Archive for February, 2011

Hush, Rush

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So Rush is upset that Michelle is eating a plate of ribs while on a skiing vacation.

Michelle is a hypocrite!  She should be eating nuts and berries!!! She’s trying to create a nanny state!!!

Oh, Rush.  Is this what you have become?  Is there where you have fallen to?

You dope!  Eating healthfully is not about any one meal, you idiot!  It’s not about one plate of ribs, you jack ass!  It’s not about always eating nuts and berries, you numbskull!!!

You know, although I consider myself to be one who leans mostly left, I believe – I truly believe – that the answers to our current state will have to come from the center – which means that there will be a little taken from the right and a little taken from the left.

You want to know why we are losing ground to the rest of the world?  Because the left AND the right are too busy arguing with each other and not getting down to the business of making things right for everyone.  FOR EVERYONE!!!  They are arguing and making political punch out of ribs.  A stupid, frakkin’ plate of ribs!!!

This is what Rush said:

Nice Rush, nice.  Obviously you didn’t listen to what the First Lady actually said or wrote – that her healthy eating initiative was about balance and moderation.  Anybody who does just the tiniest bit of research on diet and healthy life-style changes knows, KNOWS, that you never tell someone that they can only eat A, B, or C indefinitely and never anything else.  In fact, one of the best ways, THE BEST RUSH, to keep yourself on the track of balance and moderation is to let yourself indulge once a week.

You’re right about one thing.  Leaders should lead.  What are you doing Rush to get this Greatest of Nation’s waistline back under control?  Hmmm, let’s see, you’re saying that people don’t need help making good food choices, despite the fact that 68% of our population over the age of 20 is overweight, with half of those categorized as obese (CDC – January 2010). 68% Rush. SIXTY EIGHT PERCENT!!!  You right, Rush, people are making their choices just fine.

In all seriousness, it’s not like people need to be told what to eat on any given night.  I’m thinking that under ideal conditions, that busy parent,scraping by would love to cook a healthy meal for their kid instead of bringing home McDonald’s, but they either don’t know how to cook (because, you know, that class was taken out of the curriculum due to budget cuts) or the fresh ingredients aren’t available at affordable prices.  What this “Nanny State” you’re so worried about CAN do is help guide families and maybe shift where crop subsidies go so they can better serve our health.

And did you really say that Michelle Obama is a hypocrite because she doesn’t look like a Sports Illustrated cover model?  Really?  Can we take a step back from that one and let you think about what you said? No?  Okay.  Though I am one who truly believes that anyone, ANYONE (yes Rush, even you, your chins and your jellyroll), can change their shape for the better, I am also a realist.  Not everyone is blessed/cursed with an ample bosom or curvy hips.  To make women think that they can only be in shape if they look like Brooklyn Decker (love her by the way) is ridiculous and you know it.

What the hell is the matter with you?  What in the world happened to you, Rush? You used to be fun.  You used to be entertaining.  Now? Well, now you are just a sad old radio personality, hanging on, making weird, out-of-touch attempts to hold on to relevance.  You’re sounding more and more like a mean old man as opposed to the guy who, once upon a time, had at least the interest of the far right at heart.

Maybe it’s time for you to just hush.  Hush, Rush.

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Back in December of 2009 I put out a list of shows I called Pringles for the Brain.  They were shows that I enjoyed zoning out to when running on the treadmill. I thought maybe it was time for an update on what shows populate my Treadmill DVR. The current roster includes:

Chuck (NBC – Mondays 8PM) – currently one of the best shows on TV

CSI (CBS – Thursdays 9PM) – always good.

The Cape (NBC – Mondays 9PM) – New, campy and fun

Fringe (Fox – Fridays 9PM) – I think this is my favorite, it is The X-Files improved

30 Rock (NBC – Thursdays 10PM) – possibly the funniest show since Seinfeld

V (ABC – Tuesday 9PM) – New, after starting slowly, the show is picking it up

The Mentalist (CBS – Thursdays 10PM) – one of the more entertaining shows on TV, I wish I could do what Patrick Jane does

