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#ProjectRun with Mike & Joey Devlin

We’re running across the country for ALS Research.

That’s right, across the country. 3,000 miles. 5 million steps. 114 marathons.  From San Francisco to New York City. All of it.

Three years ago, we watched as our Grandmother passed away from Bulbar ALS.  We watched as this horrific disease attempted to strip our Grandmother of her humanity.  We wanted to do something about it.

In partnership with Project ALS, we are launching a self-funded expedition to run across the country in the hopes of raising money and awareness for ALS Research.

This is completely self-funded.  We aren’t going to be taking a dime.   Nada.  Zip.

We are committed to making sure every dollar raised is used directly for funding ALS research and finding a cure. Every. Single. Dollar.

We are heading out on this 3,000 mile journey across the country in honor of our Grandmother, Edna Devlin.

 

Grandma Devlin was an absolutely, incredible human being.  Mother of five children and Grandmother to many more, she was the first person to let you know how amazing, beautiful, or wonderful you were!  She lit up every room she entered with her smile and her voice, especially her voice.  Grandma Devlin loved to talk.  A quick conversation could quickly turn into an hour.  HOWEVER, she wasn’t talking about the weather or the news or anything like that… all she ever wanted to talk about was YOU.  It didn’t matter if you were her own child or someone she just met, she wanted to talk about you.  After each conversation with her, you walked away smiling from ear to ear, thinking you were the most special snowflake, the most special human being who ever lived, that you could conquer the world!  It was kind of mind blowing. But, that’s what she did.  That was her super power.  She made you feel loved. In everything that she did, she made you feel completely loved.

Four years ago, Grandma Devlin got sick.  She was playing bridge with her friends when she started to slur her words.  They thought it might have been a stroke.  But, when she went to the doctor, they couldn’t find any indications of a stroke.  A month later, it was worse.  Much worse.  Grandma Devlin was slurring her words and having trouble speaking.  Doctor after doctor tried to figure out what was wrong, but no one was sure.

Finally, in December of 2013, right before Christmas, Grandma Devlin was diagnosed with Bulbar ALS.

That Christmas was strange.  We knew we didn’t have much more time with her.  The disease was aggressively attacking her body, taking away her ability to speak and making it difficult for her to eat.  But, when Grandma Devlin arrived, she was smiling.  Most years, our family gatherings were filled with her voice.  She would be bouncing from person to person talking up a storm. But, not this year.  When we were all sitting together, Grandma Devlin took her white board and wrote, “God told me that I’ve done enough talking for a lifetime.”  We all laughed.  There she was again, making us all feel loved.

On January 26th, 2014, three weeks before her 77th birthday, Grandma Devlin passed away.

Although the disease had worked quickly, nothing could slow down her infectious spirit.  Throughout those last few months, Grandma Devlin was a force of positivity.  When we were struggling, she gave us strength.  When we were feeling depressed, she lifted us up.  Just as she had always done, Grandma Devlin focused on the people around her.  She made us all feel loved.

For Grandma Devlin, we wanted to do something BIG.  We thought if it was BIG, we could make a BIG difference.  So, when we decided to run, we decided to run across the country!

But, the only way we are going to make a difference is with YOUR help!

All donations will go directly to research and we’ll let you know exactly where and for what.  We’ll tell you how you’re helping.  We’ll tell you about the research.  We’ll tell you about the progress.  Together, we can do something about this terrible disease.  Together, we can make an impact.

ALSO, we are going to document it ALL.  We will be posting, tweeting, snapchatting and Facebooking with all of YOU.  The whole experience.  The ups and the downs.  The highs and the lows.  We want to share this journey with you.

Because, the more we share, the more people will know. And the more people who know, the more we can all make a difference.

So, follow us on this journey. Join us on this cause. Together, we can make a difference.

Check out the #ProjectRun website.

The day is here!  One time Empire athlete Mike Devlin has taken on a 3,000 mile run, 100-day challenge across America.

DAY 1: SATURDAY APRIL 15TH / SAN FRANCISCO, CA / 8:00 AM

For Mike and Joey’s full schedule and to donate to #ProjectRun, follow their journey at ALSProjectRun.com, Twitter.com/TheMikeDevlin, Instagram.com/TheMikeDevlin, and Facebook.com/ProjectALS.

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Catching up with Matt Tambellini on Ironman Maryland

Matt Tambellini is living proof of what a year of hard work and focus can do for your race. The 33-year-old finance worker from NJ has been competing in triathlons since 2010, but got serious about the sport in 2012. After a few years of sprint & olympic tri’s, Matt signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2013 (his first full distance tri). He hit his goal of going sub-12 hours (11:40 to be exact), but had a self-proclaimed “awful run” and knew knew he could do a lot better. He joined Empire Tri Club about a month after his race, and started working with Empire Coach Chris Mosier in the months leading up to IM Maryland on Sept 20, 2014.

Matt’s results at Ironman Maryland are astonishing. Not only did he beat his Personal Best by 1 hour 15 minutes – but he also crushed his 11 hour goal-time that he set for himself (10:26)!

We caught up with Matt and his coach Chris this week to learn more…

[E]: Empire Tri Club

[M]: Matt Tambellini

[C]: Chris Mosier

[E]: Matt, tell us a little bit about your athletic background.

[M]: I’ve always played a lot of sports…baseball was my main sport growing up. I played competitively through college.

[E]: What goals did you set for IM Maryland? Anything in particular that enticed you to sign up for this race?

[M]: My main goal was sub-11. Timing was the most important factor when signing up for the race. Late season and relatively close to home made IM MD a no-brainer.

[E]: How did your training for this Ironman differ from the past Ironman?

[M]: I worked with a coach (Chris Mosier) for the three months leading into IM Maryland…I didn’t really follow a program leading up to CDA so obviously this experience was much different.

[E]: What did you find most beneficial in working with a coach?

[M]: The mix of speed and interval work, combined with consistent check-ins and encouragement from Chris were definitely the most beneficial aspects of working with a coach.

[E]: Chris, anything in particular that you think helped Matt during his training?

[C]: Matt was successful in part because of his commitment to strength training. He maintained regular once or twice a week functional strength sessions all the way up to his taper week, which helped his core and muscular endurance in his race.

[E]: How did you two communicate & stay on track?

[C]: Matt and I had weekly phone calls, which helped me keep track of his progress and modify his schedule when he was traveling for work. He had a pretty busy schedule but he really made the commitment to hit his workouts, stay on top of his nutrition, and prioritize rest. He was open to new ideas in his training and he trusted the plan.

[E]: What was the biggest challenge you faced going into this race?

[M]: I cramp a lot…so my biggest challenge was sticking to nutrition and hopefully avoiding cramps. I knew I was trained enough to him my goal, but cramping was one thing that could put it in jeopardy.

[E]: Do you get nervous before big events? Any rituals/superstitions to help ease your nerves?

[M]: I was incredibly nervous before this race…it was all I thought about for the month leading up to it. A little bit of meditation and a lot of sunflower seed chewing helped me ease my nerves.

[E]: Did your race go according to “Plan”? At any point did you feel like you hit the wall? How did you get through those tough parts?

[M]: My race was a bit different than planned. The swim, which is usually my easiest discipline, was much more challenging than I thought. The bike was much faster than I could have imagined and the run was pretty much according to plan. There were definitely some points on the run that I felt like a wall was coming, but I think mental toughness (and a little bit of cola) was the key to getting through it.

[E]: One of the most frequent questions we get asked is how to fuel properly for an Ironman. What was your nutrition plan? How’d it go?

[M]: I thought a LOT about nutrition given my past cramping ailments…my plan was at least 300 calories/hour on the bike along with salt pills and a consistent dosage of salt/electrolytes every 10-15 minutes on the run. It worked pretty well as cramps were minimal.

[E]: What was your first meal post-race!?

[M]: I wanted nothing more than a calzone after the race! Every topping you can think of!

[E]: Any friends / family / teammates you want to thank for supporting you during your race / training?

[M]: Definitely a big thank you to Chris. There’s no doubt that my experience wouldn’t have been nearly as good without his guidance. Caitlin Alexander also deserves a shout out as she helped motivate me on many a Saturday morning for early morning bike rides. Last but not least, thanks to Sara Hunninghake for introducing me to Normatecs!!!

[E]: Looking ahead, what are your plans for next season? Will you be signing up for another Ironman? Any goals for your next race?

[M]: Next season I’d like to connect with the team more and compete in a team-sponsored 70.3. My goal will be to break 5 hours, as I haven’t broken that in the half distance yet.

[E]: Chris, you must be very proud as a coach. Any last thoughts?

[C]: Matt was the type of athlete every coach would love to have: he was goal-oriented, gave me great feedback, and asked a lot of questions. I couldn’t be prouder of Matt – he worked very hard for those results and it was great to have him exceed his goals.

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Sisters, Best Friends, Professional Triathletes, the Wassner Twins

Missed our #Empirechat with Rebeccah and Laurel Wassner? We’ve recapped our conversation here with NYC’s top Professional Triathletes! Make sure to keep an eye out for them this year racing and follow their race results here!

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Q1. As the the leading professional triathletes in NYC, how did you get involved with triathlons & begin to race competitively?

A1. I started triathlon 10 years ago when I was living in the city and working as a CPA. I needed a completive outlet since I wasn’t too into my job. I was running a lot and was competitive on the NYRR scene, but triathlon was something I always wanted to do since I grew up swimming. I joined chelsea piers and started swimming with the masters team. Some of my lanemates turned out to be triathletes and would do bike rides on the weekends, so I bought a bike and started joining them. –Bec

A1. I started swimming competitively at age 5 and played a lot of sports where we were the smallest but fa

Q2. How have you evolved as athletes?

