Sunday, February 19, 2017

Triathlete's, Donate Blood. One Day the Need Might Be Yours!


The Athlete's Guide to Donating Blood


I wrote this for Ironman a couple years ago. With racing season still a ways away for those of us in the northern part of the country, we can still donate a unit and be back to full strength by Spring.  Even if you've never done this, when you walk out the door of the Red Cross or local blood bank after your donation, you have this same sense of pride, self-worth, that you do after a race. President's day is tomorrow and many have the day off. Why not put this at the top of your to do list. You'll be glad you did.
Athletes guide to donating blood
Nurse removing the transfusion

As professional triathlete Jordan Rapp knows, blood on the shelf saves lives. Here's a breakdown of the whys and hows.


Jordan Rapp is a professional triathlete and one of the best long-course athletes in the sport. For those of you who don't know, he had a horrific bike accident when he was involved in a hit-and-run crash in 2010.  He had multiple fractures, abrasions, lacerations and significant blood loss. He was injured so badly that he was initially placed in the intensive care unit and had significant blood loss requiring transfusion. "Two pints of A+," according to a recent email from Rapp.

"Blood on the shelf saves lives," says Beth Hartwell, former Blood Bank Director at the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Institute. "Each donation can help save three lives." Dr. Hartwell looks upon those who give blood as her "heroes. Their blood is going to an anonymous person in need. How cool is that?"

An athlete's concerns
With our healthy pedigree, triathletes are the perfect candidates for donating blood. It doesn't matter if it's the Red Cross or your local blood service—giving is the goal. Did you know that less than 10 percent of the population gives blood annually, for the benefit of 100 percent of us?

As an athlete, your first concern is how long it takes to return to pre-donation blood levels. That depends on specifically what you donate. For example, scientific studies have shown that if you donate plasma, the liquid part of the blood, or platelets, the cells that help blood clot, but not the oxygen carrying red blood cells, you’ll be back to normal in 48 hours. Even if you give whole blood (including the red blood cells), within a week or two you shouldn't see a difference in your training from pre-donation, although a 100 percent correction in your hemoglobin level will take about five to seven weeks.

There are many reasons not to give blood, such as a needle stick, a few days of sub-maximal training, rumors from the uninformed, to name a few. But there's never a shortage of reasons to give. Blood is used for patients getting dialysis, heart surgery, children with cancer, trauma victims, etc. Think about how frequently you read about one of our own colliding with a vehicle, or another cyclist. And blood is always available when we need it.
  
Your first time: What to expect 
So what happens when you, an athlete, go to donate for the very first time? You'll register and answer a few confidential questions to make sure the donation is right for them and right for you. They'll take your pulse, temperature and blood pressure. If this were a triathlon, consider that the swim. T1 is getting your arm really clean and prepping it for the blood draw. The bike, actually having the collection bag fill, takes only a few minutes—faster than some of us complete a an IRONMAN transition! In T2 they wrap your arm with a colorful "Why yes I did just give blood, thanks for asking," band. Then you run to the snack area where you can have unlimited Oreos, Fig Newtons, and juice, and in 10 minutes you're back on the sidewalk ready for action—a new PR for sure.

Imagine how good you'll feel doing something for others. And it's only April—many of us aren't even in racing season yet, making it an ideal time to give. Dr. Hartwell says that the infrequent donor will be ready to race at 100 percent in two months, the regular donor in three. And for those of you who are afraid of needles, the small prick of the skin is outweighed by the accomplishment you’ll feel at the end. Did I mention the Oreos?
So get out the phone book and find the nearest place to give. You'll be glad you did. Just ask Jordan Rapp.
John Post is a six-time IRONMAN World Championship finisher and the medical advisor for TrainingBible Coaching
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Athlete comments from the website that you may find encouraging.
Karen Lethlean ·
After giving blood on a Monday, I attended my usual intense swimming training on a Tuesday afternoon, and fell very ill. When I next talked to the Red Cross they were adamant that I should have been told that any form of physical training within 3 days of donating blood is not advisable. Now, forewarned I make sure that either I am on a rest phase, or able to take a few days break before committing to donating blood. But aside from taking that kind of precaution donating can be a mini health check you find out how are your iron levels going.
LikeReply2Apr 1, 2014 7:37pm
Katerina Richardson
I did bike/run bricks same day no problem. Yes, slower but it's ok. Weight lifting is a no-no, though.
LikeReplyOct 3, 2016 9:00am
Wayne Jordan ·
Option is to donate plasma rather than whole blood. I am AB+ so they seem to prefer the plasma too. Recover a whole lot quicker too
Denise Hiller ·
Karen, NO strenuous exercise a full 24hrs after donating blood. Remember to hydrate well 3 days prior to your donation
Donald Oswalt ·
Thank you for sharing this. I am in training for the Boston Marathon and triathlon season and opted out of giving blood last week because I did not want it to effect my race performance. Now I know that about the recovery time but, I will wait until after Boston and give.
Katerina Richardson
I have been a regular blood donor for several years. Your body adjusts. Just take care of it.


Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/03/triathletes-guide-to-blood-donation.aspx#ixzz4Z8WMIspx

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What Every Athlete Needs to Know Regarding Pain Relievers


Save the world, win valuable prizes. Be a triathlete.
                                                     __________________________

This months meeting of our County Medical society was on pain relievers.  Things have turned nasty with the current opiod epidemic and each of us can help in some way.  Very enlightening.  Orthopedic surgeons prescribe 7% of all narcotics and have been given tools to head toward 6%.

I wanted to have some kind of reference that triathletes could turn to since pain, and pain relieving efforts, are so common to our sport.  I found this from Harvard to show us the difference between Tylenol (acetaminophen) and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), why generic drugs are both cheaper and as effective, etc.

This might be one of those that you'd want to print off for reference, for maybe even next year, should you find yourself looking for information.


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The Family Health Guide

11 things you should know about common pain relievers

Understanding the differences between acetaminophen and NSAIDs

Once upon a time, easing pain was relatively simple: take two aspirin and call the doctor in the morning. Now there are many pain relievers to choose from (see "Pain relievers at a glance").
Willow bark was one of the earliest painkillers. Extracts or teas of willow bark have been used to treat fever and pain for more than 2,000 years. Unfortunately, the active ingredient, salicylic acid, is very hard on the stomach. In 1897, a German chemist working for the Bayer Company found a way to modify salicylic acid so it was less irritating to the stomach. The compound he created, acetylsalicyclic acid, was called Aspirin. It remained the premier over-the-counter painkiller until the development of acetaminophen in 1956 and ibuprofen in 1962. Since then, more than a dozen others have come onto the market.11 things you should know about common pain relievers
The two main categories of commonly used pain relievers are acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin and drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors. Many are available over the counter; some are available by prescription only.
Picking the right one can be enough to give you a headache! Here are 11 tips to help you navigate the pain reliever aisle.
1. What's the difference? NSAIDs ease pain, lower fever, and turn down inflammation. They can be very helpful for pain arising from inflammation-related conditions such as arthritis. Acetaminophen eases pain and fever, but does not affect inflammation.
2. NSAIDs revolutionized the treatment of pain. But as is the case for all drugs, they have some drawbacks. Regular use of an NSAID has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. All NSAIDs, including the newer COX-2 inhibitors, can be hard on the stomach, causing ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding. These problems tend to emerge only after long-term or heavy use. Don't be scared about taking the occasional NSAID for a headache or aches and pains.
3. What applies to NSAIDs doesn't usually apply to acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory agent, and eases pain in a different way than NSAIDs. Acetaminophen is easier on the stomach than NSAIDs, but has its own set of problems.
Acetaminophen can damage the liver. Three thousand 250 milligrams (mg) a day — about 10 regular-strength acetaminophen tablets — is considered the safe upper limit, but that might be too much for some people. Large doses are the main risk, but there are reports of people developing liver problems after taking small to moderate amounts of acetaminophen for long periods of time. Drinking alcohol while taking acetaminophen can also cause liver damage.
Acetaminophen is an ingredient in many over-the-counter cold and headache medications. Some people may be taking more of the drug than they realize because of these "hidden sources."
4. COX-2 inhibitors — a new addition. A new family of NSAIDs, called COX-2 inhibitors, was developed in the 1990s. They were supposed to be better than "regular" NSAIDs: a new generation of medications that would relieve pain but spare the gut. Although these drugs were a bit easier on the gastrointestinal system, it turned out they weren't especially heart friendly. The first COX-2 inhibitor, rofecoxib (Vioxx), was pulled from the market in 2004 after it was linked to an increased risk for heart attack. Valdecoxib (Bextra) came off the market a few months later. A third COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib (Celebrex) has stayed on the market. At doses of 200 mg per day or less, it doesn't appear to pose any greater heart attack risk than other NSAIDs.
5. Go generic. Generic over-the-counter pain relievers are less expensive than their brand-name counterparts, and work just as well.
6. Help for NSAID-related stomach woes. If you need to take an NSAID every day for arthritis or other chronic condition, and the drug bothers your stomach or you're at high risk for gastrointestinal complications, taking a proton pump inhibitor can offset this side effect. Proton-pump inhibitors include esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), or rabeprazole (Aciphex).
7. Take your daily aspirin before taking an NSAID for pain relief. If your doctor has recommended that you take a daily low-dose aspirin for your heart, and you also take an NSAID for pain or inflammation, timing is important. NSAIDs block the ability of aspirin to make blood platelets less "sticky." This helps prevent the formation of clots inside the bloodstream, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. One strategy is to take aspirin first thing in the morning, then wait 30 minutes before taking an NSAID. If you take an NSAID first, wait eight hours before taking aspirin.
8. Beware of blood pressure increases. All NSAIDs, including the COX-2 drugs, tend to boost blood pressure. The effect is strongest and happens more consistently in people who have high blood pressure already and are taking medication to control it, but there's evidence that people with normal blood pressure are also affected. Acetaminophen, in high doses and among women, has also been shown to cause small hikes in blood pressure.
9. Don't go cold turkey. If you take an NSAID regularly, don't stop suddenly. Sudden withdrawal makes blood clots more likely to form, and so increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
10. Beware of kidney woes. NSAIDs, including the COX-2 drugs, can be hard on the kidneys and, in extreme cases, cause kidney failure. Signs of kidney disease include unexplained nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, changes in urine output, persistent itching, and other so-called nonspecific symptoms.
11. Genes matter. There is a lot of individual variation in how people react to pain relievers. It may take some trial and error to find the one that works best for you.

