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May 2009

Extra, Extra - Run All About It

Sunday news logo By Peter Washkowitz

Dear readers, let's take a look back at the week in running:

* As reported on Examiner.com on May 25th, just because Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is used to going in excess of 200mph in his day-job, it doesn't mean he still doesn't get a rush out of running. Stating that he, "must be in excellent physical and mental shape to undergo that grueling race", Castroneves's daily exercise routine includes swimming, boxing, swinging a tornado ball, doing sit ups while playing a game of concentration, running, tennis, and yoga. The article failed to mention whether or not Castroneves wears his driving helmet whilst running on the treadmill.

* As reported in the New York Times on May 26th, in the weeks and months ahead, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor will be questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her judicial decisions and ideology and her ability to sit as an impartial judge on America's highest court. While her philosophy certainly deserves to be questioned, her fitness as a judge cannot be in doubt. Since being chosen to sit as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Curcuit, Judge Sotomayor has established herself as a pro-exercise kind of judge. According to the article, she "works out three times a week, putting in three miles on the treadmill in the court’s gym". Her nomination to the Supreme Court certainly signals that any running-based laws will most likely be held to be constitutional should any of them be argued in front of her Supreme Court.

Weekly Obama Gym Sighting

* As reported on Eonline.com on May 27th, while not seen at the roulette tables following Wesley Snipes' strategy to "always bet on black", Mr. President Barack Obama was seen going to the Caesar's Palace's gym on Wednesday morning for a 45-minute run on a treadmill. In Las Vegas for a Democratic fundraiser, Mr. President Obama spent the night in a 22,000 square-foot suit and ate at the hotel's famous Nero's restaurant.

Metaphorical Running

* In his May 26th article for the News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina) discussing how the summer months should be a time to relax and step back from the hectic responsibilities and obligations of our workaday lives, Jeri Rowe wrote, "Anyway, summers are good for memories like this. We step off our treadmill, downshift our lives and anchor ourselves outside to start meandering conversations while fireflies blink around us in the day’s
last light".

Next Weekend's Marathons

Saturday, June 6th
Dog Valley Dog Marathon (Sierraville, CA)
Forest Of Nisene Marks Marathon (Aptos, CA)
God's Country Marathon (Coudersport, PA)
Caring Foundation of Montana Governor's Cup Marathon (Helena, MT)
Green River Marathon (Kent, WA)
Ridge Runner Races (Cairo, WV)
Sunburst Marathon (South Bend, IN)

Sunday, June 7th
Casper Wyoming Marathon (Casper, WY)
Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Marathon (Deadwood, SD)
NipMuck Trail Marathon (Ashford, CT)
North Olympic Discovery Marathon (Port Angeles, WA)
San Juan Island Marathon (Friday Harbor, WA)
Steamboat Marathon (Steamboat Springs, CO)

Monday, June 8th
Marathon de la Baie (Charlo, NB)
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Open Mic Friday: Meet Heather, ExtraOrdinary Runner for May 2009

This week we are delighted to feature the winner of the  ExtraOrdinary Runner Award
for May 2009, Heather Gannoe.

In her interview she shares her boundless enthusiasm for running, recovering from a soft-drink addiction, her joy as a mother, and her devotion to her sister.

We think you'll enjoy getting to know more about her running, racing, and life outside of running. 

Welcome & Congratulations, Heather!

Heather G What was the hardest part of running when you started?  How has it changed over the last few years?

The hardest part of running when I started was the actual "starting" itself.  It is so hard in the beginning.  It hurts, you are sucking wind, you hate it, you wonder why you even bother.  But once you start to see results, you realize all of that hurt pays off!  And then comes the runners high we all love!  Over the years, I've learned that you just have to push through those hard days, because those are the days that will pay off during a race!  Without those horrible days, you will never improve.  And you will never appreciate the good runs!

How is your running different and how has it changed with kids?