A2. I’ve matured as an athlete, but I think fundamentally, I’ve remained the same person – very driven, a hard worker and I’ve been called a “fierce competitor” since my days of high school track. But over the course of the years, I’ve become more focused and have had to deal with injuries and setbacks, which has made me an even stronger person. –Bec

A2 dealing w mechanical issues on my bike that cost me races,overcoming that by educating myself & better prep –Laurel

Q3. What hurdles have you overcome mentally, physically or emotionally throughout your careers?

A3: My first hurdle was getting a pelvic stress fracture my second year as a pro. Just was a I was hitting my stride, I got knocked out for a YEAR. Having a baby was, and continues to be, a hurdle, but a very rewarding one! –Bec

Q4: Laurel as a survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma & 1st cancer survivor to become a pro triathlete how has this changed you?

A4: Made me stronger but more rewarding to be a motivator/influencer for others dealing w similar issues. it has provided me w a big stage & a way to inspire by just doing the things I love to do. As a survivor theres an inherent sense to help others doing wt u had to do or not able to do wt u can do–Laurel

Q5: Rebeccah, 3X winner of the NYC Triathlon multiple course record holder, you recently welcomed a new baby girl to the world! How have your goals changed, have sights been set higher/made you even more competitive & determined?

A5: Taking over a year off gave me plenty of time to get my competitive juices recharged and ready to go. My body went through a complete change and I’m just excited to see what I can do now that I’m almost back to how I was.

>>>How soon after you had your baby did you compete in your first race?

I did the Prospect Park duathlon when Amy was about 4 months. I wouldn’t call it competing though!
Q6. Tell us about your relationship as twins & competitors, how have you helped push each other to extraordinary feats?

We have been competitive with each other our entire lives! Our ability levels are very similar so we can push each other in training. Having a built in training partner is a huge benefit. We can be the biggest rivals during workouts and then friends again 5 minutes after we finish. –Bec

we are sister first/competitors 2nd. That said, we are still dying to beat one another! also we are lucky to have someone on our side when we jump into something like the Panama Canal or Hudson River!–Laurel

Q7: Living in NYC we want to know where you do most of your training!?

I swim at the new Asphalt Green in Battery Park. The masters swim team is great. All ability levels are welcome, from first timers to Olympians. I also do a lot of strength training Fusion PT NYC with Carolyn Mazur. They have an Alter-G treadmill so I run there frequently. A lot of my training happens in my apartment. My bike trainer is set up in my bedroom! –Bec

Chelsea Piers, NYACTri, Fusion PT, Central Park, 9w, west side highway –Laurel

Q7a: How much training do you do per week and what’s your favorite workout?

About 20-25hrs a week of training. Fav workout: ranger station hill repeats/ long bridal path intervals –Laurel

Any last minute tips for our triathletes and endurance athletes this season?!

A: Be consistent with your training! This snowy winter is going to make you tougher this season.–Bec

keep working hard indoors- it will make you so strong when the season comes along! –Laurel

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Bobby Going Leong and Taking on the Florida Double Anvil

On February 28th, Empire Triathlon Club Member and Ultra athlete, Bobby Leong competed in the Florida Double Anvil Triathlon – a 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike and 52.4 mile run. Twice the distance of an Ironman!  The best part? He trained over 2,000 miles using Charity Miles, raising money & awareness for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. We had the opportunity to chat with him about his experience and what racing for 33:13:42 meant to him!

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ETC: What is your athletic background?

I’ve been involved in triathlon since 1995 and been associated with Empire Triathlon Club since it’s inception in 2011.

ETC: What do you do for a living?

I am a document processing manager at Allen & Overy, LLP – a law firm in midtown Manhattan.

ETC: What / when was your first tri?

My first triathlon was the Montauk Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon in July 1995. It was a total disaster. I didn’t even know how to swim so I bought a wetsuit because I didn’t want to drown. Despite finishing DFL in the swim, I caught up to others on the bike and run. I loved the experience so much, I decided to stick with it. It did, however point to the importance of training with other triathletes in a friendly, supportive club atmosphere. I’m sure if I had, my first experience would have been better… But hey, you never forget your first time 😉

ETC: What prompted you to sign up for the Florida Double Anvil (2x the distance of an Ironman)?

I had entered the Feb 2011 Sebring 12/24 hour bike race and finished 202 miles in about 14.5 hours. After the race I did a little job back to the car and was amazed at how fresh my legs felt. My friend Carl Morrishow then mentioned that there were ultra triathlon races that were 2, 3, 5, 10 and 20x the distance of an Ironman.
I decided to research these races and I came across http://usaultratri.com found the Florida Double Anvil 281.2 Triathlon held in late February.

I participated in a series of long events/races to see if this was really feasible. First, The Little Red Lighthouse 10k swim in Sep 2011, then an 365 mile non-stop East-West NY State Ultracycling Marathon record attempt that same month and finally the NYRR Knickerbocker 60k run….only then did I sign up for my first Double Anvil attempt in May 2012.

ETC: How did you train for this race?

Well I learned a lot from my DNFs from the 2012 and 2013 attempts at this race. The importance taking care of chafing early; finding, training with and sticking to a nutrition plan; overnight rides and bricks; never neglecting zone 3-4 work; and of course always including many LSD (long slow distance) 5,000-6000m swims, 8-11 hour rides, 3-6 hour runs.

