The Voices and Results of Our Athletes

When I decided to hire a coach, it made a profound difference in my training and ultimate success. Bottom line, I have been racing for 18 years and Coach Al was able to get me to my highest level of performance at the age of 45.

I have worked with Coach Al for more than eight years now, and he has fundamentally changed the way I think about movement skills, flexibility and recovery. He also has a passion for learning and sharing his knowledge. I used to train myself with more hours resulting in greater fatigue, lingering injuries and slower times.

With Al I have been able to step up my training intensities without injury which has led to an overall improvement in performance.Coach Al is a master of crafting sessions for maximum recovery and return on time investment. My build for Ironman Hawaii prepared me to feel my strongest ever in my racing career. Thank you, Coach Al!

Lisbeth Kenyon, Ironman World Champion, Age Group Record Holder, Women 45-49 – (and mother of 3!)

Coach Al and Dr. Strecker – I just needed to send a long overdue note to thank you for getting me back to running and racing triathlons.

You will remember I had severe ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome). For the last two years, I had gone through self treatment with rest, stretching and yoga. Then I went to see a sports medicine specialist getting MRI’s, injections and physical therapy.

When that didn't work, I went to see a different sports medicine specialist and got more of the same. Finally I was told I would either have to stop running or consider surgery.

You know surgery for ITBS has pretty poor results. I am a physician myself, and am pretty comfortable with most standard medical therapies, but was not going to have surgery. I had pretty much given up hope of running more than a couple of miles ever again.

Then I saw you for a gait analysis.

The program is fantastic! I have run several triathlons this summer that include both Olympic distance and sprints.

I just completed my first half iron distance race after two-and-a-half years of being out of racing. It went great thanks to your gait analysis, the Return to Running program, and Coach Al’s awesome coaching this summer.

I was able to post the second fastest bike split in the half iron distance race, and still run a decent 1:37:xx half marathon on a hilly course. I could not be happier.

I think I see an Ironman in my future now, something I had given up on not too long ago. Thanks so much!

Todd Wilkens M.D. F.A.C.S.

NOTE FROM COACH AL: Todd had about given up hope on ever racing again. Through gait analysis, and our subsequent work together, he just went a 4:48 in a half Ironman–the first race of that distance he has been able to do in 2.5 years! He was fifth OVERALL, and took first place in the masters category. It is a super, super result. Not only are we over the moon at Todd’s finishing time, Todd is uninjured and pain free! Think about that! He rocked the house with a super solid result, and got on the podium. Thing is, now that he’s a stronger, more stable and durable athlete, he can begin to REALLY TRAIN and unleash his true potential. There are many great races and results ahead of him, no doubt in our minds!

Todd Wilkens – Thanks to PAP, completed first half iron man after 2-1/2 years being out of racing, and WON his age group! Todd worked with us entirely through our VIRTUAL programs!

Listen to Olivia Syptak’s story of running redemption.

She is one of our athletes who came to us quite injured, and unable to run. Once we got to her root problem-- a torn hip labrum that needed surgical intervention—we were then able to work together to bring her through recovery and move her to a place of strength, movement quality and balance.

All of the gait analysis work we did with Olivia was through our virtual program.

She has traveled an incredible journey of mind, body and spirit from completely broken athlete back to her roots as an ultrarunner. She is slated to take on a six-day stage trail ultrarace next season. She says, “I’m strong. I’m ready.” We believe she is too.

Watch the video here where she lays out her story.

P.S. Click here for the link to the blog post she cites that reignited her commitment to do the work, and was key to making her amazing transformation possible.

Olivia Syptak’s story of running redemption – Triathlon Team and Ultrarunner

In a conversation with Coach Al you can see in a video here, Lauren tells of her recent journey to redefine herself as an athlete. A serious knee injury keeps her from running “for now,” as Lauren likes to say. Hers is the story of a deeply committed competitor who did not give up, but chose to evolve and find joy and challenge away from triathlon by focusing hard on the aquabike discipline.

Lauren is an inspirational example of an athlete not only willing to train outside the box, but of a competitor who finds ongoing fulfillment in training and racing despite bumps in the road.

For her, training and life balance are not mutually exclusive propositions, even as she strives to reach her ultimate potential. And the proof is in her outstanding results last year!

Read more at our blog post here; interview with multisport athlete Lauren Novakowski

Lauren Novakowski, Triathlon Team – redefining herself as an athlete … Litchfield Hills Olympic Aquabike, 1st Woman Overall, July, 2013; Quassy 70.3 Aquabike, 1st Woman Overall, June 2013; FirmMan Half Iron Aquabike, 2nd Woman Overall, September 2013

I just completed the half iron plan and after years of experience and after following many other plans, this by far was the plan that got me in the best shape of my life.

I felt stronger and more capable than ever thanks to the structure provided for in the plan (distance and intensities), and the advice that is provided by Coach and Doc to their team.

Curt Canata – Pursuit Athletic Performance Triathlon Team

Could not have done this without your support and encouragement – and a kick in the butt when I needed it!

"It has been one hell of a ride to this point. I've been challenged, humbled, pissed off, elated, euphoric, and frustrated - but mostly, eternally grateful for your faith in my ability to come back from such adversity, restoring my faith in myself and leading me through a life-changing learning process that I know will continue, and, to which now I can say, I totally embrace! Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way!"

Today my run felt amazing!!! I could really feel the difference. I felt rock solid in my pelvis and balanced.

I kept thinking something was going to change as I went on, but it continued to feel so solid - it was freaky.