My running is different today because I consider myself in the beginner stages once again.  I had to quit running halfway through my last pregnancy due to some complications.  And after the baby was born, I had a really hard time adjusting to life with two children for the first few months.  So running has been on the backburner for the last year.  I'm very happy to be slowly working my way back. The current challenges I face are obviously working around the kids.  Many of my runs are done with them in the jog stroller, but I still can't just run out the door whenever I feel like it.  First I have to take baby inventory: Is everyone fed? Diapers changed? I have to pack snacks, sippy cups, toys, make sure they are wearing appropriate clothing for the weather...getting ready is almost a workout in itself!  We don't have a lot of family in town, and their father and I work opposite shifts, so solo-runs are few and far in between, but it makes me appreciate them that much more!  I aspire to one day be one of those "early morning" runners while everyone in the house still sleeps, but with the baby still nursing, he is usually up before I am!

What is your favorite training or racing distance?

My favorite racing distance is the 5k.  Just long enough to challenge yourself, but short enough that you can go all out from the start.  

What is your favorite race?

I think my favorite race so far has been the Virginia Beach Shamrock 1/2 marathon.  It was a beautiful, flat, course, with amazing crowd and race support. And some of the funniest water-stops I've ever seen!  I'm running the Virginia Beach Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon this September, I can't wait to go back!

Tell us about your recent breakup with your favorite drink?  Why now? 

I am a Mountain Dew junkie...hopefully soon to be "former junkie".   I would drink it for breakfast like others drink coffee. And then lunch, and then dinner...some days I'm sure most of my caloric intake was from Mountain Dew alone!   I've always threatened to quit, but would never make it more than 12 hours without caving in to a craving.  This time, a combination between not being able to lose the last 5-10 lbs of baby weight, not being able to survive mornings without caffeine, and knowing that I need to properly fuel my body if I want to become more serious about my running, made me decide to quit for good.  I'm currently on day number 5 soda free!  I already feel so much better, it's hard to describe!  And I've seriously already lost a few pounds!  Laying off the soda has also made me lay off the junk food, they seemed to go hand in hand.  I'm still craving the Mtn. Dew, I won't lie, it has been hard, but I really haven't had any sort of craving for any junk food. 

Finish Line What is on your list of big running goals?

As most runners can relate, the big goal on my radar is currently a Boston Marathon qualifying time.   I hate to admit it, but I didn't properly train for my first two marathons, and my finishing times reflected it.  I am in the very beginning stages of training for an October marathon (Baltimore) and plan to really apply myself and stick to the training plan.  I know that physically, with training, my body is capable of a 3:40 marathon.  I think the hardest part will be training my brain to believe it!  Other goals I have are a sub 20:00 5k (even a 19:59 will make me happy!)  and in the very BIG picture, I'd love to complete a marathon in all 50 states, plus D.C.  

What are your "must have's" for running - gear, gadgets, etc?

A good pair of sneakers and some comfy running clothes are all I need! I currently run in Adidas Supernova Glides.  I was a die hard Adidas Brevard fan, but I have been having a hard time finding them, so I switched.   Although I don't always run with it,  i do love my Garmin 305.  I don't utilize the heart rate monitor as much as I should, but I just love knowing my exact distance and pace.

Friends Tell us more about your sister - is she still doing well?   How does she feel about your salute to her?

She is doing very well!  She just married her sweetheart, Jim, they had the most beautiful wedding this April! Holly is now in the midst of training for Ironman USA in Lake Placid NY this July.  I'm not sure how she feels about my salute to her! She is a very humble person, and I think sometimes all of the bragging I do about my awesome sister may seem like a bit much to her.   But she really is my best friend and my inspiration, and an inspiration to so many others!   Words could never express how very proud I am of her!

DSC09902 Tell us about the Ulman Cancer Fund and your fund raising.

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults is a wonderful organization.  They provide support programs, education and resources, free of charge, to young adults, their families and friends, who are affected by cancer.  It's estimated that around 65,000 15-39 year olds are diagnosed with cancer each year, and in the last 35 years, survival rates for this demographic have NOT improved.  There are many cancer organizations out there, but few that deal with this specific age group.  Young adults diagnosed with cancer face challenges many others might not have to deal with, such as delayed diagnosis, staying in school, feeling isolated from peers,  or even lack of health insurance.  I can not imagine what it must be like, fresh out of college and on my own for the first time, only to be blindsided with a cancer diagnosis.  I am running the 2009 Baltimore running festival Marathon as a part of the Ulman Cancer Fund's "Team Fight".  Not only am I "fighting" to raise money for this organization (I've pledged to raise $1,000) but I'm fighting to help raise awareness for young adult cancer survivors. 