Over-the-counter pain relievers at a glance

Generic name
Brand names
Comment
acetaminophen
Anacin, Pain-Eze, Tylenol, and 40 others; also in more than 150 combination products)
Not an NSAID; doesn't cause stomach problems like NSAIDs; common ingredient in headache and cold medicines; large amounts can cause liver damage.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
aspirin
Anacin, Bayer Aspirin, Bufferin, many others; also found in scores of combination products
Technically an NSAID, but its anticlotting properties make it unique; the development of alternatives and high risk of gastrointestinal bleeding mean it's not used as much today as a pain reliever.
ibuprofen
Advil, Motrin, Nuprin
Favored because it acts quickly without staying in the body too long, so per dose it has a lower risk of causing stomach and kidney problems.
naproxen
Aleve, Naprosyn
Longer acting than ibuprofen.

Prescription NSAIDs at a glance

Generic name
Brand name
Available as a generic?
celecoxib
Celebrex
No
diclofenac
Arthrotec, Cataflam, Voltaren, others
Yes
diflunisal
none
Yes
etodolac
none
Yes
fenoprofen
Nalfon
Yes
flurbiprofen
Ansaid, Ocufen
Yes
indomethacin
Indocin, Tivorbex
Yes
ketoprofen
none
Yes
meclofenamate
none
Yes
meloxicam
Mobic
Yes
nabumetone
none
Yes
oxaprozin
Daypro
Yes
piroxicam
Feldene
Yes
salsalate
Disalcid
Yes
sulindac
Clinoril
Yes
tolmetin
none
Yes

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Have You Ever Flatted in an Ironman? We Polled in Kona


Congrats to all of you who gave up beer, wine, scotch, brandy, you name it for January! 



We had a contingent of folks from Ironman.com, Twitter and this blog.  Hearty congrats to all.  This was much easier for some than others and if you had no problem with it, hold a place in your heart for those whom this may have been a bit of a struggle.  They learned that, just like in our sport, with the right motivation, just like they say at Ironman,


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Does your warm up swim really help?

I'm a strong proponent of warm ups be you heading out for a swim, run, what have you.   Remembering that we save most of our stretching till after our work out, dynamic movement at a lower intensity and diminished range of motion gets you ready to train.  Ready while reducing your probability of injury as well.

