"The masochist in me likes to hurt. Likes to know I am pushing myself to the limit, and maybe even over it. Because in racing, I know that when the hurt hits, I have already conquered it...But most of all, I am motivated by that little something inside. That seed that won't rest until I know I have fulfilled my potential and been the best that I can be. I think deep down we all have that seed, that little voice. I just think some people are scared to listen to it, scared to try, scared of failure."
— triathlete Chrissie Wellington, who broke the Ironman world record for women in Roth, Germany, in July, explaining what motivates her.
Four years ago, there were no triathlons in D.C. Now, more than 2,000 people are expected to participate in the Washington D.C. Triathlon on June 20th. And come September, more than 7,000 are expected for another D.C. triathlon. Ten years ago the DC Triathlon Club was an email list with 15 names on it. Today it boasts more than 1,000 members. What gives with the DC triathlon explosion? Explanation 1: D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, a tri-fanatic, has pushed sporting events. Explanation 2: USA Triathlon has seen a 523 percent increase in membership since 2000, so D.C. isn't that special. Explanation 3: Everyone's doing it in hopes of pressuring Michelle into taking up the sport. MObama in spandex, amazing!
Every day, we give you a snapshot of one fellow striver in fitness. We ask personal questions, he or she boldly answers. Today's snapshot: Elizabeth, aka liz.
- What's the best thing in your gym bag? My Tek Towel is far and away the best thing in my gym bag. This towel is super absorbent, light weight and small. Plus it comes in its own tiny pouch, so I could easily carry it if I ever decide to run the four miles to the pool – not that I've done this yet. But my goal is to pair running and swimming in a single, amazingly exhausting workout this summer.
- Remember that FDA crackdown on dubious nutrition labeling we were telling you about? Well, the food industry's big new labeling program, Smart Choices, has folded under the pressure. No more green check marks telling you Froot Loops is a healthy option.
- American Tim O'Donnell won the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships this weekend. You. Ess. Ay!
- New, and unsurprising, study: Women who look at models focus on the dissimilarities. In general, this is bad news for their self-esteem.
- Another new study shows people are fairer and more generous when in clean-smelling environments. Wow. Hello lemon fresh smell.
- Also new in research: Being the boss is bad for your health.
- Lame Halloween costume ideas: Fitness.com thinks you should dress up like Rocky, Richard Simmons, or a variety of other fitness greats, and they have a guide to help you pull together your outfit.
Workers formerly chained to their desks, now unleashed on the world by layoffs, may be affecting race times across the country. The Wall Street Journal reports that 2009 has seen marathon times improve in nearly every age category, and so far this year 39% more marathoners have run Boston marathon qualifying times than in 2008. Races are filling up faster than ever, too. The New York City Triathlon took eight hours to sell out last year. This year: 22 minutes. Apparently, put more time in the hands of some people, and they don't turn into Judge Judy Junkies -- they lace up their shoes and train their a**es off. We think that's awesome. Making the most of the time we have for more swimming, more biking, more racing, more fun? That's making lemonade, people! Sweet, wonderful, goes-down-easy-on-a-summer-day lemonade.More...
Fodder for pre-race dark humor: A study presented over the weekend by cardiologists meeting in Florida puts the race day mortality rate for triathlons at 15 in a million. Apparently, the similar stat for marathons is just 4 to 8 per million. (By our amateurish division, with help from the National Health Center, the rate for non-racers on any given day is about .2 in a million. If you really want to get into this stuff, check out the rather morbid SuddenDeathAthletes.org, which is a national registry of sports-related deaths.)
Anyway, it's the swim that gets you: The doctors found 14 people died in 2,846 triathlons between January 2006 and September 2008. Of those, 13 were swim-related. Says New York Presbyterian cardiologist Dr. Lori Mosca: "Anyone that jumps into freezing cold water knows the stress on the heart." Right. Not to mention the people hitting you on the head as they swim over you.More...