How I Roll is a unique approach to informing, educating, and entertaining people about living life confined to a wheelchair. The site is an informational resource for green (new) paraplegics.

IronMan Florida 2014 :: Jacob Sharff Interviewed

Chasing Paralympic Dreams…

Monterrey CAMTRI Paratriathlon

Over the past 3 years I’ve been training for triathlons, or as adaptive athletes call then “paratriathlons”.  It started with a short sprint paratriathlon, and I eventually graduated to finishing a full IRONMAN triathlon.  These days, I train daily toward my dream of making the 2016 USA Paralympic Team.  To accomplish this, I have to compete in ITU sanctioned paratriathlons throughout the 2015 season.  I wouldn’t be able to compete without the help of my main sponsor AION Recovery. Unlike most drug rehabilitation facilities, AION was started for all the right reasons.  Not only does AION Recovery help people fight and overcome drug addiction, they’re also selflessly helping me chase my paralympic dream throughout the 2015 race season. For that, I’m forever grateful.

Paratriathlon Team USA

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Last week I competed in the Monterrey, Mexico CAMTRI Triathlon American Championships, representing Team USA. There were plenty of amazing athletes in attendance, from both North and South America. Even a couple paratriathletes who beat me a few years ago.  But this race would be different. I had trained arder, and I made sure my hand-cycle and racing wheelchair were optimized for speed.  Speaking of speed, I want to thank my sponsor Boca Bearings Company in South Florida for hooking up my cycles with the fastest smoothest ceramic & hybrid bearings on the market.  If you want the speed and performance to take your racing to the next level, I strongly suggest giving them a call. Also need to thank RW Training in Palm Beach, Florida for all their triathlon coaching and guidance. Rich is an awesome dude who’s helped me throughout the 2015 season.

I only had 2 goals for this paratriathlon: finish in under 1 hour 10 minutes, and to make the podium (1st-3rd place).  Happy to say both goals were accomplished! Final time was 01:08:44 and I placed 3rd, earning a spot on the podium!  Money couldn’t have bought this type of satisfaction. Hard work does in fact pay off. I earned solid points toward my USA ranking, bringing me one step closer to the paralympic dream.

Monterrey CAMTRI Paratriathlon

We all need something to work towards. A goal. A dream. Strive with all your might and grit, chasing your dreams everyday.  If you make it, fantastic… If you fall short, you can look back with zero regret knowing you absolutely tried your best. Both outcomes are truly priceless, I promise.  #NoExcuses

Life Changes…. Analiese’s Story

My name is Analiese Fazio and I’m 21 years old. When I was 16 my life changed forever. I was your typical chippy teenage girl who loved soccer and spent any spare time I had just juggling and kicking soccer balls around, I felt like it was the one thing I was good at. The thing about my story is I remember everything. I remember waking super tired that day and running a little late for school. I was originally suppose to ride to school with my friend and her brother but decided that day I was going to ride with my twin brother last minute. My brother drove a burgundy Alero; the windows didn’t roll up, the inside structure of the car was falling apart, and the heater didn’t work. It was your typical trashy first car that your parents give you cause they know your gonna somehow destroy it. The date was April 20, 2010 and it was around 6:30 am. You see on this day their were a lot of things that were off, almost like the universe was trying to give me a sign. I think back to that day and their are so many coincidences. For instance I wasn’t suppose to ride with my brother, I brought a blanket, I chose to sit in the seat behind the drivers seat, and I decided last second to pick my best friend up after I had originally decided not to. Its kind of funny how one decision can change everything. That day, like I said my twin brother was driving and we were on our way to school. My best friend lived literally right down the street from our school so we went to pick her up. After we picked her up we did our usual perky greeting, gossiped a few, and then turned our iPods on and listened to music. It was a really chilly day and the windows didn’t work so the cold wind was blowing in my face, so I decided to put a blanket over my face. Almost instantly after I covered my face I heard my best friend scream my brothers name. It was in the moment that what seemed like the slowest longest moment happened. My brother had hit a soft spot in the dirt road and fish taled the car, he had then lost complete control of the car. The car then started flipping, and I literally remember just sitting in my seat and watching my life flash before my life, it was like all the sudden life had just slowed down. After the 3rd time the car flipped and a log struck through my car door, striking me in my back. The car then landed back on its wheels. My brother and best friend got out of the car spooked and then turn to the car to realize that I’m still sitting in my seat. I’m was bleeding everywhere, had a concussion, and was in complete shock. I couldn’t breathe but I was fully alert. I was then rushed to the hospital where shortly after arrival my parent showed up. They were then notified that I had fractured my t-11 and to many fibers had been scraped off my spinal cord resulting in complete and permanent paralysis from my belly button down. I wasn’t fully aware at that moment but I remember our of nowhere hearing my twin brother screaming and my dad screaming and throwing a chair across the hospital. I instantly just shut down, I felt like if I couldn’t play soccer then my life was over. Today I’m still in a wheelchair obviously but I’m extremely happy. Like most people I’ve had a lot to overcome, and a lot of things I’m still working on to  overcome. I am a proud woman that is currently studying sports journalism in college and I work as behavior assistant helping children with disabilities. I may be wheelchair bound but I won’t let that ever stop me from changing the world. Everyone has the power to make a difference. Their are days where I have a moment to myself to mourn but after that moment I go on with my day with my head held high. Theirs not a day that goes by where I stop working at bettering myself. I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people during my journey to recovery. The truth is I wouldn’t change my life, I’m liberated by my accomplishments and even more liberated by the things I also plan to accomplish in the future.

