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Empire Spotlight Marty Munson

EMPIRE SPOTLIGHT: We recognize our athletes achievements which help build team spirit and inspire athletic advancement.

Meet Empire athlete and coach Marty Munson:

Marty, one of Empire Tri’s best swim coaches, has proclaimed that she suffered from “late-onset athleticism.” Growing up, she preferred books to going out to sweat in the school yard or participating on sports teams. A little over a decade ago Marty’s long time friend asked her to join her in a triathlon.

“A friend I’ve known since my teens wanted to do a tri for her birthday about 16 years ago and asked me to join her.  I discovered that triathlon isn’t just about swimming, biking and running: It’s about managing your mind, your energy, your goals, and your life.  And meeting some of the niftiest, most inspiring people ever. I fell for it, hard.”

To date, Marty has competed between 40 to 50 triathlons, ranging from sprint to 70.3s.

What else has she fallen for? Marty took up marathon swimming and just kept swimming! This past February she participated in a swim around Key West, Florida.  That’s about a half marathon to all you runners out there. This was just the start of her 2019 season.

Her big race this year was the Border Buster, a 25km swim from Vermont to Canada and back in Lake Memphremagogg. We asked Marty how she prepared for the swim:

“I had the benefit of having a friend who was doing the same race.  One of the best moments of preparing for Border Buster was a training swim we did — a swim race around Atlantic City Island.  Since Border Buster was only 2 weeks after Atlantic City, we split the 22.7-mile swim between the two of us.  It was fabulously epic, as marathon swims can be…We finished in a little over 10 hours, switching swimmers every hour.”

Regarding Border Buster race day:
“I was worried about being chilly — it was a 5:30 AM start and hard to shed outer layers in the dark to “zinc up” — but when the sun came out, it was perfect.  People wonder how marathon swimmers can be in the water for so long (Border Buster took 10 hours and 41 minutes), but it’s really a mix of training, stubbornness, and acceptance.  You have to be stubborn enough to really want it and keep swimming and training through everything, but you also have to accept whatever the ocean, lake, or day gives you. What do I think about for that long? Everything and nothing, just like when you’re on a long run.”

Always up for trying new adventures, Marty has also been competing in Swim Run races, a sport were you switch back and forth from swimming and running a couple of times to get to the finish line.  It’s also a sport that you do with a partner.  You must be within 10 feet of each other throughout the race, so some teams tether themselves to help maintain the distance.  This summer Marty and her good friend Jen partnered up to compete in a Short Course Female Team, taking first place at both the Ignite Rhode Island Swim Run and Ignite Knoxville Swim Run.

Shortly after, she headed to Bermuda to help coach Empire Tri Club’s first annual Bermuda Swim Camp, a 5-day open water and pool swimming training camp, finishing off with the 4km Round the Sound swim.

She will finish her season participating in a fundraiser, The Great Relay by Trident Swim Foundation, this coming month.  The swim is a 5,000 yard relay where teams of swimmers compete to see which team can swim the fastest!

Coach Marty we are cheering for you to touch that wall as fast as you can!

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Empire Spotlight Amer Juntado

We recognize our athletes achievements which help build team spirit and inspire athletic advancement.

Meet Empire Athlete Amer Juntado:

Amer started swimming at the age of 8.  This first sport in his athletic resume was not enough activity for him so in college he took up cycling.  Within a short period of time he completed his first century ride (a 100 mile bike ride).  He’d later find himself switching from one sport to the other.  However, the back and forth training was very demanding and tiresome.  To stay motivated, he challenged himself to combine both sports and add a third to his active lifestyle.

 “I wanted to do triathlon because doing one sport at a time wasn’t working; and led to burnouts.”
Amer’s burnouts have not returned since starting triathlons.  He believes this is due in-part to joining the club and a masters swim team.

“Before, my workouts were solo and I didn’t know many people who were into doing what I did.  I’m more motivated when I’m with other people.  It helps when peers relate to what you do and how you feel.”

This past winter Amer had a demanding training regimen in preparation for racing his first marathon in March, followed by an Ironman 70.3 in May.  His first marathon was cold and had rolling hills, and he used the race to gauge what he could accomplish. Running 26.2 miles is one of them!

