Archive for December, 2011

It was 11°F out that morning.


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It’s 35°F outside and I’m walking the kids into school.  I’m in my usual uniform – t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops. 

We walk by a mom who shakes her head.

“You are ridiculous,” she says laughing.  It’s nothing new.  She’s seen me dressed like this during the Winter since Katie was in kindergarten.  I smile, saying, “I just generate the heat from the inside.”

And then it strikes me.

Maybe I’m on to something.

Maybe I’ve come up with the next trend in fitness/health/weigh loss.

But how to cash in on this ridiculous theory?


The theory?  It’s simple (and ridiculous, I know) – by sticking with shorts, t-shirt and flip flops through the colder month, my body is forced to generate heat so my core temperature doesn’t drop.  Generating heat requires burning calories.  Burning extra calories means eventual weight loss.  It’s that simple.

I don’t suggest going out in 20° weather and walking around like me if you haven’t done it before.  Just like anything, you need to build up to it – get your engine used to the idea of burning even while at rest.  I’ve been doing it since college, and it took me a few weeks to build up to shorts and a t-shirt level.  Most people assume that I’m from somewhere waaaaaaay up north when they see me walking around mid-winter like it’s a nice, summer day.  Actually, I grew up in South Florida, which, to me, explains why I’m more comfortable this way.  I grew up in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops (when I wasn’t barefoot).

My freshman year in college (in New England) I experienced my first real winter.  That winter, as my gaggle of buddies moved from one fraternity party to the next, I realized just how much of a pain winter clothing was.  Overcoat, gloves, hat, scarf…all of it had to come off when you got to a party.  Then you struggled your way through a sea of people to get a beer, only to then work your way back to your winter clothes to put them back on and move to the next party to do it all over again.

What. A. Pain.

So I stopped bringing the overcoat.  And then the jacket.  Then the scarf, the hat and the gloves.  Even then, when I would get down into the packed fraternity basements, I would still feel overheated, so I finally went to shorts and flip flops.

I haven’t looked back since.


Now, before you start with the “you’ll catch a cold” or “you’re gonna get sick” routine that most of you “layerers” say, understand this – cold temperatures do not make people sick.

Germs, bacteria, viruses – they make people sick.  Cold weather will make people’s noses a little more runny due to heat differential, who then wipe their noses with their hands and then touch the things that you eventually touch.  Those that are already sick end up spreading their germs by not keeping their hands clean.  So don’t keep the layers on just because you’re afraid of getting sick.  Just keep your hands clean.


So who wants to try a science experiment with me and strip for the winter?  20 minutes a day.  That’s all you need.  And you don’t have to do it all at once.  Use the 30 seconds it takes to walk from the parking lot to the grocery store; the 10 minutes it takes to walk the dog for his morning poop; the 5 minute walk from your train to your job.  Just 20 minutes of cold exposure a day and see what happens. You might find a revved up engine, renewed energy and maybe even a little weigh loss.  If you think of it, take a picture of yourself out there among the “layered” and post it to the Run Luau Run Facebook page.

Happy stripping!

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This video is old, but I saw it just the other day for the first time.  It made me think of my ongoing struggle to get back into the swing of things.

This video is relatively new.  It was posted by a doctor who is advocating exercise in a very simple, easy to understand way.  The statistics quoted should be enough to get you up and moving.

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I hope that you will take the time to watch both videos.

As we get into the thick of the Holidays and the spirit of giving, I can’t help but wonder how many of you aren’t thinking of/giving to yourselves, forgetting that, as much as you want to be able to take care of those around you, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be good to anyone.

As daunting as it may sound, taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you have to train for a marathon, like Roger, the gentleman in the first video.  As the second video points out, just 20+ minutes a day of walking can reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure by nearly 30%.


What I like about the first video is not that the guy ran a marathon (though that is awesome!) – no.  The thing I was most moved by was that he latched onto a reason to get himself moving.  Sometimes, doing it for ourselves is not enough motivation.  We seem to disregard the concept of self-care, or at best put it low on the priority list.  Sometimes what it takes is a cause, a reason.  Roger found that cause in his niece and because of that, he was able to find the courage, the strength, the reason to keep going; and he is now a transformed man.

