Thursday, August 30, 2012

Meet SOAS Ambassador Amy Gluck!

Amy Gluck grew up in Dearborn, MI and has lived in SE Michigan her whole life. She’s a Registered Dietitian and holds a full time job as a Clinical Nutrition Manager at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.
Amy’s friends talked her into doing a half marathon. “NO WAY can I run more than 10 miles, you guys!” Then, they talked her into running her first marathon last that year. “NO WAY can I run 26 miles, you guys!”  Then, while training for that fall marathon, they talked her into training for a triathlon. “I guess I have to buy a bathing suit and start swimming, you guys!” She raced her first triathlon in June of 2005 and was absolutely hooked! “They asked what I thought when I crossed the finish line. I said, ‘THAT WAS AWESOME! When's the next one?’”
“The following summer, I went out to spectate at Lake Placid where one of my girlfriends was racing. I volunteered all over the course and had a blast. I volunteered passing out the bikes, catching the bikes, and at the finish line. I thought, ‘If these people can do this, SO CAN I!’.  I was signed up to race Steelhead 70.3 a few weeks later. I told my friends that if I liked the Half IM, I would sign up for a full. I loved the Half IM distance even more that the sprints. I was in for Wisconsin 2007. I just hoped registration would open before I changed my mind. I was sitting at my computer, open, on the phone with my buddies as I waited for the clock to strike the whitching hour. We all made it in. My goal was to break 13 hours. I had no idea what was in store for me that day. Not only did I break 13 hours, but I finished in 11:19, 3rd in my AG and a slot to Kona!”
Amy took 1st female, 3rd overall at Mountaineer Half Ironman, and 1st female, 4th overall Cardinal Harbor Half Ironman just this year. Her next race is Kona!
Outside of triathlon, Amy enjoys cooking, eating, travelling, and drinking beer. She also works with numerous charities, teaching people about nutrition.

SOAS Ambassador and Ironman Champion Michelle Gailey

Michelle Gailey grew up in Sydney Australia, spent the last 6 years in Darwin Northern Territory and is now based in Boulder for USA summer and plan on basing in Melbourne, Australia over the Australian summer. She started doing triathlon in 2006, and did her first 70.3 in 2008. Her first Ironman was in 2010 but unfortunately DNFed.  She continued to strive and went for her pro license in 2011 and raced my first ironman in 2011, in which she won at IM Australia.

As an amateur she lived in Darwin, a fairly remote part of Australia where Asia is more accessible than the rest of Australia, so she raced in Singapore and Bali and was first overall amateur in her first 70.3. “These races in Asia were a highlight in my first years. I attempted my first ironman in Langkawi Malaysia, a tough course, and extremely hot and humid conditions make it even harder.  I ended up in an ambulance after passing out in the last 6 miles of the run. It took a year before I attempted another Ironman. I went back to 70.3 had some good results and was offered a professional license.”

2011 was her first Ironman finish in Ironman NZ. I loved it and ended up doing 3 more that year, with 2 second places and a win. This year Michelle has raced Ironman Australia (1st place) Ironman NYC (8th) Steelhead 70.3(5th) Ironman Louisville (6th). Michelle says it’s been an exhausting last few weeks.
“I do triathlon because I love the sport, racing, meeting people at races, the journey so far has been exciting.”
Look for Michelle next competing at the Ironman World Championships in Kona.

Michelle shares with us her post 3 weeks of race reports: It's been a good summer!!

This year has not been what I planned out at the beginning of the year, it has been wildly different, however the outcome is what I was aiming for. At the beginning of the year I sat down and worked out a nicely spaced out year of racing and training blocks, approximately 6 weeks after this and a few weeks before my first scheduled event I had a bike accident and broke my hand, badly, this required months of rehabilitation and missing my first race and throwing my nicely planned year into disarray... leading to a very heavy back end of my season.
I love racing, but 3 in three weeks is heaps.

Finally, my three crazy weeks are over and I am resting and recovering and catching up on my admin now my goal has been achieved and I have been invited to race in Kona. I have 5 weeks to get ready for this one!

