Congrats to all the City Coach athletes who competed in IM NYC on Saturday. It was truly an awesome day - another one to add to the lore of this great city.
The amount of planning and effort that went into this event must have been astronomical. There were thousands of volunteers and Ironman employees on the course, around 2000 triathletes participated; and the event was mostly seamless.
After pre-race prep, registration and bike drop-off on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I got about 4 hours of sleep before getting to Pier 39 for a ferry to Transition at Ross Dock. After an hour to make final adjustments we reboarded the ferries and were brought to a barge 2.4 miles up the Hudson. As our ferry taxied up to the barge, we watched swimmers in wetsuits and fluorescent pink or green caps scoot down a ramp and into the flow of the river while a helicopter circled above, documenting the kickoff of the Inaugural NYC Ironman.
By the time my ferry, the 4th of 5, cued up, the downstream flow of the Hudson River was powerful. Buoys sped past me on my left and I just maintained a steady, smooth stroke in order to conserve energy for the remainder of the day. I might have finished sooner if I was able to maintain a straight line instead of meeting face-to-face with a man in a kayak and crashing into a giant red buoy. No harm, no foul - downstream I go......
I was on my bike and off to the Palisades within an hour. Crowds cheered at Strictly Bikes in Fort Lee as we entered the exit ramp of the southbound highway. That entire 2-lane side of the Palisades Interstate Parkway was closed to traffic for the day. The road is mostly well-maintained, but there were several enormous potholes and grooves in the road in the last 5-6 miles from the northernmost end of the loops.
The lower half of the two 56-mile loops are relatively flat - the upper half...not so much. Up and down long hills, none very steep, but not forgiving. At no point did I feel like I was getting my ass kicked, but by the end it was clear to me that a beating had taken place. I felt the mental exhaustion of 6+ hours on the bike and my body was tight and depleted. No worries, just a marathon left to go.
I ran the Palisades 1/2 Marathon in June on the course of the marathon at around 7mins/mile. I expected to run at a pace of around 9min/mile on Saturday. That didn't go exactly as planned. I was more fatigued than expected from the bike, it was 85 and humid and I was experiencing some GI distress. Oh yeah, and the hills on River Road got significantly steeper since June. Two loops of a relentless 7-mile pounding. Did I mention that the hills also got steeper on the second loop? Thank goodness for the aide stations every mile or I wouldn't have known when to stop and walk. Not everyone is a fan of loops, but for me they provided the opportunity to see friends and teammates several times along the run. Everyone was so positive and supportive. Agnes danced when we saw each other. Jess reminded me, "You're a runner, Dan!" I had definitely forgotten that at Mile 9. Thanks ladies!
At Mile 15 we left the park and ran 0.5 miles up to the stairs of the GW Bridge. I would call that Heartbreak Hill, but I think that's taken and it was more like the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I had no choice but to sit in a chair under a canopy for about 5 minutes with 2 lovely ladies of a certain age. They fed me, brought me water and told me how inspiring the day was. They'd been out there since 8am. Bravo!
The Final Stretch
Off I went - to the bridge, up the stairs, down the stairs, across the bridge, down more stairs, around Washington Heights and eventually into Riverside Park in the 180s. This is all very familiar territory for me, so I knew how far I still had left - both comforting and discouraging. Down past the Little Red Light House, through the BBQs and volleyball games along the Westside Highway, eventually out to Fairway. Team City Coach awaited. They seemed shocked to see me, maybe assuming I was still swimming, more likely experiencing spectator fatigue from an exhausting day. You guys were great and you energized me when I needed it bad. Thanks!
"It's just a 10K away"
At that point, it was the longest 10K I've ever done, but the body was on auto-pilot. The run is mostly flat from there except for a few short ascents and descents in the park. I caught on with another runner at my pace and we helped each other along for about 4-miles. She told me about her first IM. She had rushed through the finish. She advised me to savor the moment.
Then from atop the little hill at Mile 25 I could hear my wife cheering my name. When I got there I was greeted by her, my son, my daughter, my mom,her boyfriend and some very close friends. I hung with them for a minute to appreciate the moment and catch my breath.
From there I slowly jogged down the hill and then used the adrenaline from my cheering section to take me home. As advised, I took my time through the finish corral, walking the final 20 meters to savor the moment. I'll never forget it.
Overall, Saturday was one of the most amazing days of my life. Congrats to everyone who organized the race and to all the finishers - You are an Ironman!!!
August 7th was the 2011 NYC Triathlon. It's an Olympic distance race - 0.9-mile swim, 24-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run. This is currently the most popular distance in triathlons. It's challenging, but doable for most endurance athletes. A decent benchmark is 3-hours for this distance. The pros finish in about 1-hour 46-minutes.
This is the 10th year that "over 3,000 athletes brave the waters of the mighty Hudson River before biking along Manhattan's West Side highway. Finally, athletes put on their running shoes for a run through New York's famed Central Park." It's a tour of NYC like none other.
Preparing for an Olympic-length triathlon requires determination, commitment, strength, and endurance. Training begins in the off-season, building a base in order to be able to intensely train in the 3 disciplines for 8-12 weeks leading up to the race.
Most athletes do the bulk of their swim training in a pool and a few practice swims in open-water to get accustomed to the river swim. On race day, many of the racers wear a wetsuit for warmth and also for buoyancy and speed. It's a good idea to wear the wetsuit for a few of the training swims if you're going to wear it in the race. As with many other aspects of a triathlon, do things in practice the way you will do them in the race and in the same respect, it's best not to try anything new on race day. Practice with the wetsuit, use those new goggles, shoes, or sunglasses and don't try out some new drink potion on the day of the race you've been preparing for over the past 6-months.
Once you exit the Hudson, you'll walk or run to your bike, which you racked thenight before. An experienced triathlete will prepare their transition area to minimize the time they spend going from 1 discipline to the next. You can gain or lose significant time depending on your ability to change your clothes. To me, transitions feel like a gameshow contest, but it is a part of the sport that can't be overlooked. The bike is a time to settle in, have a beverage, and start hammerring. Up and down hills, not too many turns and no drafting. Triathlon bikes are designed to be aerodynamic and not super-agile. Go straight fast and conserve energy for the run at the same time. The bike is the longest leg of the race, so a great deal of time can be gained or lost. Committed triathletes ride triathlon-specific bikes that maximize speed with aerodynamics and efficiency. A road bike can do the trick, but anything less geared towards long distance road biking is not recommended.
After grinding it out for 24-miles, it's a quick change into running shoes and off you go up the hill onto 79th Street and across the West Side into Central Park. The course runs clockwise up and down the park's northern hills and a finish on 72nd Street. This is a challenging 10K run, but crowds line the park roads to motivate runners to a strong finish.
Overall, the NYC Tri is an awesome NYC event. It's fun, unique, inclusive, and competitive. I recommend for all New Yorkers and for all triathletes looking for great races to do.
You've trained for the past 6-months to get in shape to train for a triathlon.
You're strong, fit, and motivated. So what's the plan?
The key to success in a triathlon is efficiency and the road to efficient performance is paved with excellent technique. Swimming, biking, and running each may seem natural and second-nature to anyone who's exercised before, but to do well in a triathlon with the least amount of effort is the real challenge. So, do what it takes to learn proper technique. There's information online, in books and from professional instructors and coaches.
If you're going to train on your own, here's some advice that will help guide your journey. It's by no means a thorough program, but it can be used as a general guideline. Firstly, assess your ability and your skill level. If you're running 7-minute miles and can barely swim 10-lengths of a pool, then you will need to spend significantly more time in the water than at the track.