All the gym work I have done over the last few years, never had me feeling like I had this strong, solid platform. Can't wait to see how this progresses!

Maureen has a LONG history of injury, and came to Pursuit Athletic Performance for a gait analysis and training.

She did the work, is now back on the roads, and it's obvious that she feels great! – Coach Al and Dr. Strecker

Watch the video here where she lays out her story.

Maureen Brook, Triathlon Team – Age Group Winner (50-54) Canadian Cross Triathlon Championship

Jubilantly throwing your arms in the air under the 70.3 mile marker signifying my first completion of a Half Ironman triathlon felt amazing.

But to have swam, biked, and ran for hours in that competition with confidence in my strength and training? This was an incredible gift I acquired from Pursuit Athletic Performance.

“You're strong, you've trained, be smart” was my mantra on race day. Because of Dr. Strecker's sensitivity and expertise I knew my body was healthy. After years of running through the pain, Dr. Strecker was the only doctor, of many, who quickly recognized my broken body's problems.

Dr. Strecker understands how athletes need to move. All exercises prescribed had to be performed perfectly. Adhering to his clear directions made me functionally strong.

Of course being able to move well was a blessing. But knowing what to do with a strong body and how to reach my new ambitious goals successfully would not have been attained without a clear map.

Coach Al Lyman's intelligent, progressively challenging plans are crafted in the belief that truthfully challenging your body and mind with quality, focused sessions leads to achieving amazing results. Less is more if you are doing the work well and with the clear goals.

Because I completed the many off-season triathlete strength and skill sessions as well as the twelve week Half Ironman plan, I had firm belief that I had superior training as an essential part of my racing gear.

The last bit of my mantra, be smart?

Of course I was smart. I had joined Pursuit's Team and had access to not only Dr. Strecker and Coach Al's multitude of articles and videos, but also to other committed athlete's thoughts and experiences through the Team forum.

Functionally strong, intelligently trained, and smart with the support of other triathletes' successes led me to fear not, dream big and surpass my goals on race day. Thanks Pursuit Athletic Performance!

Meghan Pagliuco, Triathlon Team – Timberman 70.3 and First Half Ironman: 5:40:48!

It's been a few weeks, and I'd just like to take some time to give a huge shout out to Al Lyman and Kurt Strecker at Pursuit Athletic Performance for enabling me to compete at the American Zofingen duathlon last month.

I called them in a panic on a Friday morning before the race on Sunday. I couldn't ride my bike more than 20 minutes without significant pain. It was getting worse, not better, despite rest. I was a basket case!

They squeezed me in during an already full schedule, quickly identified the issue (hip angle too tight for my torn labrum), and set about helping me implement a fix, including cleat shims, increased stack height, and shorter cranks.

I went from basically not being able to ride at all on Thursday (cut a ride short after 15 minutes!) to completing a duathlon that took over 6 hours on Sunday.

I could not have even contemplated starting that race without your help, guys! Can't express my gratitude enough. You're miracle workers!

Michael Graffeo, Triathlon Team – American Zofingen and Ironman Lake Placid

I just had to give a shout out to Coach Al and Kurt for the Oly and sprint plans.

I just finished the Oly plan preparing for Rev 3 and felt great. The plan was varied but had enough repetition for you to be able to gauge your progress.

It snuck in rest in unexpected ways in the form of "how you feel" days to make room for other breakthrough sessions (such as bricks on the track), and lower overall volume leading up to race week.

The intensity was judiciously applied, leaving you feeling the effort for sure, but not burnt.

I just received the sprint plan and it is specifically tailored to that distance. It is NOT just a mini version of the Olympic plan, but has its own structure and, of course, being built by Al, is intelligently planned.

I find that having such a rocking plan is very motivating, comforting and just plain fun, so I thought it about time I said so! Thank you!

Susan Wines, Triathlon Team 2013: Madison Sprint Tri, 1st Woman Overall; Niantic Bay Sprint Tri, 2nd Overall and PR run split – wow!

Wow! I am faster than I have been in years and I finished the Boulder 70.3 feeling great!

Huge thanks to Coach Al Lyman and Doc Kurt Strecker at Pursuit Athletic Performance for getting me here - you guys are the best!!!

Kristen Olsen, Triathlon Team – “faster than I’ve been in years!”

We are convinced that if we had not brought John to you, John would NOT be having the amazingly incredible season he is currently in the middle of!

What a difference it makes now for John to be running "on all pistons"!  His BEST season EVER! So THANKS so much again, and again, and again!

This amazing testimonial came from John's mom!

John Harris – Connecticut State Criterium Championship

I have experienced changes in my body when I thought I was fine to begin with. Our coach/athlete relationship began with my visit to the Pursuit Athletic Performance Gait (“movement”) Analysis Lab, of which Coach Al is a co-owner with Dr. Kurt Strecker. Wow! I learned so much, beginning with some static muscle and joint mobility testing, a functional movement screen, and some in depth video analysis of my running, as well.

The process they used revealed that I had imbalances and faulty movement patterns, so now Coach Al and I had something to begin to work on together.

With the stretching, strength and awareness exercises that Al prescribed (and continues to alter); I have greatly improved my body alignment. This has reduced the glute pain and apathy that I have experienced in the past.

In just 5 months I built back up to 50 mile and 77 mile races; placing top 4 woman and 1st woman respectively in my 2011 season. All this with less fatigue and greater confidence than in the past. I am super excited what PAP did for me!

Debbie Livingston, Champion Ultra Runner