Ah, liquid courage, it makes us think that we can dance, sing and say stupid things. Talk gets bigger, the unattainable becomes no sweat, and you are king of the world. The next day you wake up only to remember or to be reminded of your very public and LOUD declaration of said challenge.
I have a friend who after a couple of cocktails likes to challenge me to the Grouse Grind. The last one came in the form of a bbm last week. When I messaged back “how about Saturday?” I didn’t hear back. Whenever you are ready my friend.
I have to confess; my marathon declaration came after a Keg sized glass of wine. It somehow became D’s declaration as well, and when I received the text “Done and the medal to prove it” I had to put my money where my wine mouth was and six weeks later I had the medal too!
So when I was driving along my marathon-training route today, I noticed a new billboard.
Is someone trying to goad me?
Although there is no official code of conduct at the track, it does have a library like atmosphere, with the exception of the sound of an occasional whistle, well meaning coaching and gasping for air, it is usually very quiet and peaceful, almost sacred.
Not so last night.
As I made my from my car to track I noticed one of those remote control planes flying erratically (I’m not kidding) overhead. Not the kind of a plane that you would find at the toy store, the big ones that you buy from a hobby store and build.
The track is also a busy place. There are the boot campers, the teams training, walkers and runners and last night sitting at the side of the track were four 20 something guys and the pilot of the plane. In addition to all of the cigarette smoke there was a lot of testosterone and eff-bombs…ummm, hello library atmosphere and who smokes at the track?
The workout started and I tried to focus on the task at hand, but each time I passed the sausage party (it really was because now they had a boom box) I would notice other things, for instance the purse (notice I didn’t say murse) the pilot had across his chest. Was it Coach? There was nothing masculine about it. It looked like a swingpack and it didn’t work at all with his Affliction t-shirt, nylon track pants (the kind that make the swooshy sound when you walk) and flip flops. Do you have the visual yet?
I tried not to pay any attention to the plane overhead, even though it felt like it was dive-bombing me for several laps. That was until I felt it right behind me and I had to jump out of the way! Man purse was using the track as a landing strip…I swear to God if that plane had hit me I would have lost my mind! Now I have shared the track with toddlers, dogs even a tricycle, but never a plane.
I stopped for a quick water break and the plane disappeared as did their shirts and shoes (and the swing pack) and a Frisbee and a football appeared. Pilot/man purse and three others then moved to the grass in the centre of the track for a friendly game of Frisbee or football or both, leaving a lone sausage bobbing his head up and down to the sound of his boom box…ok.
With the speed work over I was now well into the cool down. Just ahead of me a group of super perky teens asked a runner to take a picture of them posing like they were in starting blocks on the track. She stopped running and took their picture. I was then accosted by the group who wanted to take a picture of them giving me a group hug. Are you kidding me? Scavenger hunt or not, sweaty people do not like to be touched by strangers and photographed.
I felt like I was on one of those ‘what would you do’ shows, and figured that at any moment John Quinones would pop out from behind the bleachers with his camera crew.
I finished my stretch quickly and got back in my car just as another carload of scavenger hunters pulled into the parking lot. Needless to say, I did not make eye contact.
Article post: July 2011 issue of Runner’s World
Hydrating foods provide plenty of fluid and healthy nutrients to fuel hot summer runs.
Here’s some juicy news: Drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine, 20 percent of your water intake comes from food. “Eating a three-ounce cucumber is like drinking three ounces of water, but better,” says Howard Murad, M.D., author of The Water Secret. Besides being water-rich, vegetables, fruits, and a few other key foods contain nutrients that can boost a runner’s performance and health. In addition to filling your water bottle, add these foods to your diet for hydration, nutrients, and a tasty change of pace.
CANTALOUPE, PEACHES, STRAWBERRIES
These fruits are mostly water and rich in potassium, an electrolyte lost through sweat. “Potassium and sodium work together to maintain fluid levels in the body,” says Wendy Bazilian, Dr.PH., R.D., author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, “which helps regulate your heartbeat and circulation.” One cup of each contains between five and 10 percent of your daily needs.
WET YOUR APPETITE
Toss strawberries into guacamole. Or make a cool soup: Blend together peaches, cantaloupe, peach nectar, lime juice, and sea salt, says culinary nutritionist Jackie Newgent, R.D.
H2O + VITAMIN C
WATERMELON, KIWI, CITRUS
Vitamin C helps maintain cartilage and joint flexibility, and these fruits provide at least a third of your daily need per serving. It also plays a role in protecting your skin. “UV rays, pollution, and sweat negatively affect your skin,” Bazilian says, and vitamin C counters those effects. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found watermelon and kiwi are nearly as healthy six days after being cut, so make fruit salad for the whole week.
WET YOUR APPETITE
Stir-fry tofu, bok choy, and scallion; add grapefruit segments. Combine kiwi with greens, avocado, pistachios, and onion. Toss watermelon with feta and mint.
H2O + CANCER DEFENSE
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene; studies link this antioxidant to a reduced risk of lung, stomach, prostate, breast, colon, and cervical cancer. While it may not seem juicy, broccoli is 90 percent water and contains compounds called isothiocyanates. A 2010 study in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry found isothiocyanates block a defective gene that causes cells to become cancerous.
WET YOUR APPETITE
Skewer cherry tomatoes and grill until lightly charred; add mozzarella balls, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil. Stir-fry broccoli with grated ginger; add minced grapes and sunflower seeds.
H2O + RECOVERY
Both fruits may help you recover and rehydrate postrun. Studies show the enzyme bromelain, found in pineapple, may reduce inflammation and speed muscle repair. “Tart cherries contain anthocyanins and melatonin, which reduce inflammation,” says Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
WET YOUR APPETITE
Skewer pineapple with chicken and bell peppers; brush with teriyaki sauce and grill. Stir minced cherries into dijon mustard.
H2O + IMMUNITY
Studies show that eating probiotic-rich foods can protect you from catching respiratory-tract infections that might otherwise thwart your run. Yogurt usually delivers between one and five strains of probiotics (healthy bacteria); kefir, a yogurtlike drink, can contain up to a dozen. One cup of each also contains 10 to 12 grams of protein, an immune-system building block.
WET YOUR APPETITE
Mix together hummus and yogurt; add lemon juice. Whisk together equal parts maple syrup and kefir for a pancake topping.
H2O + DIGESTION
One cup of cooked beans (like kidney, pinto, and garbanzo) provides a half cup of water, as much protein as two eggs, and half your daily fiber needs. Fiber keeps your digestive system moving, helps lower cholesterol, and controls appetite. “Beans are the perfect runner’s food,” says Bazilian. “They’re a balanced combo of carbs and protein, which allows for a slower release of blood sugar for optimal performance.”
WET YOUR APPETITE
Combine beans, celery, onion, olive oil, and red-wine vinegar; add herbs and salt.
Beverages with benefits
Its ideal ratio of protein and carbs helps speed postrun recovery.
The liquid found in green coconuts has fewer calories and more electrolytes than sports drinks.
CONCORD GRAPE JUICE
Research shows it has more antioxidants than other common juices.
ICED GREEN TEA
Compounds called EGCG give it anti-inflammatory properties.
EAT Better: Stick to plain yogurt (which is water-and protein-rich), since sweetened varieties can contain four or more teaspoons of sugar per serving.
By Leslie Goldman
How can something hurt when you walk but not when you run? It seems to be a bit of a pattern for me lately…maybe it’s this whole aging thing, I don’t recommend it!
I met Conny bright and early this morning, left my aches and pains at the side of the road and ran one of the most fantastic loops of Hayward Lake to date. The sun was shining, the air was warm, the pace was right (except when running through the construction zone on the dam, it quickened to the point that I felt a little left behind), the trails were peaceful and the water was a degree or two above refreshing.
Ahhhhh, I love summer runs.
