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A Bite of the Big Apple

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  • | 9:50 p.m. October 8, 2009
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CEO Fitness

Who: Charles Idelson
Age: 59
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer
Company: Investors' Security Trust, Fort Myers

Fitness goal: Run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1 in under 4.5 hours.

When he started running: Idelson says he visits his three daughters in Atlanta every year at Thanksgiving and they run a half marathon that weekend. Three years ago, he decided to join them. “I didn't want to be left behind,” Idelson says.

How he started: Until three years ago, Idelson says he had not even jogged since he left the U.S. Army in the late 1960s and swore he'd never run again. “I couldn't run a mile,” Idelson says. He began slowly by mixing running with walking. At the beginning, he walked 100 feet and ran 100 feet. Then, he ran 200 feet. Now, he runs as much as 40 to 50 miles a week.

Why the New York City Marathon: Idelson was watching the New York City Marathon on television last year and heard an interview with an 82-year-old woman who finished the 26.2-mile event in six hours. “I can do that!” Idelson remembers telling his wife. This would be Idelson's first full marathon.

Personal record: Idelson finished a half-marathon in San Diego recently in 2 hours, 4 minutes. “I was going to beat two hours, but the last three miles were all uphill,” he says. “I kept tripping on my tongue.”

Training regimen: Idelson rises at 4 a.m. to run outside before it gets too hot. He runs five to 10 miles three days a week near his home in Fort Myers and puts in a longer run on the weekends (a recent long run was 18 miles). He stashes water bottles in hiding places along his long-run route the night before. He does some speed training by running faster on some days to build up endurance. On days he's not running, Idelson rides a stationary bike and lifts weights at Fitness on the Move, a gym on Metro Parkway in Fort Myers.

How he juggles work and fitness: Sometimes Idelson will forgo a run, especially if he has an important meeting. If he has a meeting early in the morning, he sometimes breaks up his routine and runs five miles in the morning and three or four miles after work in the evening. “I prefer not to do that,” he says. Idelson says he's not likely to run in another marathon after this one because training is such a time commitment. However, he plans to continue to train for and race half marathons.

Running gadgets: Idelson wears a headlamp and red flashing lights on his chest and back so others can see him. He wears the headlamp after nearly falling into a drainage ditch he didn't see on Daniels Parkway. The flashing lights alert others using the sidewalk, including many joggers and bikers who don't carry any lights or wear any reflective clothing. “There are some real crazies out there,” he says.

Diet: Idelson eats GU on longer runs, an easily digestible gel that gives runners an energy boost. His favorite flavor is vanilla bean. He eats oatmeal with raisins and pecans for breakfast and snacks on bananas and other fruits throughout the day. Lunch and dinner include fish, vegetables and salads. “I'm forcing myself to drink gallons of water,” Idelson says. As a result, Idelson has lost 10 pounds over the last four months. People who know him joke that his pants are falling off.

How he manages pain: Takes Advil. “Everything hurts,” he laughs. “I'll be 60 in December.”

Fitness tip: A hot shower before a long run relaxes your muscles, especially when they're tight early in the morning.

Motivation: Idelson is raising money for Team Hole in the Wall, a charity that sends children with serious illnesses to camp. Idelson has already raised $15,000, which will help send five children to camp for a week. He also runs with friends Lynn Kirby and Kevin Burns. Kirby is a building contractor in Fort Myers and Burns is an accountant in Cape Coral. Knowing they're expecting him to show up gives Idelson the extra boost he needs to get out of bed long before dawn.


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