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Rose Physical Therapy Featured Athlete: Bryan Frank

Rose Physical Therapy Featured Athlete: Bryan Frank

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 7:18am
Bryan Frank. Image courtesy of Rose Physical Therapy.

Bryan Frank. Image courtesy of Rose Physical Therapy.

About Bryan, from the Snapple Triteam website: "Bryan got his start in triathlon back in 2008 when a good friend wanted to go to the informational meeting for the New Triathlete Program with the DC Triathlon Club and told him that she did not want to go alone. After his interest was piqued at the meeting, he joined the club and competed alongside the NTP class at New Jersey State Triathlon. The race has gone down in NTP history as Bryan placed third in the novice division despite riding on his mountain bike and he has become hooked on the sport of triathlon ever since (he has since upgraded to a time trial bike for racing). Bryan has also become highly involved in the DC Triathlon Club serving as a Lead Program Manager for NTP from 2010 to 2012 and then on the club's Board of Directors as the Director of Programs for 2013 to 2014. For the 2015 year, Bryan will serve on the club's Board of Directors as the Treasurer. Bryan now trains for all triathlon distances though he really enjoys the Olympic distance triathlon the most, yet technically he has never done a Sprint distance triathlon. Since someone stole Bryan's idea of riding a Capital Share bike in a triathlon, he has had to up the ante in his ideas and now wants to race a Sprint triathlon on a penny farthing bicycle (though he still has to figure out the "flying dismount" into T2 for that)." 

Bryan was kind enough to answer questions for us in the latest installment of our Featured Athletes series.

Tell us about your athletic background.
I grew up many many decades ago in Dallas, TX as a competitive swimmer. I swam throughout junior high and high school, which is somewhat ironic in that my mother still reminds me of the time she had to chase me down the street because I did not want to go to swim lessons when I was a kid. In college, I stopped swimming to focus on my studies. When I moved up to the DC area in 2001, I bought a mountain bike to take advantage of the trails in the area, but it was not until 2008 when a really good friend took me to a triathlon informational meeting and I became interested in the sport and I have been addicted ever since. 

What sports are you actively competing in now?
Sadly my mountain bike is sitting in a corner collecting dust as my primary focus is now triathlon. I do some running races throughout the year as well as the occasional swim meet, but triathlon is where I put all of my energies. I now race as part of the sponsored Snapple / DC Triathlon Club amateur elite team.

You are on the board of the DC Tri Club. Tell us a little about the club and the kind of work you are involved in.
The DC Triathlon Club is the third largest triathlon club in the nation and the largest on the eastern seaboard. We have almost 1200 members in the DC, MD, and VA region. The club is divided about equally between male and female, spans the entire age range with our largest segment in the 30-40 age range but with members just of out high school to all the way into their 70s, and embraces people of all speeds from the back of the packers to Ironman World Championship qualifiers. I have served on the club’s Board of Directors for the last 3 years. For two years I oversaw all of the club’s programs which include our highly popular New Triathlete Program and Masters Swimming Program, among others. Last year I transitioned to a club officer as Treasurer overseeing the club’s finances.

Tell us about TriOut.
TriOut is a group under the auspices of the DC Triathlon Club that provides its gay, lesbian, and transgendered club members, and their friends, a comfortable team atmosphere for training, racing, and socializing. For some reason, triathlon clubs that form around a specific attribute just do not seem to last, so a few of us developed an idea to formulate a team that could go out and train and race together but would be part of the larger club. This lets the larger club handle all of the administrative issues like a board of directors, club by-laws, member insurance, and legal oversight while the team can focus on what they like to do best: train for and race triathlons. We hope this can be a model for other triathlon clubs around the nation as a way to embrace the LGBT triathletes in their community. The TriOut group holds monthly happy hours that are open to members and non-members who might be interested in joining the group. There are also group swims, rides and runs in which all members are encouraged to participate. At the end of June, the team is heading out to Lost River, WV for a weekend training camp with open water swimming, riding and running as well as some downtime to socialize and get to know one another. The TriOut group also participants in various TeamDC events like Casino Nights and the Pride Festival to raise money to offset some costs of group activities. Last year, a few members of TriOut went to Cleveland to compete in the triathlon at GayGames IX and we are going to send a team to Paris in 2018 to compete in GayGames X.