Dash: to move with sudden speed
Add in a kilt, a mini sombrero, velour leopard print cut off pj’s, 11 obstacles, a lotta mud, several flesh wounds, a nasty bruise, an eye full of mud, 2 trips to the medical tent, loud music, furry Viking helmets all around, oh and a mountain climb, sound like fun? It was the most fun I have ever had in an afternoon!
We converged on Day Area Parking Lot 2 and made our way to Whistler’s (as well as British Columbia’s) very first Warrior Dash. Emotions ranged from nervous to excited, I was a little disappointed that I had not opted for a costume (next year will be a totally different story) especially when we joined at the gondola line-up to take us up to the tube park where the race was being held. There were Smurfs, ninjas, uncle-daddies and auntie mommies, but policeman in bootie shorts was my personal fav.
The line-up and the gondola moved very quickly and we arrived at our battleground in no time at all, and made our grand entrance to “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (the Quiet Riot version), how fitting. The venue was absolutely massive, tents everywhere, a beer garden, huge main stage and of course the Warrior start line.
Racer check-in was well organized and we breezed through. The first wave of racers was already coming in covered in mud, and I couldn’t wait to get started. The racer bulletin from Friday night had suggested we allow 2 hours to complete the parking, upload and check-in process. Originally some of our group were to start in the 1:00pm wave and the others in the 1:30pm wave, but we were done in just under an hour and decided to join an earlier wave.
The anticipation and the energy at the start line was crazy. In front of us was the steep hill that we had to climb; I was told that when it rounded the corner it just kept going so I was prepared for a good 20 minute grind.
At 12:30 our wave went out and charged the first hill. As I was racing with Heckter, my plan differed a little from the others. We hung towards the back of our wave and hiked the hill at a steady pace. It was tough but completely doable and we hit the top in just over 15 minutes. There was a bit of a bottle-neck at the first water station but the sun was hot and we decided to wait in line for a little hydration.
The first obstacle was not too far away. It was a series of 4’ walls that you had to climb over or crawl under. I’m not sure if the last wall was slightly taller than the previous or that my shoulders were being worked in way that they hadn’t before, whatever the case the last wall required a little more oomph to get me over.
A quick run down the hill and we hit the second obstacle. At first glance, it just looked like you had to run through a mist of water, but when you actually ran through it, the mist was actually being blasted at you and you couldn’t see at all for about 10 seconds, we called it the blinding water and of course the ground was full on mud. I liked this one, and it completely cooled you down, very well placed.
From here we made our way to the tunnel of terror. You had to crawl under a series of 2’ ish beams. I entered in on my hands and knees but after the first rock hit my knee I quickly developed a new strategy, kind of a side scuttle on my hands and feet.
After the tunnel of terror we made our way up and over another little hill and down to the great warrior wall. It was similar to climbing a 12’ wall ladder with every second rung missing. There was even a rope to help you if you needed it…we scaled it.
A second and less busy water station was just steps away, and we took in a little more hydration.
From here we made our way down a very slippery downhill section that lead to a 35’ slip and slide. The marshal said that we could go headfirst or on our butts, I followed Hecktor’s lead and went head first and as soon as my body touched the plastic I knew that it was a HUGE mistake. I made it about half way down and my hipbone went over a rock SMF! I jumped up in sheer agony and hobbled down the rest of the slide. The girl behind me must have followed the same line because she did the same thing. I think that if I were by myself I would have had a little pitty party at the side of the trail, but I put on my brave (grimacing) warrior face, clutched my wound and made my way up the mountain bike trails towards the next obstacle.
We called this one the low cargo net. Still smarting a bit from the slip and slide, I navigated this one very gently holding onto the middle beam and stepping sideways. It was all good until I had to climb out of it, I think I left some profanity on this section of the course.
Next was walking the planks. The planks were narrow a little wobbly and about 5’ in the air. This obstacle was a combined effort from Hecktor and I; you have got to love teamwork.
By this point we could hear the band playing on the main stage and we knew that we were close, and came upon the cargo climb. Note to self for next time to climb in the centre along the beam, the ropes are way less wobbly.
As we rounded the corner we could see the spectators who were cheering us on as we entered the last stages of the dash. Up another wall, and into the homestretch.
We jumped over the two rows of fire, they were small but hot! With less than a minute or so from the finish line we were completely soaked but still fairly clean…but then came the mud under the barbed wire.
I am fairly certain that this was manufactured mud, it was the consistency of pancake batter, the kind of batter that has been left on the counter too long and then mixed with little tiny rocks, it felt like it could harden and solidify at any minute. At this point I was glad that I wasn’t wearing a knee length kilt. I managed to climb under the first few rows of barbed wire without having to completely submerge myself in the mud, but the last one made sure that nobody was coming out clean and I had to climb through on my belly! It wasn’t easy climbing out either but once I was out there it was merely steps to the finish line.
What a total rush! I was absolutely filthy, I had even forgotten about my battle wound for a few minutes but once I remembered it I couldn’t wait to show it off. Turns out I wasn’t the only one!
By the time I finished taking a few pics I could feel the mud starting to harden so made I my way up to the wash station. Here it was all very civilized. We lined up and one at a time we took our turn standing and turning from front to back as many times as we could possibly stand whilst being blasted/power washed with ice cold water from a fire hose…oh and it did the job too.
Once we were relatively clean, on came the furry Viking hats.
Our timing chip also doubled as a free beer ticket. I don’t think that I was meant to ever get a free beer, because although I did remember to bring my ID this time, the line-up was insane and we were all hungry so we decided to head back down the gondola in search of a patio.
I’m not sure what visitors to Whistler must have been thinking as there was a sea of furry Viking helmets roaming though the Village….VICTORY!
A big thank-you to the race organizers, course marshals, volunteers and first aiders – job well done, and congratulations to all of the warriors, big and small.
Who should do this event?
- Anyone with a basic level of physical fitness.
Would I do anything different?
- Dress in costume.
- Not go head first down the slip and slide.
Would I recommend this event?
Article post: acefitness.org
Yogurt, anyone? Here are your choices: low-fat, organic, Greek, light, sugar free, plain, with fruit and non-fat. Huh? With so many “supposedly” healthy choices, picking a yogurt that actually delivers on its promise is no easy task.
When put to the test, San Diego-based registered dietician, Michelle Murphy Zive—who oversees two large health projects at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) that focus on childhood obesity prevention and access to healthy foods—found that a company’s advertising claims don’t necessarily correspond with the nutritional facts.
Zive’s No. 1 tip for consumers: read the nutrition label and know what to look for. A truly healthy yogurt is low in fat and sugar, high in protein and made with good bacteria. Once you find your tasty preference, eat often. Studies show that yogurt is a great snack to promote weight loss while offering numerous health benefits. The active cultures in yogurt can help with lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, H. pylori infection, inflammatory bowel disease and boost your immune system.
Greek Yogurt Craze
If you’re buying into the Greek yogurt craze, you will be happy to know that this European favorite tends to be healthier than traditional American-style yogurts. Strained multiple times, it takes three pounds of milk to make one pound of Greek yogurt, which makes Greek more nutritious. Compared to American-style yogurt, Greek yogurt also tends to be lower in sugar and fat and higher in protein, which fills you up longer. For people who are trying to lose weight, this snack is ideal for keeping your hunger at bay.
To help you sort out a yogurt aisle near you, we’ve compared several top brands:
Chobani Nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
At 100 calories per 6 oz. container, 7 grams of sugar, zero fat and 18 grams of protein (or 36 percent of your daily value) this yogurt is an excellent choice for health and weight-conscious consumers. It’s packed with nutrients, and the high protein will keep you satisfied for hours.
When you mix Greek sensibility with American sweetness, you’ll always end up with more calories. Added “juice concentrate” – in this case “cherry juice concentrate” - translates into more sugar, even if it is fruit sugar (fructose). At 21 grams, this yogurt has three times the sugar than its plain alternative. It also has 50 percent more calories. Zive’s recommendation? Buy plain and add fresh or frozen fruit.