Family Guy (Fox – Sundays 9PM) – New – raunchy fun…sometimes crosses the line

Lie to Me (Fox – was on Mondays) – similar to the Mentalist

The Event (NBC – Mondays 9PM) – if LOST and 24 had a baby, this would be it

Human Target (Fox – was on Wednesdays, may be cancelled) – reminiscent of shows from the 80’s

The Good Guys (F0x – was on Fridays, may be cancelled) – would be a shame if this were cancelled, Bradley Whitford is extremely entertaining

Chase – (NBC – was on Mondays, may be cancelled) – Annie and her crew were growing on me, I hope they bring the show back

So there it is.  This army of shows has helped me through several long runs when the roads were just too icy to risk injury.  It’s tough to stay motivated for 20 miles on a treadmill without something to distract you, right?  If you have a treadmill but don’t have a DVR hooked up nearby, I highly recommend it, otherwise you’re stuck watching whatever is on the tube at the time.  At 4AM, when I run, there ain’t much on.

I would love to hear what you like to watch while zoning out and putting in miles.

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After nearly 2 years, I have finally reached a balance when it comes to my funny little running shoes. As many of you know, I have been a proponent of the Vibram Five Finger shoe for almost a year and a half now. Part of my inspiration came from reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall, part of it came from my good friend Mike (famous for his battle with the Cat in the Hat last April). The thing is, you may have noticed that I haven’t been talking about them quite as much lately. I haven’t been pushing them, proselytizing about them.

I realized recently that I went into this minimalist shoe thing, the VFF’s in particular, all wrong. I did everything one was NOT supposed to do, and I paid for it with pain, injury and worst of all, time away from running. If transitioned to properly, I believe that the Vibrams are one of the best things you can do for yourself, your feet and your running, on many different levels.

Let’s start with why they are good:

  1. They will push you to run with proper form – the thing about running barefoot is that you can’t be a heavy-duty heel striker. Even if that is what you have become, you are forced by the lack of heel protection to change your posture. If you try to continue to run with a heel-strike while barefoot, you’ll only end up hurting yourself…badly.
  2. If used properly, you will avoid injuries to your knees and hips – because you are forced into better posture, your knees and hips don’t take the extreme pounding they would normally take while running with a heel-strike
  3. You will run faster – because you are not hitting the breaks with your heels at every footfall, your momentum doesn’t get interrupted and you are able to maintain a higher speed.
  4. You will run longer – because of the maintained momentum, you expend less energy with each step, each yard, each mile, leaving you more energy to run farther.

Sounds pretty good. Sounds like a miracle shoe. Let’s go out and get a pair and start piling on the miles!



Yeah, you know what? That’s exactly what I did. I read Born to Run and I talked to my buddy Mike and I was sold, convinced, converted. I was ready to dedicate my feet to Barefoot Ted and Vibrams. So I went out and bought a pair of the VFF Sprints, took them home, hopped on the treadmill and ran 3 miles.


That was the sound of my feet on my treadmill as I ran my first VFF run. It was so loud! But you know what? It felt great…for about half a mile. Then my shins started to hurt a little. The burning pain grew, but I was determined to keep going.

These were Vibram Five Fingers!

They were barefoot shoes!

Evolution had programmed and designed me to run like this.

The pain would go away, right?


But no, the pain didn’t go away. In fact, it got worse. By the time I hit 2 miles my shins were throbbing and my calves were starting to bark.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally hit 3 miles.


But the pain was nothing compared to what I felt the next morning.

You know that feeling you get the morning after a hard fought marathon? The kind of feeling that forces you to walk down stairs backwards? Yeah, well 3 miles in the Vibrams on the treadmill had pretty much done the same thing to me. For the next three or four days I hobbled, if you could even call it that. Walking was painful.

In all seriousness, I was ready to toss the shoes and call them an $80 mistake. I called my buddy Mike to bitch about them, but before I could say anything he asked how far I had run in them.

“3 miles,” I said.

There was a moment of silence on the other side of the line and then some mild laughter. He knew. He knew that I must have been in incredible pain.

“Dude! You shouldn’t have done more than a half a mile the first time in those things! You could really hurt yourself like that!”

“Well, you could’ve told me,” I said. He laughed and we moved on to other topics, but at that point I realized that I needed to give the Vibrams another chance. This time I would take it slowly and build up my mileage a little at a time.

