Advice from an Ironman - Eric Hinman

Hey guys! I'm finallllly catching up! I don't recommend starting a new job during the busiest time of year for your other job, hah! Oh well, I've enjoyed it, but I miss blogging! So a while ago I reached out and interviewed Eric Hinman whom I met while in Hawaii with Oakley. He's an incredible athlete and I just had to pick his brain. First I asked him to tell us a little bit about himself and then further down you can find the actual interview. Thanks!

Mae: So, Eric, tell us about yourself:

Eric: I started training for triathlon in 2010. I didn't know how to swim. I never biked competitively, I had a running background - high school circa 2002. I signed up for my first sprint (a small local race), and spent hours in the pool leading up to it learning how to swim, practicing two stroke breathing. In my first sprint distance triathlon, I side stroked, and back stroked the entire 800m. I was scared shitless surrounded by other people, flailing in the water. I thought I might drown! With a bit of luck, and perseverance, I made it through the swim, passed people on the bike, and held my own on the run. I finished 3rd - excited that I did well, but hungry to improve. Triathlon is a very individual sport - the biggest competition is yourself. I love self improvement, and was instantly addicted to the process to improve. I competed in one other local sprint distance triathlon that summer, with my sights set on 2011. I hired a coach, and began training with purpose. I started to understand the difference between training hard, and training smart. I completed my first Olympic distance, then two half Ironmans in 2011. In my second half Ironman, I qualified for the half Ironman world championships. In 2012, I completed my first full Ironman in Lake Placid. I was soooo sore, for days after!! I missed qualifying for Kona by one spot, which equated to 1 minute. It fueled my competitive drive to further improve and quality for Kona in 2013. Under the helm of my triathlon coach, Mike Corona, I trained long purposeful hours, in prep for IM Lake Placid 2013. It worked. I qualified for Kona! In Kona, I was a victim of the lava fields, heat and wind. I had an awful race. It took everything not to quit. Seeing so many other inspiring athletes on the course gave me the mental fortitude to continue on, finish the race, and get my finishers tee shirt + medal. Yet again, my competitive drive was fueled. I had to perform better in Kona - for my own satisfaction! I trained even longer, and harder in prep for IM Lake Placid 2014. I qualified again. In Kona 2014, I finished in 9:36. I was satisfied!

2x Kona Qualifier + Finisher (IM World Championships)
4x Half Ironman World Championship Qualifier
5x Ironman Finisher
10x Half Ironman Finisher


Mae: How did you get started? Any sports before competing in Ironmans?

: I played three sports in high school - basketball, track, and cross country.  I played one year of basketball in college (a bit too short to be a force!). I started weight lifting in college, and stuck with that through my early 20's. I really didn't have an extensive athletic background, other than always enjoying being active, and competing against myself/seeking self improvement.

Mae: So I reached out to some people online who also have some questions. Below are a few I chose. 

Do you get motivation externally or internally? What practices do you use before a big race? Visualization? Meditation? 

Eric: I get motivation internally. I am very competitive with myself. I'm always seeking self improvement in all aspects of life. I set seemingly unattainable goals, and then execute on a daily basis to reach them. My theory - if someone else has done it, I can do it with enough time and purposeful practice. I try to go through life with purpose in anything I'm doing.

I do some visualizing + meditation in the weeks leading up to a big race - the 5 hour bike rides provide plenty of alone time! However, in most training sessions, I focus on being in the present - if you think about how much longer the training session is, or how much you have to do, it's easy to defeat yourself.

Mae : Crowd Question : Do you sing to yourself, or what keeps your mind occupied during such long stretches of road on ride/run. I know we can all guilty of getting in our own heads, so what prevents you from doing that?

Eric : Mental fatigue is the hardest part of any sport (in my opinion). Like anyone, I have on days where I'm in a flow state, and off days where 5 minutes into a 2 hour session I want to quit. However, I try to go into every training session with a positive attitude, purpose, and excitement. Luckily, once I start training, I normally get "in the zone" quickly.  

Mae : Crowd Question : Do you use any sort of sports psychologist? Dr. Michael Gervais was just a guest on the Rich Roll podcast and it got me thinking about how high level endurance athletes are seemingly all employing some sort of sports related psychologists. How do you deal with self sabotage in tough events where things seem to be going poorly?

Eric: I don't. I am good at tricking my mind - for example, I set mini-goals during races. On the Ironman run (a marathon), I'll typically just focused on getting to the next aid station (one mile away) looking forward to a cup of Coca Cola at the aid station - to spike my blood sugar level, to keep going. I don't think about how far I have to go, just how far I've already gone. A positive mindset is paramount - think about past successes - I've run a marathon before, I can do this. I trained long hours, I can do this. Others have done this, I can do this.

Mae : Crowd Question : Tips for sticking to training schedule while still having a life on the road!

Eric : It's tough to balance. When I was training long hours, I structured my days around my workouts. I traveled less frequently, and avoided places where I couldn't easily get into my training routine. Ex.) I'd visit places that allowed for easy training - Austin, TX where I can easily run, bike at a training facility, and accessibility to a pool. 

Mae : Crowd Question : What kind of cross training do you do besides swim, bike, run?

Eric: I do a lot of strength training, and Crossfit (5x per week off-season and 3x per week in-season). I truly feel this has given me an edge - increasing my strength to weight ratio, building durability and muscular endurance, and reduces my risk of getting injured from the high repetition/volume in triathlon training. The metabolic conditioning workouts in Crossfit also give me a mental edge to really dig deep when my body is hurting - I can think back to all my past sessions, and convince myself, I've been through worse!

Mae : Crowd Question : What does your nutrition look like while in training? Are you counting calories or macros?

Eric: I adopted a high fat diet. Here's a typical day:

Mae : Any pre-race rituals?

Eric: I always write a race plan. I read my prior race reports to see what I did well, and what I didn't do well. 

Mae : Best advice to someone wanting to do their first ironman? 

Eric: Find a coach. Think like a bumble-bee, and train like a race horse. Find a great coach that will help you train with purpose. Hit the workouts, don't overthink it. Put in the time + effort, and you will succeed! Discuss with your significant other - it's a major time commitment.
The training needs to be consistent.

Thanks Eric!! 
You can find his social media here:

Win tickets to the Super Bowl!

Oh yes! It's that time of year to win allllll of the things! This time it's tickets to The Big Game...yes THE game! Just follow @MichelobULTRA on IG and/or Twitter and post a pic of you at a @FlywheelSports studio 12/12-12/18 with the hashtags #MichelobULTRAFly + #Contest to enter. (full rules link is below) 

***Trip consists of round-trip coach air transportation, double occupancy hotel accommodations for three (3) consecutive nights (includes breakfast daily), two (2) tickets to Super Bowl LI (“Game”), two (2) VIP Tailgate tickets, ground transportation to/from airport and hotel and to/from hotel and Game, and admission to various Bud Light sponsored events.

Winner will be notified on or about January 9, 2017, via direct message through their Twitter or Instagram account (depending on entry method).

Thanks to Flywheel and Michelob ULTRA for sponsoring my Instagram post! 


A Night with Clif Bar

Earlier this year, Clif Bar developed a team that brought a large physical presence to the South East. Through this, I've visited the crew at multiple races and I've tried two products new to me that I'm now obsessed with : the Nut Butter Filled Bars and the Organic Energy Food, specifically the Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. Last week they threw an epic launch party at Orpheus Brewing to celebrate the release of their Nut Butter Filled Bars and brought me along (umm, amazing TY so much). You best believe I was there eating my weight in bars!

Now the brand itself isn't new to me as I've been eating original Clif Bars for several years and I use the blocks during long rides. **Please look at this throw back image I found on my Instagram from 2013 where I was wishing for a lifetime supply, haha.** P.S. still wishing.


Since then, I've replaced my love for the OG Clif Bars and find myself buying the Nut Butter Filled ones instead. I am obsessed with Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and shockingly the Coconut Almond Butter (typically not a coconut fan). So much so, that I've turned my co-workers at FlyWheel on to them. 


The event started around 5PM where we were given blinky lights and water-bottles if needed, and taken on an urban bike ride courtesy of the Atlanta BeltLine Tours. We learned the history of the BeltLine, were taught bike etiquette while sharing the pathway, and observed the absolutely amazing art seen throughout the ride. 

After the ride we came back to music, yard games, a photo booth, brewery tours, a food truck, and all you could eat Clif Bars paired with Orpheus beers. Did I mention this was all free? Now this was the first Clif Bar event that I've been to, but apparently they don't cut any corners when throwing a party! I mean, there was even little flowers made out of Clif Bar wrappers - too c u t e. 

I might not have won a lifetime supply of Clif Bars, but I was able to bring some home. :D Thank you Clif Bar for an amazing night. I look forward to the next one! 

This post was sponsored by @Clifbar, but as always, all opinions are my own! 

Smart Eyewear : Oakley Radar Pace


"Okay, Radar - What's my workout today?" I say out loud as I'm getting on my bike. "Today, you're practicing group cycling. We'll be going 38.5mi and climbing 2,910ft," is the response I hear through my smart eyewear.

Yep, that's right - I'm talking to my sunglasses. 

