This is my friend/neighbour/teammate/running husband Chris, and today he will be tackling leg 2 of The Canadian Death Race.
A ‘lil about the race from their website…
The Canadian Death Race: The Course from Hell
The race begins and ends in Grande Cache, Alberta. The five legs may be run individually or in relay teams of from two to five members. The first leg is the shortest at 19 km, the second is the most technical, the third is considered the easiest section, the fourth is the longest at 38 km, and the last leg to the finish line is of (comparatively) intermediate difficulty.
Second leg, 27 km: Flood & Grande Mountain Slugfest
Includes about.1 km of pavement. The rest is dirt trail with rocky and swampy sections, and approximately 6 km of hard packed dirt road.. Net elevation gain is 500 feet, but the total elevation change is well over 6000 feet. This leg of the race is characterized by long sustained climbing with about 3 km of very rough terrain and two creek crossings. The trail from the summit of Flood Mountain to the summit of Grande Mountain is the roughest piece of trail in the Death Race. The power line down the front of Grande Mountain leading back into town is the most dangerous part of the entire course. This is due to the steep, rocky drop-offs and unstable footing while running downhill. The Slugfest is the most technical section and is rated the second hardest leg of the Death Race (although many rate this leg as the hardest of all). Cut off Time: 6 pm
Run like hell Chris!
Summer thus far on the west coast has consisted of 3 days, 2 back to back a couple of weeks ago and last Sunday. But this morning the sun was out, the temperature was above 17 degrees and I decided that today was going to be the day.
Conny and I had made reference to this day on several occasions over the last few months, but because of the lake drawdown in June and the crappy weather in May, June and July, the remarks were really only wishful thinking. So when I arrived for our run this morning and waved my pretty pink towel at Conny, her grin was a bit hesitant but it was definitely there.
The plan was for an hour run, but today being the day (and also a work day for Conny, the poor thing), this changed everything. Our run plan was quickly amended to 25 minutes out and then back. For the second time this week I took one for the team and got the honour of breaking the spider webs (I hate the feeling of spider webs on my bare arm, I guess it’s better than in my mouth). I have a sneaky suspicion that this was all part of Conny’s plan because when we hit our turn back point, Conny took the lead…
The trail was fantastic; it really felt like summer, still a little mucky in spots, but dry for the most part and even starting to get a little overgrown. We skipped our last water break and blazed down to the floating bridge. I kid you not, before I even had chance to take my camelback off, Conny was already in! She let out a little yelp and said it was refreshing.
Conny’s and my entrance to the water completely differ, she is graceful and slips in without getting her hair wet, I on the other hand am not so graceful and need to be fully submerged. I was told that my dive today was pitiful. I hesitated once and nearly went in anyway and knowing full well that the water was refreshing, dove so shallow that it was more like a skim the top of the surface dive.
REFRESHING???? IT WAS FREAKING COLD! It was glacier water! I couldn’t catch my breath for a moment. She didn’t say it but the look on Conny’s face told me that she thought I was being a bit dramatic, whatever. At the risk of looking like a cold water wussy, I was out within a minute.
Not quite the beer commercial swim that I had in mind when I left my house this morning, but never the less the first swim of summer and the water can’t get any colder, right?
It’s always great to get out of dodge, and there is no better way to explore a new city than go for a run!
Hope that you had a fantastic weekend in the sun.
Tabata was my favourite workout discovery of 2010 and on Monday evening, I formally introduced my Outdoor Body Camp to it…and have been receiving love-to-hate mail ever since.
If you are not familiar with Tabata, it has absolutely nothing to do with a sandwich, is a 16-minute intense interval training routine. So why would I get love-to-hate mail from a 16-minute workout you ask? Well, 4 exercises are used, each exercise is performed for 20 seconds of activity at full effort with 10 second rest periods (8 sets) consecutively for a 4 minute duration. Still not convinced? I wasn’t either so I added a second Tabata circuit for insurance.