Fage, made by the Greek Dairy Company, was the first Greek yogurt company to push its way into the U.S. market. It now faces stiff competition from Chobani and others. At 100 calories per 6-oz. serving, 7 grams of sugar, 0 fat and 18 grams of protein, the Fage Total 0% fits the bill for the traditional creamy yogurt popular in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. The preference for health-conscious consumers may come down to taste.
Honey is good for you, right? Yes, but sweet equals sugar.
Fage Honey packs 170 calories per 5.3-oz container, 0 fat, 13 grams of protein and a whopping 29 grams of sugar. That is almost twice the calories of Fage Total 0% and more than four times the sugar with less protein.
If you’re trying to lose weight, watch for added sugar. Consider this: honey has 3.8 grams of “added sugar” per teaspoon, or more sweetness than maple syrup, which packs 2.8 grams of sugar per teaspoon, but less than table sugar, which packs 4.7 grams of sugar per teaspoon.
Ninety-nine percent fat-free? That sounds great! Well, look closer and you’ll find that it’s a trick companies use to water down the numbers—literally.
The number calculates fat as a percentage of weight (milk is mostly water) or milk-fat by weight. If you add water, you will increase the weight, but keep the fat constant. This yogurt packs 170 calories, 15 calories from fat (5 percent from saturated fat), a whopping 26 grams of sugar and only 5 grams of protein. Also, made with skim milk or low-fat milk (1 percent milk-fat), this yogurt is healthier than those made with “reduced-fat” milk (2 percent milk-fat) and whole-milk (3.5 percent milk-fat), but still packs more calories than non-fat milk.
Who doesn’t want to be light and fit?
At 80 calories per 6 oz., this yogurt certainly is light in calories. And with 11 grams of sugar, it’s also quite fit for an American-style yogurt. But with merely 5 grams of protein, this snack will not satisfy your hunger for long. Take a closer look at the label and you’ll see ingredients like “phenylalanine,” which is a chemical, and “aspartame,” which is an artificial sweetener.
Most “light” yogurts are made with artificial sweeteners, some of which have been linked to health problems. Aspartame can cause headaches in some people. As a general rule, the more chemicals you find in yogurt—or any food for that matter—the less healthy it is, according to Zive.
Health-conscious consumers are often drawn to products that promise to be “all natural” and “organic.” But the food labels will reveal the truth.
This yogurt has 150 calories per 6-oz. serving and 25 fat calories (12 percent total), including 1.5 grams of saturated fat.
The government recommends limiting total fat to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Consuming two Dannon All Natural Vanilla Yogurts would get you close to the daily maximum. Also, at 25 grams of sugar, this yogurt is past the limit for recommended daily intake of sugar for adult women, which is five teaspoons, or 20 grams of sugar per day. For adult men, the daily recommended sugar intake is nine teaspoons, or 36 grams daily; and for children, it’s three teaspoons (12 grams per day).
The Bottom Line
Even if it sounds healthy, check the nutrition label to be sure.
Low-fat often really means high in sugar. Low in sugar often means high in fat, and if it’s light, it’s likely sweetened artificially. Added fruit translates into more sugar as well.
If you like it sweet, why not add your own fresh fruit and a couple of tablespoons of nuts, such as whole almonds or walnuts? A recent study showed that the extra protein and fiber in nuts increase feelings of satiety and delay gastric emptying—two ways to eat less.
Also, most Americans consume too much sugar. Zive says we can actually “train our bodies” to crave less sugar by cutting back on our overall sugar consumption. Start by eating fewer foods with added sugar and consume more foods with naturally-occurring sugars, such as fruit and low-fat dairy, instead.
Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt is a great start to healthier eating. Couple this by adding a walk, a bike ride or any other physical activity into your daily routine and you’re on your way to overall better health and well-being.
Marion Webb is the writer and editor for the American Council on Exercise and is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor