Speed Golf and Tough Triathletes

>> Thursday, October 31, 2013

Two interesting / random / kinda strange things...

First, Runner's World recently wrote a bit about the Speedgolf World Championship. Here's a bit about what it is in their article:

The emerging sport combines running and golf — a player’s score is his or her total number of strokes added to the player’s running time for 18 holes. Most players carry four or five clubs in a lightweight bag they hold with one hand as they run.

This weekend, 24 golfers participated in the elite division.

The winner was Rob Hogan. The Irishman built a lead Saturday by playing the resort’s Old Macdonald course in 77 strokes, with a blazing running time of 39 minutes 31 seconds. He then played the Bandon Dunes course in 41:24 on Sunday, taking 79 shots, giving him a total score of 236.55.

Eri Crum, a former teammate of golfer Tiger Woods at Stanford, was second with a score of 242.34.

Hogan and Crum have golf backgrounds, the traditional draw for the sport over the past decade. But since the first world championships last year, speedgolf has started to appeal more to runners.

The field this weekend included Olympic runners Nick Willis and Bernard Lagat, as well as a variety of other runners.

[...]

Willis tried one round after the Beijing Olympics, and said it was tougher than he expected.

His interest was renewed when he learned about the Speedgolf World Championships, and he asked tournament director Tim Scott if he could play.

His reaction after Saturday’s round was similar to many others trying the sport for the first time.

“It was a lot of fun, very challenging,” he said. “I’m hooked. I want more.”

I'd love to try that. I like to play golf, but I'm horrible at it (I play about once every 4 years). The good news is that I really only use 3 clubs, so that'd make an event like this easier - I only need a 3 wood, a 7 iron, and a putter.

Here are a few photos from the Runner's World article:


Bernard Lagat reacting to a putt that just missed the cup on the 18th green.
He looks pretty pooped.






And TOTALLY unrelated to that... Did you see the article about triathletes being tougher than everyone else?

Triathletes can tolerate more pain than the rest of us, a new study confirms, which helps explain why they would swim, then bike, then run, all because they want to and not because they are, perhaps, being chased by a bear.

That’s interesting on its own, but there’s more: Researchers say that understanding how athletes can withstand the pain of a grueling endurance event may eventually lead to potential treatments and therapies for people with chronic pain.

[...]

In one experiment, the researchers asked teach volunteers to put a hand in cold water, about 53 degrees; they were told to remove it if or when they experienced unbearable pain. In another experiment, they experienced gradually increasing heat applied to a forearm with a computerized gadget, starting from about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. They were asked to press a switch when they first felt pain, and then press a switch when they could no longer tolerate the pain.

The triathletes and non-athletes registered pain at about the same temperatures. But the triathletes were able to withstand the pain for longer. “Triathletes appear to exhibit greater ability and/or motivation to endure pain in the experimental setup, and possibly, also in everyday life,” Dr. Ruth Defrin at Tel Aviv University in Israel and colleagues wrote in their report, published in the journal Pain.

But why? Do tougher people tend to become triathletes? Or does becoming a triathlete make you tougher? Defrin has a few theories. “Since triathletes experience repetitive pain during training and competitions, perhaps the pain inputs that reach the brain constantly trigger the brain stem structures responsible for pain inhibition, which, in turn, produce a more powerful pain modulation and tolerance, but this is yet to be tested,” Defrin said via email. So their brain-and-body chemistry grows accustomed to the pain, which makes it more bearable over time.

Click here to see the entire article.

2 comments:

SteveQ 11:04 AM, October 31, 2013  

Article's actually at http://www.painjournalonline.com/article/S0304-3959%2813%2900339-4/abstract

If it shows anything, it shows that athletes in general tolerate pain better than non-athletes, which is a no-brainer. They didn't look at any athetes other than triathletes.

Steve Stenzel 12:42 PM, October 31, 2013  

... And SteveQ, it was a pretty small study. It doesn't seem TOO scientific, but it's still interesting.

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