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Archive for the ‘Odd Ball’ Category

Summer is in full swing now and that means one thing to many people – it’s sandal/flip-flop season.  But many of us suffer from dry, cracked, calloused heels  and feet that just look plain fugly.  Personally, I wear flip flops all year round unless there is an excess of 3 inches of snow on the ground, but that doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from the same heel and sole issues as the rest of you.  Men won’t say it, but we suffer from this problem just as much as women do.

So what’s a person to do?  You want to wear flips flops or sandals, but nothing seems to work to get your heels and soles soft & smooth.

Lotions & moisturizers?

They seldom live up to what they say they will do.

A pumice stone?

That’s a lot of hard work, and honestly, I’m not convinced that they actually are rough enough.

That metal shredder egg thing?

Only if you wanna risk shredding your feet.

Some people like to cover their feet in moisturizer, then cover that with vaseline and THEN cover that with a sock.

I can see how that would work, but what a mess!

There’s the whole fish thing…

But that’s just plain weird.

Of course, you could always go to the salon for a pedicure –

But that can get pretty expensive if you need to go every week.

No, none of these things are as effective and as inexpensive (free) as what I recently discovered to be a cure for rough feet.  I can’t believe it took me 42 years to realize that this product was readily available just about every where in the world with free access to just about anyone.  And though we have already paid for it in a sense, there is no extra cost involved in using it in this fashion.

Put simply, it’s our streets and sidewalks.

Three runs and 10 miles of running bare foot later, my soles and heels are as smooth as they have ever been – a little dirtier maybe, but as smooth to the touch as a baby’s bottom.  You can do it too!  For free!  The only cost to you is your time spent running – so really you’re saving even more because you’re killing two birds with one stone…AND you’re saving money on shoes (or not having shoes) at the same time!

So if you have some sole and heel issues, don’t waste your money on products that don’t work or your time in a snooty salon – take off your shoes and get out there and run!

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So the latest uproar I’ve heard today involves this:

Yeah…this is real.

Yup, that’s right, THAT is an automated mashed potatoes & gravy dispenser that can be found in 7-Elevens around the world (for whatever reason they are particularly popular in Singapore).

Here’s what it looks like in action:

As you know, I am a huge proponent of living a healthful lifestyle – I believe in daily exercise, eating right and getting plenty of sleep.  Those three things are the legs of the stool that I believe you can place your goals for a happy life upon.  You would expect that I would find this mashed potato dispenser to be an abomination, a crime against humanity waiting to happen.  Many of the 7-Elevens that offer this product, bundle it with a soda that is bigger than your head, all for the low, low price of about $2.  After your tub of instant mashed potatoes & gravy and your barrel of colored sugar water,  I am sure you will have taken in the recommended intake of sodium and sugar to last you a week.

If this comes to America, the fat will simply get fatter…and fatter…and fatter.

I should be outraged.

I should be angry.

I should be writing to my Congressman.

But you know what?

I say bring ’em. Bring ’em here by the thousands.   Put them in every single 7-Eleven in this country.  Place them in a prominent place in the store so that those who “need” their mashed potatoes and big gulp don’t have to walk as far or burn any more precious calories.  I say decorate them with flashing lights and even give it out for free for the first month to get people hooked on the sodium/sugar delivery package.  Hell, even offer curbside service so that people don’t have to actually exert themselves to get this over-sized package of empty calories.

Why do I want this?

Because I believe in Natural Selection.  Do you?

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Throwing Out the First Pitch at Fenway on Autism Awareness night.

Eck. Mariano. Pap. …Luau.

That could’ve been me on that list if only my father had put a baseball in my hands when I was little. I’m not particularly gifted athletically, but being left-handed, all I really had to do was get the ball over the plate and I’m sure I could’ve been a major league pitcher, even an all-star reliever…

…ok, probably not.

But as a kid, I used to dream about being a closer. Coming in at the end of the game, bases loaded, no outs, my team desperately clinging to a 1 run lead in the bottom of the 9th…the crowd going wild…

9 pitches. 9 strikes. 3 outs. Game over.  The clubhouse erupts as the ballpark goes silent.

Okay, okay, at age 42 I still have those dreams, but it’s a little late for me to pick up a baseball.

***

Recently however, I’ve picked up a new way to become a closer.

As you may recall, last November, at the New York City Marathon, after finishing my 26.2 miles,

I ran back to mile 23 to wait for my girl Jersey and run her in.

As spent as my legs were, it was an absolute thrill to help her get to the finish line of her very first marathon.

Look at the huge grin on my face

A week later I hopped in as a bandit at a local half-marathon.  After finishing, I intended to run home. Part way there, I was spotted on course by a friend who had just read my race recap of New York.  She asked if I could run her in.  Who was I to say no? and then on the way home, I saw another reader and I did it again.

Not long thereafter I received this message from a dailymile friend:

Hi,

We met at the Run to Remember, just briefly. I’m a big fan of your blog. While I was out on my run today I had a crazy idea/request….Would you consider running me in the last 5 -10 miles of Boston next year?

It will be my first marathon. I’m really excited to run it but I know I will be pretty beat at the end. And it would just be super cool to have one of my local running heroes help me achieve this goal.

Crazy, I know; I’m basically a total stranger. So, what the scoop? I’m on the Dana-Farber team and will be running a slow 11 min pace (possibly slower). I would gladly make a $100 contribution to Autism Speaks for your kindness…

I figured the worse you could say was no, and that’s not so bad.

Thanks!
L

How can I say no?  Especially since she’s offering to make a donation to my favorite charity!

