Name: Kenneth Nuss Jr. (aka Nuss, Dr. NOS)
Children: Juliana, 6 & Regina, 4
Dog: Luke, 9
Occupation: Co-owner/sports rehab chiropractor at Champion Performance Chiropractic Rehab
After reading some of these spotlights, mine seems fairly boring (and LONG!). But here we go …
I was born in Queens, raised in North Valley Stream, and graduated from Elmont Memorial High School. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Pre-medicine from Adelphi University and had aspirations to become an orthopedic surgeon. To put it briefly, life had other ideas.
I have always considered myself to be athletic. I played organized baseball from pee-wees to high school. If my parents wanted to find me, all they had to do was drive by the local schoolyard and I would be with my friends playing some kind of sport or game. Whether it was baseball, basketball, football, stickball, kill-the-man-with-the-ball, or even handball, I always kept moving. After my baseball days were over and I entered college, I started playing softball, deck hockey, and tennis. I also learned how to ski. And I have always enjoyed camping, hiking, swimming, and biking.
After college, I entered the job world and was hired as an assistant manager for Blockbuster (more regarding the importance of Blockbuster later!). Did I enjoy it? No. Was it my calling? Hell no! But it was a job. About a year or so later, Jurassic Park was still fresh on everyone’s minds and it got me thinking. I decided to pursue a childhood passion of mine … DINOSAURS! As a kid, I loved everything about dinosaurs. I knew all the names. If they ate plants or meat. What time period they lived in. I was a dinosaur junkie. After a week-long ‘vacation’ in Montana at a dig site sleeping in tee-pees and playing with dinosaur bones, I was hooked. I entered Montana State University to take the necessary pre-requisite geology classes I needed to become a graduate student at the school. I loved everything about Montana – the open spaces, the clean air, the scenery, and the wildlife. This is where I learned how to snowboard, cross-country ski, and snowshoe. I would hike the surrounding forests and hit the trails in my favorite place on Earth, Yellowstone Park. I have visited the park in all four seasons and each time is absolutely amazing. If you are an adventurous and active individual, Montana is the place to be.
After completing that one year of classes I needed at Montana State, I volunteered to spend the summer in the badlands of Montana on a true dinosaur dig. This time around was not as posh as the previously mentioned ‘vacation’ dig that was meant more for adventurous tourists. This was spending all day in 90 degree heat swinging a pick-axe to break up 65 million year old rock to get to the dinosaur skeleton that some rancher happened to stumble across on his land. We slept in our tents for six nights a week with coyotes howling and rattlesnakes slithering around our camp. We built an outhouse over a port-a-potty. We constructed a ‘kitchen’ out of 2 x 4s and a tarp. We would go to town once a week to shower, stock up on food and supplies, and get a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed. But I tell you one thing, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. What an experience!
What happened next changed the course of my life. I met with Dr. Jack Horner, a famous dinosaur paleontologist and the curator of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State. After a brief discussion with him and after a heartfelt talk from a friend of mine, I decided that dinosaur paleontology was not the career path for me. So after that summer in the badlands, I returned home and asked for my job at Blockbuster back. They granted it but decided to return me to the original store that I began in … Long Beach. This was significant because it so happens that I met my future wife at this location. (Yes, I was once her boss!!!) In the end, I would leave Blockbuster and took on a job for a cleaning company which including such duties as cleaning carpets, flood restoration, floor refinishing, etc. It was at this point in my life that two of my closest friends from Adelphi were students in two different chiropractic schools. I knew nothing about chiropractic but they insisted that it was up my alley (common theme: bones!). I paid visits to their respective schools and indeed I was intrigued. I submitted my application to the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, was accepted, and entered chiropractic school in 1998. During this time, I continued to be active by playing basketball, racquetball, softball, and deck hockey. I even started running for the first time and I also began hitting the weights with my classmates. I graduated in 2002, got married in 2003, and after a handful of jobs over the years as an associate, my partner, Jimmy and I opened up Champion Performance Chiropractic Rehab in December 2010. After chiropractic school, I played some softball and deck hockey but my athletic activities began to dwindle. During that time, the loves of my life were born, Juliana in 2008 and Regina in 2010. However, once they came, my active lifestyle ended. I pretty much stopped doing anything that required me to run, jump, throw, shoot, lift, etc., etc.
