On Saturday, an Alaskan athlete boosted his heart rate to new highs with a training method he'd probably rather not repeat: A mother grizzly protecting two cubs burst out of the woods in an Anchorage-area park and charged him, running him over. 50-year-old skier and triathlete Rick Rogers miraculously escaped injury, but he noticed his heart-rate monitor skyrocketed to 193; he believed his heart rate max to be 180.
"You hear about people dying of fright," he said. "Well, this was scary, and I've the data to prove it. I think it aged me about five years."
Um, yeah. Anchorage is home to a healthy population of grizzly bears, and though Rogers has spent years trailrunning in the area, he never had a serious bear encounter until now. After fending off an initial charge with ski poles, Rogers decided to make a break for a tree.
"I instantly trip," Rogers said. "I'm thinking, 'Boy, this is dumb.' But in hindsight, that was probably the best thing I could do.''
Once on the ground, Rogers was no threat. Still, she kept coming. He took his last look when she was a few yards away.
"It was time to go fetal,'' he said.
The bear charged, tromping over or near Rogers with the cubs in tow. He got up when she moved on to ready for another charge. Rogers was running with a friend, and they eventually encouraged the mother bear to halt the attack and back off into the woods by making themselves larger, waving ski poles, and yelling.
I think it's safe to say that most of us would've experienced a similar spike in our heart rate had we been in Rogers' position. We'd also need a new pair of pants.
— Ted Alvarez