- Practice each discipline - weigh more heavily on your weakest 1
- Start slowly and be sure you complete the distance
- Work speed and interval training into each of your programs
- Once a week do a brick session - at least 2 of the 3 disciplines in 1 training session
- Use the equipment you'll be using on race day
- Fine tune your technique and your equipment
- Focus on nutrition - daily and on training/race days
- Go to sleep early - you'll need the extra rest and waking early is the best way to get the most effective workouts
- Be familiar with the course you'll be racing - you have to know it perfectly, but have an idea of what you're getting into
- Stretch - regular stretching is extremely helpful and yoga can be very beneficial to triathletes
- Continue to gently strength train through your triathlon season to maintain strength and endurance
- Rest - allow your body to recover by taking occassional days off
- Have fun - by challenging yourself, you'll see that you are capable of feats beyond your previous beliefs, bringing you great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction
Follow these general guidelines and you'll be well on your way to participating in and succeeding in the exciting world of triathlons.
The Hutchinson Metro Center has seemingly grown overnight, offering the most diverse selection of health and wellness services in the Bronx. Over 6,000 people work at the Hutchinson Metro Center, but few are aware of the multitude of services available.
June 15th is the Second Hutchinson Metro Bronx Business Expo; an opportunity to explore the possibilities to improve your well-being! Enjoy a massage, or learn about the new and exciting TRX exercise program.
Kids are encouraged to come and enjoy a karate class! Educational material pertaining to the health conditions that affect the Bronx will be distributed. Whether it is learning about diagnostic imaging, or receiving a free glaucoma screening, being present at the Business Expo will provide the attendees with a vast knowledge of the wide spectrum of health and wellness services available right where they work!
As if you needed any additional incentive to come, the Metro Café will be offering at 15% coupon to all who attend! Look forward to seeing you there!
-contributed by Allan Torres
On Sunday March 27th at WSPT I took the TRX Sports Medicine Suspension Training Course to understand more about the TRX and how it can help patients. The course was a lot of fun and the instructors Brian Bettendorf and Perry Nickelston did a great job helping me understand how to use the TRX and help other’s use it as well. The next day from the course I felt sore. My legs and arms suffered the most.
Since taking the took the course, I've been helping more patients with their exercises and helping the PTs @ WSPT with the TRX. I have also been able to show a few coworkers that use the TRX with me some new stuff that I learned that they didn’t know and should help all of us here on the gym floor. Hey who knows maybe Danny will have a hardcore class that Xavier and I can setup in the future @ WSPT. ;)
Since I love playing sportsI also have a TRX at home and I use it to get in to shape . I also got my younger brother into the mix of using it, he's crazy about it!.
Taking the TRX course opened my eyes to become a personal trainer and take it to the next level of helping other’s get better and reach there goals to recovery.
*Submitted by William. A
This spring, WSPT was fortunate to have a dedicated team of student interns working in our office. Our goal was to provide them with real-world experience, and we asked them to work on various projects surrounding our annual Arthritis Walk. We sought to educate them on the disease, on the treatments, and on the ways WSPT works to help patients with arthritis in and out of our office.
Omwattie Sukhraj, 17, was surprised to learn about the scope of arthritis. “While working on the project, I learned that absolutely anybody can be affected with arthritis,” she said. “The most surprising piece of information I found out was that many young adults and infants are diagnosed with the disease.”
Omwattie currently attends the High School of Medical Science and hopes to one day be a pediatrician. Her experience at WSPT has taught her a lot about “the joints, the human body and the way healthy lifestyles are made.”
Another intern, Babita Buddy, 16, also felt her internship helped her gain experience in a professional atmosphere and in the medical field. “My plan for the future is to work in the medical field helping patients in the hospital. My experience at WSPT influenced my plans even more because it exposed to an environment similar to a hospital, where there are patients,” she said.
Sonia Seeteram worked with Babita and Omwattie, and tried to make the most of her time here. “Working in the office gave me insight into both the business world and the medical world as well,” Sonia explained. “This project taught me how to work with other students, how to be a leader, and gain support from my community.”
For more information on becoming a WSPT intern...
Phil Hughes's right arm and Osama Bin Laden have something in common - they're both still dead. The Bronx Bombers' #3 starter has lost 4-5 MPH off his fastball since last season and he's been reporting that his arm doesn't feel right when he throws. The Yankees put him on the 15-day DL and shut him down a week later after a poor throwing session.