If you are struggling, and self-motivation isn’t enough, do it for a cause, a reason – your daughter, your son, your mother, your dad, your sibling, your spouse, a friend or do as my friend David does in this —>post<—  about charity.

I have never bought into the concept that we are destined to remain the shape we have lived with or are currently in – I was a lollipop until after college (big head, toothpick body).  You can change your body, mind and soul.  They go hand in hand in hand.

Find a reason.  Find a cause.

After they thank you for your efforts, you’ll inevitable thank yourself.

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Proof of god

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A while back ago I wrote a post railing against the Almighty.  It was a dark time in the Luau household.

I was angry.



Since then, I think I may have come around to the idea that god exists.

How else does one explain the phenomenon simply known as Tebow.

Here is a young man who, by all accounts, is exactly what he presents himself to be – a devout follower of Jesus who doesn’t seem to have a mean bone in his body.  For those who somehow have missed Tebow-mania, he is the 2nd year quarterback of the Denver Broncos, who, against all odds and lack of sound throwing mechanics, has managed to save the season of his team – the team started the football season 1 – 4; since taking over the starting job in Denver, he has led them an 8 – 5 record and has his team sitting in first place of their division.

That’s 7 – 1 as a starter – with poor throwing skills and a simplified offense.  His performance during the first three quarters of each of his games has been dismal, I mean “you should bench this guy” dismal.  Yet, somehow, at the end of almost each of these games, during the last minutes of regulation, Tebow is simply magic, dare I say, divine – enough so that his mid-contest prayers have led the Global Language Monitor (the online equivalent to Webster’s) to acknowledge Tebowing as a word – Tebowing, the act of  ’taking a knee’  in prayerful reflection in the midst of an athletic activity.

But it hasn’t only been what Tebow does on the field – it’s the weird things that are happening to the opposing teams late in games.  Defenses that were tight vises though 58 minutes, suddenly loosen over the final two minutes; offenses that simply need to kneel on the ball, run plays that leave time on the clock for Tebow to work his magic; fumbles; interceptions – all unlikely happenings in the final minutes of a game played by supposed professionals.

Yes, there are angels in the backfield and they are being led by the Mile High Messiah.

The thing is though, this doesn’t help me in my rant from so many weeks ago.  The fact that “g”od is helping the Broncos win and propelling one of his favorite sons to victory only goes to solidify my doubt in “G”od.

While god lifts Tim Tebow, He continues to allow autism to torment my little girl and millions like her.  While god helped Franco Harris catch the immaculate reception, He continues to allow savage acts of violence against the fairer sex, all in the name of religion.  While god led Curt Shilling and his bloody sock to victory in game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, He allows disaster upon disaster to kill hundreds of thousands of innocents.

Maybe god really did make us in his image – sports fans who think the Red Sox winning the World Series after 86 years was a bigger event in 2004 than the election of our first African-American President.

And so Tim Tebow and god face their first real test this weekend when Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots travel to Mile High Stadium.

A win for the Broncos will only go to further Tebow’s messianic following, but a loss will, in my opinion, do him no damage – everybody knows that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are football deities in their own right.

Maybe the Greeks and Romans had it right.

What does this have to do with running? I’m not sure, except for maybe the fact that before my next race and maybe at one of the water stations of my next marathon, I’m going to Tebow and pray to Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher.

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Another Hazard?

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I went to the doctor’s office yesterday.  The last week or so I’ve had this water-logged feeling in my lungs and have been suffering from what I can only describe as fatigue and lethargy.   In addition, as I explained to the doctor, my throat feels “hairy”.  It had become bad enough that I spent Tuesday morning in bed because I felt so bad.

Finally, Jess firmly insisted that I needed to go see a doctor.  Pneumonia has been going around and she didn’t want me to put myself at risk for no reason.

So I went.

The doctor did all of the usual things – heart rate, blood pressure, ears, mouth, throat culture.  Then, because I was complaining about some shortness of breath and a heavy chest, she ordered an x-ray to make sure I didn’t have anything seriously wrong with my lungs. Everything came back A-OK – aside from slightly elevated blood pressure (a genetic trait I inherited from both parents) everything was not just normal, but better than normal.  Even my hacking lungs came back perfectly clear on the x-ray.


Some of you may remember a post I wrote back in March about the Hazards of Running. Well, I’ve got one more to add after my visit to the doctor.  After examining me thoroughly, the doctor said the reason I felt so crappy was that I was in such good shape.


Right.  I didn’t get it initially either.  The bottom line was that all the running and push ups and healthy eating had created such a well-honed machine that a little bronchial virus threw the whole system off kilter.  Essentially, if I were overweight, eating processed foods and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, my body wouldn’t notice a minor virus taking up residence in my lungs, but because my system is cleaner and leaner than most, I got sidelined by what is pretty much just a cough.

Ah, the price for feeling good all of the time.

Maybe it’s time to start eating Twinkies and smoking Camels again.

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Check out the new page I created for all those looking for a Race Pace Buddy:



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Move It

"You've got to Move It, Move It!"

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As much as I appreciated the extra hour of sleep the Sunday of the New York City Marathon, I have to admit, I really dislike giving up daylight savings time.  It just makes it feel like winter is that much closer.

I begin to hit the wall that much sooner.  I reach for a glass of red wine or a beer that much sooner (What? it’s only 4PM?  Really? But it feeeeeels like it’s 5PM!).  It doesn’t help that the temperature has dropped below 40°F at night.

This is a difficult time of year for runners, well, for this runner anyway.  It gets harder to motivate the body to get outside and run.  It doesn’t help that I have essentially taken the last several months off from consistent, higher mileage.

What’s this runner to do?

The last couple of winters I’ve had the advantage of having a treadmill in my basement, ideally located in front of a TV with a DVR attached and all of my favorite show religiously recorded.  Having my favorite shows on made “dreadmill running” much less dreadful.  Unfortunately, I killed my treadmill a month or so ago.  3 years of intense, regular running finally broke it in two, literally.  My mileage has suffered for it.  The treadmill was always my last line of defense against laziness.

There’s always the gym I suppose, but it has always felt a little silly to me to drive to the gym just to use their treadmill – and talk about dreadmill – running on a gym treadmill is about as exciting and fun as watching grass grow or paint dry.

No, running at the gym cannot be my answer, at least not entirely.

The simple truth is, I will have to do what I have always preached: push the boundaries of what feels normal, move into that space that is uncomfortable and make it my own – make it comfortable; make it a habit.  I constantly tell my non-running, non-active friends that if they want to get active they need to force it upon themselves to a degree.  One cannot wish oneself into shape.  One cannot wake up one morning and decide, “I am a runner”.

It’s not that easy.

If it were then this country wouldn’t be facing the obesity problem it faces today…


Last week, I managed to slowly get back into pre-dawn running.  It’s going to get harder before it gets easier.  My body and mind are going to fight me. 

But it’s still dark!!!  It’s so cold!!!

I tell my friends “2 to 6 weeks.”  That’s the time necessary for the habit of running to imprint itself onto your muscles, your routine.  If you can stick it out, the internal drive, the fire from within will finally kick in and instead of pushing yourself out the door to run, you will be drawn out by the “need“.

With Sugarloaf 6 months away, I have about 6 to 8 weeks to get the fire piping hot again so that my training will be about training and not about motivation.  Maybe part of my problem this summer and fall was that I didn’t have a time goal race, an “A”-Race lined up.  I was “qualified to register” for Boston, my goal for the Vermont 50 was to “just finish” and New York was all about fun.  Well, the 50 is done, fun was had in New York, and, unfortunately, I missed getting into Boston by a mere 33 seconds.

I don’t like the fact that I will not be running Boston this year.  I get it, I understand it, I accept it.  But I don’t like it.  I don’t plan on missing 2013.  And there may lie my motivation to move, to get back into the habit.

Whatever your motivation may be this winter (lose/hold off the holiday pounds, achieve a time in a Spring race, get into better shape), just keep moving.  Fight the urge to potato long enough and I promise you it will go away. You’ll be happier for it.

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