ETC: What was the toughest part of the race for you?

I’d have to say on the bike after the sun goes down. The bike course is a 6.88 mile loop and many times you feel like your all alone with me, myself and I. You don’t see a soul out there It gets cold (and it got down to 41 degrees these last two races), boredom sets in, and voices in your head invite you to the Dark Side.

ETC: Was there ever a point where you thought you might quit or didn’t think you could finish?

This year? Nope. The Spartan women used to say to their men, “Ḕ tā̀n ḕ epì tâs”. Literal translation? “Either [with] it [your shield], or on it”: Meaning “either you will win the battle, or you come home dead carried on it”

ETC: What were your goals going into the race?  What did this race mean to you or signify?

My objective going into this race was to complete the 281.2 triathlon. After my knee injury two weeks before the race, I had to modify that to completing the 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike and at least 26.2 of the 54.2 miles of the run in 36 hours. I knew I had to walk the entire run course, so unless I was off the bike by 1-2am (a stretch for me), I’d have to settle for an “Anvil+” finisher status.

The accomplish any large goal like this, it is important to give it meaning. It is really what sustains you through when fatigue and adversity gets in your head. I found that meaning by applying my training and event mileage to raise money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation through  Charity Miles in honor of his two closest friends’ parents who have Parkinson’s disease. And with the support of New York City’s Empire Triathlon Club, I’ve been able to cycle, run and walk over 2,000 Charity Miles during his training leading up to this event!
It was with great humility and purpose that I dedicated this effort to my extended families, the Walsh and Hill clans, and their hopes and those of many others, that one day we’ll find a cure to Parkinson’s. It was a small token of my support for them.

ETC: How many athletes participated / finished?

24 males and 5 females started this race. 17 of them completed the entire 281.2 miles, 5 (including yours truly) finished more than 255 miles, earning an Anvil+ designation, and 7 were DNFs. http://usaultratri.com/Results/Rus010.htm

ETC: Tell us a little about your support crew?  Who was there? How did they help you through the race?

A good support crew can make or break a race/event. My wife Susan, our good friends Erica Aldin and Kathy Kounnas (a Tampa area resident) were on my support crew. They made sure that stuck to my nutrition plan, prepared all drinks, had all equipment and supplies at the ready. Most importantly they were my source of encouragement and the occasional swift kick up my backside!

ETC: Racing for 33:13:42, did you sleep at all during the race?

I did! I had one hour of sleep and did it right in T2, therefore having the ignominious honor of owning the longest T2 time, 1:18:40, during the race 🙂

ETC: Do you think you’ll sign up for another?

As a solo? Probably not for a few years. As a part of a team? Sure! I think Empire Tri Club should field an all male and all female team or 1 co-ed team. Who’s in?!!!!

ETC: What’s your next athletic challenge?

Pine Creek Challenge 100 mile ultra run in the beginning of September. Anyone want to join me?

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Tackling Endurance with Chris Mosier

Chris Mosier, Empire Triathlon Club Coach has quite the extensive athletic resume. Highlighting him as a nationally sponsored Ironman Triathlete, Ultrarunner with self-supported Ultra Marathons around Manhattan, Cyclist and 3 time Ironman Triathlete. This fall Chris also became the 53rd person in the world to achieve the ultra endurance title of “Knight of Sufferlandria” at Sufferfest, an ultra cycling event. He has gained a strong knowledge of the fitness field with certifications as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer/ Private Exercise Specialist, Certification in TRX, USA Triathlon Level 1 coach, a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist and a STAR Level 1 Spinning Instructor.

Chris’s achievements have been applauded and recognized across the country. He was awarded the “2013 Athlete of the Year” at the Compete Sports Diversity Awards and named honorable mention for the USAT 2011 Spirit of Multisport Award and a finalist for the 2011 Compete Magazine Athlete of the Year.

Through the world of endurance sports Chris has used the outlet to help raise money for charities and foundations across the country. Chris has helped raise awareness as an advocate and member of the Nike LGBT Sports Coalition, a group working to end bias and discrimination in sports and has been asked to lead lectures and speaking engagements on the subject of equality in sports across the nation. In addition, the launch of his website,www.transathlete.com, a resource for inclusion in athletics at all levels of play, was named to multiple national listings of the top moments in sports in 2013.

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(Chris at HITS Naples 140.6, January 11, 2014)

ETC: Chris, what is your athletic background?

CM:I was an All-Conference basketball, volleyball, and softball player in high school, but spent most of my youth competing in and then teaching martial arts. I grew up loving sports; if it’s active, I’ve probably done it.

ETC: What motivated you to enter the world of endurance sports?

CM:I had a stroke when I was 21 and took up running after as a way to take control of my body and my health. I found that I really enjoyed the training process and testing my limits and seeing what I was capable of after being in such a fragile state.

ETC: As an experienced endurance athlete, what part about the sport has got you hooked? What attracted you to such long distance events?