Do you swim 100, chat. Pull 100, chat then rearrange your fins, pull buoy, and stuff on the deck.  Kick 100, greet new arrival two lanes over?  Think you get the same contribution to readiness to swim and over all swim fitness as the woman in the lane next to you who, even though swimming easily, does 300 swim, 200 pull and 150 kick stopping only to don/doff her pull buoy?  Try it her way for a week and see what you gain.


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Every year at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, we interview as many of the athletes who'll talk to us, usually about things of which I'm curious.  This is from October.

Rehydration - Do you drink to thirst or follow a plan? - fairly controversial topic.  In one corner we have those who say that your body is the best indicator of thirst.  Listen to it and drink when thirsty.  On the opposite side of the ring would be the max hydrators who say to walk around the the transition area before race start sipping on a water bottle, and right before your wave is sent off, have a good pee such that you're starting the event with an empty bladder and super hydration.  Then keep a close track on what goes in your mouth drinking at regular intervals, thirsty or not.  This would, of course require some modification if you're racing in Hawaii vs Madison, WI.  Or, is there a middle ground plan where you're not looking to suck on a fire hose but you do use other indicators than basic thirst to determine when and how much to drink?

We also want to be reminded of hyponatremia, sometimes referred to as Marathon or Running Hyponatremia where the athlete consumes excess water diluting the serum sodium.  It has been reported that some athletes have taken this to such lengths that it's lead to their demise.  It's more often seen in the 4 hour or longer marathon runner, less hot conditions and women slightly more than men.

So knowing all this, what do the Kona qualifiers do?  It's an either/or question right?  Leave it to triathletes to come up with a third option of course.  So, this past October, 14% said they drank by thirst and 70% use a pre-race designed plan.  This leaves 16% who told us "both."  Thus, despite the teaching and preaching of a number of authorities, this group, which might be the finest and fittest on the planet that particular day have learned - likely though screwing it up - that for them some type plan will give them the highest chance of doing well in the endurance triathlon environment. 

Have you had stomach issues Iron racing to such a degree that it affected your race? This was a little more straight forward. 46% said yes leaving 54% negative.  One contributing factor might be that this group has, by nature of the Kona qualification system, raced a lot and perhaps had more opportunities from more races.  The 6 athletes I interviewed for Ironman, all legacy folks, had over 70 full distances races between them, and it didn't seem to be as big an issue

Lastly, I've raced Kona several times, and have even seen years where there were reportedly thumbtacks strewn on the course (a quick Google search will also report similar happenings at IMC and Coeur d'Alene.)  I've never flatted in an Iron distance race, or any race actually, and wondered if it were due to my, ahem, meticulous race preparation, or much more likely, blind luck.  So we asked racers:

Have you ever flatted in an Iron distance race?  This is when the fun began, a completely unexpected response.  A number of participants, when asked this seemingly innocent question, got angry.  Some, really angry!  Said we would jinx them if they answered.  Or even thought about answering.  Some "flat"ly refused to answer and just walked away!  Wow!  In any event, of those who did respond, without our fear of bodily harm, 79% had never been involved with flat repair racing Ironman.

If you have two more minutes, this was published a couple months ago and I think you'd enjoy reading "Can You Have Three Flats and Still Finish Ironman?" http://bit.ly/2dMH85Q



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Beware of "Our Top Spring Running Shoes" Surveys

Bobby Bowden, Famed Florida State football coach for over 30 years




Bowden was asked by a reporter about one of his linebackers. When describing that player, Bowden said “He doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear.’ In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.” 

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"Our Top Spring Running Shoes"

NPR had an informative piece on rating agencies about a year ago.  One gent, very suspicious of one of the restaurant ratings that his local places had received from a well-known national agency decided to take things into his own hands.  He created a virtual restaurant in his own town house.  Really.  He, with enough time on his hands to make even the slackest triathlete jealous, made a website complete with ratings from fictitious diners ("I made it good, but no so good that it might throw someone off.  Even put in a couple stinkers for realism!") Then he created a composite menu from a number of nearby establishments. "The wine list was the most fun.  I went to the cheap place down the street and picked the ones on the bottom shelf."