The 70.3 was a fun course for him.  Having calm nerves throughout the race helped him power through as he struggled with his ankle. Prior to race day he had been experiencing issues with his ankle, making long runs hard for him to do.  Even though the run portion was spent running/walking, Amer crossed the finish line satisfied with his performance.

Amer is admired by his Empire Tri teammates. He is always there to help out or give advise to those just starting out in the sport.

“Amer is an amazing swimmer and coach. Whenever we swim together he’s always happy to look at my form and technique, pointing out areas I can improve and giving some useful tips.”- Sid Madhav (Empire Tri Club Member)

 

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What type of bike should you use for a triathlon?

One of the more common questions we hear, especially from new triathletes, is what type of bike they should train with and use for a triathlon. After all, a bike has the potential to be the largest single expense in the sport.

There are several options available for triathletes, and which one is best for you largely depends on your goals — both short-term, and long term.

If you want to be competitive in your race, to really test yourself and see how well you can do, or if you think you might want to do several triathlons over time, it is best to invest in a road bike or tri bike. You can buy a new bike at a local bike shop, or find one used.  If you buy a used one, just be sure to be picky on fit — don’t settle for something that doesn’t feel just right. And make sure the frame is in good shape with no cracks or major chips.

In any given race, the most common type of bike will probably be a triathlon bike, or time trial bike. A tri bike looks like a road bike, but has slightly different geometry that creates two advantages.  The seat tube will usually have an angle of around 78 degrees (vs. 72-74 degrees on a road bike). This geometry allows the rider to save more of the quadricep energy for the run leg of the race, and also be more aerodynamic in a tuck position, because of your ability to lay forward on the aerobars. Aerobars are standard on tri bikes. You can find a more in-depth explanation of the finer points of triathlon bikes, here.

A road bike is the next most common type of bike you will see at most races. In fact, we know some avid and very competitive triathletes prefer to use a road bike. The geometry of a road bike is slightly more relaxed, meaning that you don’t quite get the same aerodynamics, and you sit a little further back on the bike. A road bike has a couple advantages of its own, though: It is typically going to be more responsive on hills or less predictable terrain, and it is more multi-purpose. Long, touring rides are usually done on road bikes, not tri bikes (but not always). For someone who wants to just own one bike, this might be a factor.

The fact, though, is that either a road or tri bike will allow you to be quite competitive in a triathlon. If you think you want to someday become a serious triathlete, we say go for the tri bike. Otherwise, choose whatever your budget allows and what feels most comfortable. The price for such bikes in recent years, even at the entry-level, has gone up. But there is always the option of borrowing, buying used, or using a different style of bike that you might already own.

What about other bikes? Can you simply use the mountain bike or hybrid bike in your garage for a triathlon?  Of course. In any given race, you see several racers complete the triathlon on a mountain, hybrid, or commuter-style bike.

The only issue with not using a tri or road bike is that if you want to be competitive, and challenge yourself to see how high you can finish, then a mountain, hybrid, or commuter bike will hold you back a bit. The gearing on these bikes just cannot match that of the road and tri bikes, and the frame geography isn’t conducive to cranking out speed during the bike leg. This means that they are less efficient. For example, if you can crank out 200 watts of sustained energy on the bike, those 200 watts will result it in less speed on a mountain bike than they would on a road or tri bike.

One thing you can do to a mountain or hybrid bike to modestly increase its speed is to add racing slicks as the tires. It won’t solve the problem, but will help. Additionally, gearing the bike with clipless or clipped-style bike pedals, along with the matching cleat on a bike shoe, will increase your output significantly versus a standard-issue pedal.

Still, we would much rather see you try a triathlon with your mountain or commuter bike than not do one at all. You won’t be alone. The triathlon community simply wants to see as many people enjoying the sport as possible!

Article provided by Paul at Complete Tri 

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Go Go Gone

15% off All Purchases at Go Go Gone

GoGo Gone is a start up boutique bicycle shop in the heart of the Lower East Side satisfying every customer needs with products at great prices and great quality.  At Go Go Gone, you’ll find a great selection of Giant, Trek, 6KU, Marin, Golden and Orbea Bikes, as well as computers and accessories. We offer a complete list of bike services including tune ups, assembly and repairs. Additionally, if you’re looking to upgrade your bike we have a bike trade in program.  Please visit our shop at our NEW location on the Lower East Side (317 Grand Street, NYC) or shop online!   Or better yet, contact the owner & Empire Tri Club Member Diego Costales at diego@gogogone.nyc.

