Help Me Rhonda: Marathon goes beyond running |

Help Me Rhonda: Marathon goes beyond running

Rhonda Beckham

The 13th Lake Tahoe Marathon is only six weeks away. That still is enough time to train for one of the shorter distances if you are committed. There are lots of events going on the week of Sept. 24-28. The full marathon (26.2 miles) is Sunday, Sept. 28.

I hadn’t considered entering until I got excited browsing the Web site last week. With so many different activities and levels to choose from, almost anyone can try something with a little preparation. They claim it is “A walker- and iPod-friendly event.” Sounds harmless. Let’s see what we might want to train for:

— Speed Golf: Strokes plus run time equals your score. You can carry any three clubs.

— Kayak 5 or 10 miles, solo or tandem. Anyone have a tandem kayak for sale? I’d love to try this next year.

— Swim a half-mile, 1 mile or 2 miles. Because I have resolved to regain my once-strong swimming skill, I begin training today. It seems appropriate to start now, since Dara Torres, at age 41, is going to try for her 11th Olympic medal in the 50-meter freestyle. Last Sunday, as anchor of the women’s 4-by-100-meter free relay, she became the oldest person to win an Olympic medal.

This is not to say I aspire to win any medals, but I am finding inspiration in this slightly younger woman. With that said, I need to fill out my application for the half-mile swim.

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How am I going to prepare? I’ll start with several laps and add a couple every day. The point isn’t to win the race (especially at this late entry), but rather to commit to something, practice and enjoy the experience.

— Bike 20, 35 or 72 miles, solo or tandem. Jen Shultz says she wants to ride the longest race on the back of the tandem bike so she can enjoy the scenery and have a snack while her partner in front does all the work.

I love how organizer Les Wright has made it possible for almost everyone to get some action. A Baby Jogging Stroller category is part of the mix. A parent can run the 5K or 10K on a closed course (no motor vehicles to worry about). Or you can enter the two-person relay, where the second parent parks the car and the kids near an exchange point.

There are several marathons to choose from: super, super triple or ultra. If you haven’t started training for one of these yet, forget about it. You can, however, try the 5K or 10K run, walk or jog. To put things into perspective, a 10K is about the distance from the “Y” to Round Hill.

If the 2008 Summer Olympics have got your motor running and you want to run a serious race or even try a triathlon next year, plan on starting your training program at least five months ahead of time to ensure a decent finish and the ability to walk the next day. I’ll give you a reminder at the beginning of May.

And if you’re out on the lake and see a woman wearing an ultra-goofy smiley-face swim cap, see if she needs a ride back to shore.

You can get more information and register for Lake Tahoe Marathon events at, or call (530) 544-7095.

– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer, with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing.