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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pair on path to stay in physical sync

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

George Norcross and wife Tyrie Jenkins are fitness buffs who make time in their busy lives to exercise with each other.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Age: 50

Profession: Ophthalmologist

Home: Nu'uanu

Height: 5-feet-8 1/2

Weight: 135 pounds

Stays in shape by: running, Pilates, ashtanga yoga, cycling

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Age: 57

Profession: Mortgage broker

Home: Nu'uanu

Height: 6-feet-0

Weight: 175 pounds

Stays in shape by: running, paddling, lifting weights, cycling

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George Norcross and wife Tyrie Jenkins are careful to stretch out before their run at Kapi'olani Park.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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For Tyrie Jenkins and husband George Norcross, staying in shape is all about connection to their maturing bodies, to the roads, trails and oceans through which they speed, to friends old and new who share their journeys.

And, mostly, to each other.

"The time we spend taking the dogs out or sailing or skiing is time that we get to spend together," says Jenkins, 50.

The couple met while sailing, courted during long runs, and continue to nurture their relationship with a steady dose of adventures big and small.

Whether it's close-to-home workouts like their weekly run along the Nu'uanu-Judd trail with their two Labrador/golden retrievers or a 10-mile bike ride on the North Shore, or more involved trips like a three-day hike up Mauna Loa or a bicycle tour of the Gulf Islands, Jenkins and Norcross have found that their marriage and their bodies thrive on physical exertion.

"It's a balance," Norcross says. "It's nice to do something physical in the morning and then chill together for the rest of the day."

Norcross, 57, has enjoyed the active, outdoor life for as long as he can remember. He ran cross country in high school and parlayed his rowing abilities to scholarships at Syracuse University and the University of Oregon.

These days, Norcross stays in shape with moderate but regular doses of running, paddling and weightlifting. "I try to get one or two hours of exercise every day," he says. "If you can spend 22 hours a day eating, drinking and sleeping, you can spend at least two hours exercising."

The daily workouts provide Norcross a solid fitness base, which in turn allows him to jump at opportunities for more rigorous projects, be it climbing to the 19,300-foot summit of Kilimanjaro or cycling 200 miles from Telluride, Colo. to Moab, Utah.

Jenkins grew up in Wilmington, Del., and played field hockey, lacrosse and squash in high school and college.

With a thriving ophthalmology practice that finds her in the office from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, Jenkins is forced to be efficient with her fitness activities. She turns to ashtanga yoga and Pilates to build and maintain her strength and flexibility. She says Pilates is particularly useful during the skiing trips she makes with Norcross each year.

Jenkins, who has finished the marathon, also runs a couple of times during the week, but she has to watch her mileage: "When I was running eight or nine miles in the morning, I'd get the worst headache by the end of the day."

Because her work as a surgeon requires such fine dexterity, she also has to forgo joining Norcross on his morning paddling sessions.

"I just try to live an active lifestyle," Jenkins says. "That includes taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking between offices instead of driving."

As usual, there is much on the calendar. This weekend, the couple will race a Cal-20 sailboat around Maui. This summer, they'll compete in the Kilauea Volcano Wilderness Run, then ride their bicycles around the Big Island with a group of friends. In October, they'll join another group of friends on a rafting tour through the Grand Canyon.

"We plan on many, many more years of living an active life," Jenkins says.

It is, after all, all about love.

• • •

George Norcross and ...

Workout habits: runs (three miles twice a week, six miles twice a week, and two to three miles with Jenkins and the family dogs once or twice a week); lifts weights (upper body) twice a week; paddles for one hour twice a week; races sailboat once or twice a month.

Good and bad foods: "I follow the South Beach and Zone diets. I try to keep it to 2,500 calories a day. Lots of fruits and vegetables — low-density, high-fiber carbs instead of refined carbs." No "bad" foods.

Next challenge: Kilauea Volcano Wilderness Run and 200-mile bicycle ride around the Big Island.

Biggest motivator: "I exercise for recreation, not to compete. It's supposed to be fun, right?"

Advice for those in the same boat: "Don't overeat. When you're skinny, there's less to carry around."

Interesting fact: George climbed Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro in 2000.

... Tyrie Jenkins' workout

Workout habits: yoga and Pilates twice a week; runs six to seven miles twice a week, and with husband and dogs, two to three miles at least once a week; races sailboat once or twice a month.

Good and bad foods: "I keep a strict regimen of fruits and vegetables and every kind of meat. The kids beg for carbs when they're home. My weakness is good bread and good wine."

Next challenge: Kilauea Volcano Wilderness Run and 200-mile bicycle ride.

Biggest motivator: "turning 50."

Advice for those in the same boat: "No matter how busy you are, you have to take time to keep your life on balance."

• • •

Stretch before and after exercise

While maintaining flexibility is important for all athletes who want the most out of their performance, taking a few minutes to stretch is particularly valuable for those over 30, who are more prone to tightening and who tend to recover at a slower rate.
Light stretching before a workout helps prevent injury to “cold” muscles. Fitness experts also recommend slow, sustained stretching, during and after a workout, when muscles are looser.

To get you started:

Quadriceps stretch: Stand on one leg and grab your foot with the same-side hand. Without leaning forward, flex your knee and gently pull your leg back until you feel your quad stretch. Hold for 20 seconds then release. Repeat with the opposite leg. Three sets.

Calf stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on a wall or other solid object in front of you. Extend one leg behind you (approximately 2-3 feet) and bend your forward leg. Keeping the heel of your rear leg on the ground, lean forward until you feel your calf stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and release. Repeat with the opposite leg. Three sets.

Groin stretch: Stand with feet spread comfortably, then step to one side, as far as you are comfortable. Keeping one leg straight, lean in the opposite direction until you feel your inner thigh stretch. (If comfortable, you can also reach toward the foot of your straight leg.) Hold for 20 seconds then release. Repeat with the opposite leg. Three sets.

Shoulder stretch: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and reach across your body with one arm. Keeping the arm straight (thumb down), place the wrist of your opposite hand over the elbow. Gently push your arm back until you feel a stretch at the back of your shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds then release. Alternate with the other shoulder. Three sets.

— Michael Tsai

Reach Michael Tsai at mtsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.