For those who like to play along at home, welcome to Body Camp: Tabata style!
- 10 minute – walk/run
- 1 minute – break
- Tabata Circuit 1:
1. Speed squat – hands behind head, squat up and down as fast as you can
2. Split lunge- alternating leg lunges with a jump – modification: walking lunges
3. Mountain climber – knee into chest – modification: leap frog
- 1 minute – break
- 5 minute – walk/run
- Tabata Circuit 2:
1. Big jump fwd, 2 jumps back
2. Jumping jacks
3. Suicide plank – prone plank to plank on elbows and back up, and back down…
4. Bicycle crunches – done from tabletop position
- 1 minute – break
- Cool down and stretch
The entire workout should take you about an hour, with effects lasting a couple of days! Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Last year, I was asked to contribute to a book project Naturally Thin, or Discipline? Insider Secrets of the Super-Slim. The book would feature 101 women in their 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s and 60′s and their secrets to living thin.
Wow! Flattered and extremely excited, I shared my story on diet and exercise as well as my numbers with author Sally Sheilds, and she wanted to know everything; what I ate, how much, when, was I always thin, and if not, what I did about it. Did I drink a lot of water, use supplementation? What are my fitness routines, and did they include weight training? What attitudes and philosophies did I embody?
Visit www.sallyshields.com and order your copy today!
Potlucks are great, because everyone has their own thing at which they rock. Liz brings the romanoff potatoes, Kathy brings her basket cinnamon buns (the batch needs to be tripled next time), Chris makes a mean veggie chili, you can always count on Shannon for the simple syrup and/or x-rated delicacies…and it’s not a party without jojos!
Me, I make chocolate covered strawberries; somewhat healthy, oh so good and made in less than 10 minutes. I do have to confess that I borrowed this recipe from my friend Nadine, but added my own twist (although not that original of white chocolate drizzle).
You will need:
- Milk chocolate melting wafers from the bulk food aisle
- White chocolate melting wafers from the bulk food aisle
- A small plastic bag
- 2 bowls (medium and small)
- 2 spoons
- Cookie sheet
- Wax paper
- Clean hands
Here we go…
Disclaimer: The amount of wine that you have consumed before or during the making of these chocolate covered strawberries can and will effect the consistency of the dipping and drizzling chocolate.
A little running humour courtesy of my friend Peter in NYC.
Could somebody please tell me when summer will arrive?
It is not right that I considered wearing gloves for my run yesterday morning, that I spent the evening watching some fantastic ball at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship wrapped up in my Nana blanket (yes, it has a name) and that I turned my heated seats on, and didn’t turn them off, on my drive home.
Weather for Vancouver, BC
|16°C | °F||Fri||Sat||Sun||Mon|
|Wind: SE at 16 km/h|
Since there is absolutely nothing that we can do about our springter, I guess we should look for the positives:
- We all have lush weedy green lawns.
- We are reducing our risk of skin cancer, but don’t forget your sunscreen.
- Our forests aren’t going to burn down.
- Going to work on a rainy Friday isn’t all that bad.
- No 6am runs to avoid the heat.
- No chicken ranch air conditioning units hanging out of my windows!
I am not easily offended. I know that some of my clients have a love/hate relationship with me, and that’s ok, I tell them that I have thick, leathery skin. As the banter heats up, so does the intensity, which always makes me smile, you know that “bring it” smile.
But when I was recently asked about my real job, it kinda stung.
Fitness was once a hobby for me and now it is a passion and full time gig. I take it pretty seriously. Even when I am not on the clock I am still working; looking for new ideas, reading, researching, and checking out other classes. I can’t tell you how many times my family has walked into my office only to find me on the floor contorted into some unusual position for the latest ab or outer thigh exercise that I have just found online. They used to ask me what I was doing; now they quickly leave the room before I have them on the floor practicing with me too!
