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Athlete Spotlight: Wissam Nasr

Meet Wissam Nasr! 

Wissam is one of the Empire Tri Club’s most recent additions to the Spring Beginner Program. He was born in Cairo, Egypt and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens, the most diverse zip code in the world. Roughly a square mile with 113,000 residents who speak 167 languages. Growing up in Jackson Heights attracted him to a career in human rights and civil rights later in life.

Tell us a little about your family. 

My mother and father operated a local veterinary clinic for 20 years in Queens. The clinic was located next door to Corona’s Parkside Restaurant, a famous Genovese mafia hangout.  Local mobsters would bring in their baby alligators for checkups.  They would play with the cats. Most of you have never seen a hitman cuddle with a kitten, but I have. As late as 2015, a checkup for your dog was $25. My parents were often were never paid fully for surgeries they performed. They never sent a collection notice in their lives. I’m proud of that.

My father, whom resembled a mad professor when wearing a lab coat, died from smoking related causes in 2016 after 10 months on various machines. Then my favorite Uncle died the next year. And right after his death, my mother became completely blind and lost her memory. Facing such daunting issues, my fiancee decided to leave for better weather in California. I had no choice but to go it alone, so I quit my job and took care of my mom for a couple of years. 55 million Americans are taking care of an elderly loved one with a disability, and I was one of them. On May 13th, 2020 my mom passed away.  My only surviving family member is a sister that lives in France. 

Why did you choose Empire?

I joined because I understood the importance of surrounding yourself with a good peer group, especially a group of people I would consider to be role models in their own right. I find Empire to be motivational, educational, and helpful to be a part of as I train for a formal event for the first time. I can ask specific or general questions, and I think the collective experiences of my many coaches and teammates are the greatest benefit for a beginner like me. 

What is your fitness background? 

I’ve never been involved in organized fitness, unless eating ice cream finally becomes the Olympic event that we all feel it should be. As a matter of fact, I spent most of my life 20 to 50 pounds overweight. Things changed about a year ago. I wasn’t proud of my health. I began to integrate exercise into my daily routines, like commuting to work by bicycle. I have always felt most comfortable on a bike; but I am now enjoying running a lot more than I thought. I can’t swim all that well yet, but I have a Pinky and the Brain level plan to solve that problem, so let’s see. 

What is a personal goal of yours?

I recently turned 42, and I have the opportunity to retire early, the result of years of good personal finance and eating cold noodles for dinner. I like the idea of traveling the world, training in Mallorca, and competing in events. Or I might rent an apartment in South Africa and play soccer with children across the street every single day. I don’t know. I can’t play soccer but maybe they’ll need a goalie. Americans are good goalies. I’m ok with either plan. I do know that training for events will be a central part of my life. I have already been to 60 some countries and 200 cities. In fact, I taught tourism and hospitality at a public high school for a year so I can probably help my teammates with travel advice.  

At the aspirational level in the triathlon world, I saw Doc Golden’s speech on YouTube with a buddy of mine, and her vivid description of competing in a triathlon, has made the Ironman an official daydream of mine now. And look, it’s good to daydream. There’s not much else to do for me to do when I’m running up a hill on mile 6. So I’ll run my first tri and see where it takes me. 

One Crazy swim/bike/run adventure?

I was a United Nations civil affairs officer stationed in Kosovo in 2008 just prior to their declaration of independence. I was posted in a rural setting where there had been religious violence. I took a new route from my evening walk one day and ended up being chased by a massive bull. Or it could have been a really masculine looking cow, I don’t know. I could have sworn I saw horns. But it was fast! I didn’t want beef with the cow, so I ran as fast as I could. Apparently cows are able to smell blood despite being vegetarians. And I can confirm that running from something as bizarre as a cow happens only in slow-motion. Luckily, some of the local Roma kids saw me, and since 10-year-olds are always much braver than adults, they distracted the cow while I got to safety. The next day I went up the hill to thank the kids who helped me and they asked me if I was going to run again. I agreed and they ran with me every few days after that. I t was nice. Running with 10-year-olds in a recovering warzone after work was how I started, I guess. 

Fun fact about you?

