Anthony S Casey

Businessman, Triathlete, Dad

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Tag: Triathlon

5 Epic Triathlons for Serious Competitors

escape from Alcatraz Anthony S Casey SingaporeAny triathlon is pretty epic in itself. Through combining swimming, running, and cycling, only the fittest will finish. But what makes some races more “epic” than others? Through intensity and location, these five triathlons will challenge any expert triathlete.

  1. New York City Triathlon

This famous race attracts triathletes from around the world. In this iconic Olympic-distance race, there is 1500m swim, a 40K cycle ride, and a 10k run. First, competitors brave the waters of the chilly early morning Hudson, then bike along Manhattan’s West Side highway, and end with a run in the famous Central Park. It’s held annually in the middle of the summer.

2. Idaho Ironman

Are you an Ironman? The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is a serious physical test, despite its bucolic settings. In the epic Ironman race, triathletes start off with a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Coeur d’Alene, followed with a 112 mile bike race through rural northern Idaho, finishing with a full marathon along the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene for two steep loops.  Every August.

3. Kona Ironman

Now this is the Ironman of Ironmans. Kona is every triathlete’s dream, achilles heel, etc. It’s what everyone dreams about. It’s the epitome of triathlon racing. Steve Anderson won last year’s Kona race. He speaks about the physical stress of racing, “Whatever you have is left completely rinsed from your being – both physically and mentally – after you cross the line.” An athlete burns so many calories while competing, that you have to eat throughout the race; Anderson eats Cliff Bars.

4. New Zealand Ironman

This race is popular due to its rich scenery and fresh swimming water. It is also the second-longest running Ironman, having celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2014. It’s a beautiful race.  The 2.4-mile swim takes place in the clear waters of Lake Taupo.  After a 400-meter run to transition, athletes begin the two-lap, 112-mile bike that travels through the forest and farmland surrounding Taupo. Spectators lining the lakefront as bikers make their way around. The three-lap marathon has great views of the lake and friends and family cheer on the athletes.

5. Escape from Alcatraz

Who knew that one day we’d be swimming laps around a prison, for leisure? Swimming in the freezing San Francisco Bay has become almost a right of passage for triathlon competitors. Since 1981, it’s no wonder this race is popular. With a fabulous vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge, the brutally difficult Sand Ladder; this race is popular because finishing comes with bragging rights.

This iconic race starts off at the San Francisco Belle ferry near Alcatraz Island to swim 1.5 miles back to shore, often in choppy and chilly conditions. At Marina Green Beach, athletes transition for an 18-mile bike ride around hilly San Francisco, before finishing with an 8-mile run through the Golden Gate Park and climbing 400 steps up the the Equinox Sand Ladder.

 

Is “Too Much Running” a Thing?

The topic of fitness has always been controversial. Some claim that a healthy heart is made in the kitchen while others argue, the gym. Even Coca-Cola has recently shifted the dialogue from whether or not its sugary drinks are unhealthy and instead insists that consumers should simply exercise more. General knowledge dictates that a healthy diet and physical activity go hand in hand when improving one’s overall mental and physical well-being. Most people are asking two not-so-simple questions: which should be given more consideration? And is it possible to simply “overdo” it?

Evidence strongly suggests that a sedentary lifestyle ultimately leads to higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and diabetes. Because of this, doctors recommend at least three days of high-intensity physical activity a week. And yet, some perpetuate the myth that excessive cardiovascular activity can over-exert the heart muscle, leading to an unfortunate and untimely death. It’s unclear what constitutes as “too much exercise” or “running too much” as it differs from person to person, but we do know that bad practices like lifting weights that are entirely too heavy and neglecting rest days can contribute to injury over time. But besides best practice, is it fair to say that runners are at an even greater risk for heart failure?

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Triathletes spend a lot of time training to prepare for ultra-competitive races. Exercise can improve heart health by reducing body fat, improving blood pressure and glucose, lessening stress and increasing production of HDL cholesterol while also lowering LDL levels. Concerned parties often cite isolated stories about consistent runners who randomly collapse in over exertion-related situations. On the contrary, it appears that studies have been unable to successfully link a higher mortality rate to excessive exercise (correlation does not equal causation). Moreover, even though some have suggested in the past that endurance events such as half and full marathons and triathlons pose a threat to runners, this simply hasn’t been proven. Endurance races are taxing, both physically and mentally, however, no concrete evidence exists that runners are at a great risk for heart failure simply because they run. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, cardiac arrests occur in less than 1 percent of every 100,000 runners. Family history of heart disease must always be taken into consideration when assessing these numbers.

Not everyone is equipped to handle endurance training. Those with a family history of premature heart disease, current symptoms of heart disease, or high blood pressure should consult a doctor before engaging in strenuous activity. As science and technology continue to evolve, perhaps we will find more information linking premature heart issues with endurance training. But for now, we just can’t say it’s there.

79 or 85, Athletes Will Be Athletes

Lansing’s 9th annual Hawk Island Triathlon saw over 600 participants this year, including one very special 79-year-old athlete. At 79, William Swords was the oldest racer to attend. According to Mr. Swords, he has been participating in the Hawk Island Triathlon for the past 9 years and will continue to do so until he no longer can. As the only member in the 75 to 79-year-old age group, his racing philosophy is the following: “You don’t have to be fast; You just have to outlive them.” The Lansing State Journal states that even Swords’ December injury of a fractured pelvis didn’t deter him from entering the race. The Lansing Triathlon is the largest sprint triathlon in Michigan.

Anthony-S-Casey-Triathlon-OldAlthough amazing, William Swords is hardly the oldest to take on a physical fitness challenge. 85-year-old Lew Hollander completed at the 2015 Ironman 70.3 Boise. Out of approximately 1,200 racers, Hollander remained the only participant in the 85 to 89 age bracket. A lifelong athlete, Lew Hollander picked up triathlon racing at the age of 55 and has been racing ever since. He believes that life is something you either use or lose. And to prevent losing it, he continues to use it. While he will continue to do shorter races, the 2015 Ironman will be his last. If you’re an older athlete, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Although your athletic potential declines, you ability to maximize on the potential you have does not. You can still operate at high efficiency even though the maximum is gradually declining. In most cases, athletic decline does not become noticeable until the late 40s and early 50s.
  2. Don’t worry about getting older. You can’t change it so you may as well embrace it. If your run times are slower due to age, focus on your technique and complete your race in the amount of time you need. Not in comparison so a 20-something athlete.
  3. Your wisdom will guide your through. Younger athletes may be quicker, yet their inexperience may hinder them in the long run. Focus on your strengths, techniques, and expertise. Through this, your athleticism will shine.
  4. Participate while you can. Life is short and unpredictable and health is taken for granted until it begins to decline. Much aligned with Lew Hollander’s thinking, you have to use your life before you lose it.

Remember, age is only a number! So get out there and get active.

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