CM:I was drawn to the long events because of the search for limits, but I haven’t found them yet, so I keep going longer! I love training as much as I love being competitive. Training for long events requires a lot of focus; I find it meditative.

ETC: When you decided to transition as a transgender athlete, how did it impact your competitive career? Did you have to re-evaluate your goals?

CM:Initially I thought transitioning would be a very positive thing for me in every other area but sports, and that it would negatively impact my ability to compete. But I think my comfort with myself now has alleviated some of the barriers to me succeeding. Combined with more experience and knowledge about how to properly train, I’ve been more successful as an endurance athlete now than I was before transition.

ETC: You recently placed 1st in your Age Group and 4th Overall in the Full Distance 140.6 HITS Triathlon in Naples, FL! Congratulations, very impressive! What was your goal going into this race? Did you expect these kind of results?

CM:My goal was to place top 3 in my age group and to finish under 11 hours. I did a lot of visualizing of the results I wanted and had a solid plan. Everything went perfectly. You can read all the details in my race report here.

ETC: How did you mentally and physically train for this race? What part of your training do you think had the biggest impact on your results?

CM:This was my first race since breaking my collarbone in May 2013. The time off from surgery forced me to think more about recovery and gave me time to think about my goals and make a sound plan for this race. I think my success was from my desire to come back strong, as well as more attention to longer efforts and adequate recovery. I think in general my training was smarter than before. I was in the pool earlier and more often, and did solid long efforts, including my 193 mile Knighthood ride.

ETC: What was the toughest part of the race for you?

CM:The heat! Training through the NYC fall and winter did not prepare me for an 85 degree marathon.

ETC: After being injured last summer with a broken collar bone and forced to sit out for months, was it hard to bounce back into race mode? What was your recovery like?

CM:I was out from May to September. The time off and the process of rebuilding both my strength and endurance helped me think critically about my limiters and weaknesses and put some time into improving them. It was actually a blessing. I was excited to race again; signing up for a race gave me a goal to focus on.

ETC: What’s your next athletic challenge?

CM:I’m switching to shorter races for the summer, with my goal being to place in the Olympic distance tri at Gay Games 9 in August.

ETC: Any words of advice for our athletes and members looking to take their next athletic career step in distance or competition?

CM:If you want to do something – whether it’s a new distance or set a new PR – set a goal, make a plan, and get after it. Training with others is a great way to stay motivated, and telling your teammates and friends your goals can help keep you accountable. Take steps you can to give yourself the best chance of being successful, whether it’s getting some one-on-one coaching, working on your weaknesses, or pushing outside your comfort zone. If it’s important to you, make it a priority. And also: speed-work works!

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Deanna Angello – Strong Body, Strong Mind

The NYC Marathon draws in such a diverse crowd of individuals. People come from near and far, speaking languages from all around the world. When you’re standing on the Verrazano Bridge, it might appear that everyone is at the NYC Marathon for 1 reason – to run. But when you take a moment to talk to a teammate, a friend or a person you’ve never met before, its amazing to learn that everyone has a different story.

After speaking with Deanna Angello, an Empire Tri Club Member and 10-year NYC resident, we were amazed to learn what sparked her to become a marathon runner, and where she draws her inspiration from!

ETC: Deanna, please tell us about how you got into running & triathlons:

DA: I used to mountain bike and run the obligatory 3 miles a day prior, and was addicted to spin class prior to living in NYC, but never had a desire to run further. I even cycled 400 miles from Raleigh, NC to Washington on my mountain bike (just for the extra challenge)! But with no easy access to trails (when I moved to NYC), I gave up my mountain bike for running shoes and started to train for my first marathon about 10 years ago.

ETC: Was this your first marathon?

DA: No, but my first time racing NYC. I’ve run 3 marathons, including NYC. Previous marathons include Chicago and Anchorage, Alaska. I’ve raced about 10 ½ marathons.

ETC: What was your goal going into this race?

DA: With four NYC marathon deferrals due to a number of injuries in the past (i.e, stress fractures, herniated disk to name a few), my goal for this marathon was to get to the start line healthy, run pain-free, and have fun doing the world’s greatest marathon!

ETC: As a triathlete, did you incorporate cross training into your marathon training? What did a typical training week look like for you?

DA: Past injuries have made me realize the importance of cross-training, specifically strength and interval training. My marathon training focused on this, running 3x a week, including some track workouts.

ETC: Were you raising money for charity or running for a particular cause?

DA: Yes – Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) – represents neurodegenerative diseases, in particular, Frontotemporal Dementia, a rare disease that affects people in their 50 & 60s.

ETC: Please tell us a little about that and what it meant to you?

DA: In 2009, my dad – my mentor and hero – was diagnosed with a terminal illness – Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) at age 65. I attribute my athleticism to my Dad and that is why I will take on a series of athletic endeavors in honor of my Dad. My commitment is to raise $50,000 for The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration(AFTD) to create awareness about FTD, to find effective treatments, and ultimately a cure.