Week 1: Ironman NYC
I had been to NYC once before after I had worked in a summer camp in New Hampshire the year after graduating university. I have very fond memories of NYC and the time I spent with my friends and camp co-councellors there. I arrived in NYC the Tuesday before the race, to stay with Wazza/warren in his one bedroom apartment on the edge of Hells Kitchen. Warren was very accommodating having me stay at his home while he was also training and getting ready for his first ever triathlon. When I arrived we went for a ride through Times Square and over to the transition area, I seriously thought I was going to die, Wazza weaves in and out of traffic and me having not much experience outside of Darwin (100,000 people) was happy to be alive with Swifty and my flash Vision wheels in one piece at the end.

This race looked like it could be a logistical nightmare on paper but from my view it ran really well from bike drop off to bike pick up! I thought the ferry rides across to transition were a highlight, gave a chance to meet people and a great view of the concrete jungle of NYC.
NYC in summer is fairly hot and sweaty. I was very careful in my prehydration and electrolyte loading with Hammer endurolytes to ensure that I would be in best shape possible on race morning and more so come run time

I had had my Swift bike serviced in the week before the race but it must have been thrown around in the plane trip because it was not running well at all come race day, this was disappointing, challenging and frustrating as I had put allot of work into my bike while I
have been living in Boulder, a flat tyre also was an unwanted challenge on the ride but I got through, I had come to race and that is what I was going to do. The NYC run must be one of the hardest ironman marathon runs around, I kid you not, there is not even one step of flat ground for over the first half of the run. It is a lovely run though and I really enjoyed it. Coming over the bridge into NYC the crowds were amazing, I am talking rock star amazing! I managed to run from 18th off the bike into 8th place finish, so I am happy with that. I know though that I still need more points to get to Kona so immediately started preparing mentally and nutritionally for a race in Steelhead the next week.

Week2: Steelhead 70.3
Steelhead is my first 70.3 since 2010 and my first half ironman as a Professioanl Athlete. I was super excited to be racing. I have decided I love 70.3, the result wasn't fantastic but was asking allot of my body following a tough race in NYC the week before. I was out of the swim 2nd, enjoyed the ride, now my bike had been fixed and was off the bike in 3rd. into the run my legs were screaming in protest but I blocked them out and plodded along for a 5th place finish overall but I knew that this was still not going to be enough for Kona qualifying.
I was the most lucky pro out there in Steelhead because I had a wonderful homestay with Dana Siewart, Alexander and her beautiful Springer Spaniels the patient placid Paris and playful puppy Porter. My campaign for adopting a Springer Spaniel has begun, I love dogs and miss my Aussie Shepherd like crazy. I will be putting Steelhead back on my to-do list.

Week 3: Ironman Louisville
Another Ironman, mentally I had prepared all week but physically this is a BIG ask on my body. What a long long day!
Again I got lucky and landed with the best homestay, Nancy, Marcus their son Barrett (Bear) and dog Parker and cat Pancake .. What is it with me and houses with pets with "p" name... Nancy is a triathlon coach, triathlete and knows about every athlete in Louisville and Marcus is a lawyer, come bike mechanic/bike fitter/runner/chef. I would have loved to have gone better in the race but I came to finish and that is what I did. Bree Wee dominated the race with a fastastic bike split on her Swift carbon bike. My bike was ready to roll after a service at Smith Cycles Louisville and Hammer nutrition sorted, I just wasn't rested and ready to perform in another Ironman so soon.

This race was possibly the most challenging race I have done, normally in a race you try and be present and in the moment as this is where the best performance occurs... This race I tried to be anywhere but the race, I spent 20mins in T2 stretching and preparing for my run/ walk... The time may not look like it but I did actually run some of the marathon, thanks to a Brittney who I met out there she helped me along with the run. Those who know me and have ever walked anywhere with me know that walking is definitely not my forte. I am a SLOW walker. I chatted to so many people in the walk, one guy, Ken told me he and Crowie had three world titles between them... ;) and he was also winning his age group until the swim started, positive happy light hearted natter and attitudes like this are awesome and inspirational.