Then I had what I like to call, a “moment”. Well this “moment”, which seemed small and inconsequential at the time, is turning into a life-changing experience and quite possibly, the trigger to my mid-life crisis!!! It was in early March of 2012, when one day I chased, a then almost four-year-old Juliana, up a flight of stairs and found myself huffing and puffing when I got to the top. I said to myself “wow, this has got to stop”. I was putting on weight. I was looking out of shape. I wasn’t athletic anymore. This hit me hard and I began running shortly after. I could barely make the 1.5 miles around my block at first. But I kept at it. And I ran my first 5K that spring.
It was around this time, one of my chiropractic buddies that I mentioned previously asked me if I wanted to do a triathlon. I told him he was nuts. I was thinking that the only triathlons were Ironman events that you would sometimes see on TV or read in a magazine. Well after he explained to me that it was a triathlon meant for first-timers, I agreed to travel to Hunter Mountain in June with him (with my mountain bike hybrid) and competed in my first triathlon. The HITS Open Series event consisted of a 100 meter swim, a 3 mile bike ride, and a 1 mile trail run. No, those are not typos people. It was like a mini-triathlon. And after completing it, I was hooked!
The rest of 2012 consisted of several more 5Ks with my focus turned to competing in triathlons in 2013. My first super-sprint triathlon was in April 2013 and it was before this event that I became Facebook friends with other first-timers, Marlo Signoracci, Michelle Labuski, Tim Hill, and Robert Monaco – all good friends of mine now. I started a group private message on Facebook and we all encouraged each other that we would get through the event. Shortly after completing this Mini Mighty Man pool triathlon is when Bianca and I become acquainted with each other after a visit to Sunrise Tri for a bike. (For you non-triathletes in the group, yes we name our bikes!) I began to meet more and more triathletes on Facebook and it was around this time I joined Scott Leslie’s FB group, the Long Island Triathlete & Endurance Sports Community and met a gentleman who has played a major role in my young triathlon career, the one and only John Graziano. He is not only a mentor to me, but also a great friend. (Thank you for all you do Johnny!) John, Jason Cohen, and a small group of people had started to train at Wildwood Lake that spring and I began joining them. The Wildwood Warriors triathlon team emerged from this group and like our Selden Hills group, continues to grow at a rapid rate.
In June, I competed in what was supposed to be my first open water swim triathlon, TrIslip. But because of bacteria levels, the swim was cancelled and the event became a duathlon. However, one good thing came out of this, I met Colleen Liebowitz for the first time and we quickly became friends. It was also around this time that my good friend (and long-time patient), Jim Freiss asked me to come join him on the weekly Tuesday night runs from Sayville Running Company. After the run and over some food and beer, he introduced me to two amazing athletes who are now also my good friends, Yvonne Leippert and Erick Rosales. During our conversation, Erick and I talked about getting together to swim. More on that in a minute.
Leading up to the Mighty North Fork triathlon in July, I created a Facebook group just as I did for Mini Mighty Man and TrIslip. Well, there is a certain individual who joined this group who had hurt her back shortly before the race. She reached out to me and ended up becoming my patient. I believe it was during one of her office visits that I mentioned to her to join Yvonne, Erick, and myself on a swim at Cedar Beach. She took me up on my offer and the Cedar Beach Crew was formed. This particular person has become a major inspiration for me, an awesome training partner, a fantastic motivator, and an even better friend. Thank you Christina Taborsky for all you do. You make me conquer what I once thought was impossible.
With the training at Wildwood and Cedar Beach, also came meeting new friends and fellow triathletes/runners. On July 17th, Sanjeev, Mike, John, Jason, and myself decided to run the hills in Selden that everyone was talking about. This was my first full Selden Hills run. (There is a story to be told on another day regarding my first attempt on the Hills. Stay tuned.) Well, I thought I was going to die! But I was instantly hooked. Shortly after, group runs were forming in the early morning hours and I joined in. New relationships were made and bonds were formed. (There are too many of you to mention here. You know who you are!) A few weeks later, the 5AM Wednesday morning Vampire Group was born! And as they say … the rest is history.
Thank you for taking the time to read (unless you just scrolled to the bottom!). Godspeed to you all.
“Life is short… running makes it seem longer.” – Baron Hansen