I have always said that I have the best job in the world. I help people achieve their
goals; improve their confidence and self-esteem, I get to listen to great music, stay fit, have fun and “woo-hoo” while I’m at work, there aren’t many others that can say that. Of course it’s not all biceps and cute Lululemon tank tops, it’s bloody hard work. I work when most aren’t…evenings and weekends, my muscles get tired and sore, teaching outdoor programs in the lower mainland I spend a great deal of time cold and wet and sometimes I too have bloated and fat days, but I wouldn’t give it up for a minute. And just because I have done it and would do it for free doesn’t mean that it isn’t a real job, (sound the orchestra) it means it is a dream job.
1 How can someone just as short/tall/skinny/fat as me run so much faster?
Plenty of reasons why your doppelganger leaves you in the dust. Speedwork may be his religion, and you haven’t converted yet. This may be her 50th 10-K, when you’re just stepping up to the distance. He may have a new girlfriend standing on the sidelines; she may have a postpregnancy goal she’s gunning for. “Just because two people are long and lean or have a powerful build doesn’t mean they match up in terms of VO2 max, mental toughness, or injury history,” says Kristen Dieffenbach, Ph.D., assistant professor of athletic coaching education at West Virginia University. Many performance components, such as endurance, pace, turnover, and mental toughness, can be improved with planned, systematic training, except for one very significant one: genetics. “Muscle-fiber type and VO2 max are genetic,” says Jay Dicharry, M.P.T., C.S.C.S., director of SPEED Clinic at the University of Virginia Center for Endurance Sport. “That’s how some people who don’t even train can blow by you on race day.”
Running Rx You can’t change your genetic destiny, but you can greatly influence your performance by training smart, adding speedwork, tempo runs, running-specific drills, and strength training to your routine. Plus, remember there’s a reason it’s called a PR: It’s a personal record. Beat it—not yourself—up.
2 Why does my GI tract act up when I’m running?
Some people get headaches when they’re stressed. Runners get the trots. A 2008 study on 1,281 Dutch runners found that at least 45 percent complained of some gastro-related issue during the run. “The GI tract is very sensitive to stress, and running—or the anticipation before a race—is definitely stressful,” says Darrin Bright, M.D., family physician and sports medicine specialist in Columbus, Ohio.
When you run, your intestines take a double hit: The motion jostles their contents and speeds things along. Plus, blood, essential for your tract to stay on track, is rerouted to vital organs and muscles in your lower half, disrupting the sensitive balance your body has for fluid absorption and possibly causing dehydration, which can lead to cramps that force you to beeline for the bathroom.
Running Rx Dr. Bright recommends putting the ix-nay on bathroom-inducing high-fiber and high-fat foods 24 hours before a race or long run, and fueling up on benign, already-tested, plain meals.
Run stronger, longer, and faster with the latest science found in The Runner’s Body.
3 Why do I get so antsy during a prerace taper?
That two-week-ish span where you cut back training volume by about 50 percent gives you time to recover and to become mentally and physically stronger. You probably haven’t felt well-rested in weeks. “Runners typically aren’t used to having all that energy,” says Larry McDaniel, associate professor of physical education at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. “The body gets accustomed to fatigue as a ‘normal’ state.”
Your mind is probably on overdrive, too, thinking about your highly anticipated race day. “A fresh body, coupled with nerves and excitement, can drive you—and those around you—crazy.”
Running Rx Take 10 minutes to visualize the race, and then try not to think about it for the rest of the day. See a movie (avoid Chariots of Fire); read a book (stay away from Born to Run); grab a beer with a nonrunning friend; do some gentle exercise if you must. “I always find that a walk takes the edge off ,” says McDaniel.