I smile alot... I just generally enjoy being out there even if it is challenging and unpleasant at times, so dawdled along day dreaming and hoping the finish line would be soon, I have never walked/run for 5.5 hours straight and let me tell you it is painful, so painful. It gave me a whole new appreciation of the distance. I saw alot of SOAS chicks out there, there seems to be a bond between SOAS girls we all wave and smile at each other in races, its awesome. The last 1 mile of the race was the best, I got choked up with tears of relief and happiness when I got close to the line, although this finish is three hours and fifteen minutes slower than my slowest race previously, perhaps this has been my most satisfying Ironman finish so far.

Special thanks to my homestays and sponsors; Swift Carbon, Vision, SOAS, Mrc SPF, Hammer Nutrition, Wicked NRG, Ryders Eyewear, Computrainer, Cobb cycling. For providing me with the support and products I need to get to Kona! And can't forget my friends, family, boyfriend and flatmate for putting up with 3 weeks straight of "Ironman Brain". 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Meet Michelle Bremer!

Michelle in her home town in New Zealand

Meet professional triathlete, and one of our amazing SOAS Ambassadors, Michelle Bremer.  She’s had an amazing season so far and most recently placed 6th at Ironman New York City. She also raced Challenge Roth a few weeks ago, in which she placed 15th and Rev 3 Quassy half IM, placing 8th.
From Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.....a small beach town, Michelle was born July 29th 1983. This is her first full year racing as a pro and currently lives in Santa Monica for the US triathlon season. She and her husband packed up their belongings and are moving around the world for training, work and triathlon racing.  “I left my full time job as a physical therapist last August as the New Zealand/Australia triathlon season was rolling around. So I have been training full time since then.”
Michelle started triathlon at the beginning of 2008, and raced casually as an age grouper for a couple of years, and after a few top age group results through NZ and Australia and the ITU Long Distance worlds, she played around with the idea of stepping it up a level. Her husband actually gave the final push to giving it a go last year, so come August she gave up work and started training for her first full IM distance. Some of her amateur career highlights are 2008 AG winner at the New Zealand long distance champs, 2009 AG winner at the New Zealand long distance champs, 2009 2nd place AG25-29 at the ITU LD worlds, 1st place Forster Long Course Triathlon, Australia, 1st place IM Western Australia.
“At that point I was writing my own training programs and doing some swim training and a couple of cycle sessions with a local triathlon club. I surprised myself and many others when I raced my debut IM at IM Western Australia, and won. After that moment, I decided to take it even further and started being coached by Siri Lindley at the beginning of this year, and moved to Santa Monica in April to train with her squad.”
Her greatest fan and supporter, her husband, has taken off 3 months of work to join her for training and racing this season. Mom, Dad and 2 brothers live in New Zealand and try to come watch races as much as possible.
How she met SOAS…
“I met Amanda and Stef briefly at the expo at IM Western Australia, and then re-met Amanda when I joined Siri’s group as Amanda is also coached by Siri, hence my link to SOAS!”
Michelle be in the States until October and then will head back to New Zealand or Australia for our summer time. (It's quite nice chasing the summers around at the moment!)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

All up in the Business!

The Business of Endurance Sports - Women’s Edition

Here at SOAS, we’re getting ready for the annual pilgrimage of bike manufacturers, retailers and gear geeks from around the globe: INTERBIKE! 

Held every year in Las Vegas, it will be the first time the show has a spotlight on triathlon.
We were so thrilled to see Triathlon Business International not only hosting a Triathlon Pavilion, but also a Women’s Lounge.

To use a cliche, “We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!”

More and more, being active and athletic is just a way of life for women. In triathlon specifically, women are quickly taking an equal place next to our male counterparts. We are the fastest growing segment of triathlon and endurance running.

Not surprisingly, along with the growth of women participating in the sport, we’re now seeing more women involved in the business of the sport.