Tell us more about the Cancer to 5K program.

Cancer to 5k is one of the awesome programs funded by the Ulman Cancer Fund. It is a free 12-week training program designed to introduce and/or reintroduce cancer survivors to physical activity by providing them with the training program, coaches, encouragement and support necessary to complete a 5K .  It was developed by my sister, Holly Shoemaker, who stayed very active throughout her cancer diagnosis and treatment.   When you are sick, many may be quick to tell you to "take it easy" and "rest". But there are numerous benefits of exercise for cancer survivors, including stronger immune systems, decreased anxiety and fatigue, and fewer signs and symptoms of depression.  It is a fantastic program, now in it's fourth season, and has been incredibly successful in helping numerous survivors achieve their goal of running a 5k.  Some of them have already gone as far as running 10ks and half marathons, and a few are even training for their first full marathons!  You can learn more about Cancer to 5k at www.cancerto5k.org

Stroller Why do you run?

I run for so many reasons!  First of all, because I CAN.   There are so many people out there who would give anything to be able to run, or even walk for that matter.  God gave me a healthy body, and I'll be darned if I'm going to let it go to waste!  Second of all, I run because I love running.  I may not always love the way I feel during a run, but I always love the way I feel after a run! I have a great T-shirt that says "running is cheaper than therapy".  It's so true.  Running clears my mind, keeps me sane in this crazy world, and gives me confidence. I love pushing myself to see what my body and my mind can do. I love seeing my training pay off in a P.R. or with an age group placement.  And of course there are the health and physical benefits.  It's nice to not have to wear "mom jeans"!

What advice would you give other runners?

Never forget why you love this sport.  So many times we get caught up in numbers, miles, paces, that we get frustrated with ourselves.  It can make you start to resent running, and that's not what it's all about. 

What advice would you give running moms?

Make your running a priority, and don't feel guilty about it.  So often I hear other moms make excuses like "oh I just don't have the time to run (exercise, etc). There just aren't enough hours in the day".  For a second, it makes me feel a little selfish, putting my running in front of other things.  But then I realize that not only am I benefiting, but so are my children.  They have a happy, healthy mother who is teaching by example how to lead a healthy lifestyle.  What will my boys remember in the long run? Their strong, confident mom or the fact that the house was spotless? I'm not saying to totally forget the housework, but the laundry pile isn't going to self destruct if it must wait until tomorrow morning. 

What advice would you give family and friends of someone going through cancer diagnosis and treatment?

I would tell them to just be supportive.  If anything, I regret not being there more for Holly during her treatment.  I was at a very different place in my own life at that point, and I am very thankful that we have become so close since then.  But just BE there for that person.  Do your research. There are MANY organizations , such as the Ulman Cancer Fund and the LIVESTRONG organization, that are out there to support and help not only the patient but the family as well.  

Family What do you do when you aren't running?

I am headed back to school full time this fall to finish up my bachelors degree in exercise and sports science.  I spent three years in school as a marine science major, feeling kind of lost and uninspired.  I took 5 years off from school before returning and switching to this program, and I definitely have my love for running to thank for it.  I sometimes joke that when I grow up, I want to be Richard Simmons.  But I'm only sort of joking!  I want to inspire and help people to make fitness a part of their life.

I currently work full time as a bartender/waitress at a beach front restaurant.  For fun, we love to go to the beach as a family ,which we are very blessed to have easy access to here in South Carolina!  I love to surf, although I don't get to do it nearly as much these days (they don't make anything equivalent to the jog stroller in the surfing world!) I love to blog, and when I'm inspired, i love to scrapbook! 

DSC09988 You have two beautiful children - tell us more about them and what they are into now.   How does that affect your running?

Thank you! Yes, I have been blessed with two wild boys. Rowen is two and a half, and in the middle of the famous terrible twos!  He actually isn't that bad, just likes to push Mommy and Daddy's buttons to see exactly what he can and can not get away with!  And Kain is now 7 months old, and his favorite thing to do is roll across the floor.  You put him down and he's on the other side of the room in the blink of an eye!  As I mentioned earlier, it's all about working my run in around them, whether they come with me in the jog stroller or I can leave them at home with Dad.  Either way, I still manage to squeeze the run in!