I’ve been known to have a lot of pretty cool jobs over the last 25 years. Right now, I currently teach child actors on movie sets and Broadway shows, so I often get to hang out in famous actors’ dressing rooms, like Joaquin Phoenix in the Joker or Forrest Whitaker in Godfather of Harlem. You’d be surprised to hear what Donnie Wahlberg has to say about curling. 

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Athlete Spotlight: Mike Ritz

MEET MIKE RITZ

For the past two years Mike Ritz has been one of the coaches of the HSS Run Club, a corporate wellness program that Empire runs for the employees of the Hospital for Special Surgery. Mike first got involved with Empire Tri Club in the winter of 2015 when he was leading a 12-week winter training session, preparing athletes for the NYC Half Marathon.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Syosset, NY, a small town on the North Shore of Long Island. I am one of four boys, and we were all pretty active in sports growing up. My first sport was soccer because my mother’s family is all immigrants, and I played lots of baseball too. I was pretty much up for anything as a kid.  I was a small kid growing up but always practiced and tried to out work everyone else.

Why did you start running?
I got into running through soccer. In high school, the cross-country coach came out to watch one of our soccer games and spoke to me after the game. He asked me to join the team at a cross-country meet the next day. My soccer coach gave me permission. I remember that I was angry because I was missing soccer practice. I ran the meet in my regular Converse gym sneakers and came in second on our team, 5th overall. So I continued to run cross-country while playing on the soccer team. My older brother was a pretty accomplished runner so it was fun for me to follow in his foot steps. Honestly though, I hated running back then, because I felt like I was missing out on playing ball!

My senior year at Boston University, my friend and I decided to run the Boston Marathon, which runs right past our campus. I actually went to the Bill Rodgers Running Store to interview Bill Rodgers (Olympian and 2x Boston & NYC Marathon Winner) and ask him for some training tips. Remarkably, he was there, and more remarkably, he spoke to me.

In addition to marathons and half marathons, I have done a couple of duathlons, but the notion of a triathlon really scared me because of the swimming (yikes!).  One of my cousins, who is not a good athlete, decided to do the NYC Triathlon and dared me to do it as well. Challenge accepted. That was 2010. Since then I’ve done a few Half Ironman’s.

What is the scariest thing to happen to you during a race?
I try to do a “destination” run each year. Combining running and vacation is a great thing. The scariest thing that ever happened was the Tel Aviv Marathon. It was crazy hot and my son was meeting me at the finish line. I guess the heat got to me because I don’t remember finishing the race. The first thing I remember was walking with him, drinking water from a bottle. I remember asking him “Did I finish?” and he looked at me like I was crazy and pointed to my medal. It was already 20 minutes after the race, but obviously I was in a complete heat-induced fog.

What is the funniest thing you experienced during a race?
I ran the Florida Half Marathon a few years ago, which features a different musical act at each mile. I think I was the 10-mile mark and feeling pretty crappy, but as I approached I heard this great, kick-ass band playing some classic rock ‘n roll. I looked at the drummer and made some feeble motion to indicate that I wanted to sit in on the drums. He happily waved me over. One Rolling Stones song later, I was on my way, with renewed energy to finish the race!

How have you been involved during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’ve lived in NYC since I graduated college. A while back, a relative suffered a heart attack on the street and was saved because of the fast response of the EMTs. So I decided to be an EMT and have served in various volunteer ambulance services since. I was a first responder and survivor on 9/11, when I ran with my medical gear from my apartment in Greenwich Village to the Twin Towers. My office at the time was in the South Tower (the second to be hit). I was going to a meeting that morning, so I wasn’t at work, but I called my office and told everyone to leave immediately. Even though there were announcements to stay, I insisted that everyone exit the building. They all survived and I am proud of that. When the first tower fell, I remember looking up in fear and thinking “there’s no way I’m getting out of this.” I grabbed a backboard for protection and started running before I was consumed by the thick, black smoke and debris. I managed to find a safe place and pulled other people in. I guess running prepared me for that moment. I survived the second tower collapse as well and stayed on site until 3am helping with the rescue and recovery efforts. I volunteered at Ground Zero for two weeks after that.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought back many thoughts of those days. As an EMT, I was part of some planning calls and meetings and worked at the Javits Center to help set it up as a hospital. Unfortunately, they didn’t let me continue working there because I am over 50 years old and they didn’t want to put me at risk. However, there has been so much to do within our building and local area. I work in my Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood to help organize community outreach. I think the greatest challenge for so many people is the loneliness that results from sheltering in place. If nothing else, I tell people to reach out to neighbors and friends and loved ones. Just call to say hello or to see if they need anything from the store.

