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COVER story

A 46-year-old mom, wife, elite amateur to show her strengths at St. Anthony's Triathlon

PINELLAS PARK

aure Blume isn't your typical triathlete. The 46-year-old loves to train, but what about competing? "Racing scares me," she confessed. "Get me to the race and I'll be fine. But getting me there is the tough part."

Blume doesn't go for the usual triathlon training regimen, either. She runs and bikes but doesn't swim very often.

"Family comes first," said the stay-at-home mom of two teens. "Swimming doesn't always fit into my schedule. It's just not convenient."

So you might think that Blume would be an average "age group" athlete, happy just to finish a world-class Olympic-distance event such as the St. Anthony's Triathlon.

But the Pinellas Park woman be-longs to the small group of "elite" athletes fast enough to start at the head of the pack, hot on the heels of the professional triathletes.

Run, run, run

Blume grew up in Rhode Island and moved to Florida 21 years ago. She ran track in high school but never had any intensive coaching.

But then she joined a local running group, the Forerunners, and started training with legendary running coach Joe Burgasser.

"It really helped me," she said. "I made a lot of running friends who made long runs so much easier."

Blume dreamed of doing a marathon but didn't think she had time when her son, Luke, was young. But after her second child, Sydney (now 16), came along, she began training seriously.

"Then I ran 13 marathons in five years," she said. Her husband, Daryl, a mechanical contractor who coaches basketball on the side at Shorecrest Preparatory School, joined in the "marathon madness."

"We even ran a few Boston Marathons together — almost together,'' she said with a laugh.

He wouldn't be the first or the the last man she'd outrun.

A different path

Blume started doing triathlons about eight years ago. She began with the small, shorter events, and even won several local "sprint" races before moving on to big events like St. Anthony's.

She increased her distance, finishing several Half Ironman and Ironman events, and improved her standing in the local women's field, finishing 11th among the elite females in 2009. But unlike most top triathletes, who spend most of their time swimming, running and biking, Blume focused on her overall level of fitness.

"My passion is building a strong body, and I share that passion with a handful of high schoolers I train a few times a week after school and a few friends in the mornings," she said.

"We work on conditioning and core strength, which helps you with everything — running, swimming, biking. I think too many triathletes neglect their core and that can lead to injuries."

Blume calls her gym work the "fourth leg" of the triathlon. She typically spends about 45 minutes in the gym. "I meet friends there and we talk a bit, so I could probably get it done in 30 minutes if I had to," she said.

Gym workouts have helped her become "mentally fit," Blume said, which gives her a big edge in triathlons.

"When your muscles are screaming 'stop' and you keep pushing, trying to get in one more rep, you learn what your body can do," she said. "When you get out on a race course and you're running, your body says 'stop,' but you know you can keep going because you have been there before. That's the mental advantage.''

Family first

But Blume never lets her sport get in the way of her life.

"My husband and two teenage children keep me very busy," she said. "I don't stress over a late night waiting up for the kids or having to pick our daughter up from a friend's house.

"If I'm up late, I either get my workout in a little later than planned or make it up the next chance I can," she added. "I need my eight hours of sleep, especially if I want to train my body hard and give it time to rest and recover."

Family time is top priority in the Blume household. That means family dinners at home every night of the week. "I have been a vegetarian for 25 years," she said.

Blume looks at each training opportunity as a chance to do her best — within reason.

"I push myself to go just a little faster, but I always listen to my body," she said.

"Knock on wood: I've not been sidelined with an overuse injury yet. If it hurts, take care of it!"

Terry Tomalin can be reached at ttomalin@tampabay.com.

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The St. Anthony's Triathlon on April 29 (1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run) is the second event of the 2012 global 5150 Triathlon Series, offering athletes coveted points toward 5150 U.S. Championship qualification.

The race weekend will include an extensive event expo April 27-28 at Straub Park and the Meek & Mighty Triathlon, a shorter race for youth ages 7-14 and novice adults, April 28 at North Shore Pool.

Athletes will compete for a professional prize purse totaling $65,000 in addition to $10,000 in prizes for the top male and female competitors in the Elite Amateur division. To learn more, go to satriathlon.com.

TYPICAL TRAINING WEEK



THE EVENT

Laure Blume's Personal Records

Ironman Triathlon: 12:43:45

Half Ironman Triathlon: 4:56:08

Olympic Distance Triathlon: 2:12:17

Marathon: 2:59:06

Half Marathon: 1:24:06

15K: 57:42

10K: 37:08

5K: 17:56

Monday: Run 5 miles, see the kids off to school, work out with girlfriends at the gym.

Tuesday: Bicycle 30 miles, train with high school students at the gym in the afternoon.

Wednesday: Work out with her girlfriends at the gym, do a short run.

Thursday: Ride 10-15 miles or run 5 miles, train with high school students in the gym in the afternoon.

Friday: Work out with her girlfriends in the gym.

Saturday: Run 5 to 7 miles, train with high school students.

SUNDAY: Ride 30 miles with husband and friends.

WHAT ABOUT THE SWIM?

"No, I don't get swims in very often. Swimming is my weakest event, but my average performance doesn't get any worse when I don't swim, so I save some training time focusing elsewhere."

A 46-year-old mom, wife, elite amateur to show her strengths at St. Anthony's Triathlon 04/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 4:30am]

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