ETC: We heard you ended up going to the medical tent. Can you tell us what happened and if you’re ok?

DA: Shortly after seeing two of my friends in Brooklyn, I started to feel my groin muscle pulling, but I was hoping it was going to go away….unfortunately it didn’t. I continued on, but as I approached my support crew at Mile 18, I knew in my heart that the race I planned to have wasn’t going to happen. My foot had swollen so much that I had to stop to have (Elle) loosen up my laces, as it was very painful. In the Bronx (Mile 20) I was coming to terms with disappointment and made the decision to listen to what my body was screaming at me to do – I told Elle I had to go to the medical tent at mile 21.

ETC: Was there any point in the race where you thought you may not finish?

DA: I know when to push through the pain and I know when stopping is the better option. I never had an issue with my right leg — ever, except for very tight hip flexors, but I did pull my groin muscle on my left leg a few years ago, which ultimately led to the stress fracture in my pelvis. I was out for 7 months after that, and I have athletic goals in 2014 that I can’t afford to be out for!

ETC: What kept you going? Especially after your decision to seek medical help

DA: There was no way I wasn’t going to finish this race. It was important to me to finish, even if I had to walk, and to make my Dad proud. In the end, I did what I set out to do — finish, raise awareness and funds for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), made my Dad (and Mom) proud, and had fun along the course – especially the last 5 miles that I had to walk.

I may be a girl from Pittsburgh, which will always be my roots, but I did what New Yorkers always do, I persevered, despite the challenges, and figured out how to get it done. I may have been down, but I was never out of the game.

ETC: You must have been thrilled to have finished! Did you celebrate?

DA: Of course, Bloody Mary’s are not only my favorite drink, but also the best recovery drink of choice. I may have had a dozen of buffalo wings for some protein recovery 😉

ETC: Do you think you’ll run another marathon?

DA: Definitely, and next time I will still be on my mission to raise awareness and funds for FTD, but will also plan to go for a PR.

ETC: What’s next on your race calendar?

DA: Right now, I’m taking a break, but the two races I already have scheduled for 2014 are Mont Tremblant 70.3 and NYC Triathlon.

ETC: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

DA: Through my Strong Body, Strong Mind campaign, I’ve completed a trek to Everest Base Camp, and a number of races. Please check out my website. To date, I have raised over $31,000 for AFTD in honor of my Dad and all those fighting FTD. Thank you all for the encouragement and support. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing group of people in my life.

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Howard Voletsky runs his 10th Marathon in NYC!

Over the past few months, New York City has been buzzing with runners, eagerly preparing for the ING NYC Marathon. After last years NYC Marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy and the tragic events that happened in Boston earlier this year, runners came together to show strength & solidarity during this years ING NYC Marathon. The Empire Tri Club had a record high of 20 athletes compete in the race!

We had a chance to catch up with Howard Voletsky, a 29 year old Empire Tri Club Member and UES resident, after the race to find out how it went.

ETC:  Howard, please tell us about your athletic background and how you got into running & triathlons:

HV:  I started running about 10 years as a way to spend more time with my Uncle. 5ks turned into 10ks which eventually turned into my love for marathons. I recently started to transition into triathlons and hope to complete an Ironman in 2015.

ETC:  Was this your first marathon?

HV:  No, this was my 10th marathon. I’ve run Chicago (twice), Marine Corps, and New Jersey. This was my 6th time running the NYC Marathon.

ETC:  How did your race this year compare to when you ran the NYC Marathon Previously?

HV:  I ran a 12 min PR (personal record) in relation to my previous best NYC Marathon.

ETC:  What was your goal going into this race? (a particular time? just to finish? to beat a past-race time?)

HV:  My goal at the outset was to run 4hrs but as the summer progressed I set my goal on 4:15. As the race neared I set a goal of running 10:00 min miles the entire race.

ETC:  What did your training look like heading into the marathon?

HV:  I tried to run 3 days a week. Tues/Thurs/Saturday. Tues would generally be a tempo workout (“chat pace”) and Thurs would be a speed workout.  I did many of these runs with the Empire Tri Club in Central Park.  Saturdays would be my long runs which ranged anywhere from 10 miles all the way up to 20 miles.

ETC:  Did you hit the wall? What was the toughest part of the race?

HV:  This year was the first time I really didn’t hit the “wall”. I got a minor cramp around the 25.5 mile marker that caused me to walk for about 15 seconds.

ETC: What was your favorite borough to run through & why?

HV: I enjoy running through Manhattan because I know I get to see my friends/family along the course. The crowds are unbelievable.

ETC:  What was your pacing strategy?

HV:  My strategy was to run a negative split. I wanted to go out running 10:00 miles for the first half then slowly increase it for the second half. I was spot on with the 10:00 min per mile for the first half but was unable to speed up the second half. I did pretty well to maintain the 10 min per mile pace through 21-22 miles.

ETC:  Do you think you’ll run the NYC marathon again?

HV:  I am running the marathon again in 2014. As long as I can get in NYC will always be on my racing calendar.