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Athlete Spotlight: Cindy Carde

Let’s Meet Cindy Carde!

 

Empire Tri Club, a NYC based club with over 100 members, sits in the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic.  This month we had the chance to connect with Cindy Carde who contracted the Coronavirus in March.  

Cindy is a 7-year Empire Tri Club member with over 70 races under her belt.  This year, Cindy set her sights on becoming an Ironman.  However COVID-19 had other plans for her.  Read more for the full interview with Cindy!Cindy, where are you from? The boogie down BRONXWhere do you live now?  Still in the boogie down but in a more diverse neighborhood

How long have you been a member of Empire Tri Club? I just made 7 years with Empire in April. It says a lot about Empire Tri Club when your members keep coming back for more.

What are a few races you have done in the past? 1 sprint tri, which was my first and worst race ever. 6 Olympics tris, 3 long distance 70.3 triathlons. Over 25 marathons and definitely over 40 half marathons

What are you training for this season (assuming we actually race!)? My goal this year was to compete in a full long distance 140.6 triathlon but with lack of being able to train properly due to being diagnosed with COVID-19 by 3 doctors put a halt on training and being able to compete with a strong mind, confidence and endurance.

When did you start experiencing symptoms? March 16th. I couldn’t sleep at all. Not a wink for 3 days straight. On March 19th I woke up with a crick in my neck, my shoulders and back ached and I had a fever. As the day went, my well being declined. My fever spiked, I couldn’t shake the chills and the body aches were severe that Thursday night. Some days I felt well enough that I could force myself to try to have a normal quarantine day of watching TV and catching up on some work emails. Some days I felt awful that all I could do is sleep for 2 days straight. Headaches, a slight fever and extreme fatigue was an everyday occurrence. I even had extreme dizziness for day. The list of symptoms can go on and on.
What lead you to believe you might have the coronavirus? When I lost my sense of smell and taste.
Did you get tested for it? No, because I am younger to those who are as risk and I do not have any preexisting health conditions. I was told that I could not be tested because they only have a small amount of tests available and because I am younger to those who are at risk and I do not have any preexisting health conditions.

How long did your symptoms last? 4 weeks

What did you do to recover?  Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Drank lots of fluids, which consisted of water, gatorade, tea and chicken broth

Were you scared?  Not at all, I keep a pretty healthy lifestyle of running, biking, swimming, hiking and walking, which made me feel healthy enough to beat anything that was trying to take over my body.

Was there any advice you received that you found to be particularly helpful? Yes, I was told that it was ok to take tylenol. That was the only thing that allowed me to kind of function when I could.

Do you live alone or was anyone in your household caring for you? I live alone. I would get regular food and medicine deliveries dropped at my door by my mother and boyfriend.

Were you in touch with your Empire teammates during this time? Absolutely, they were the reason why I would wake up and get out of bed. They feel like family and I needed to see what everyone was up to.

How, if at all, did they help you get through it? The constant banter, well wishes in a group/separate chat/text messages, words of encouragement made me feel like a had a team of COVID get well sherpas. They kept me positive when I had doubts of ever getting better. They even offered to get on a Citi Bike to bring me medicine and food at my way uptown residence.

How are you feeling now? GREAT!! Like myself again.I am itching to start swimming, biking and running. I have walked several miles and stared to sprint uphills during my hikes

Are you fully recovered? Fully recovered with zero symptoms

Any advice you have for fellow triathletes about your experience? Fight, never ever let anything/anyone take you down

Anything else you’d like to share? A quote that i take with me at every training day and race, “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up” by Dean Karnazes – but i always add ever to the last statement of the quote so that it loos like Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never ever give up. It is truly a motto that i follow. You have to physically remove me from a course. I will never stop trying to reach that finish line. 4 flat tires and a broken hand couldn’t stop me from completing the 2018 NYC Tri.