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Empire Spotlight Roberta Muricy

We recognize our athletes achievements which help build team spirit and inspire athletic advancement.

Meet Empire Tri Athlete Roberta Muricy:

When an athlete tries a new sport, the traditional route would be to start with a short distance race and build up.  This was not the case for Roberta. Her first triathlon was the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Rio de Janeiro in 2015.  Her strong swim and run background helped her attain a respectable 6:12 finish time, with only 2 months of training!

Roberta was born to be a swimmer.  From a very young age she was fearless in the pool.  Swimming, her strongest of the three sports, has certainly helped her obtain a strong lead needed to edge out the competition in many races.  Since joining the Empire Tri Club in 2017 Roberta has spent plenty of time up on that podium representing the club!

This past August Roberta competed in her first Sprint distance race at the ITU Montreal World Triathlon.  Race expectations were low for Roberta who’s been struggling with a labrum issue on her right hip for the past year. Her main goal, no walking! Not only did she not walk, she took 3rd place in her age group and 10th female overall.

This month she will finish her season with a Duathlon in Central Park.  We wish her all the best and look forward to off season training with Roberta.

 

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Empire Spotlight Christine Kern

We recognize our athletes achievements which help build team spirit and inspire athletic advancement.

Meet Empire Tri Athlete Christine Kern:

“I knew I could complete an 18 mile bike ride, even if it was hilly! I knew I could complete an 8 mile run, even if I had to walk, so the focus was on the swim.”

Those were Christine’s thoughts as she prepared for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon- an iconic race that starts by jumping off a ferry into the frigid waters in the San Fransisco Bay and swimming from Alcatraz Island to the main land.

“I was very anxious on the ferry waiting to jump and just kept telling myself, there’s only one way back to shore and we’re gonna do this! Seriously! Soon! Ok, now…JUMP! Once in the water the nerves go away, and you have a job to do, get to shore!”

The 1.5 mile swim is notorious for having a strong current and rough, choppy waters – hence why the maximum security federal prison was once believed to be unescapable. “I did what I needed to survive it; freestyle, breast stroke, back stroke, my own made up stroke… it all came into play! The bike course was hilly. The crowds were amazing. The other triathletes were fun to chat with. The run was my favorite part of the course. I walked when I needed to but overall just took in the scenery and had fun! That’s what this is all about, having fun!”

This is Christine’s 4th season competing in triathlons. On a hot July day back in 2014, Christine was in Central Park as the NYC Triathlon was under way. She spectated and cheered on the athletes. She saw a woman walking and looking like she was having a tough time so she cheered her on. Christine went to the finish line to see what it was like. After watching the finishers for a while, she saw that same woman coming down towards the finish line with tears down her face and her arms in the air. She had done it! That day Christine said to herself, “I want that feeling!” and so began her triathlon journey!

Christine decided to join the beginner tri program to help train for her first sprint triathlon. “When I started this journey I was always worried about not being the fastest, not being the best, and about coming in last. Triathlon has taught me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. The sense of accomplishment at the finish line is worth it! I have made so many friends through this sport and love how we cheer each other on, push each other to do our best, and celebrate each other’s successes! I also love that what you once thought was impossible becomes possible whether it’s your first 5k or an Ironman. This sport makes me realize I can do it!”

The season is not over and she’s got a plate full of races including the NYC Marathon in November. Sandwiched in between those races she’ll be running down the aisle and getting married in August. Congrats and good luck Christine!

 

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Wetsuit Care by ROKA

First of the Water

It is very important to thoroughly rinse your wetsuit with cool, fresh water after each use. Long-term exposure to the sun, saltwater, and chlorine can slowly damage your wetsuit. In addition, your wetsuit may produce an odor or lose flexibility if not properly rinsed. A good rinse with clean water will help remove residue and keep your suit smelling like new!