Have you named your Garmin?

Ha ha, yes.  His name is "coach".  Coach Garmin.  I love him and I hate him all at the same time! He pushes me to run faster, but sometimes takes the "fun" out of running.  So Coach and I have been trying to find our perfect balance. 

Favorite music while running?

Oh this is a tough one!  I don't run with music very often, for safety reasons.  I never run with music while pushing the kids in the jog stroller, or while racing.  But on the treadmill or the occasional solo run when I like to zone out, I find loud, upbeat music works for me.  I love  the collaboration "Collision Course" between Linkin Park and Jay-Z. The whole CD pushes me!

Any parting comments?
I just wanted to say THANK YOU for allowing me this outlet to spread the word about the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and Cancer to 5k!  If anyone wants any more information, or would like to visit my fundraising page.  I'm so glad to have found the Runner's Lounge, and access to runners all over the country!

Take It and Run Thursday: Running Injuries and Treatment

Take_it_and_run_thursday Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday! 

It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

This week's theme is ... Running Injuries and Treatment.  First it started as a slight discomfort or something that just wasn't quite right.  And then maybe it blossomed into a full fledge injury.   Or maybe...it didn't.   Tell us what you do to prevent and treat your running related injuries.   We are interested in how you use good 'ole RICE and MICE but also interested in the not so traditional methods as well.

Just click here to add your name and URL.   We have moved the linking widget to the Runners' Lounge Know How section so you can be instantly saved and published as one of the articles in the Injuries and Prevention section.

Next week's theme is ... Relays, Ultras, and Tris - Oh My!   We spend a lot of time in the Lounge talking about more traditional running events like 10K's, half marathons and marathons because we spend a lot of (collective) time training for them.  But we also share a great love for the not-so-traditional running events like cross country, relays, track events, ultras, triathlons, duathlons, serious endurance events and more.   Take a break from the "norm" and join in a conversation about the other running events you enjoy.

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Runners' LoungeCast Episode 25: Active Release Techniques

This week we're going beyond talking about injuries; we're also discussing treatments for those pains, breakdowns, and setbacks.

LoungeCast A treatment gaining more acclaim by runners in recent times is Active Release Techniques or ART.   Just ask Frayed Laces as she recounted her last-minute treatment before running Boston last month.

ART combines very specific patient-assisted stretching with provider-applied pressure.  This combination is often able to permanently resolve difficult-to-treat conditions which respond minimally to stretching and massage alone.

This LoungeCast features Dr. David Krohse, a chiropractor specializing in ART.  In the interview, Dr. David explains how ART rapidly and predictably works on a wide range of injuries common to runners. 

Let us know what you think and what questions you have about this increasingly popular treatment for running injuries.

Download ART Active Release Techniques

Eating Right To Stay Injury Free

 This article is part of a new series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blog, Trials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and is a loves to help runners with their questions.  

Eating Right to Stay Injury Free

by Heather

Running on foodThis week the Runner’s Lounge is focusing on injuries. These mishaps can usually be avoided, and nutrition can always play a part! At the bottom you’ll find one of my favorite recipes that includes a variety of nutrients, carbs and protein.

What you eat during training has the potential to really make or break your next workout. Without proper fuel, both before and after exercise, your body can’t perform at its best!  Here are some important points to remember:

*Hydrate yourself! Dehydration leads to fatigue and weakness. Clearly this is not safe to mess around with during a run or a race! In these hot summer months it’s even more important to pay attention to your thirst. If you’re sweating excessively (i.e. running in high heats and/or humidity), make sure you replace electrolytes with sports drinks likes Propel or Gatorade. These are especially important on runs exceeding 30 minutes!

*Mix it up! Introducing different foods to your daily routine helps make sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. The more variety and color the better!

*Don’t skimp on carbs! Your muscles need this nutrient more than any other after a workout. The amount you need before and after you exercise varies on the type of activity you’re doing. As your muscles work, this is their main source of fuel.  Making sure you replenish your stores will enhance your training and help your endurance for the next time around!