An MRI didn't reveal any structural damage and according to Yahoo Sports, Phil Hughes passed all the tests for a circulatory disorder and therefore does not have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).
So what is going on with Big Phil? Is his arm weak from throwing too many cutters? Is he overworked? What was his off-season training like? Did he throw 200 pitches a day all winter? Did he lounge on his leather couch eating Cap'n Crunch all February?
A dead arm is often caused by either tightening or hypertrophy (overgrowth) of the shoulder's rotator cuff muscles. This leads to a cascade of problems and difficulty throwing. Eventually it can cause a tear of the labrum (soft cartilage of the shoulder), requiring surgery if you're a pitcher.
Hughes is seeing an Orthopedist today. He's likely going to find that there is nothing damaged or torn in Phil's shoulder. Will he recommend rest, meds, PT?
I wonder if Hughes has been checked out by a world-class PT yet. There are plenty of them in NYC. Besides a detailed exam of the rotator cuff muscles and the bony structures that make up the shoulder, a PT would examine Phil's core strength, balance, leg strength, and technique.
Hughes may need to rest, but he also may need to find balance. I don't know for a fact, but I would bet that Phil Hughes spent his off-season working his tail off. He probably lifted and did a comprehensive strength and conditioning program. The result can be getting too strong in certain areas, affecting the proper balance between strength and flexibility in the most dynamic joint in the body. Our shoulders are very complex and at the highest level of athletics, even small dysfunctions can be exposed easily.
I hope Phil Hughes gets the proper advice, soon. I would hate for his shoulder to have the same eternal fate of OBL.
When spring is in the air, so are the balls. Baseball, soccer, golf and tennis begin training for the start of the season, and track and field athletes prepare themselves for the busy months ahead.
This is an active time of year for many young athletes, but students working those weary winter muscles are prone to injury. In fact, according to the National Youth Sports Foundation, one in ten young athletes will incur an injury in the upcoming season. The experts agree that the best way to prevent injury, and improve performance, is to condition properly and often.
There are basics for spring training that apply to all sports. Most athletes are less active in the winter, so unless they’ve been actively training many athletes experience some form of off-season atrophy.
According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons the most common spring sports injuries are:
- Ankle sprain
- Groin pull
- Hamstring strain
- Shin splints
- Knee injuries (ACL tear or Patellofemoral syndrome)
- Tennis elbow
These injuries usually occur due to lack of conditioning, muscular imbalances, and/or improper development of dynamic joint range of motion.
Resistance training is an effective method for regaining muscle strength lost to winter inactivity. Proper weight training improves muscle strength and reduces the risk of injury. Regular stretching is also necessary, two to three times a week, to regain flexibility. Reduced flexibility is a large factor in early season injuries, but if athletes find at-home stretches too dull, yoga or tai-chi classes are a suitable, and more engaging, alternative.
Athletes are people too, and most athletes, like most people, tend to eat poorly over the holiday season. An often overlooked aspect of spring training is proper nutrition, and athletes should focus on green vegetables, fruits and lean meats for those all-important training meals.
Once the season is underway, it’s important for athletes to remember to keep up with conditioning and discipline. They should always warm up. Study after study has shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm up with jumping jacks, walking or running in place for 3 to 5 minutes, then gently stretch.
Athletes should avoid the "weekend warrior" syndrome. Compressing all their physical activity into two days sets them up for increased injury and does nothing for overall fitness. 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day is recommended.
Finally, athletes should invest in good equipment. This includes selecting the proper shoes for the sport and using them only for that sport and dressing appropriately for the weather. Spring weather is notoriously unpredictable, so it’s important to maintain warm, dry layers that wick away moisture.
It’s called spring training for a reason. Every athlete knows they need to get back into shape for the season. The differences between winners and champions start early. Proper conditioning is the foundation for a successful, injury-free, season.
*Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/varadi/