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Shatterproof Challenge…. Rappelling a Building from a Wheelchair

Shatterproof Challenge from Wheelchair

Fear reminds us we’re alive…

This weekend I participated in the Shatterproof Challenge. (Video Below) Shatterproof is a national organization committed to protecting our children from addiction to alcohol or other drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease.  The “challenge”, is to rappel down the side of a building, in honor/memory of someone with addiction. My rappel was in memory of my best friend Stuart, who lost his life 3 years ago to drug addiction.  Stu was an amazing person, and had the most giving heart of anyone I’ve ever met. His death rocked me to the core.  His death put pain and struggle into perspective. That’s why I’ve become an advocate for bringing awareness to the negative stigmas associated with addiction.  Believe it or not, the hardest struggles in my life do NOT involve being paralyzed in a wheelchair… My hardest pains and struggles are things that aren’t visible, they’re things on the inside. It’s the same for someone struggling with addiction. They may walk by you looking fine, but on the inside they’re struggling with demons.  My heart goes out to these people, and I choose to be an advocate for them, when they may not be able to an advocate for themselves.  With the help from some good friends, we started “Jacob’s Cause“, which hopefully can help shed light on the negative stigma associated with addiction. Stu not only helped me get through some of the toughest darkest years of my life, he also never once judged me for being in a wheelchair, even when I negatively judged myself… I miss my best friend everyday.

I also started working closely with an amazing drug addiction rehabilitation center located in Palm Beach County, called AION RECOVERY.  I personally know the people behind AION, and they’re involved for all the right reasons, not for financial gain. With that being said, if you or someone close to you suffers from addiction, please contact AION RECOVERY.  Tell them Jacob sent you. I promise, you’ll be in good hands.

Please reach out to me at jacob@howiroll.com if you have any questions.

IRONMAN Florida 2014 Finisher… A Wheelchair Perspective.

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Aside from finishing IRONMAN Florida last weekend, the best part was that IRONMAN featured my story in their event video. Check it out below.

IM Florida2014 JacobSharff from Ironworks on Vimeo.

This past weekend, on November 1, 2014, I competed in IRONMAN Florida triathlon with my badass training partner Jacqui Kapinowski. This long distance triathlon was a first for me, as I’ve previously only raced in “sprint” triathlons. A “triathlon” consists of a sequential “swim, bike, run” race. In an ironman distance paratriathlon the open water ocean swim is 2.4 miles. The “cycle” portion, which I use a Top End Force-R hand-cycle to complete, is 112 miles. And finally, the “run” portion is a full 26.2 mile marathon distance, and I “run” using a racing wheelchair with Harness gloves.

The night before race, there was a wind advisory warning, which said winds would be from 22-27mph, with gusts up to 40mph. I thought, great, not only is a cold front dropping the temperature down to low 40’s, the wind is going to cause problems! The next morning, wind was ripping so badly they decided to cancel the swim portion, literally 5 minutes before the start. Wind was so bad, the rescue boats were having trouble maneuvering through the ripping current and waves. Super sketchy…

As they often do in life, plans quickly changed! Start time moved from a 7am swim to an 8am cycle start. Headwinds were horrible. Basically for roughly 8 hours 15 minutes we battled strong winds, muscling through 112 miles on a hand-cycle. Actually felt stronger than I thought I would getting into racing wheelchair for marathon run portion.

In the end, the entire race took just under 12 hours. The feeling of satisfaction is indescribable. Truly a natural high. Be stronger than all your excuses, always.

Check out the official IRONMAN Florida 2014 highlight video below.

IM Florida 2014 RaceDayVideo from Ironworks on Vimeo.

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Attention All Racing Wheelchair Users…. New Aquaplast Glove “How-To” Video

Learn How-to make custom aquaplast gloves for your racing wheelchair.

“How-To” Video: Custom aquaplast racing wheelchair gloves

There isn’t much information online about how to build a pair of custom aquaplast racing wheelchair gloves. Currently, the only video available involves aquaplast sheets.. I personally think it’s better to make aquaplast gloves using pellets instead of sheets. 1) it’s easier and quicker, and 2) it’s 1 solid mold instead of aquaplast sheets melted together.. For that reason,  I decided to make a “How-To” video, explaining the relatively easy process.

Note, I don’t claim to be an expert at fabricating custom wheelchair racing aquaplast pellet gloves. Furthermore, I don’t claim to make the perfect & best pair of gloves.  This video is intended to lay out the basic principles behind making your own racing chair gloves.

Aquaplast racing gloves aren’t for everyone. Yes, most of the elite top wheelchair racers use custom aquaplast gloves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be ideal for you.  If not, you can always use a pair of pre-fabricated Harness Gloves, which are top quality racing wheelchair gloves made by Mike Harness at Harness Designs.

If you’re interested in making your own pair of custom racing wheelchair aquaplast pellet gloves, visit How iRoll Sports for the best value deal online. Email me at Jacob@HowiRollSports.com if you have any questions.

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How I Roll is a unique approach to informing, educating, and entertaining people about living life in a wheelchair. The site is an informational resource for green (new) paraplegics as well as physical therapists.

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