And that’s what I did. Over the course of the next month or so, I built up my mileage until I was able to do 8 mile runs regularly in them.

This is where my next big mistake came. I loved these shoes so much, that I eliminated my other running shoes completely. I loved them and talked about them so much that my wife had this made for my birthday:


Yes, that is a Vibram Five Finger KSO Cake

The problem with that is when you wear the same shoe all of the time, you run a higher risk of repetitive motion injuries, and when you’ve spent a lifetime running in regular shoes, certain muscles and tendons have atrophied to the point where they are weak and brittle. I got away with it for a few months. I had developed a pretty decent stride, but my form still had a tendency to break down a little late in longer runs. I was able to fend off injury to my achilles’ tendon through stretching, but in the meantime, I didn’t realize what I was doing to the tendons on the top of my feet. About 5 weeks before I was to run my first marathon, I went out for a run and I got a sharp pain on the top of my right foot. This was not a “let me see if I can run through it” type of a pain. No, this was, “HOLY CRAP I HAVE GOT TO STOP RIGHT NOW!!!” kind of a pain. Being the intelligent person that I am I decided to try another 10 yards and nearly collapsed to the ground on the second stride.

Something was dreadfully wrong.

After much testing and worrying, I was relieved to know I had not broken anything. I had a severe case of tendinitis however and the doctor ordered me to lay off the running for six weeks.

Hmmm…6 week, eh, Doc? I don’t think I can do that.

Why not, Luau?

Well, you see, I’ve got this marathon coming up in 5 weeks.

No, no you don’t have a marathon coming in 5 weeks. You aren’t going to run. Why would you want to run a marathon anyway?

I sighed after that comment, knowing that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with her. She realized that I was going to run one way or the other.

Ok, she said, I think you’re crazy for doing it in the first place, but if you are going to run it, you need to take the next 3-4 weeks off and then take it easy leading up to the marathon. The moment you feel pain in the race, you stop!

The moment I feel pain? I thought The marathon is about ignoring pain!

I nodded my head and said I would.

The truth is though, I did need to take time off. I could barely walk on my foot, much less run on it. Even swimming, which I did during those 4 weeks, was initially painful to do because of the tendinitis. All of this pain, because I jumped headlong, eyes closed into the minimalist shoe movement without taking into consideration that maybe my legs and feet needed some time to adjust.

So what’s my point? When I started wearing Vibrams, they were the fringe of the fringe. Most odd-balls looked at me like I was crazy. Now, almost 2 years later, the Five Finger shoe line has gained a foothold in the running shoe market. More and more people are willing to try them out. This increased use by an uninformed public has led to some injuries that are being reported by an uninformed press. The Boston Globe, among others, recently published an article about the dangers of wearing the Five Finger shoe. They only get the story half right. Yes, the VFF’s can lead to injury if the wearer doesn’t go about transitioning to them the right way. However, with a little patience, something that is lost in this age of immediate gratification, one can avoid injury all together.

If you are considering a move to Vibram Five Fingers or any other extreme minimalist shoe, I would suggest three things:

  1. Take your time – start slowly and with as few miles as you can possibly take. In fact, if you are using VFF’s for the first time, try a quarter or half mile and call it a day. You can finish your run in your traditional shoes, but don’t be fooled by the initial “it feels so good” feeling. It can only lead to trouble.
  2. Consider a transition shoe. Something that has a bit of a minimalist feel that still has some of the support and cushioning of a traditional shoe. Personally, I highly recommend the Saucony Kinvara. It is low to the ground, relatively flat, light as a feather, but still soft underfoot.
  3. Don’t go exclusively with one shoe. Try rotating your shoes. It doesn’t have to be a 50-50 split. You simply want to make sure that you are not putting the same stresses on the same spots every time you run. This will help you avoid repetitive stress injuries like I suffered right before my first marathon.

If you’re still here, hopefully it means you are still interested in going minimalist. I highly recommend it. It will make you faster and allow you to run longer. Just don’t go making the same mistakes I made.

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Today’s post is part of a Minimalist Running Blog Carnival. You can link to the round-up at http://www.strengthrunning.com/2011/02/minimalist-blog-carnival/ where you will find several links to other bloggers writing about different aspects of minimalist running. I hope you will click over and check them out.

