And this lady taught me a spin class?

A direct copy and paste from the capital news article, July 23, 2010:

To most casual athletes, the concept of swimming, biking and running more than 500 kilometres over the course of three days likely borders on the absurd, more akin to a torture test than a brisk workout.

But for Kim Froom competing in Ultraman Canada for the first time next weekend will be more like a celebration of life.

“I’m turning 50 this summer, so I guess this is my birthday gift,” said Froom, the manager at IQuest Health and Fitness Centre in Kelowna. “Of everything I’ve done athletically, this will be the pinnacle. People ask me why I would do it…I guess I would say it’s because I can. I live my life like it’s a huge experiment and this is something I really wanted to try, to see how far I can push myself.”

Froom will be among 40 athletes—and one of 12 women—from nine countries who will converge on the Okanagan July 31 to Aug. 2 for the prestigious ultra-endurance event.

The three-day triathlon begins in Penticton with a 10 km swim and 145 km bike ride on opening day, followed by a 275 bike ride on the second day, and culminating with a grueling double marathon (84 km) from Princeton to Summerland on day three.

Competitors are afforded a 12-hour time limit to complete each day’s events.

While this is Froom’s first attempt at an ultra race of this magnitude, she is no stranger to putting her mind and body to athletic tests.

Froom has completed two Ironman Canada events in Penticton, and was a member of Team Canada for the 2006 world long course triathlon championships in Australia.

She has also run in 18 marathons.

Still, the Ultraman race is brand new territory for Froom. She’ll be depending heavily on others, specifically a two-person support crew which will be providing nutrition, water and, of course, constant encouragement.

And unlike any of her past events, this is a multi-day race where proper pacing, both mentally and physically, is paramount.

“When I line up at the start, I’m going to have to say that I have a hard day of work ahead of me, and that I have to break it down piece-by-piece, not to think of the whole day or the race as whole, because that can be overwhelming,” she said. “I’ll look at getting through the first part, then deal with the next one…take a segmental approach. My team is going to be very important, in helping me do what I need to do to get through this. It’s amazing what people can accomplish when they work together.”

As a fitness trainer and health practitioner Froom is acutely aware of potential damage that can occur from such a demanding physical challenge if the human body is overextended or if proper nutrition isn’t followed to the letter.

The Ultraman Canada web site outlines in detail how athletes can best maintain their body’s needs over the three-day period.

For Froom, proper maintenance means not only caring for her body but being able to survive 36 hours of grueling physical activity.

“I’m going to have to take care of myself; you have to be wary of joint injuries, maintaining your B12, your electrolytes, making sure you’re not doing damage to yourself. Dehydration is a huge factor, people can die from it. So I can’t afford to make any mistakes because there’s not enough recovery time. You get behind on Day 1 and it’s a tough climb back. Again, that’s where my team comes in and why they’re so important to me.”

As much as physical conditioning is a major factor, Froom said competing in ultra events has far more to do with a person’s mental toughness.

“I’d say it’s 90 per cent mental, 10 per cent physical. It’s about the mental fortitude to actually stick with something when it’s wearing on you and when you’re tired. Most people can’t fathom running a double marathon, so you have to have that mental tenacity. It’s about the human spirit, to be tested and to endure.”

Still, her own enthusiasm aside, Froom doesn’t advocate everybody trying ultra events. As a health professional she does, however, encourage active and healthy lifestyles—something she is concerned far too many Canadians choose not to lead.

“It doesn’t have to be a marathon or a triathlon, maybe it’s just walking or gardening but people do need some form of physical activity,” said Froom. “Our society has changed in that people are now saying ‘I can’t’ instead of ‘I can’. We have so many amenities, it’s so easy sit back and say I can’t. Health is my business and exercise, in whatever form, is so beneficial.”

Not surprisingly, Froom has had her share of exercise over the last several months. Preparing for Ultraman has meant as much as 40 hours of training per week.

Froom said her first ultra race will be mostly about testing herself, both mentally and physically, and discovering what she is truly capable of accomplishing.

She made the trip to Summerland last year to watch the finish of Ultraman Canada and was immediately attracted to the idea of taking on the challenge—if only just for the one time.

“I had never even entertained the thought, then I saw these people coming across the line, some in their 40s and 50s, and I thought why wouldn’t you want to try this. Just because you’re 50 doesn’t mean you’re done. The light bulb went on, I said I’d train towards it and see what happens. It may not work and my body may break down…but based on what I do and who I am, why wouldn’t I try it?”

And what does Kim Froom hope to be feeling when all is said and done and Ultraman Canada 2010 comes to a close next weekend?

“I hope to be feeling thankful,” she said with a smile. “To be fortunate to have had all the support I’ve had, and be joyful that it’s been a huge success.

“Most importantly I hope to continue motivating people to chase their dreams. They can say ‘Look at her she’s 50 and look what she can do.’ Then I’m going to go lay on a beach and recover. It’s been a long road.”

For more information on Ultraman Canada, visit


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