*Let the fat in! Not all fats are bad, and the body needs a healthy amount to function properly. Sources of the healthy unsaturated fats include Salmon, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, canola oil, avocadoes, flaxseeds and oil, and vegetable oil.

*Pump up the protein! Make sure that each meal contains a balance of protein and carbs! Your body uses this nutrient to build muscle; as you get stronger the body works harder to maintain your physique. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is around0.8-1g per kg of body weight (1 kg = 2.2 lbs). However, it’s been suggested that athletes need anywhere from 1-1.6g per kg. This depends on the level of training and amount of weight lifting you’re incorporating into your workouts.  

Having a balanced diet that includes several nutrients and a variety of foods will make a big difference in your training. Allow your body to replenish its stores with the foods you choose as fuel.  Skimping on calories could mean you’re missing essential nutrients; this will severely impair any recovery and put you at risk for injury!

Check out one of my favorite meals! It’s perfect for training, since it includes carbs, lean protein, dairy, and vegetables!
Baked pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese – from CookingLight.com

Serve it with a side salad and a glass of skim-milk to fit in more nutrients and protein!

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Extra, Extra - Run All About It!

Sunday news logo By Peter Washkowitz

Dear readers, let's take a look back at the week in running:

* As reported in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) on May 18th, a 1-year old boy from Superior, Wisconsin was injured on Monday when he got pulled onto a treadmill in his family's basement. The treadmill was running (no pun intended) at a low speed and luckily the boy's mother was able to free his. Luckily, as reported on Northland's Newscenter (Northland, MN) on May 19th, the boy is back home and doing well after only suffering a few abrasions and some slight bruising. Given the fact that the boy avoided breaking any bones, I hope that this highly unfortunate incident does not turn him off from running for the rest of his life.

* As reported on NJ.com (New Jersey), on May 20th, even if Rick Merkt doesn't win the Republican nomination on June 2nd for New Jersey's Governor race in November, he will be able to stand proud and know that his campaign, while unsuccessful in securing his nomination, at least led to his getting in shape. Not having the finances of his two fellow competitors but still wanting to get his name out to New Jersey citizens, six-term conservative legislator and strident critic of the policies of Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, Merkt decided last September to run through the state's 566 towns. On Tuesday afternoon, Merkt stood proudly next to the Washington Monument on the Morristown Green after finishing the final 1.5 mile stretch of his mapped course. Despite polls showing that Merkt is likely to receive a paltry 2% of the Republican vote, he remains upbeat and has no intention of conceding the race, "One thing I have found out there on the road is that folks are tapped out...There's not a lot of room for additional taxation. And you also find one great consistency. Nobody likes Trenton and how the people there govern". While his running campaign managed to earn him the slight 2% nod, it was not a total loss as Merkt was able to lose an impressive 25 pounds. Congrats, Mr. Merkt, and good luck!

* As reported on TheHunter.com (Ohio State University) on May 21st, a team of researchers at the The Ohio State University have created the first MRI-compatible hydraulic treadmill which can more accurately detect whether a patient is suffering from any heart problems than any device on the market today. The treadmill allows doctors to get an MRI of the heart immediately following use on the treadmill which can be crucial in detecting any abnormalities in the heart. According to Orlando Simonetti, leader of the team and associate professor of internal medicine and radiology at OSU, abnormalities in the heart can be seen when a patient is stressed, and the only way some abnormalities can be seen is when the heart rate is elevated. Once researchers decided to use a treadmill as the basis of their machine, they faced the obstacle of making it compatible with the strong magnetic field produced by the MRI machine."If you put [in] a regular treadmill with magnetic components, it would get sucked into the magnet," Foster said. "With the hydraulics we can put all the traditional motor and pump and all that outside of the room." While Simonetti predicts that his team will require another 9-12 months of additional testing and research, he, along with the rest of the medical community, remains hopeful about the vast potential of his MRI treadmill device.

Metaphorical Running

* In his May 16th article for The Hour (Norwalk, CT) discussing Mr. Present Barack Obama's appointment of Tim Massad to be chief counsel for the U.S. Treasury Department's Troubled Assets Relief Program, Francinx Fay Jr. wrote, "Massad accepted the invitation two weeks ago and has been on a swift treadmill ever since making the transition from his law practice with one of the world's most prestigious firms -- Cravath, Swain Moore LLP in Manhattan".

* In his May 18th article for the Palm Beach Post (Palm Beach, FL) arguing against a build-up in the war effort in Afganistan, Tom Blackburn wrote, "After one of his men lost it and shot five buddies last week, Maj. Gen. Daniel Bolger said, "If we've learned anything from this war, it's that not all injuries are physical." Exactly. Is there anyone aside from ideologues with ostrich genes who is surprised? You can't keep putting volunteers on a treadmill with no end in sight, and Mr. Obama still hasn't told us what the end in Afghanistan is supposed to look like. Will it be a case of "when they stand up, we'll stand down"? Been there".

* In his May 18th article for the Salt-Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT) discussing State Rep. Stephen D. Clark's bid for Mayor of Provo, Donald Meyers wrote, "He compared the mayor's duties to that of a relay runner, who needs to hand off the baton before he tires out".

Next Weekend's Marathons

Saturday, May 30th
Newport Marathon (Newport, OR)

Sunday, May 31st
Flying Feet Bob Potts Heritage Rail Trail Marathon (York, PA)
HSBC Calgary Marathon (Calgary, AB)
Minneapolis Marathon (Minneapolis, MN)
Rock 'N' Roll Marathon (San Diego, CA)

Tripping Over Myself: To Be Fast, One Must Look Fast

Tripping over myself


To be Fast, One Must Look Fast…..or Look Scary


By Blaine ( Blaine's profile & Blaine's blog)


Some may say that shoes are the most important thing to their racing success. You’ve seen the stories of runners who have stocked up on 10 pair of their favorite shoe so that they will always have a pair even when the line is discontinued. Others will say that their speedwork or intervals or long runs are the most important aspect to their running success. While all of these items are good, they are way off base.

The key to successful running is the fashion. When was the last time that you saw a runner wearing cut-offs and an old college t-shirt grace the cover of RW? At the last marathon as people were crossing the finish, did you ever hear the announcer say “Hey look, way to go runner in your mismatched short/shirt combination with what is shaping up to be a bad hair day! Way to take on the race!”? Didn’t think so. Instead you hear, “Look at runner 3459 in her pink shorts …way to burn up the course!”

Where do you fall in the fashion category? Are you in the mismatched short, top combination with a Hard Rock Café hat on looking like you just rolled out of bed and got caught in the tide of runners? Or are you a smartly dressed runner in bright technical top, compression shorts with the appropriate logo combination? What message are you sending out to yourself and your competitors with your fashion statement?

The smart dressed runner gives off the air of “having it all put together.” They have Goucher obviously given their race day outfit some thought and effort and money to intimidate the competition. For example, Kara Goucher would still have finished with a superior time at the Boston Marathon in a pair of sweats, but would she have looked as fast as she did in her compression top and shorts? She went one step above and beyond intimidation, though. She started her own fashion trend with the NFL style gloves she is wearing. Within six months, she’ll have her own line and I will be able to shave off a good minute off my 10K time with a pair.

The flip side of this is to scare the other runners around you. Obviously you are not out to take the top prize, but rather to get the perfect photo opp. I had a neighbor who wasn’t a runner but could fit in this category. Every year she would dress up as a homeless person, get on the school bus and proceed to bother and embarrass her children. The first year she dressed up, my father came in and told us to stay inside because there was a crazed person out front. This is precisely the desired effect that the “outrageous runner” is looking for. They achieve their running results because the competition moves out of the way. Think Cindy Lauper with a pair of Asics.

My own testament to this is that running fashion has definitely improved since that first 5K race. As a result, my times now are much faster than they were back in the mistmatched short, shirt, Hard Rock Café hat period. I noticed the other day as I set out that I was wearing my Pearl Izumi shorts with coordinating socks, Mizuno top and shoes. Let’s just say I had a fabulous run and no one moved out of my way in horror.

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Open Mic Friday: A Look at Supplements for Runners


Today's interview reinforces this week's focus on "Eat This, Not That" with a discussion on supplements, the formulas of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidents, and other products to enhance our running. 

