Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Your First Triathlon

One of the most impressive endurance sports I know of is the Iron Man Triathlon. The participants swim for 2.4 miles, bike for 112 miles, then top it all off by running a 26.2 mile marathon. I'd like to thank the athletes who do this for making those of us who have run marathons feel like slackers.

I know this event is pretty extreme for most people, so I am glad that there are shortened versions called sprint triathlons that consist of a 300 meter swim, 10 mile bike, and a 5K run. I've been invited to participate in these mini triathlons over the years, but since I get along in water about as well as the wicked witch of the west, and since I haven't had a decent bike since I was a teenager, I have always declined.

This last week I got an invitation from a relative to join them for their 4th annual family triathlon. It's called the Boyce Ator Triathlon and commemorates my cousin's husband who was an avid triathlete who passed away in 1994 from cancer. I was excited to learn that this mini triathlon is not the kind of intense competitive event where hundreds of guys in wet suits sprint from the start line and literally climb over each other while trying to swim the first leg. I was assured it is less of a competition and more of a recreational event due to the small number of participants and the emphasis they put on having fun.

This is what has always scared me away from trying a triathlon.
If you have ever considered participating in a triathlon but felt intimidated by it, then this would be the ideal event to give it a try. If you will be in the Provo/Orem area this Labor Day, then I invite you to join us September 3 at 7:00 a.m.. Not only is this a great excuse to get in shape, but it is also for a good cause, since any profits earned from the event will be donated to cancer research. The registration fee is a bargain, and you can get more details and register at Boyce Ator Triathlon

Monday, July 9, 2012

Why You Should Lift Weights

I've been focusing on running over the past several months so you've probably noticed more posts than usual on that subject. As important as cardio conditioning is, and as glad as I am with some running progress I have made this year, I feel I have let another component of my physical fitness slip. I'm talking about weight lifting.

When it comes to resistance training, people have different preferences. Some prefer free weights, others choose Olympic style lifts, kettlebells, machines, or even using their own body weight as resistance. One thing all of these activities have in common is that they strengthen your muscles and improve your health.

I've said this before and don't want to sound like a broken record, but one of my pet peeves is when I tell women about the benefits of lifting weights and they express concern that they are going to "bulk up." That is kind of like me being afraid of getting a manicure because it will make me look like Miss America. Ladies, you are not going to look like a man unless you start taking steroids! I admit that some extreme women bodybuilders scare other women away from weights, but they are tying to look freakish on purpose and are doing some very unnatural things to achieve that look.

Muscle is a beautiful thing and building muscle does not compromise a woman's femininity. When I refer to lifting weights, I don't mean doing 35 repetitions with a cute 6 ounce neoprene dumbbell. You need to lift heavier weights for your body to adapt.

Regardless of how much muscle you think looks best on the human body, everyone should do some form of resistance training not just for the improved looks, but because it is good for you. Aside from developing a better body, strength training can also do the following:

* Help alleviate depression
* It will help you burn calories
* Improve athletic ability
* Help with injury prevention
* Reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes
* Build stronger bones and offset osteoporosis
* It increases your energy level
* Help with stress relief
* Reduce the risk of injuries

If you have not consistently been involved with resistance exercises, then I encourage you to join me by making a renewed commitment to do so.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Danger of Over Hydration

This post does not refer to water intoxication, but rather the stupidity of just drinking too much before a race. It's kind of a TMI post, so I apologize, but I have tried to keep it tame.

This morning I ran the annual 5K Freedom RunIn an attempt to hydrate, I drank quite a bit of water early this morning and just before the race. I was going to use the bathroom before heading out but decided against it, since I knew they would have porta-potties set up at the starting location. Big mistake.

This is not my photo, but it looked exactly like this.
I arrived at the starting line 6 minutes prior to the start and there were at least 12 Honey Buckets set up to accommodate the crowd. The problem was I had forgotten how popular this race is and that over 5,500 people were running it. There was a line of well over 20 people in front of each Honey Bucket. I'm no math expert, but I could tell there was no way I'd have time to use it before the race started.

After seriously weighing the risk of getting a ticket for urinating in public, I decided to just run the race with a full bladder that was stretched to capacity. It was not fun but, surprisingly, I still got my best 5 K time in 10 years. Maybe the motivation to run fast so I could use the bathroom was the secret. I would have enjoyed the race much more and probably would have done even better if I had used my head.

Remember hydration is important, but you also need to plan ahead. Hopefully, you can benefit from my stupidity.