4 Why do the nipples of some male runners bleed during a marathon, but those of females don’t?
Karmic payback for women transporting two bouncing cantaloupes for 26.2? Okay, maybe not. Sweat is a mix of water, salt, and a handful of other minerals. When the water evaporates, you’re left with abrasive salt on your nipples, which are front-and-center in a high-sweat zone. “After a few hours, a shirt rubbing against that salt feels like sandpaper,” says Dr. Bright, adding that beginner male runners are most susceptible because men typically sweat more than women, and novices take longer to complete a race. The abrasion causes chafing, which causes bleeding, which causes red stripes down the front of a white shirt, especially near the end of marathons. Women aren’t immune. Even nursing moms can be afflicted. “The skin around your nipples isn’t capable of thickening and getting stronger,” says Dr. Bright, medical director for the Columbus Marathon. The few women he has seen with bloody nipples were wearing no bra, a poorly fitting bra, or a cotton one.
Running Rx Stay hydrated. “When you stop sweating, all you have left on your skin is salt,” says Dr. Bright. “The liquid takes the edge off the salt.” Equipment fixes for men: Protect your teats with circular Band-Aids or NipGuards. Women? A moisture-wicking, properly fitted sports bra.
5 Why does the inside of one ankle get bloody from being hit by the opposite heel, but not the other?
That red tattoo is called a heel whip, and it’s from excessive rotational motion of your foot. Instead of your foot traveling in a forward plane, it makes an arc, causing your heel to nick your anklebone. It doesn’t have to be gory: Heel whips can also just dirty your inside shin. “The extra torsion can be caused by anything from the alignment in your ankle to a hip issue,” says Dicharry, who adds that one side usually bears the bloody brunt because of muscular imbalances.
Running Rx Think about pushing off through the big toe, not the pinky toe, so that your foot swings cleanly forward, and you’ll whip your ankle less. If you need more than just a Band-Aid after a run (e.g., ice packs and Advil for various parts of your lower body), a visit to a physical therapist will help you determine whether you have strength imbalances that can be corrected with single-leg exercises.
6 Why do my legs shake after a hard run?
If your rubbery, burned-out gams had a fuel gauge, it would be firmly on “E.” For beginners, the needle may arrive there as a result of sheer effort. “If your muscles aren’t familiar with a new movement, they become inefficient at contracting and can’t work in a coordinated manner, which results in shaking,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. (Veteran runners might experience this phenomenon when they attempt push-ups on feeble arms.) For others, it could be that you started too quickly. “When you go out too hard, the oxidative system doesn’t kick in as smoothly as it does when you warm up and work up to a pace,” McDaniel says. “It’s like shifting gears too quickly in a car. You deplete your energy levels prematurely.” The other cause is simply that your muscles are depleted of electrolytes and glycogen—easily accessible fuel on which they run—and the shaking is their way of telling you to fill ‘em up.
Running Rx Warming up prerun is key for beginners and vets. Start slow, and ease into your ultimate goal pace. If you’re running hard for more than 45 minutes, drink eight ounces of sports drink about 20 minutes before you run; the carbs will keep your muscles humming. Postrun, if you’re trying to shake the shakes, walk around, stretch gently, and grab quick fuel, like a sports drink.
7 Why does coffee speed up more than just my legs?
A pre-run prereq for many runners to clear the system on their own terms, java stimulates the muscles in the GI tract faster than Mother Nature; some reports say coffee jolts your system in as little as four minutes. Once you’re out on the road, proceed with caution: Many energy gels have caffeine in them, which may cause your intestines to move as quickly as your legs.
Running Rx In the weeks before an important run or race, determine how much coffee you need for an evac, then sip and lighten your load accordingly. Also, figure out if you can tolerate caffeinated gels. Plan B: Pick a route with a few public restrooms along the way, so you can properly do your business.
8 Why do I feel nauseated after a long run?
You put in 18 miles to be able to eat a burrito, not to feel pukey thinking about one. Blame the decreased appetite on chemistry; a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that a 60-minute session of treadmill running increased the amount of the gut hormone peptide YY, an appetite suppressant, and suppressed acylated ghrelin, an appetite stimulant. Full-on nausea? “There’s a good probability you haven’t fueled properly during the run,” says Ilana Katz, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., a sports nutritionist in Atlanta. A lack of fuel in your body sends it into a stressed mode, that fight-or-flight mentality where survival—not eating rice, beans, and guac—is key.
