Monday, June 8, 2009

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano (Sound Mind in a Sound Body)

Today, the fire crew of which I am a part, participated in the BLM National Fire Operations Fitness Challenge. The plan is to use this program to encourage our firefighters to maintain year round fitness. By testing them today, we were able to see who had stayed in good shape and who needs work. It set a baseline standard that everyone can work from to improve their personal fitness. Countless studies have shown that fit and healthy firefighters tend to be injured less during their careers.

The challenge that we face each year with a program made up of over 30 seasonal firefighters, is that you cannot make them stay fit during the offseason. That is where we look to the fitness challenge along with a cash incentive for Gold and Platinum level participants; to show the importance of year round fitness. For many of these firefighters, it is only their third week of work and already we are testing their physical and mental strength. As a matter of fact, on only the second day of work for many of them, I lead the crew on a 9 mile run consisting of 7 miles of hill repeats. The idea is not to break them, or to show how fit we are as leaders. It's let them know how important it is to maintain their fitness and how high the expectations are for our crews.

So, today we tested 39 of 41 firefighters. The results were overwhelmingly positive. There were six men that scored in the Gold range and nearly a dozen more firefighters that scored above the Silver level. Our entire program averaged 234 points, which is commendable. We will test at least once more before the results are due at the national office at the end of the month. Everyone knows now where their weakness lies. For me, it is upper body strength. I spend so much time focusing on the run, the bike, and the swim, that I let my muscular strength fall by the wayside. I know this is where I need to focus and come next time, maybe a little more than my run will be doing the talking.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wyoming Race Network

The past several weeks I have been racing at various runs and triathlons. It reminded me of what kind of community we have here in this state. I listen to others talk about the groups that they train and race with in their cities and towns. Here in Wyoming our community covers 97,818 square miles. It seems like every race I attend there are more and more athletes from around the state that I would also consider friends.

At Bolder Boulder, I ran into two different co-workers that were either competing or supporting other racers. This past weekend at the Buffalo Triathlon, I hung out with two other Worland triathletes. At all the races there are plenty of other athletes that I know from other towns around the state. I meet even more people at the races that I look forward to hanging out with and racing against in future races. Now, here's the thing, these aren't my training partners. They are my race partners.

I will admit that I would rather be racing than training, any day. I think this realization is part of that reason. I never use to think of racing as a social setting, but it is becoming more and more of that for me. Don't get me wrong I still enjoy my solo training runs with just Winnie and I. It's just nice to be around others with common goals and motivations.