What is your favorite DC area setting to visit for a long run and ride?
Being that I live up in Gaithersburg, MD, I do not often come down into DC for quick workouts, but every so often I head into DC for long runs. On weekends, I really enjoy running along the river on Beach Drive when it is closed to vehicular traffic. I also really appreciate being able to run around the Mall and tidal basin areas amid the monuments and memorials. As for the long rides, I am really spoiled out here in Gaithersburg. I only have to go a couple miles before I hit farm country and low traffic roads where I can head out to Poolesville, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Frederick without seeing a stoplight. The roads are well paved and there are lots of scenic routes and lots of variety and, for me, that beats riding on any of the paths or roads of DC any day of the week.

What are your favorite DC area races?
If I go with very local to DC, then that has to be the Nation’s Triathlon right in the heart of DC. Swimming in the Potomac River (it is not as bad as you think) under the Memorial Bridge and then biking and running around the city with all the roads closed to traffic is really a cool experience. But if I look within a couple hours of DC, then I would have to go with the SavageMan Triathlon up at Deep Creek Lake in far western Maryland. It is one of the most challenging triathlons ever designed but also one of the most fun and well organized races that I have ever done. The sense of accomplishment of making it up the Westernport Wall and crossing the finish line is incredible.

What is a typical week of training like for you?
Training, for me, feels almost like a second full time job in that it typically happens six days a week with multiple workouts per day sometimes. Mondays are a long swim and optional bike ride; Tuesdays are bike intervals and a run; Wednesdays are run intervals and a swim; Thursdays are a bike and swim; Fridays are my rest days; Saturdays are the long bike ride and short run, and finally Sundays are my long run. Needless to say that I have to make some sacrifices in my social and dating life to accommodate this regimen, but that is the choice that I have made to make it to the amateur elite racing level and qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Even still, I have become very good at time management so that I can fit in happy hours and outings with my friends and the rare date to maintain some modicum of sanity and connection to a world outside of triathlon. 

Tell us about your diet. Any eating tips for triathletes?
I have the one problem that everyone wants: I have trouble keeping on weight. With all the training, I feel like I’m eating incessantly, but I still get remarks about looking too thin. My diet consists of eating pretty much anything and everything that I want and lots of it. While most of my friends perceive my diet to be entirely made of burgers, beer and boxes upon boxes of Oreos, I actually tend to eat pretty healthily with lots of balanced meals consisting of chicken and salads and fruits. That’s not to say that I don’t splurge regularly on burgers, pizza, ice cream, chips & salsa, and more Oreos of course, but I try to use them in a reward system for the training that I do. And I would be remiss not to mention regular trips to District Taco, one of the Snapple team sponsors, as part of my complete diet. My eating tip for triathletes is find a nutrition product that works for you and sits well with your system and stick to that. Switching to a different product can wreak havoc on your system and lead to rushed trips to the bathroom during workouts or races. That is never fun. So try out the various products and figure out what works best for you. 

Given the grueling nature of triathlons and similar endurance sports, aches and pains are a given, and injuries can also be common. What is your approach for staying healthy and avoiding injuries?
My approach to training is fairly simple: train smartly. Every workout that I do has a purpose and a goal in mind. That goal might be a race that is months down the road, but that is always on my mind during training. Making large jumps in mileage or putting in a race level effort when the body is not ready is a recipe for injury. So I develop my training plan to increase my mileage slowly and consistently and I plan my races way in advance so that I can tailor my workouts in the days leading up to the race to ready my body for an intense effort. However, sometimes injuries just happen. The trick is to identify any impending issue quickly and seek assistance immediately. I am lucky in that I have the Rose Physical Therapy Group in DC as one of my personal sponsors and I am able to contact them if I ever feel the onset of an unusual pain that could be more than the normal aches and pains of training. Nevertheless, sometimes stupid injuries happen like dislocating a shoulder while trying to ride a kid’s BigWheel. Yeah, it happened.

Any quick advice for someone considering a first triathlon? 
Don’t be afraid to give it a try. Really. You can make it through the swim. The bike. The run. Whatever you are afraid of, you can persevere. The sense of accomplishment in crossing the finish line is amazing. Challenge yourself to do something you never thought you would be able to do. Whether it is just to complete a sprint triathlon or tackle the full Ironman distance triathlon, get out of your comfort zone and give it shot. You are capable of doing far more than you ever thought possible of yourself.

Bryan is sponsored by the Rose Physical Therapy Group. The Rose Physical Therapy Group specializes in diagnostic physical therapy, provides one hour, one-on-one appointments with a licensed therapist, and accepts all private health insurance. 

RosePT is certified/provides Active Release Techniques (ART), Graston Techniques, McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), Trigger Point Dry Needling, Biofeedback, and Advanced Video Motion Capture Analysis.

Read more on the Rose Physical Therapy Group website