Our guest is Steve Born, an expert from Hammer Nutrition, who is an expert and researcher in nutritional fueling and supplementation.  Also a highly successful athlete, Steve offers enthusiasm and deep science to help us understand the complex world of supplements. 

This is the first in a series of interviews which will examine supplements and help us evaluate the what, why, and how about supplementing our diet and training.

Welcome Steve!

Steve-born-main When starting with a new supplement, what should we do to get the most complete benefit?

First, you want to buy from a reputable manufacturer, one that has a history of high quality standards and ethics. This ensures that you're receiving a high-quality product that contains high quality nutrients. It also means that you're receiving the full amount of what is advertised on the label (you want to make sure that what's stated on the label is actually inside the bottle).

Second, you want a product that contains nutrients that provide general health benefits, not just athletic performance benefits. In other words, if a supplement contains nutrients that override and don't cooperate with normal body mechanisms (which means it may produce unwanted side effects), it's not something that you want to put in my body. Third, in order to receive maximum benefits, it's important to take the product as directed and as consistently as possible. As an example, in order for a joint health product that contains glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate to realize its best benefits, it has to be taken consistently over a fairly long period of time (usually a minimum of 4-6 weeks). More often than not, people who complain that "this joint health product didn't work for me" have simply not used it consistently or for a sufficient amount of time.

Is it possible to get some of the same benefits which supplements provide by eating the right combination of foods?

First, it is important to remember that supplements are not designed to replace food and the consumption of the healthiest diet possible (hence the word "supplement"). Eating whole foods is by far the best way to supply your body with the myriad plant-derived, health-benefiting phytochemicals. That said, today's food supply can't provide even all of the basic vitamins and minerals. Our food simply won't even meet the nutrient needs of average people, let alone athletes. Dr. Bill Misner states, "Athletes today ingest only 11% of the organic nutrients from their food sources that the athletes of the 1940's enjoyed." Even more sobering is the ever-increasing body of research that suggests that many people's diets are insufficient in supplying enough nutrients to prevent a deficiency disease.

That last sentence should grab one's attention. Forget about providing enough nutrients to promote optimal health, many people do not eat enough quality food to meet the minimal Reference Daily Intake (RDI) micronutrient requirements for preventing deficiency-related disorders. 

The bottom line is that our diets, no matter how good we think they may be, may not provide enough of the micronutrients needed to prevent a deficiency. That's why taking supplements, especially a multivitamin/mineral supplement, is a wise strategy to employ; it helps bridge the gap between what you should be receiving and what you're actually getting from your diet. Consuming the best possible diet as consistently as possible, and augmenting that with a multivitamin/mineral supplement plus additional antioxidants and auxiliary/complementary nutrients is the best way to cover your nutritional bases.

What exactly do supplements boost - Energy? Strength? Endurance? Metabolism? Recovery?

It depends on the nutrient in the supplement. For example, CoQ10, which is an important substrate in the complex process of energy production from food and oxygen intake, has been shown to help increase endurance. It also happens to be a potent antioxidant so it helps protect the immune system, thus helping to support enhanced recovery. Another nutrient, creatine monohydrate, helps enhance the short-term energy pathway known as the ATP/CP energy system, which is beneficial for strength athletes. The benefit to be derived is dependent on the nutrient, though many nutrients (such as CoQ10, acetyl l-carnitine, and others) have multiple benefits for enhancing energy, endurance, and recovery.

Can you explain how taking supplements is not tampering with the natural processes of training hard?

Quite the opposite is true.  An intelligent and properly-used supplement program not only DOESN'T interfere with the natural processes of hard training, it enhances them, allowing the athlete to get the full value out of every minute they put into their training. For example, one of the unfortunate by-products of training is the production/accumulation of free radicals. Free radicals (of which there are several types) are unstable atoms or molecules, usually of oxygen, containing at least one unpaired electron. Left unchecked, free radicals seek out and literally steal electrons from whole atoms or molecules, creating a destructive chain reaction. Excess free radicals, in the words of one nutritional scientist, “are capable of damaging virtually any biomolecule, including proteins, sugars, fatty acids and nucleic acids.”

