Fenty's Fitness for Office

By David Nakamura
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 30, 2008

It's a part of his routine that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has tried to keep private from Washington.

Many know that Fenty (D), a triathlete, likes to start his mornings with an early run three times a week. But what's little known are his twice-weekly midday cycling and swimming sessions, reserved by his staff as two-hour blocks of personal time.

Racing across town yesterday from a news conference in Southeast Washington, Fenty guided his maroon Trailblazer to the curb of his brother's house in Northwest. It was shortly after noon, and Fenty was ready to join D.C. Velo, a competitive cycling team, for its training session through Rock Creek Park. The mayor rushed inside, shed his navy blue suit and emerged in a skintight, red-white-and-blue cycling uniform.

"You've got to squeeze it in. If it's a priority, you'll find the time," Fenty said of his workout after he had completed a 33.8-mile course in about 90 minutes. "To be honest, there are times I wish I could be out there longer."

Fenty regards these sessions as strictly private, although some of his critics might wonder what the city's top elected official is up to during those four hours each week.

According to mayoral aides, Fenty doesn't even tell them what he's up to when he heads off to cycle around Hains Point or swim laps at Yates Field House at Georgetown University. Occasionally, during afternoon staff meetings, some aides have noticed lines on Fenty's face left by tight swimming goggles, but no one had the guts to ask about them, they said.

Still, mayoral spokeswoman Carrie Brooks defended her boss's right to take some time off, considering that he often logs 12-hour days. Yesterday, for example, Fenty began his day with a 6:45 a.m. appearance on a television show and ended it with a 7 p.m. community meeting in Georgetown, she said.

If anything, the mayor's training partners said, his exercise regimen is a metaphor for his governing style: disciplined, relentless, willing to work hard. In his personal fitness campaign, the commitment is evident in the times he is clocking in weekend road races. This year, he ran his personal best for 10 miles (65 minutes) and the marathon (3 hours 40 minutes), and his triathlon times are better than ever.

"I connect that athletic discipline to his professional pursuits," said Charles Brodsky, founder of the Nation's Triathlon, who often trains with Fenty.

The mayor invites anyone who can keep up to join his morning runs. But the cycling group consists strictly of D.C. Velo teammates, and Fenty was initially reluctant to allow a reporter to observe.

The group yesterday consisted of his older brother Shawn Fenty, who manages their parents' athletic-shoe store; Sgt. Kenneth Young, the Marine Corps' 2008 male athlete of the year; semiprofessional triathlete Espen Kateraas (who has a Web site); lawyers Mark Sommers and Jeff Horowitz; health coach Lloyd Henry; and graduate student Michelle Harburg, the sole woman.

After departing from Shawn Fenty's house, the pack made its way across 13th Street, left on Arkansas Avenue, about seven miles through Rock Creek Park, then out to a three-mile loop around Hains Point, where it filed into a larger group of about 50 cyclists. Fenty, though a novice by competitive cycling standards, kept up with the pack, which traveled up to 30 mph.

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