The above photo is by the amazing @wildermonster & @ncruzimagery

The above photo is by the amazing @wildermonster & @ncruzimagery

The above photo is by the amazing @wildermonster & @ncruzimagery

The above photo is by the amazing @wildermonster & @ncruzimagery

On October 3rd, Oakley and Intel released Radar Pace, a hands-free virtual coach built into your eyewear to use for cycling and running. With moveable and detachable earbuds, you can listen and respond back to the glasses to do to various things such as receive feedback about your workout, ask questions like, "how am I doing?, listen to your music, and accept phone calls. Using the free Radar Pace app, Bluetooth, and smart technology, the glasses will collect and analyze personal performance data including power output, heart rate, speed, cadence, time, pace and distance. If you'd like to read more about specs, I'll point you into the direction of the professionals and tell you to click here.

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Kona, Hawaii during the Ironman World Championships and actually put the Oakley Radar Pace glasses to the test. With both the Intel and Oakley team there, we started off on Thursday with a demo day learning all about the glasses. At the Ironman Expo were two large shipping containers turned into a really rad Oakley booth where you could shop Oakley gear, create custom glasses, and of course, watch a live demo of the Radar Pace. 

At the demo we watched a guy as he started running on a treadmill while talking to seemingly no one. A female voice responded through the speakers commenting on his stride, heart rate and water consumption. He responded back with questions, and the female voice would respond in real time. While totally hands-free the runner was receiving feedback about his workout via the smart eyewear. My eyes got huge and I immediately had SO many questions. "Can you import your own workouts?" I asked. "No, but the free app has tailored workouts for you based on what you're training for and when the event is." Wow, so the glasses not only talk to you, but the connected app has customizable workout plans. That's pretty awesome. After that, a lot of technology words were throw around and that's where I was a little lost. As much as I love gadgets, I'm 100% into the experience while numbers and fancy words go in one ear and out the other. At this point, I'm totally hung up on the fact that my sunglasses can talk to me! Like, hello - is this real life? My next question was, "can I remove one of the earbuds? Safety first, you know? The answer is yes. You can either bend the arm of the earbud to hover it above or below your ear, or completely detach it. 

Later that day, the team took us outside where helmets, kits, shoes, bikes, and Radar Pace glasses were waiting for each of us. I'm a kid in a candy store at this point. I'm taken up to a table where someone works with me one on one to walk me through the process of fitting the earbuds to my ear, adjusting them to make everything as comfortable as possible, and syncing them to my heart rate strap, power meter, and phone. As we are setting everything up, I'm being told that the glasses charge via micro USB, hold a charge for 4-6 hours, come with additional clear lenses in addition to the PRIZM Road lenses, and feature touch sensors on the left side to do things like control my music and adjust the volume. After the glasses are ready to go, another person fits me to my bike, puts brand new cleats on my shoes, and the next thing I know - I'm riding around on a sweet Specialized Roubaix with Di2! What is my life right now?! My heart is full and my mind is blown. 

The next day we meet up for a sunrise ride/run with three time world champion, Craig Alexander, where everyone is decked out and ready to test the Radar Pace. I turn on my phone and glasses, ask what my workout is, and a group of us get going. As I'm riding, I'm asking her various questions for fun. "What's my cadence? What's my heart rate? What's my power? Is that good?" She responds with the stats and I keep going. The only thing I wish I would have done is attach the aero clip because when it got really windy going downhill, she couldn't hear me because of the microphone interference. So noted, always use the aero clip. What really got me was when she reminded me to drink water, or better yet, told me that I'm coasting too much (we stopped to take photos, ok?!) haha. 

The above photo is by the amazing @wildermonster & @ncruzimagery

The above photo is by the amazing @wildermonster & @ncruzimagery

Overall the experience was great and immediately I thought of my friend Liz. How perfect are these for someone who doesn't currently have a coach, but trains and wants an efficient workout? I met up with her last night to tell her all about it and she's sold. With the price point at $449, I rate this as fair. Considering the Oakley PRIZM road glasses (without additional lenses) range from $120-$250 just by themselves, you're also getting headphones with great sound quality, additional clear lenses, an app with customizable workouts, and of course the two-way conversation real-time coach that calibrates to you and just gets better the more you use it. 

The above photo is by the amazing @wildermonster & @ncruzimagery

The above photo is by the amazing @wildermonster & @ncruzimagery

A big thank you to Oakley for allowing me to be apart of this experience. It's one thing to try a product, but another to meet the people behind the brand, hear about the two years of hard work that went into making the product, and actually have the creators help us out first hand. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you. 

If you'd like to see Radar Pace in action, please view the video below.