ETC:  What’s next on your race calendar?

HV:  I plan on taking a break for a few weeks. I will start swimming next week in preparation for my 2014 tri races (NYC Tri and Ironman Timberman 70.3).

empire tri

howard

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Olof Dallner wins Quintuple Ironman!

<p><strong>Olof Dallner </strong>(35 years old) is an Empire Tri Club member who recently competed in the <strong>ultimate endurance event</strong> – the Quintuple Anvil Ultra Triathlon.  The 12 mile swim, 560 mile bike and 131 mile run is the distance of 5 Ironmans!  But Olof did more than just finish – he won the event, finishing in just under 4 days (a full day ahead of the 5-day cutoff!).<p>We chatted with Olof after his race to learn a little more about his background, what prompted him to sign up for such an event, and what his racing plans are for the future…<p>&nbsp;<p><strong>ETC:  Olof, what is your athletic background? </strong><p>OD:  Mountaineer and alpine climber for almost 20 years, ultra endurance athlete, obstacle racer, triathlete.<p><strong>ETC: Whats do you do for a living?</strong><p>OD:  PhD in Molecular Physiology, currently postdoctoral scientist at Rockefeller University in Genetics/Physiology, researching the genetics of the hormone Leptin and its role in obesity and metabolism.<p><strong>ETC:  Where are you from? </strong><p>OD:  I’m from Stockholm, Sweden but moved to NYC 4 years ago.<p><strong>ETC:  What / when was your first tri?</strong><p>OD:  My first triathlon was an olympic distance triathlon in Virginia last year, and then I raced the Timberman half Ironman distance 2 weeks later.<p><strong>ETC:  Is it true that you’ve never done a single ironman prior to this event?</strong><p>OD:  Yes. I have done only 3-4 triathlons before this, 2 half Ironmans.<p><strong>ETC:   What prompted you to sign up for a Quintuple ironman?</strong><p>OD:  The feeling that I might not be able to finish. I like to take myself outside my comfort zone and signing up for this made me quite uncomfortable.<p><strong>ETC:   While you’re relatively new to tri’s, we know that you have a background in ultra-endurance sports &amp; obstacle races. How do you think that helped you in this race?</strong><p>OD:  That is the crucial part in this race, much more than the number of triathlons I’ve done. For example, being a good brick runner doesn’t matter as much in an event like this when you are going at a slower pace for very long. Knowing how to push yourself for extended periods, during nights, and for days while being sleep deprived is important.<p><strong>ETC:  What was the toughest part of the race for you?</strong><p>OD:  I think it was just before the race and going into the swim actually. Once I got through the swim I felt very confident about the race. For the last 24 hours of biking (the second night) and the entire run we had continuous rain. 62 hours of rain takes energy out of you, but I tend to do pretty good during miserable conditions.<p><strong>ETC:  Was there ever a point where you thought you might quit or didn’t think you could finish?</strong><p>OD:  Yes, that happens to everyone. Your brain tells you it’s time to stop. I’m very used to that though and just talk back to my own brain. It is not real, you can continue. You’re having this weird discussion with yourself. Once I got off the bike I had so much time to the cutoff that I felt very confident I would make it before the 5 day cutoff. My goal was to make it sub 4 days and I managed to just do that.<p><strong>ETC:  Its amazing to finish the race, let alone WIN the race.  Were you “in it to win it”?  Did you go in to the race with the goal or hopes of winning?  Was there competition amongst the athletes?</strong><p>OD:  I didn’t start out with that thought. I was the only one in the field that had not done a multiple ironman before. I was focused on finishing. During the bike I felt like it turned into a race and we were definitely going for it. Once I got off the bike I was about 2 hours ahead and I knew I had a good chance of keeping the lead. During the run there was a couple of fierce moments when we were running 8-9 miles for 8-10 miles, trying to beat each other.<p><strong>ETC:  How many athletes participated / finished?</strong><p>OD:  Total of 9 athletes, 2 did not show, 3 finished within cut off, one finished outside of the cut off, and 3 did not finish.<p><strong>ETC:  Tell us a little about your support crew?  Who was there? How did they help you through the race?</strong><p>OD:  I had my girlfriend Caitlin’s parents there for the first two days, then Caitlin came and she and her mom crewed till the finish. I also had other friends coming in during the race to help out. The different crews were helping each others athletes though, it was a great spirit during the race. I got a lot of help from others. But I can’t stress how important it was that I had Caitlin and her mom there. Crewing like they did is as hard as racing. It was cold and wet and they stayed up only to cater to my needs. I’m so very thankful to have had them there.<p><strong>ETC:  Did you sleep at all during the race?</strong><p>OD:  I slept about 2 hours the first night, 1,5 hours the second night, 2 hours the 3rd night, and 15 minutes the last night. I totaled about 6 hours of sleep in 4 days with some other power naps that I took.<p><strong>ETC:  Do you think you’ll sign up for another?</strong><p>OD:  Haha. Not right now, but I think I will do more ultra triathlons if I get a chance. It’s also about the great people you meet when you do these things. I’m also fairly sure I can do it quite a lot faster if I do it again.<p><strong>ETC:  What’s your next athletic challenge?</strong><p>OD:  I’m going to do New York marathon in November, not really for PR, just enjoying the event. Then I have Worlds Toughest Mudder in NJ in November. A 24 hour obstacle race.</p>

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Olof Dallner wins Quintuple Ironman!