Running Rx Try to prevent the problem by taking in about 60 grams of carbs per hour, either through a sports drink, gel, or regular food during your run. “The body can process about one gram of carbs per minute,” says Katz. Postrun, try to knock back something easy, like a recovery drink, within 30 minutes. If you can’t eat right away, don’t worry too much. “Appetite loss is typically short-lived,” says Katz. “Within an hour or two, suddenly you’ll have a major one.”
9 Why do I get headaches during or after a run?
It’s not just because you know you’re returning to the mess you ran away from. Headaches stem from a range of causes, from simple (a too-tight hat) to complex (a proclivity for migraines). Two of the most common reasons are tight muscles and poor hydration. “The trapezius attaches high on your scalp, so if you hold a lot of tension in your upper body as you run, your head could ache,” says Dr. Bright. Headaches are also a symptom of both underdrinking and overdrinking.
Running Rx Shake out your arms and hands and teeter-totter your neck as you run. At home, hold your left ear toward your left shoulder, right toward your right; repeat with the chin. Nail your beverage needs by weighing yourself before and after an hour run (without drinking). Each pound lost equals 16 ounces of fluid you should drink per hour.
10 Why do my bending knees sound like Rice Krispies when I walk down the stairs?
Snap, crackle, pop? Crepitus, the medical term, happens when cartilage, the connective tissue between bones, starts to age, says James Wyrick, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and associate professor at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. We all start life with quiet, smooth cartilage between our kneecaps and thigh bones, but over time, it becomes gray and old and doesn’t regenerate; most people older than age 30 have some mild crepitus. Weak quads or a tight IT band can pull the kneecaps out of alignment and exacerbate the wear and tear.
Your knees pipe up when they bend past 30 degrees because the kneecap tracks into a groove in your femur—that is, cartilage-weak bone grinds into cartilage-weak bone. “The intensity of the pressure and the different contact points in the groove make the noise,” says Dicharry.
Running Rx “Cracking knees may lead to problems down the line, like arthritis,” says Dicharry. Minimize that chance by strengthening the muscles that control the hips and knees, and keep your lower half in alignment, such as clamshells for the hip; squats for the knees (runnersworld.com/kneestrength).
11 Why is it easier for me to run in the morning and so hard to rally at the end of the day—or vice versa?
Your natural bird persona—lark or owl—is partly determined by genetics. Housed in the hypothalamus, the portion of the brain that also controls sex drive and appetite, your biological clock is difficult to alter. If your forebears coherently discussed the Middle East situation at 7 a.m., you’re likely to feel sharp before the sun comes up, too. If they thought 9 p.m. was the perfect time for dinner, you probably are happy staying up late. “Natural morning people seem to hit their lowest body temperature earlier in the night than evening people do,” says Chris Kline, an exercise physiology researcher at the University of South Carolina who specializes in sleep research. “Their body temperature is warmer when they wake up, so they’re much more ready to go.”
But even early birds aren’t primed to perform at sunrise. “Typically, aerobic capacity is slightly lower in the morning because of a lower core temperature and lower levels of hormones that affect performance,” says Matt Fitzgerald, co-author of The Runner’s Body: How the Latest Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer, and Faster. In the late afternoon, the body is naturally the strongest and most flexible it’ll be all day, plus your aerobic capacity is at its highest. “Emotional moods and motivation have been shown to peak in the late afternoon,” says Kline. “Nobody really knows why, but people are typically more willing to push themselves harder in the afternoon.”
Running Rx If you want to hit the track at 6 a.m.—and not hit anybody there over the head with a coffee cup—expose yourself to light, the easiest way to wake up your body, as soon as the alarm goes off. Also, realize that as you age, you naturally become more of a lark. Want to extend your staying power? Exercise either outside, if the sun is still out, or in a bright room two to four hours before bed. “It’s tough to fight biological tendency,” says Ronald Kramer, M.D., medical director of the Colorado Neurological Institute Sleep Disorders Center in Englewood, Colorado. “The important thing is to exercise, any time of day.”
