Over 50 Prostate Cancer Survivor Rides On
Now over 50, multi-sport athlete Sam Pearson was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago and has persevered. Sam recently sat down with bestMastersFitness.com to share his story.
bMF.c: Sam, tell us about the physical activities you stay involved in.
SP: I really enjoy riding Mountains Bikes with my son; he and I race in 6 to 7 events per year. I also enjoy running 10Ks or half’s.
bMF.c: Why the interest in this area?
SP: I really enjoy being in shape, I know this means different things to different people, but by doing this, I can make adjustments in my training and prepare for MTB racing season, competing in a Triathlon, running a half marathon or just about any activity.
bMF.c: How do you stay in shape for your activities?
SP: I do cross training of MTB & road biking, running and swimming. My one area that I really am slack in is weights. However I do have a pull bar in my kitchen (I have an understanding wife) it’s great when my daughter would bring home a new boyfriend I would challenge him to pulls. Old bulls.
bMF.c: Tell us about your workouts. What do you do? How often?
SP: I ride MTB (20 to 40 miles per week) Road Bike (30 to 50 miles) and run (10 to 15 miles per week), during the summer I add in swimming 2 days a week of 1000 to 2000 meters. I try to swim or run at lunch and ride in the afternoon after work. This time of year, we use lights and MTB at night.
bMF.c: How do you keep yourself motivated?
SP: Fear! The fear of being like the guys my age I see in the airports or in meetings. I don’t want my pants size to be bigger than my jacket size.
bMF.c: What is your biggest personal challenge to achieving and maintaining fitness over 50? How do you overcome that challenge?
SP: Keeping the right people around me. I prefer to workout/ride with guys my age but that is not always possible, so I ride with my sons friends (16 & 17 years olds), or with guys that are in there 30’s and 40’s. The other is making my workouts a priority and keeping it fun. It’s easy to let your workouts become drudgery, so I keep mine diverse. There are times I just don’t run, and will concentrate on biking and vice-versa.
bMF.c: How do you approach diet and nutrition? What are your meals like? What kind of supplements do you take, if any?
SP: All things in balance. I love cheesecake, but I only eat it once a month or less. I eat a very hearty breakfast everyday (steel cut oatmeal with fresh fruit) and a light snack mid-morning (Cliff bar or mixed unsalted nuts or Ezekiel bread), lunch varies from salads to hummus, healthy crackers with hard cheese, spinach & kale smoothie (it has fruit so it’s not green), dinner whatever my wife makes. She is a very healthy minded person so it’s always good.
Most of my supplements are in my smoothies (flax, chia seeds and so on) and a men’s multi vitamin. We have an outstanding blender which allows us to make great healthy drinks smoothies.
bMF.c: Have you overcome injuries and/or surgeries? What were they? How did you overcome them?
SP: I have been very blessed to have had few injuries, however at age 48 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had just competed in the National Adventure Race Championship and felt 10 feet tall and bullet proof. I had no real symptoms. I had to do blood work for insurance and my Doc just added a PSA to the test. Mine came back with a PSA of 26 not 2.6 but a 26. Long story short, I was in a world of hurt and did not know it. After many additional tests I had surgery (Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy) which means old school surgery not the robotic. Doc did say that during recover from my surgery I had a heart rate of 50, which showed I was in good shape and handled the 3.5 hour surgery well. A year after my surgery (almost to the day) I ran a half marathon (8.22 per mile) not fast but I was just happy to be alive. However it came back and I did 3 months of radiation.
bMF.c: Do you have a target weight and/or body fat level you maintain? What is it? How do you achieve it?
SP: My weight stays are 175 – I just don’t eat junk or drink any kind of soft drink or energy drink. I got off sugar/sweets years ago and really don’t like any kind of sweets. If I do eat sweets it’s a very small piece.
bMF.c: What are your health and fitness goals for the future?
SP: I race MTB’s, we have three Categories: CAT3 Beginner, CAT2 good/great rider, Cat 1 Expert/Pro, inside each CAT there are age groups. We have a group of men who ride CAT1 Pro Age Group 60 plus – I want to one day race in that group. We also have riders in their 70’s. These men are my hero’s, in the sports world.