Amazing race

Charlestown athlete completes first sprint triathlon

Created date

June 25th, 2019
Ted Albert appreciates Charlestown's on-site fitness center and pool for keeping his fitness regimen on track.

Ted Albert appreciates Charlestown's on-site fitness center and pool for keeping his fitness regimen on track.

Former Formula One race car driver Jenson Button once said, “Resting, for me, is fitness training.” It’s a thought that crossed 77-year-old racing fan Ted Albert’s mind when he entered his very first sprint triathlon this spring.    

“I was a Jenson Button fan, and he used to do triathlons to keep in shape,” says Ted. “So, it became an ambition of sorts for me.”

This April, Ted turned that ambition into action and completed the sprint triathlon at the Annual Emily Schindler Memorial Scholarship Triathlon in Severna Park, Md. 

The sprint triathlon features half the distance of the traditional Olympic triathlon and is perfect for people like Ted who are new to the sport. In the end, Ted swam 800 yards, biked 9 miles, and ran 2.8 miles, all in 1 hour, 12 minutes, and 38 seconds.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. A sprint triathlon has nothing to do with sprinting, I can assure you of that, not for me anyway,” jokes Ted. 

The running and biking legs of the course ran along the Baltimore and Annapolis (B&A) bike trail and the swimming portion was held in the Severna Park Community Center. 

“The biking was the easiest part for me because I belong to a cycling club and go biking often, but I haven’t run in years so that was a little more challenging,” says Ted.

Ted trained for six weeks prior to the race at his home at Charlestown, the Erickson Living community in Catonsville. The community features a state-of-the-art fitness center with top-of-the-line equipment including steppers, cardio bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, and strength training equipment. 

Already an avid lap swimmer, biker, and active member of Charlestown’s on-site fitness center, Ted was in good shape. He followed a training regimen he found online. 

“It was still cold outside when I started training so I decided to use the treadmill and stationary bikes at the fitness center instead of going outside,” says Ted. 

Charlestown’s 75- by 30-foot indoor swimming pool is located just down the hall from Ted’s apartment, making swimming easily accessible.

“I would try to do all three exercises (bike, swim, run) in order without a lot of time in between to simulate the sprint triathlon,” says Ted.   

Fit for life

Staying physically fit isn’t a new pursuit of Ted’s. He has led an active lifestyle from an early age. 

“As a teenager, I swam and was on the track team in high school. I played squash and handball in college. And I started running in my thirties,” says Ted. “When we retired, we moved to California, and I liked to hike in the mountains and started strength training. After we moved back to Columbia, Md., to be closer to our grandchildren, I started swimming three times a week.” 

According to a study released by the Gerontological Society of America, Ted may be onto something. The study showed people aged 60 to 79 who participate in fitness training had significant increases in brain volume. 

But training for a triathlon isn’t the only reason to get in shape. The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found older adults who exercise just 30 minutes a day decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease by 14% compared with inactive people. And the journal Hypertension reports that a 30-minute morning walk could result in a lower blood pressure for the remainder of the day in adults age 55 to 80 who were otherwise sedentary, overweight, or obese. 

Having an on-site fitness center and pool were two aspects that were important to Ted when considering moving to Charlestown.

“It might have been a deal breaker for me if those amenities weren’t offered here,” says Ted. “There are places [to workout] near Charlestown where I could have gone, but it would have required getting in the car to go there. I like being able to walk to the pool and the fitness center.” 

Although Ted didn’t break any records, he did achieve his goal of finishing the sprint triathlon and says there is still more he wants to accomplish. 

“Next year I hope to do the same triathlon but improve my time,” he says.  


It’s never too late to get in shape

Experts say any amount of aerobic or endurance exercise (anything that increases your heart rate and breathing for an extended period) can be beneficial. Here are a few great cardio exercises to get you going:

Walking

Swimming

Gardening (mowing or raking the lawn)

Bicycling

Dancing

(Before starting any kind of exercise regimen, always check with your doctor first.)

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