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Athlete Spotlight: Cindy Carde

Let’s Meet Cindy Carde!

Empire Tri Club, a NYC based club with over 100 members, sits in the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic.  This month we had the chance to connect with Cindy Carde who contracted the Coronavirus in March.  

Cindy is a 7-year Empire Tri Club member with over 70 races under her belt.  This year, Cindy set her sights on becoming an Ironman.  However COVID-19 had other plans for her.  Read more for the full interview with Cindy!

Cindy, where are you from? The boogie down BRONX

Where do you live now?  Still in the boogie down but in a more diverse neighborhood

How long have you been a member of Empire Tri Club? I just made 7 years with Empire in April. It says a lot about Empire Tri Club when your members keep coming back for more.

What are a few races you have done in the past? 1 sprint tri, which was my first and worst race ever. 6 Olympics tris, 3 long distance 70.3 triathlons. Over 25 marathons and definitely over 40 half marathons

What are you training for this season (assuming we actually race!)? My goal this year was to compete in a full long distance 140.6 triathlon but with lack of being able to train properly due to being diagnosed with COVID-19 by 3 doctors put a halt on training and being able to compete with a strong mind, confidence and endurance.

When did you start experiencing symptoms? March 16th. I couldn’t sleep at all. Not a wink for 3 days straight. On March 19th I woke up with a crick in my neck, my shoulders and back ached and I had a fever. As the day went, my well being declined. My fever spiked, I couldn’t shake the chills and the body aches were severe that Thursday night. Some days I felt well enough that I could force myself to try to have a normal quarantine day of watching TV and catching up on some work emails. Some days I felt awful that all I could do is sleep for 2 days straight. Headaches, a slight fever and extreme fatigue was an everyday occurrence. I even had extreme dizziness for day. The list of symptoms can go on and on.
What lead you to believe you might have the coronavirus? When I lost my sense of smell and taste.
Did you get tested for it? No, because I am younger to those who are as risk and I do not have any preexisting health conditions. I was told that I could not be tested because they only have a small amount of tests available and because I am younger to those who are at risk and I do not have any preexisting health conditions.
How long did your symptoms last? 4 weeks
What did you do to recover?  Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Drank lots of fluids, which consisted of water, gatorade, tea and chicken broth
Were you scared?  Not at all, I keep a pretty healthy lifestyle of running, biking, swimming, hiking and walking, which made me feel healthy enough to beat anything that was trying to take over my body.
Was there any advice you received that you found to be particularly helpful? Yes, I was told that it was ok to take tylenol. That was the only thing that allowed me to kind of function when I could.
Do you live alone or was anyone in your household caring for you? I live alone. I would get regular food and medicine deliveries dropped at my door by my mother and boyfriend.
Were you in touch with your Empire teammates during this time? Absolutely, they were the reason why I would wake up and get out of bed. They feel like family and I needed to see what everyone was up to.
How, if at all, did they help you get through it? The constant banter, well wishes in a group/separate chat/text messages, words of encouragement made me feel like a had a team of COVID get well sherpas. They kept me positive when I had doubts of ever getting better. They even offered to get on a Citi Bike to bring me medicine and food at my way uptown residence.
How are you feeling now? GREAT!! Like myself again.I am itching to start swimming, biking and running. I have walked several miles and stared to sprint uphills during my hikes
Are you fully recovered? Fully recovered with zero symptoms
Any advice you have for fellow triathletes about your experience? Fight, never ever let anything/anyone take you down
Anything else you’d like to share? A quote that i take with me at every training day and race, “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up” by Dean Karnazes – but i always add ever to the last statement of the quote so that it loos like Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never ever give up. It is truly a motto that i follow. You have to physically remove me from a course. I will never stop trying to reach that finish line. 4 flat tires and a broken hand couldn’t stop me from completing the 2018 NYC Tri.
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Empire Spotlight: Meet Maud Walas!