Hang and Dry

Once removed from the water, you want to completely dry your suit by hanging it, ideally on a wetsuit hanger. Wetsuit hangers eliminate stress on the shoulders and help speed up the drying process. Most wetsuit hangers have a special padding across the shoulders to support less pressure points on the neoprene. If one is not available you can also hang the suit from the midsection over the bottom of a strong plastic hanger. Make sure you let the suit dry inside out and turn it back to ride side in for storage.

Washing Instructions

At the end of the season, we recommend soaking your wetsuit in clean water for 10-15 minutes. It is a good idea to invest in shampoo specially designed for cleaning and preserving wetsuits. Wetsuit shampoos are used during the soaking process and remove salt, odors, and other residue to ensure a squeaky clean wetsuit. You do not want to use a household detergent, they can be to harsh and could damage the suit.

Storage

Wetsuit material can develop a permanent crease if left folded for an extended period of time. It is best to store your wetsuit laying flat. If that is not possible, you can store your suit on a padded wetsuit hanger. If a wetsuit hanger is unavailable – drape your wetsuit over a normal clothes hanger, it will look similar to how you would hang a pair of dress pants. Simply fold your wetsuit at the waist over the bottom bar of the hanger. It is important to stay away from metal hangers. Metal hangers will cause the neoprene to degrade over time. in a cool, dry and protected place out of direct sunlight. You will also want to check your suit for small tears. These are common and easy to fix using a wetsuit specific cement or glue.

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Empire Spotlight-Pablo Solano

Although Pablo was part of the Empire Tri team, he had little desire in doing a triathlon and was content with the cycling and running workouts.
 
A year ago, as he was recovering from a torn ACL, he joined us for the team aspect and training-plan which could help him continue to strengthen his knee.
 
But watching his teammate’s enthusiasm for their upcoming tri races sparked an interest and he decided to sign up for his first triathlon. Unfortunately the tri experience would have to wait. The swim portion was canceled due to water safety conditions, changing the race to a duathlon. This would not hold him back and along with other teammates Pablo signed up for the South Beach Triathlon, our first team race of the 2018 season.
“I didn’t feel nervous [during the race]. I had no set goal but was feeling confident. I had trained hard enough to finish. It was a couple of hours after finishing when I learned I had placed 3rd in my age group. It was a big surprise and a great reward.”
 
This past weekend Pablo exceeded his potential running the Popular Brooklyn Half on Saturday and riding in Sunday’s 100 Mile Gran Fondo. Finishing both with exceptional times!
 
Next on his calendar: racing Rev3 Quassy Triathlon, 2XU NYC Triathlon and Atlantic City Ironman 70.3 with his Empire Tri teammates. We wish Pablo all the best of luck!
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Empire Spotlight – Doc Golden

“l MUST do this!” were the words Doc said to herself after volunteering at a few triathlons.  She planned to race one triathlon, but after completing her first, she ended up doing another 5 before the end of the season!  That was three years ago.  Now, with over 20 races under her belt (including a half Ironman), Doc serves as an Ambassador for the Empire Tri Club and leads weekly workouts for the HSS Run Club.

While in the off season, many Empire Tri Club athletes keep themselves fit and motivated by competing in other athletic challenges.  In March, Doc traveled abroad to run the Jerusalem Winner Marathon.  Training in the cold NYC winter and having to pull 16-20 mile runs in 30 degree weather can be mentally tough.  “Once I got out there the training runs were great, but setting aside several hours on my off days to run in the cold never excited me.  The vision of accomplishing a dream goal kept me going every time.  And once each long run was done, I was on top of the world.”

And how was the marathon? Jerusalem is known to be a tough course due to its scenic rolling hills.  One also has to account for the difference in temperature from winter to summer which can also impact performance.

“I was surprisingly more terrified for this marathon than any other.  Even after doing the NYC marathon three times I was terrified of the hills of Jerusalem.  But after training through all those cold months, seeing thousands of people at the race who also trained made the journey worthwhile.  Crossing that finish line lit my spirit on fire.”

Now that triathlon season is under way Doc has a series of short distance running races and triathlons to keep her training strong.  Her “A race” this year is the Atlantic City Half Ironman which she will be competing in with more than 30 of her teammates.  Good luck this season Doc!