If free radicals are not neutralized by antioxidant body stores immediately, tissue damage occurs to absolutely every cell membrane touched by these imbalanced molecular wrecking machines. Some theorize soreness and stiffness result because free radicals and waste metabolites build up during either prolonged or intense exercise. The more volume oxygen that passes into our systems for energy fuel metabolism, the more increased free-radical-fatigue symptoms may be experienced.”

Those words should sound the alarm bells loud and clear, because athletes consume huge amounts of oxygen and metabolize far greater amounts of calories than sedentary people. This means they're generating free radicals on the order of 12-20 times more than non-athletes! During periods of highest training volume and racing stress, free radical production increases even more. While the benefits of exercise far outweigh the potential negatives caused by free radicals, excess free radical production and accumulation, if not properly addressed and resolved, may very well be the endurance athlete's worst foe.

The necessity of neutralizing excess free radicals simply cannot be overstated. The human body can oxidize and decay, like rusting steel, from excess free radical production. Not only can this negate everything the athlete has worked so hard to achieve in your training, it can result in severe consequences to overall health.

A proper diet, augmented with antioxidant nutrients via supplements, help address and resolve the problems associated with excess free radicals.

If I was skeptical about seeing results using a supplement, what kind of supplement might I begin with?

I have always suggested that athletes start a supplement program with a high potency multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, even though many of them may not place much emphasis on taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement. Perhaps it's because they don’t consider it to be as “glamorous” as other supplements, meaning that they may not feel that it will really have much of a direct impact on their athletic performance.

I disagree with that, however, and here's my rationale: Providing the body with adequate supplies of vitamins and minerals is similar to pouring a strong foundation prior to building a house. Without this strong foundation in place, none of the other necessities of the house will have any structural integrity or be of much benefit. Similarly, without adequate replenishment of vitamins and minerals, many important bodily systems/functions (especially the immune system) will not be receiving the basic support they need. At the very least, this means the athlete can’t get the full value out of all the hard work they put into their training. It could also very well mean compromised immune system function, which is definitely something an athlete wants to avoid.

What might be a supplement product that the majority of runners would appreciate knowing about and which would provide an all-around benefit to us?

I believe that a product like Race Caps Supreme would provide a wide range of benefits for both athletic performance and overall health. Here is the "condensed version" product information on Race Caps Supreme:

Several important substrates ("spark plugs") are necessary for the efficient production of energy from our food and oxygen intake. Exercise rapidly depletes these important nutrients. Taking Race Caps Supreme is like putting fresh spark plugs in your body, ensuring consistent, efficient energy production from our food and oxygen intake. In addition, several ingredients in Race Caps Supreme are superb antioxidants and key nutrients for cardiovascular health.

The extraordinary combination of "super nutrients" found in Race Caps Supreme works powerfully and synergistically to cover a wide range of requirements for maintaining consistent and efficient energy production. Perhaps even more impressive are the overall health benefits that may be derived from this product. For enhancing both athletic performance AND overall health consistent supplementation with Race Caps Supreme is a wise strategy. I believe all people would benefit from this product and it's an absolute essential for athletes.

If you have questions or comments about supplements, fueling, or ways to enhance your running that you would like to ask Steve, please leave them below or submit to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com.

Take It and Run Thursday: Eating Right

Take_it_and_run_thursday Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday! 

It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

This week's theme is ... Runners Version of Eat This Not That.   Pass along some of your tips of food you have found helps your running.  Tell us about what foods you have cut out or reduced because they don't help your running.   And even better, tell us what "good" foods you substitute for the "bad" ones.

Just click here to add your name and URL.   We have moved the linking widget to the Runners' Lounge Know How section so you can be instantly saved and published as one of the articles in the Nutrition and Hydration section.

Next week's theme is ... Running Injuries and Treatment.  First it started as a slight discomfort or something that just wasn't quite right.  And then maybe it blossomed into a full fledge injury.   Or maybe...it didn't.   Tell us what you do to prevent and treat your running related injuries.   We are interested in how you use good 'ole RICE and MICE but also interested in the not so traditional methods as well.

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Runners' Lounge Live! Please Feed The Runners

Welcome to another addition of Runners' Lounge Live!  - quick video tips by Lounger and Video Tipster Runnerslounge live extraordinare Frayed Laces.

Laura from the blog Frayed Laces is back and talking about nutrition and fuel for runners!

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