After submitting this to the well-known rating agency (and changing the greeting on his voice mail to that of the restaurant), he got a single phone call from them with a few questions about various areas of the restaurant.  That was it.  No on site evaluation for cleanliness of the kitchen or restrooms, no verification of adherence to disability access codes, nada.  It didn't take long before he was informed he had earned the highest rating and would he be interested in being listed in their guide...for a fee.   

The reason I go into this is that national chains, magazines, etc. will be coming out with shoe ratings at some point.  These are very important to the manufacturers since they know you and I read the magazines, see these ratings and on some level keep them in the back our minds when it's time to replace our current dogs.  A lot of money is at stake here.

The best example I can currently think of is the Hoka One One, which probably paid a substantial amount to be named official shoe of Ironman North American Series*. While popular in Kona, they were not the most used brand worn by Iron athletes. Asics was.** Dave Jewel of LAVA magazine had an all-inclusive shoe count of every racer to hit Alii drive revealing Asics first overall, Hoka One One second.  I would bet this information was not lost on Hoka executives.  Asics was also the #1 shoe among age groupers.

I would ask you when looking at any product evaluation, shoes the example under consideration here, that you look for bias.  If you're at a store, what brand is being pushed and why?  Are there incentives that the average customer would be unaware?  If you're reading a trade magazine, are the shoes that advertise there seemingly always near the top recommended brands?  Is there bias in the testers?  When doing a wine tasting, the wines under evaluation can be put in unlabeled glasses.  Only the ones running the test know which wine is in which glass.  However, it's hard to remove the brand logo from running shoes.  That said, when experienced wine tasters knew which, or supposedly which glasses contained the more costly wines, there was a subtle bias toward these (supposedly) more costly samples.

You count on these shoes to make you your fastest, and perhaps more importantly protect you from injury, do your best to choose wisely.  
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I'll admit it. Sadly the owner of this vanity plate owner lives in my home town. He has friends in your town. Be careful out there.
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* Slowtwitch Dan Empfield, Slowtwitch, 4/2/2016 But does this new deal with Ironman make sense for Hoka? The official shoe designation was a disastrous hole down which K-Swiss dumped barrelfuls of money. 

** Competitor.com 10/11/16

Sunday, January 22, 2017

When You Take Your Coach, PT and Chef to Your Ironman


The Name Game - a great rainy day/snowy day work out.  All you have to do is perform the exercise corresponding to each letter of your first, middle and last names. Rest 15 seconds between letters.  Repeat if you can....or if it's still raining.

Good luck!


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To all who are participating in the Alcohol-free January, WELL DONE. We only have 9 more days. With February comes the sweet smell of that IPA and the Superbowl.  Good job athletes.

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Some of your early season work outs not going the way you want?   I was told at the gym yesterday by Coach Emily that "sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs...."  She simply meant that not every swim or bike will be a break through experience but if you can slog it out in the early season, when the leaves do return to the trees this spring and you're planning the carpool for the local sprint triathlon, suddenly it's all worth it.  

Not so much much slogging that your form goes by the wayside though.


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Earlier this year there was an intriguing article in the NY Times titled:

              "When Amateur Ironmen Pay for the Elite Treatment."

A 2015 survey conducted for the World Triathlon Corporation — the Tampa, Fla.-based organizers of Kona and other Ironman races — found that the average annual household income for Ironman participants is $247,000. USA Triathlon, the largest multisport organization in the world, says the average income for all triathletes, including those at shorter distances, is $126,000.
When Marc Blumencranz had an opportunity to compete in the 2013 Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, he spared no expense in his preparations to go the distance. 
His outlays for the race — known simply as “Kona” among triathletes — went far beyond a wet suit and a new pair of handlebars for his racing bike. To help acclimate to the Hawaiian heat, he rented a house on Kailua-Kona’s fashionable Ali’i Drive, as well as a block of hotel rooms for the 10 days leading up to the race. He also hired a private chef to prepare his meals, then flew to Hawaii and housed not only his wife and daughter, but also his coach, massage therapist and physical therapist.
Total estimated cost: $100,000.
“My first reaction was, ‘You don’t need to do that,’” says Jose L. Lopez of Long Island Tri Coach, based in Mineola, who guided Mr. Blumencranz through the intensive, 10-week buildup to Kona. “I said, ‘I can still train you; I don’t need to be in Hawaii.’ He said, ‘I want you to be there with me.’”
Mr. Blumencranz, now 52, is a managing director for BWD, a large, privately held insurance brokerage and wealth-management firm in Plainview, N.Y. But his career success hardly makes him an anomaly in the sport. At events like Kona, it is not hard to find affluent competitors willing and able to put serious dollars behind their long-distance dreams.

Kona race volunteer aiding an athlete with last minute pre-race bike needs

“I don’t know if it’s a rich person’s sport, but it’s certainly an upscale person’s sport,” says Dr. Steven Jonas, a professor of public health at Stony Brook University, a longtime triathlete and the author of the best-selling book “Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals.” “To run a marathon, you need a pair of shoes, a pair of shorts and maybe a water bottle. To do a triathlon, you need a lot more.”
Free-spending amateur endurance athletes often pay for more than gear. To gain entry to Kona in 2015, Michael Berland, head of the political polling and analytics firm Edelman-Berland, made a winning bid on a charity slot.
The Ironman Foundation, the charitable arm of the World Triathlon Corporation, funds a number of local initiatives, including youth organizations in Hawaii. Each year, the foundation auctions four spots in the race.
“My wife and I decided this would be our philanthropy for 2015,” says Mr. Berland, 47, who lives in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. To make sure he got in, he made what he called “a pre-emptive bid” of $50,200.
“It’s what I wanted to do,” Mr. Berland says of his expenditure. “It helps kids in Hawaii, and it got me into the race.”
The large portion of successful business people involved in endurance sports isn’t surprising, considering the personality traits they tend to share. These, says Dr. Michael Sachs, a sport psychologist at Temple University, include “high levels of motivation, goal orientation, mental toughness. They also realize that in order to be successful, they need to maintain physical and mental health, and one of the best ways to do that is exercise.”
In addition, he says, there’s a “coolness” factor. “If you’re wearing a Boston Marathon T-shirt or an Ironman finisher’s jacket, those are credentials you can’t buy. You have to earn it.”
Ironman distance triathlons are not the only events that attract Type A endurance athletes. In the last five years, Jeff Adams, 56, a retired Morgan Stanley executive living in Elkhorn, Wis., has run in 20 marathons around the world, including New York, Boston, London, Tokyo and even Antarctica.
Mr. Adams estimates that his pursuit of running and fitness — including the cost of travel to his various races, his gym memberships and so forth — has cost him $50,000 a year over the last five years. But he ticks off what he calls his “return on my running investment,” including improved health, weight loss and the opportunity for adventurous travel.
Women, even successful women, are less likely to be found jetting around the globe or spending significant amounts of money in pursuit of their training and racing goals. “I don’t know many women who are high powered and wealthy and who are also endurance athletes who would go to these extremes,” says the former professional triathlete Lee DiPietro, 57, of Delray Beach, Fla., and author of “Against the Wind: An Ironwoman’s Race for Her Family’s Survival.” But she said that could change.
For his costly 2013 effort, Mr. Blumencranz dutifully did all his training leading up to Kona, the pinnacle of swim-run-bike sport — a one-day 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon through the island’s torrid, wind-swept lava fields. Qualifying was difficult: Although he had twice completed the Ironman distance race in Lake Placid, N.Y., Mr. Blumencranz is not an elite athlete.
“I never saw myself doing Kona,” he admitted. Until, that is, a business associate dropped a word to a high-ranking executive with one of the race sponsors. Mr. Blumencranz, who lives in Old Brookville, N.Y., was then offered a Kona spot. He was thunderstruck. “I told my golf friends that, for me, getting the opportunity to race at Kona was like playing Augusta during the Masters.”
On race day, Oct. 12, with his coach cheering him on, Mr. Blumencranz finished in 13 hours 19 minutes 56 seconds — far from the professional triathlete Frederik Van Lierde’s winning time of 8:12:29, but also comfortably removed from the mandatory cutoff time of 17 hours.
He felt that having his friends and support crew on hand made a difference. “It was like having Team Marc there,” said Mr. Blumencranz.
Dr. Jonas applauds Mr. Blumencranz’s generosity and determination in bringing his support team to Kona in 2013, but isn’t sure of its effect. “If he’d spoken to me, I would have told him, ‘you’ll probably finish in about the same time without all that.’”
Besides, money can’t buy the satisfaction of true competition. “You cannot buy a finish,” says Dr. Jonas. “It’s what’s inside you.”