Monday, May 14, 2007

Skin Cancer and the Triathlete--The Smiley Face

Triathlon has you out and about every day. Out in the sun, enjoying all the beautiful scenery nature has to offer. Because of this, your coworkers are envious of your permanently sun-kissed skin--your year-round healthy glow. But all of that sun-exposure, while making you look cool and athletic (and setting you up for wrinkles later on...but you look good now!) puts you at a higher risk of skin cancer than your buddies who don't spend their Saturdays on 7 hour bike rides.

The most common places to get skin cancer are on your face, neck, and ears. And your forearms and the backs of your hands. No problem, you say, I wear a helmet that covers my face, a visor when I run, and gloves when I bike.

But there's one little place that frequently gets missed while you're paying all of that attention to your pretty face and hands. Your lower back. And after hours of biking in the sun, the space between your jersey and your shorts can cause a rather funny looking tan that TriDiva likes to call the "Smiley Face", because it looks like you've got a big red grin on your back. (And if you really get into it, you can pretend your shoulder blades are the eyes.)

So this is just a little reminder to pay attention to this big chunk of skin that so often gets overlooked. When you're sunscreening up for the day--or reapplying--DON'T forget to show your lower back some love. Or else you could wind up with a vindictive smiley face with cancer between his teeth.

Happy Training!

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