12 Why am I so sore after a marathon, when I’ve done 22-mile training runs?
Did you do your training runs with crowds yelling at you and competitors around you unconsciously prompting you to run faster? Thought not. Whether you’re a 2:30 or a 5:30 marathoner, your race-day pace tends to be at least a smidge—and possibly lots—faster than training days. That’s the difference, says Dr. Bright, between being pleasantly and painfully sore. “You accumulate lactic acid in your muscles by pushing the pace, which brings on premature fatigue,” says Dr. Bright. “Plus, the extra mileage—very few people do a 26-mile training run—causes more micro tears in your muscles, and it’s likely your muscles haven’t totally healed from your training. Race day, they get even more beat up.” The combination nets marathonitis, an acute condition that demands stairs be taken backward and the size of a stride be cut in half.
Running Rx A huge fan of ice baths, Dr. Bright recommends the anti-inflammatory plunge, postrace, for at least five to 10 minutes. Don’t bother taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen. “The newer studies show they really don’t do that much for inflammation,” says Dr. Bright. “And they can potentially put your kidneys at risk.”
13 Why do my legs twitch in bed at night after I’ve run that day?
If your legs are still moving when you’re under the covers, chances are you skimped on a postrun meal. “When you work hard and sweat, you excrete a lot of sodium and calcium, two electrolytes that are responsible for muscle relaxation,” says Olson. “Being iron deficient, especially for women, can also contribute.”
Running Rx Get up and head to the kitchen for a glass of milk and some pretzels. To stave off future problems, make sure to include dairy, salt, and iron, found in lean red meat and spinach, in your meals after a run.
14 Why do my toenails go black?
For regular runners, a black toenail is not a matter of if, it’s when,” says Dr. Bright. Three causes of the black badge: a too-short shoe; a toenail that comes into contact with the roof of the shoe too often; and a runner who uses his toes to grip too hard. However it happens, the result is the same. Blood vessels under the nail break open, which spill blood (which looks black under the opaque nail) into the area between the toe bed and the toenail. “That area isn’t accommodating to blood collection: It’s rigid and restrictive,” says Dr. Bright. “It builds up a lot of pressure quickly.”
Running Rx If the pressure is bothering you and you can handle more hurt, press the end of a paper clip or safety pin, heated with a match, through the nail. “That’s a pretty painful proposition,” says Dr. Bright, who recommends the gentler touch of a doctor. Do it sooner, while the blood is still fluid. If the pain decreases and doesn’t bother you, no need to take action. Either way, the skin below it will heal, the nail will die and fall off. Don’t worry, it’ll grow back someday.
15 Why is it mentally so tough to push myself?
There is, alas, no simple answer to the million-dollar question. Experts confidently proclaim two basic things: The brain controls the amount of pain to which you willingly subject yourself, and the human body inherently does not like pain. “Our brain discourages us from running to the point of disrupting the physiological homeostasis that our bodies depend on to preserve life,” says Fitzgerald, author of Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel.
“The brain won’t actually allow a true, 100 percent effort.” Robert Weinberg, Ph.D., a professor of sports psychology at Miami University in Ohio, adds that one’s goals may not be aligned with what one is truly willing to physically endure. “You may think you want a sub-three-hour marathon, but you may not be interested in doing the hard work it takes,” he says.
Running Rx “You have to train to suffer,” says Fitzgerald, adding that many runners embrace one type of suffering—usually the high-volume grind—but not the lung- and leg-burning type that creates speed. He recommends intervals, hill repetitions, and tempo runs at least once a week to build your mental muscle. “Discomfort should be an explicit objective of the workout,” he says. Realize you’re not up for that pain? Weinberg suggests pushing yourself more moderately by running with people who are slightly speedier than you are. The peer pressure will unconsciously make you mentally stronger—and faster.