And so it seems that I may have found a new way to become a closer.  Barring an unexpected trip on Patriots Day, I plan to run L in to the finish, helping her over the last 9-10 miles of her first marathon and then run home (a good way to get one of my 20-milers in before Sugarloaf).  It may not be quite as riveting as watching Mo or Eck or Pap break the hearts of the opposing teams, but it is pretty damned satisfying AND it helps one more person achieve their goal of 26.2 miles.

Maybe this is the start of a new trend/business venture/charity fund raiser – Luau’s Closers for Charity.  On race day, we guarantee we will get you to the finish line!

Who’s with me?  Do you need a closer? Do you want to be a closer?  I do need to start raising funds for Team Up! with Autism Speaks for the New York City Marathon this November!  You name the race – for the right donation, I’ll be there to bring you home!  Email me!

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It was 11°F out that morning.

 

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

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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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.

Bitter.

Lost.

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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Some things, some opportunities only come around once in a lifetime – an opportunity to travel to a far off land; a chance to go all the way to South Africa to run Comrades; an intimate moment with J. Lo…oh, wait a minute, that’s fantasy, not opportunity. Sorry.

Anyway, as I was saying, sometimes the stars align just so to allow you to grab the bull by the horns and really, REALLY live.

One such opportunity presented itself this past weekend, allowing me to take advantage of the circumstances of my life.

As you may recall, about two months ago, I put it out there that if you put us over our fund raising goal for the Autism Speaks Walk, I would run my next marathon with blue hair.  You did.  On the day of the walk we found ourselves 1¢ over Jess’ stated goal.

One.

Frakking.

Penny.

But a promise is a promise and so because you fulfilled your end, I dutifully fulfilled mine.

If you are new to Run Luau Run or haven’t stopped by in a while, you can find the process of me Lighting It Up Blue and going from brunette to blond to blue—>HERE<—.

I then ran my blue haired marathon two weeks ago in New York and had both my slowest and most enjoyable run ever.  The video is —>HERE<— the race report —HERE<—.

The blue hair has been a lot of fun.  It has brought a lot of attention to autism awareness; it has made me easy to spot; it has definitely been a conversation starter.  It has served its purpose and run its course.  The blue has started to fade away and my roots have become more prominent (did I just say that? my roots? really?).

Could I go in for another touch up?

Sure.

But I would be ignoring the wise lesson I learned from Elmo when he told me the story of how he saved Christmas and almost lost it again – that having Christmas every day takes away from the true spirit of Christmas – instead, carry that spirit with you throughout the year.

And so it is with my blue hair.  A month of blue hair to spread awareness was a wonderful experience.  Now, it is time to carry that spirit with me (and you!) throughout the year.

***

Which brings me to this past weekend.  An opportunity, a chance to do something I always wanted to do as a kid and as a young man, but never could because of one reason or another…when am I going to again have longish, blue hair that needs to be taken down…

…and so I give you Goodbye Blue:

A nod to Movember:

Happy Movember!

But the wife wouldn’t let me into bed until I shaved off the ‘hawk and the ‘stache.

Clean Shaven

At least I have the pictures to prove it.  Thank you everyone for helping us raise the funds for our walk. I hope you will continue to “light it up blue” in spirit with me throughout the year.

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RIP Dear Friend

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Last night was the first night I really missed him.

May he rest in peace.

No, no, no. Nobody has died, not yet anyway.

I am in mourning not for a person nor pet. No, I am in mourning for my treadmill. After many years of service, the last three being fairly intense, my familiar friend TM has become injured beyond repair.

Like a horse with a broken leg, it may be time to put TM down.

His first injury was actually a little over a year ago when the elevation motor died. At the time I wasn’t too worried because I was training for an incredibly flat marathon (Smuttynose).

But it finally happened.

A few weeks ago, while trying to get myself back into the groove of running, I hopped on TM for a quick 8-miler.

You may ask, why didn’t you just go outside?  Honestly, as much as I love running outside, there is something very zen about hopping on a treadmill and being able to turn the brain completely off – plus, I find it a good opportunity to catch up on shows Jess doesn’t like on my DVR.

But I digress…

About 4 miles in I heard a loud “CRACK” and suddenly the ride got a little bouncy – not overly so, but I definitely felt like I was running on a small trampoline. As long as I didn’t run down the center of TM, it didn’t get too bad.  He had essentially split down the middle.  I was determined to get my 8 miles in, but I now had to run with my feet slightly apart.  The zen running was no longer very zen.  I did manage to zone out a little but as I passed 7 miles I started to hear a flap! flap! flap!.  I looked down in horror to see that the tread of the treadmill was coming apart at the seams.

It was time to stop.

At this point, I realized that TM was probably beyond repair, or that at the very least, the cost of fixing him would be more than simply replacing him.  Unfortunately, these are tough economic times, so a replacement will have to be held off for quite a while – as much as running is a necessity to me, a treadmill is a luxury.  Ultimately, outside running is better for you anyway, and I do enjoy time in the fresh air.

But last night, as I contemplated going out for a late-night run,  I realized just how much I will miss my dear friend TM.  We got our first snow of the year last night, and it wasn’t a children’s storybook gentle snow – it was a cold, hard, unpleasant snow.  As I walked the dog, I quickly decided that my run could wait another day.  As much as I needed a run, I didn’t need to be running in miserable weather.

And so I mourn.

Rest in peace dear friend.  You served me well.  Hopefully you are up in Heaven keeping the angels in shape.

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