Maud Walas raises her arms as she crosses the finish line of her first Half Ironman, IMAC 70.3 last September. This summer, she is training to become an Ironman!

Empire Spotlight!  Meet Maud Walas

Last week we had a chance to connect with Empire Member Maud Walas and dig a little deeper into where she’s from, what she’s training for and how she’s coping with COVID_19. Read more to find out!

Empire: Were are you from?
Maud: I am from Paris, France.

Empire: When did you move to NY?
Maud: I moved to NY in March 2017.

Empire: What brought you to NY?
Maud: Work, I am working for a French Bank.

Empire: When did you start racing triathlons?
Maud: My first triathlon was in June 2019 – The Wyckoff / Franklin Lakes Sprint Triathlon in NJ.

Empire: When/Why did you join empire?
Maud: I joined Empire last year as part of the beginner program to prepare NYC triathlon. Unfortunately, it was canceled so I never raced an Olympic distance!

What were some races you did last season?
Maud: Wyckoff, some sprints and Atlantic City 70.3. I also ran NYC marathon and NY 60k.

Empire: What are some of your races / goals for this season?
Maud: Hopefully, I will race Escape from Alcatraz (although I am a little nervous about the swim).  And thanks to Empire and to my inspiring Teammates, I will try to become an Ironman in Lake Placid next summer.   Then, I plan to race the Chicago and NYC marathons.  

Empire: How are you adjusting to the changes imposed by COVID 19? (are you still able to work?  working from home? do you have very structured hours or a flexible schedule?)
Maud: Except that I am working from home, there is no change in my schedule. I am still working in front of my computer all day long -the only change is that I can wear comfy outfits.  I am an early bird and I continue to wake up at 5:30am every morning to go for a run or to jump on my home trainer. To have a good day: “Coffee, but first gym!”

Empire: What home equipment do you have access to?
Maud: I am so glad I bought a home trainer last year. Except that, I use elastic bands and a bottle of laundry detergent as a weight for my strength routine!

Empire: How are you adapting your training due to social distancing?  When/how/where are you working out?
Maud: I run early in the morning, when everyone sleeps. I love the morning lights, that is so peaceful and the sky and city offer a different show every morning. As the streets are empty now, my husband comes with me with his scooter, for safety (I must admit that it makes me happy to spend this time with him too 🙂 ). After my morning ride or run, I do my 20 minutes strength routine defined with the help of my PT Dave at Finish Line Physical Therapy. This is not what I like the most but time, injuries and 12 years of running teach me that this is part of the training.

Empire: Has it been helpful to be a part of a team during this time? (if so, what have you found to be most helpful)?
Maud: It is more than helpful! Here in NY, Empire is my second family. I have made so many training partners but also friends since I joined the club! And today I am happy to share my love for biking with my Teammates. Before COVID, I started to propose new routes for outdoor long rides but now that we are not able to go out, I organize four virtual rides per week on Zwift. People join the rides when they want and we bike together in virtual worlds. I love to prepare the rides in advance to add some fun, like jokes or our weekend achievements. I hope these rides help to spread a little bit of joy and entertainment in my Teammates’ life.  In addition to these rides, Empire is proposing a lot of different activities, like strength workouts, yoga classes, socials, clinics. It almost feels like we are still seeing each other’s four times a week as during race season. For me, that is a game changer to handle the actual situation and the anxiety related to it.

Empire: Is it true that you rode 100 miles on your indoor trainer last week? What prompted you to do this? Was this part of a training plan or just something you decided to do?
Maud: Good question! One of my weekend treats is my long ride! I love spending a day outside on my bike discovering new places. I guess it also releases all the stress of my week at work. On a rainy weekend, I decided to replace my ride with a home trainer session and picked a 80 miles route. But 80 miles is not an achievement, it is like running 23 miles when you know you are able to complete a marathon… so I decided to go for 100! And to be totally transparent, one of my Empire Teammates did it one week before and I wanted to prove to myself that I was also capable of the same madness.

EmpireAnything else you’d like to share? (something non-triathlon related that people may not know about you?)
Maud: Fun fact: In school, I was always the last at every race and I hated running so much that I hid behind the bushes of the track field to avoid running!

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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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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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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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