Examples are popping up everywhere: 
  • Kristen Mayer of Brand Betty
  • Tanya Maslach who founded the women’s social networking site, endorsed by none other than Ironman World Champion & record holder Chrissie Wellington 
  • Diana Bertsch, race director of the Hawaii Ironman & the many other female race directors
  • Twin sisters Cindy Baker & Christy Lynch of Running Skirts 
  • Cheryl Kellond & Sylvia Marino, founders of the new women’s GPS watch company, Bia Sport  (I know - its time we had one that actually fit on OUR wrists, right?!)
  • and, of course, Steph and I here at SOAS
In almost every case, the women not only run the business but they are also competitive in their respective sports. Kristen, Tanya, Steph &  I are all triathletes; Cheryl and Sylvia swim, run & compete in triathlons; while Lynch & Baker have both run the Boston Marathon. What better place to go for legit products and services than to the companies founded by athletes that  already know from personal experience what you need?

I believe that this deep involvement in the sport has given us the right mindset for business, and allowed us all to identify business opportunities that we might have otherwise missed. Instead of the reality TV show stereotype of women always being in catfights, I can honestly say I have been amazed & humbled by the collaborative and encouraging outreach all these women business owners have shown. They have each shown purity of intent in trying to promote the best knowledge, service and products to our customers and the endurance sports community. 

And while we’re sure that the giant sports manufacturers of the world will eventually go after this increasingly economically valuable segment of the sports market, I couldn’t be more confident about the ability of small, woman-owned businesses to stand toe-to-toe with them and thrive.
Not only because of the quality of our products but because of our natural desire to compete and win, and the sports that compels us to do so.  

After all, we are athletes first.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

SOAS has Team U.S.A & Olympic Fever!

SOAS: Proudly Made in the U.S.A.

Probably like a lot of you, I've been glued to the TV for the last week watching the Olympics & looking forward to the Paralympics (Go Team CAF!).  Our usual world of triathlon & endurance sports is so international: there is such a melting pot of athletes from around the world; our favorites are often from other countries; and our favorite races take place all over the globe. National boundaries blur almost to the point of non-existence, which is incredible. 
However, with the once-every-four-years Summer Olympics, I have to admit I become unabashedly patriotic!
I was so pumped when Phelps nabbed his 17th(!!!) gold medal in the 100m butterfly last night. I cheered so loudly when Missy Franklin busted the world record in the 200m backstroke that Rocky (our geriatric & mostly unhearing dog) got up and walked. I can’t resist Gabby Douglas’ infectious smile and amazing (AMAZING!) gymnastic routines! And did anyone see the final point of the gold medal Bryant brothers doubles tennis match? INSANE!
So, in this fit of patriotism, I just wanted to take a minute to say how proud we all are at SOAS that our clothes are all...Made in the U.S.A! 
Ralph Lauren, the official Team U.S.A. Olympic uniform supplier, received a lot of flack at the start of the Games for its clothes actually being made in China. In this day and age when so many clothing manufacturers are moving their construction overseas, SOAS is super excited to be able to make our clothes right here in Southern California. 
Companies often site the inability to make profitable margins if they keep their manufacturing in America. Despite our being a relative newcomer to the marketplace, and that Steph and I didn’t have any experience in fashion going into SOAS, we are pretty thrilled to say that we can meet the margins necessary to keep bringing you innovative SOAS products. More importantly, it allows us to ensure SOAS garments have the highest quality. With our sewing facility being done within a short driving distance of our home base in San Diego, we can actually drive up and look in on the sewing processes and test seams, etc.  While we're extremely proud to create jobs not only in the United States but also right here in California, our motivations aren't completely also makes good business sense:  by having in-house and local production, we can keep a closer eye on quality & our short supply chain reduces our production turnaround-time.
When we started the company, we took a look at producing our garments overseas, but after a fair amount of discussion and debate, we concluded that we are going to make our clothes right here on American soil.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in heaven geeking out watching athletes from different countries around our globe giving it 110% in every event! And while I LOVE watching the world come together every four years to give us spectators and dreamers the opportunity to see the best athletic performances and shows of sportsmanship...I am firmly cheering for TEAM U.S.A.
SOAS - Made right here in the U.S.A. and proud of it!