Why do you run?

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There are battles we cannot win.  There are fights we know we will lose.  In those situations, should we not engage the enemy?

Well, yeah, we probably shouldn’t.

But there is one all-powerful enemy that I do believe we should engage and battle on a regular basis.  This enemy sometimes steals things from you when you aren’t paying attention.  This enemy sometimes takes things from you forcefully while you ARE paying attention.  This enemy has no corporeal body.  This enemy has no head to cut off, no heart to stab through.  Eventually, this enemy will get you.  It is inevitable.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, this enemy is Time – the stealer of all things.

I have been watching Time – watching it slowly take away my youth and that of my friends, some more quickly than others.  True, I am 41 – I am not a Spring chicken anymore…hell, I’m not even a Summer chicken anymore.  The gray hair has arrived, as have some wrinkles around the eyes.  Both are tough to take for a guy with a mild Peter Pan/Mickey Mouse complex, but I know that the hair and the wrinkles are a natural part of aging.  Recovery isn’t as easy anymore and aches take a little longer to go away.

And yet, I fight.  Taking the battle to Time.

I wake up at 4:00 AM to squeeze in the miles, get the blood flowing, get the endorphins pumping.

I cannot stop Time, but dammit, I’m holding it back as long as I can.

Running is my sword, sweat is my shield and with my weapons of choice I have managed to get myself into the best shape I’ve been in since I was 18, maybe even better.

Eventually time will deal me a fatal blow.  We can’t live forever (not yet anyway), but when it’s finally my time to go, I am going to go knowing that I gave time a run for the money.  I know that I will look and feel younger than most of my contemporaries.  I’ll know that I was able to turn back the clock just a little.  I’ll go knowing I didn’t give up.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

I will not go gently into that good night.  I will rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Will you?


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There are many reasons why I run.  Some are for me – the sense of accomplishment, the feeling of achievement; but some are for others.

I run because I need to know that I am doing everything possible to make sure that I am “there”.  I don’t mean “there” in the sense of the here and now – no, I am talking about being “there” down the line.  I run for my kids.  I run for the wife.  I run for my parents.

Statistics show that those that lead a sedentary life have a significantly higher likelihood of being inflicted with cancer or other life-debilitating diseases.  Add extra weight (not even obesity) to that equation and the numbers become staggering.

According to the Mayo Clinic, men who have a beer gut are at a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Some types of cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • High triglycerides
  • Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sleep apnea

For women, the increased belly fat brings a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Gallbladder problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Colorectal cancer

Depending on how sedentary the life-style and the amount of weight, the increased risk can be as much as 50%.

But here’s the thing, even if a sedentary life only added a 5% chance of getting cancer or some other life-ending disease, would you want to take that chance, knowing that exercise and healthful eating habits could have helped you avoid them?  Could you look your children or spouse in the eyes at the end and simply apologize because you couldn’t find the motivation to move your body?

Time is a factor, I know.  There are only 24 hours in a day, and busy, hectic life-styles can impede the ability to sweat.  Carving out 120 minutes per week can be difficult.  It’s hard.  It shouldn’t be, but it is.  Still, I bet if you kept a diary of everything you did in the coming week, you would find a 30 – 40 minute window in a few spots.  Give it a try.  Seriously.

Energy is another factor.   Low-energy can sap the will like nothing else, but I tell you this – you energy-level is much like matter in that it is subject to inertia.  If it is sedentary, it will remain sedentary until you move it.  The spectacular part though is that once it is moving, it is more likely to stay in motion.  You just have to push – a little bit, every day.  Get the ball rolling and the rest will take care of itself.

So, I guess the question is, are you happy playing Russian Roulette?  The statistics say that nothing should happen when you pull the trigger, but do you want to take that chance?  Whether it’s a bullet or life-ending disease, the result is the same.

That is a reason I run; why I try to break a sweat at least 2 out of every 3 days.

Take the bullets out of the gun.

There are no guarantees in life other than death and taxes, but why not stack the deck in your favor?

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Getting here just got a lot harder

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So, I guess in our heart of hearts we all knew this was coming.  Today, February 16th, the BAA announced that it was revising the registration process for the 2012 Boston Marathon and lowering the qualifying times for the race in 2013.

