also serves as a hub for many other things including cycling events, group rides, and even winter cycling classes (like mine)! If you have any bicycle needs and live in the Columbia area, then I would recommend Outspokin without reservation.
Epix Gear is an athletic apparel company that focuses on producing awesome looking custom triathlon clothing as well as other endurance athlete apparel. I initially used Epix Gear triathlon suits while competing at USC and was friends with one of the creators, Tomek. Since then we have both grown tremendously in the sport and in the past year reconnected to begin working together again! Having tested out and used different brands of triathlon clothing, I have no doubt in saying that Epix Gear is some of the best quality and best looking triathlon gear out there. On top of that they also don’t charge like crazy for their gear. I think it is insane that some companies out there think it is reasonable to charge over $400 for a piece of clothing! If you are looking for any custom gear for a team or club, or just want a cool looking suit for yourself, then definitely give them a try. I’ll even have my own personal design that you can buy in 2018 so keep an eye out!
Officially for 2018, I will be on the Fleet Feet Columbia Racing Team! This will involve my participation in a number of road races and I am ecstatic to be joining them. My first visit to a running store was in high school at the Fleet Feet in Irmo, SC. I had just gotten injured and arrived to the store with my mom nearly an hour after they had closed. Being the amazing people that they are, they opened their doors and helped me in the process of finding my first “real” pair of running shoes. I have never forgotten this experience and am glad that after all these years I can represent them at road races throughout South Carolina.