Importance of Core & Strength Training

Core Training 

What’s your favorite discipline in triathlon? Swimming, biking, running?  But have you thought about your core lately?  While focusing on strength in all three disciplines is overly important, neglecting core exercises can result in a weak core and poor flexibility and therefore, increase your chances of injury.
I regularly work with Physical Therapist, Nate Snell at Endurance Rehabilitation in Mesa, AZ.  I sometimes find myself the guinnea pig for core exercises in the facility, but it's creating amazing strength in my glutes, hips, abs... MY CORE!!  Among other training techniques in the facility, we use TRX Suspension Training for some of the exercises.  Nate has planned out 4 TRX exercises for me and explains the importance of strength training for women in endurance sports.
Here are some of this week’s exercises you can try to help you build to become a stronger athlete.  Thank you Nate for sharing your facility and expertise with SOAS!

Prone TRX Obliques (Alternating Hip Abduction)
Using the BOSO Ball for
upper body stabilization.  Step 1.
  One leg stays straight, while the other extends
 out to the side. Try 12-15 on each leg twice.

Why: forces your body to stabilize through one half of the chain while the other is moving. Plus it involves movement in the frontal plane (lateral). All of triathlon is completed in the sagittal plane, so lateral stabilizers get weak. Also very important concept for women triathletes as studies have shown weakness in the frontal plane in female athletes leading to patellofemoral pain and injury. Also incorporates isometric core stabilization of neutral spine. This applies to biking and running as the spine needs to stay neutral and stabilized against the strong pull of the hip muscles. 

TRX Side Planks
Both feet are in the TRX handles.  Hold Side Plank for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Twice on each side.
Why: all triathletes do not move well or have good recruitment in the frontal plane. If you want to avoid injury you have to increase the strength and stabilization of all three planes of movement. Side planks, again are working neutral spine core stabilization. You also get increased activation of the gluteus medius to stabilize the pelvis and the shoulder girdle due to dynamic nature of the exercise and it being the only contact point with the ground. helps with running and swimming.

TRX "Y" and "T"
"Y" 2: Lean back on extended leg and then
using shoulders pull back up into "Y" position.
"Y" 1: standing straight up extend arms to a "Y",
 drop foot back.

"T" Same instructions as "Y"
Repeat exercises 12-15 sets of 2.

Why: instability of the scapula is the biggest cause of shoulder pain in swimming. As your arm is exiting the water the shoulder is in the prime impingement posture. if you do not have good mid and lower trapezius strength your scapula will not be stabilized to your chest wall. Instead you get a downward tipping and protracted position of the scapula which pinches the rotator cuff tissue in overhead activities. Important as sitting computer posture and the posture on the bike all lead to anterior migration of the shoulder girdle. If you are not balancing these postures with retraction exercises you are setting yourself up for an overuse injury.

TRX Hamstrings Triple Threat
Step 1: Heels are in TRX straps.   Lift hips into a straight line, almost like a plank.
Repeat 12-15 times by dropping hips to the floor and then repeating exercise.

Step 2: Pull knees to chest while hips are lifted.  repeat 12-15 times.

Step 3:  While knees are pulled, lift hips.  Repeat 12-15 times. 
 Repeat sets 2 times for each exercise.
Why: imbalances at the knee joint are the leading cause of overuse injuries. ITB syndrome, patellofemoral pain and runner's knee all can occur when the quad is doing all the work and lost days of training are right around the corner. The hamstring exercises activates the hamstring both as a knee flexor and a hip extender to reach the proximal and distal parts of the tissue. It also requires core and glute work to maintain the proper height of the pelvis and to prevent swinging of the trunk. A particular stressor to women is the wearing of high heeled shoes. Whether for work or pleasure, the position of the foot increases the demands on the quad and can lead to greater imbalances than wearing a flat shoe.

By: Karleen Dirmantas