I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about the BAA’s decision.  I do think that there is something poetic about allowing the fastest runners a better shot at getting into the big race.  I have a hard time arguing against that.  By the same token, I feel for those that have worked for years and years, slowly chipping away at their marathon times to finally squeak in.  Although I did not have to wait years and year, I did essentially get in by the skin of my teeth.  Last October I qualified for Boston by a mere 1:40.  If you go back to look at my race report, you can see the pure joy on my face; the feeling of accomplishment.  I knew I was in.  I knew where I was going to be when registration opened.  That feeling didn’t go away for a very long time.

But what happens now to that runner who does what I did?  Sure, he BQ’s, but what does that mean now, really?  If he or she has just squeaked by the qualifying times, then in all likelihood, that person is NOT going to get to run Boston. 

***A quick rundown of the new procedure from Boston.com***

2012 rolling registration dates

– Day 1 (Sept. 12) – Qualifiers who have met their age and gender qualifying standard (3 hours, 10 minutes for men aged 18-34 and 3 hours, 40 minutes for women 18-34) by a margin of 20 minutes or faster may apply for the marathon.

– Day 3 (Sept. 14) – Qualifiers who have met the standard set for their age/gender by a margin of 10 minutes or faster may apply.

– Day 5 (Sept. 16) – Qualifiers who have met their age/gender qualifying time by a margin of 5 minutes or faster may apply.

– Day 8 (Sept. 19) – Open to all qualifiers to register.

– Day 12 (Sept. 23) – Registration closes for qualified applicants. Registered qualifiers will be notified of their acceptance by Sept. 28.

For 2013, there are new qualifying times

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3:05:00 3:35:00
35-39 3:10:00 3:40:00
40-44 3:15:00 3:45:00
45-49 3:25:00 3:55:00
50-54 3:30:00 4:00:00
55-59 3:40:00 4:10:00
60-64 3:55:00 4:25:00
65-69 4:10:00 4:40:00
70-74 4:25:00 4:55:00
75-79 4:40:00 5:10:00
80+ 4:55:00 5:25:00

The rolling registration also applies to 2013 and beyond.

Essentially, the BAA has lowered the qualifying times for 2012 by 10 – 20 minutes and 15 – 25 minutes for 2013 and beyond.

So what does that mean for me?  It means that for the next 3 years, I have to run a 3:00 marathon before this September and a 2:55 marathon before September 2012 if I want to have any hope of registering on the first day.  If I am going to be optimistic, it means a 3:10 this year and a 3:05 next year if I want to believe there will be space available on the 3rd day of registration.  If I am lucky enough to take 5 minutes off of my PR and run what is essentially a 3:15 (3:10 for 2013 and beyond), I’ll have the privilege of being allowed to join the registration fun on the 5th day.

I wonder what is the likelihood of spots still being available on the 5th day.





Now, I could sit here and bitch.  I could sit here and moan.  I could sit here and cry.

Instead, I am going to count my lucky stars and be thankful that I get to run this year, as a qualifier.  I am half way through my training program.  There are 60 days left between now and April 18th.  I am going to stick my plan and shoot for a 3:15.  2012 looks unlikely for me at this point, as I am unlikely to run a 3:10 at Boston, and I don’t think I will be ready to run another marathon until after registration opens.  Sure, I am BQ’d for 2012, but based on my time from this past October, I am in the last group that gets the opportunity to register, if there are any spots left.  That’s a big “if” even if I do manage a 3:15 this coming April.

So 2012 is likely lost to me, but 2013 is not.  Sometime between this coming September and the following one, I will run another marathon.  I will have a new challenge.  3:15 may be what the qualifying times are for a man of my age, but because of the rolling registration, they have essentially lowered it to 3:05 starting in 2013.


I am up for a challenge.  BAA, you want to make me run a 3:05 so I can run your race? Fine.  Bring it.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy Boston 2011.

60 days ’til race day!

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[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

The other day while driving in the car I heard a commercial. I’m not even sure what it was for because the first sentence set me off. The commercial opened with, and I’m paraphrasing here, that “with the rapid rise in cases of diabetes in this country, it is time we work on coming up with better treatments for this growing population.”

I nodded at first, but then almost immediately yelled “No!” to no one in particular.

Really? That’s the answer?

You see, this is the problem with society today. We always, ALWAYS, treat the symptom instead of focusing on prevention. How much money is going into treating those that become diabetic due to lifestyle? How much of YOUR health insurance premiums are being used to pay for treatment of a preventable diseases?

Now don’t get me wrong. Those with lifestyle induced diabetes need to be treated and I would never, ever attack those that were born with diabetes or those that became diabetic due to health related issues out of their control. There is, however, a rapidly growing population (pun intended) in this country that is putting itself at risk unnecessarily, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

As people and politicians struggle with fixing our health care system, everyone seems to be ignoring one of the oldest sayings in our short history – “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Poor eating habits, lack of exercise and the government’s insistence on subsidizing the corn industry are leading us down a path that will require pounds of cure compared the the ounces of prevention we could be putting in place to(yester)day.

It is too easy and costs too little to eat poorly. I can’t blame the McDonald’s, the Burger Kings or the KFC’s of the world. They are businesses doing what they can to make a profit.  They are not in the health business; they are in the money-making business. Until people stop eating what they serve (and I’m guilty once in a while), they will continue to do what they do.  Until there is a change in their bottom line, there is no reason to expect them to change what they feed us.

And how do you argue with a parent who has little time and $20 to feed her family of four?  For $20 she can buy 4 fast food value meals that are loaded with calories from the McD’s around the corner or she can spend some of that money on transportation to the grocery store and try to piece together a meal with what’s left.  I get it.  But throwing our hands up in the air and saying we can’t do anything about it is not the answer. Coming up with treatments to deal with the results of eating McDonald’s every night is necessary, but short-sighted and still not the answer. The journal Health Affairs reported last year that overall obesity-related health spending reached $147 billion in the U.S., about double what it was a decade earlier. (Yahoo News). $147 BILLION!!!

That money is coming out of YOUR pocket!

There is no magic bullet, but there are a few simple steps we can take on a local and national level.

At the local level we can insist that our children are physically active for at least 30 – 60 minutes a day. The habits our children learn today are the ones they will default to as adults. Do you want to raise a pre-diabetic, lethargic couch potato or a physically active go getter? There’s also science that show that kids who are active for 30 minutes in the morning BEFORE school starts score higher on tests.

The best way to achieve this is through example.  If your kids see you active, they will be active.  As much as we like to think children will listen to what we say, they are much more likely to “listen” to what we do.  If you don’t have kids, think of your spouse, your love interest, your friends.  Science has shown that friends and even friends of friends DO influence each other when it comes to physical activity and behavior.  If one person in a group of smokers has the strength to quit, others are likely to follow.  It is the same with physical activity.  If one person can break the cycle, others will follow.

At the national level we need to convince our government to stop making it so cheap to eat poorly. Subsidizing the corn industry has created a society that eats HFCS’s constantly.  It’s in EVERYTHING.  And it has practically no positive health benefits.  How about subsidizing the farmers who make the healthier foods?  Which in turn can help families just scraping by afford more nutritious meals?  I don’t want to put the farmers out of business, just re-deploy them.

So, what’s it gonna be?  An ounce or a pound?  Are you already at a pound?  Well, then is it going to be a pound or sixteen of them?  The longer we wait, both as individuals and as a society, the harder it’s gonna be, both on our bodies and on our wallets.

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[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

Last October I ran a marathon with my friend Brendan.  We had the same goal, a BQ.  We both felt good going into the race.  In the end however, he fell off the pace a little bit and missed qualifying for Boston by a mere 33 seconds.  A heart breaker.  That’s enough to crush a guy, especially after putting in hours upon hours of sweat and pain.

In November, another friend of mine, Logan, ran a marathon in Georgia, hoping to make his way to Boston in his first marathon.  Through 13 miles he was on pace to hit 3:12, a BQ with room to spare, but part way through the second half, the wheels came off the bus and he had to settle for a 3:54 marathon debut. Having had the exact same devastating experience, I could relate.

Over the past 3-4 months, I’ve watched both of these guys transform themselves.  They are different, stronger, faster.  I recognize their change because I went through it myself after what I perceived were failures as a runner.  Sure, I may still have a BQ on both of them, but at this point, I think that they may both be better and faster runners than I am.


Running is not necessarily about competition.  A lot of people do it simply for the health benefits, both mental and physical.  But when you enter a race, or follow friends who are runners, there is always a part of you that is comparing what you are doing to what they are.  In a race, the comparison is glaring (you are passing or getting passed, leading or following).  On social networks like dailymile, it’s a little more subtle, but it’s still there.

As I’ve watched both Brendan and Logan evolve, I’ve felt the urge to tweak my training, go a little faster, train a little harder.  They are in a different category than I am when it comes to mileage (I’ve been doing 40 – 55 miles per week, they are in the 50 – 70 range).  The temptation to take it to their level is, well, tempting, BUT I know that although we compare ourselves to each other and each other’s accomplishments, ultimately, we are only racing against one person – ourselves.

Even if your name is Ryan Hall or Kara Goucher, you are still competing with the runner that you want to be.


And so, somewhat begrudgingly,  I stick with my plan, following the program that is laid before me.  I have a goal for Boston 2011, and that personal goal takes precedent over all other running goals.  If I start chasing the likes of Brendan and Logan, I am likely to crash and burn.


The reason I write this post is for those just getting into this marathon thing.  Don’t go comparing yourselves to others.  You are racing against you and what you are capable of.  Hopefully you have a few road races under your belt.  If you do, I would suggest going —>>>HERE<<<— to find out what the numbers say.  It is a pretty accurate measure of where you are and what you are capable of.  From here, come up with a plan (I’m happy to help) and then stick with it.


I am looking forward to seeing how Brendan and Logan do in their Marathons this Spring.  I have no doubt that they will not just BQ (like I did, by a mere 1:40), but will smash through to the other side.  I’ll see you guys in Hopkington in 2012!

And at that point, it’s ON!!!

***UPDATE 02/19/11*** Today Logan smashed his previous marathon PR by 45 minutes, completing the Myrtle Beach Marathon in a scorching 3:09:19 (exactly 10 minutes faster than my BQ at Smuttynose).  A well deserved BQ!  I’ll see you in 2012! Congrats Logan!  Brendan, you are on the clock!

***UPDATE 02/20/11***Today Brendan ran the Hampton Half-Marathon in a blazing 1:29:34, nearly 4 minutes faster than my fastest half-mary.  Now true this does not automatically qualify him for Boston, but it does get him into a race that is even harder to qualify for – New York City, Brother!  I also checked the McMillan’ Race Calculator – his half-marathon time puts him at a 3:08:54, 11+ ahead of a BQ.  Way to rock it today Brendan!

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We are one month into 2011.  How are things going?  Have you stuck to your workout goals and resolutions?  Are you still eating better?


Do you feel like you’re not seeing enough of a change for all of the time you have been putting in?


Let me ask you this – when you workout, are you sweating? I don’t mean schvitzing or perspiring. I mean really, REALLY sweating.

I don’t go to the gym a whole lot. I either run outside or on the treadmill in my basement. For strength training I do a lot of home-based workouts (push ups, planks, chin ups, TRX). BUT when I do go to the gym, I am often surprised to find that a lot of people finish their workouts with just the slightest hint of sweat on their brow and seem to be under the impression that they have put in a hardcore cardio workout.

I want to ask these people if they actually value their time? Don’t they want to make the most of the perceived effort they’ve invested? I don’t believe I’m being a workout snob. I just think that maybe these people don’t get what a hard workout really is.

Yes, I know that getting to the point where you are soaked is hard. Yes, I know that a hard workout hurts. But as the saying goes, “No Pain, No Gain”.

And it’s not like every workout has to be a hard one. In fact, ideally workouts should oscillate between hard and easy to make sure that the body has an opportunity to mend and get stronger while staying loose.

But if it is fast results that you want, you are going to have to sweat; sweat to the point where your shirt is soaked; soaked to the point where you can wring a cupful of stink out of it.

THAT’S when you know you’ve done your job. Quite honestly, there is very little that is more satisfying than hearing the hard smack of your drenched shirt hitting your bathroom floor after a hard workout.

So, if you are struggling to see results in your resolution workouts, I’ll ask you again – are you sweating?

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