Olof Dallner (35 years old) is an Empire Tri Club member who recently competed in the ultimate endurance event – the Quintuple Anvil Ultra Triathlon.  The 12 mile swim, 560 mile bike and 131 mile run is the distance of 5 Ironmans!  But Olof did more than just finish – he won the event, finishing in just under 4 days (a full day ahead of the 5-day cutoff!).

We chatted with Olof after his race to learn a little more about his background, what prompted him to sign up for such an event, and what his racing plans are for the future…

ETC:  Olof, what is your athletic background?

OD:  Mountaineer and alpine climber for almost 20 years, ultra endurance athlete, obstacle racer, triathlete.

ETC: Whats do you do for a living?

OD:  PhD in Molecular Physiology, currently postdoctoral scientist at Rockefeller University in Genetics/Physiology, researching the genetics of the hormone Leptin and its role in obesity and metabolism.

ETC:  Where are you from?

OD:  I’m from Stockholm, Sweden but moved to NYC 4 years ago.

ETC:  What / when was your first tri?

OD:  My first triathlon was an olympic distance triathlon in Virginia last year, and then I raced the Timberman half Ironman distance 2 weeks later.

ETC:  Is it true that you’ve never done a single ironman prior to this event?

OD:  Yes. I have done only 3-4 triathlons before this, 2 half Ironmans.

ETC:   What prompted you to sign up for a Quintuple ironman?

OD:  The feeling that I might not be able to finish. I like to take myself outside my comfort zone and signing up for this made me quite uncomfortable.

ETC:   While you’re relatively new to tri’s, we know that you have a background in ultra-endurance sports & obstacle races. How do you think that helped you in this race?

OD:  That is the crucial part in this race, much more than the number of triathlons I’ve done. For example, being a good brick runner doesn’t matter as much in an event like this when you are going at a slower pace for very long. Knowing how to push yourself for extended periods, during nights, and for days while being sleep deprived is important.

ETC:  What was the toughest part of the race for you?

OD:  I think it was just before the race and going into the swim actually. Once I got through the swim I felt very confident about the race. For the last 24 hours of biking (the second night) and the entire run we had continuous rain. 62 hours of rain takes energy out of you, but I tend to do pretty good during miserable conditions.

ETC:  Was there ever a point where you thought you might quit or didn’t think you could finish?

OD:  Yes, that happens to everyone. Your brain tells you it’s time to stop. I’m very used to that though and just talk back to my own brain. It is not real, you can continue. You’re having this weird discussion with yourself. Once I got off the bike I had so much time to the cutoff that I felt very confident I would make it before the 5 day cutoff. My goal was to make it sub 4 days and I managed to just do that.

ETC:  Its amazing to finish the race, let alone WIN the race.  Were you “in it to win it”?  Did you go in to the race with the goal or hopes of winning?  Was there competition amongst the athletes?

OD:  I didn’t start out with that thought. I was the only one in the field that had not done a multiple ironman before. I was focused on finishing. During the bike I felt like it turned into a race and we were definitely going for it. Once I got off the bike I was about 2 hours ahead and I knew I had a good chance of keeping the lead. During the run there was a couple of fierce moments when we were running 8-9 miles for 8-10 miles, trying to beat each other.

ETC:  How many athletes participated / finished?

OD:  Total of 9 athletes, 2 did not show, 3 finished within cut off, one finished outside of the cut off, and 3 did not finish.

ETC:  Tell us a little about your support crew?  Who was there? How did they help you through the race?

OD:  I had my girlfriend Caitlin’s parents there for the first two days, then Caitlin came and she and her mom crewed till the finish. I also had other friends coming in during the race to help out. The different crews were helping each others athletes though, it was a great spirit during the race. I got a lot of help from others. But I can’t stress how important it was that I had Caitlin and her mom there. Crewing like they did is as hard as racing. It was cold and wet and they stayed up only to cater to my needs. I’m so very thankful to have had them there.

ETC:  Did you sleep at all during the race?

OD:  I slept about 2 hours the first night, 1,5 hours the second night, 2 hours the 3rd night, and 15 minutes the last night. I totaled about 6 hours of sleep in 4 days with some other power naps that I took.

ETC:  Do you think you’ll sign up for another?

OD:  Haha. Not right now, but I think I will do more ultra triathlons if I get a chance. It’s also about the great people you meet when you do these things. I’m also fairly sure I can do it quite a lot faster if I do it again.

ETC:  What’s your next athletic challenge?

OD:  I’m going to do New York marathon in November, not really for PR, just enjoying the event. Then I have Worlds Toughest Mudder in NJ in November. A 24 hour obstacle race.