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East County Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010 7 years ago

Hospital CEO completes 165-mile bike ride

by: Mark Gordon Observer Staff

LAKEWOOD RANCH — It’s fitting that Jim Wilson, chief executive officer of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, has a knack for fitness, but his most recent adventure proved a bit more grueling than most.

The weekend of Jan. 8, the 41-year-old completed the sixth annual Southern Most AIDS/HIV Bike Ride, a 165-mile trek from Miami to Key West.

Wilson joined the team of Metropolitan Charities Inc. to support the cause, although he did not know any of the other riders. The group braved icy rain, plenty of wind and 40-degree temperatures during the event.

“Participating in this race gave me the opportunity to personally contribute to HIV/AIDS awareness and research,” Wilson said. “Although the conditions were pretty bad during the race, I’d do it again without giving it a second thought.”

In general, Wilson says he enters and completes rides for the sense of personal accomplishment — a cyclist’s high. That, and his job is a good place to be healthy.

“We are a hospital,” he said. “People look to us as examples of healthy living.”

With the AIDS/HIV ride, Wilson also rode to honor a close relative who is HIV-positive.

To train for such an event, Wilson generally shoots for a sustained bike ride of 20-to-25 miles per session.
That lasts about an hour to an hour-and-one-half, depending on road conditions.

But Wilson also puts a premium on cardio and muscle strength, to build endurance for long rides. He strives to exercise at least five days a week, with cardio on Mondays and Wednesdays; weights with a personal trainer on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and a bike ride on Saturdays. His cardio efforts alternate between Monday runs and Wednesday interval training sessions, such as a step aerobic class.

“While I don’t always achieve it,” says Wilson, “it is what I strive to do.”

Wilson says balancing work and training is his biggest challenge. He works out in the morning, before work, usually getting to the gym at 5 or 5:30 a.m. He belongs to Lifestyle Family Fitness in East Manatee County, where he has a personal trainer.

Wilson brings music to help pass the time.

“I could not work out without my iPod,” he said. “I find it impossible to find motivation without my music.” He goes for groups with a strong and fast beat, such as the Black Eyed Peas and The Fray.

He also just bought a new cell phone equipped with the Pandora application, which creates a personal radio station based on your musical tastes.

“I think that may be the best invention yet,” Wilson said.

In addition to the thump from his iPod, Wilson says he spends some of the time on the bike thinking about
work. He’ll go over problems or issues.

“Some people say you should use that time to not think about work,” Wilson said. “But it gives me prolonged uninterrupted time to think through something.”

Wilson isn’t currently registered for any upcoming event.

“But I hear that there is a 100-mile century ride coming up in Pinellas County for diabetes,” says Wilson. “I may do that.”

Wilson said he goes to or to find out about events on the Gulf Coast.

Contact Mark Gordon at [email protected].

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