16 Why do I get side stitches?
That pain that rips through your midsection, usually on the right side? Chalk it up to the act of breathing. Or, more accurately, to your diaphragm, the muscle that controls your breathing motion. “It attaches to the liver on the right side,” says Dr. Wyrick. “When you run, the attaching ligaments stretch, which stresses the diaphragm and causes pain.”
Running Rx Slow down or walk so you can take deep, full breaths. Grabbing your right side and squeezing it to support the liver may also end the pain. Another option: When your left foot hits the ground, exhale, which causes your diaphragm to rise; inhale on your right foot, and it falls down, which decreases the stretching. Finally, keep training. Side stitches typically happen to beginners. “Over time, the ligaments become conditioned to the stress,” says Dr. Wyrick.
17 I use the bathroom right before I start, so why do I have to pee midrun?
The urge to detour into the bushes can happen for a couple reasons, says Craig Comiter, M.D., associate professor of urology at Stanford Medical School: As your heart pumps blood more rapidly around your body, your kidneys may produce more urine, especially if you were well-hydrated prior to your run and you drink during it. You may also be dehydrated, and the concentrated urine in your bladder may give you that gotta-go feeling; or, due to a slightly weak sphincter combined with the jostling of running, a bit of urine may leak through the bladder and stimulate the urethra, making you wish you could cross your legs while running. (Pregnancy causes the need for more pitstops, too.)
Running Rx Take a pee break, says Dr. Comiter. If it happens a lot, schedule a pit stop at a urologist’s office.
18 Why do I feel like a genius after a run?
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a great 10-K is that, postrun, you’re sure you could score 1,600 on the SATs (2,400 if you’re under 25) —or at least improve. “Running increases levels of positive neurotransmitters, like endorphins; norepinephrine, which is responsible for alertness; and serotonin, which helps regulate mood,” says Fitzgerald. “Plus, running puts the brain in an ‘alpha-wave’ state, which is associated with feelings of calmness and well-being.” A handful of studies have documented that moving your feet correlates with improving your brain; two conducted at the University of Illinois found that 30 minutes of exercise resulted in up to a 10 percent improvement in cognition, or being more effective in processing a problem or situation. Maybe that stellar score isn’t out of reach.
Running Rx If you really have to ask, maybe you should go for a run.
19 Why does my nose run as fast as my feet?
Don’t chalk it up to empathy. A runny nose, a condition called exercise-induced rhinitis, is most likely due to the increased air flow; as your breathing rate increases, your nose kicks into hyperactivity. “Cool and dry air—or both—have been shown to increase secretions, similar to what we see in exercise-induced asthma,” says James Sublett, M.D., allergist and professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. If you’re self-conscious about your drippy schnoz, know you’re not alone: A 2006 study, published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, surveyed 164 exercisers and found that 40 percent had a runny nose while exercising inside, and 56 percent had one outside.
Running Rx If your runny nose is a serious issue—it continues to run long after your workout and into your very important presentation—you might consider taking an antihistamine, such as Claritin or Zyrtec, or using an over-the-counter saline nasal spray prior to your run. Otherwise, stuff your pockets with tissues, and perfect your farmer’s blow.
20 At the end of a long run or race, why do I question the meaning of life?
I had a client who told me at the end of a marathon, she could see the Virgin Mary,” says Manuel Villacorta, M.S., R.D. “She felt like she was dying.” One of the prominent symptoms of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is angry, depressing thoughts. When your body isn’t receiving the glucose it needs to perform, your brain, the air-traffic controller of your body, springs into action, sending messages—Why are you out here anyway, stupid? —for it to shut down and self-preserve.
Running Rx The day before a long run, eat three nutritionally sound meals and make sure your body’s fuel tank is topped off before you head out. During the run, take in about 30 grams of carbs every 30 to 40 minutes. Before you head out, line up your answers to the inevitable questions (or at least draw up your will).
By By Dimity McDowell