Never, ever leave home without sunscreen-even in winter!

Posted: Apr 01 2014

I have to say that I feel extremely privileged and spoiled right now. It's November, and while the rest of the USA is experiencing bizarre early season snow, rain, flooding and hurricanes, we have been experiencing the most incredible summer weather.In November?! Well, I guess that’s why we pay the sun dollars in San Diego. We are still running in tank tops and shorts and I have to say that I have even spent a few days on the beach lately. What a way to enjoy the off-season!

But the subject of sunny weather always brings me to one of my very favorite topics……sunscreen. What girl does not want a sun-kissed bronzed look? There is a huge difference between a healthy bronzed athletic look and a dried out sunburn. Come on girls, you know exactly what I mean. You have seen those triathletes in the age group below you ( be it the 35’s or 40’s) and they look as if they are in the 60-65 age group. Apart from making us susceptible to skin cancers, what’s even worse are the aging effects that many hours in the sun can cause. I am neurotic about sunscreen. I NEVER leave home in the morning without at least a 20 SPF on my face. I rarely ride my bike without sun protective gear on my arms and you will NEVER find me racing or riding in a racerback top. I hate having those racing lines on my back when I want to wear a feminine dress or top. And even more important, you will NEVER find me running without a visor!

Over neurotic? Maybe, but I would rather retain a young looking skin! There is not much that can be done once your skin is damaged, so please, do what you can to protect it now. Just because we are endurance athletes, enduring many long hours in the sun, does not mean that we still cannot retain a youthful and healthy skin. I am by no means an expert, but I do have a few tried and tested products that I swear by and I would love to share them with you. These are my three current favorites:

Kinesys SPF 30 Alcohol Free Sunscreen Spray: This spray is a good choice for athletes and individuals that need maximum sun protection during rigorous activity. The broad spectrum UVA/UVB formula is oil and alcohol free so it won’t dry out your skin, is sweat-resistant and easy to apply with no rubbing required. Additionally, the spray is PABA and preservative free, cruelty free, fully recyclable and carbon neutral making it a responsible choice as well. You can order directly from

Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock Spray SPF 100+ with Helioplex: I trained and raced all season using this spray and never got sunburn. Granted, it feels a little like sunscreen during the initial application and has a slight medicinal smell that Neutrogena calls "clean" but the sweatproof, waterproof and breathable protection is worth it. Another great advantage is that the spray is available in most grocery and drug stores so if you are traveling to a race and find yourself at the bottom of your sunscreen tube, give this a try. Ultimate Sport also comes in a SPF 70+ lotion that can be used on your face, however I did have some issues with the lotion getting in my eyes when I sweat if I wasn’t wearing a visor or hat. I do like using the lotion on my body before I race. Or on my legs when I plan to be out on my bike for an extended period of time. The spray is also great to use in transition at races. A quick spray before heading out on the run leg adds nothing to transition time and goes a really long way in preventing sun damage. ( This one is my favorite.)

Hincapie SkinDefense SPF 30+ sunscreen: Developed by Hincapie Sportswear (and famed cyclist George Hincapie), this water-resistant, sweatproof formula was designed specifically for cyclists, triathletes, runners and other outdoor enthusiasts. The spray pump encapsulated zinc oxide formula is hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic and lasts up to five hours, even in the water. I loved this product, especially during my midday swims!

So, as I started off by saying, always wear sunscreen. Even in winter and even when it's overcast. I can assure you that in years to come, as a 50 year-old who does not look 65 or 70, you will be so thankful that you were meticulous about applying sunscreen!!!