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Showing posts from September, 2011

Healthy, fit and happy: Addendum

I blogged yesterday on how master competitors struggle to find balance within a "healthy, fit and happy" measurement model.  As is often the case, I write spontaneously (the essence of blogging) but then circle back and rethink the post. So from that process comes my need to reframe the "fit" dimension.

My earlier comments led one to believe "fit" is a weight achievement goal; that's not acceptable. Fit is a comprehensive package of food intake and training.  The right fuels are being ingested and a mix of endurance and strength training is burning the calories. Weight loss feeds the desire for even better dietary intake and a higher intensity exercise.  One may hit that mystical moment when you're "on the razor"...a term used by Tour de France competitors when they're prepped and ready to endure the brutal three week contest.

That's my enhanced view of "fit."  If the diet goes to junk or your exercise slumps, you'r…

Slow Food Fast Runners 5K

I'm advisor to the Appalachian State University running club.  This is a wonderful, energetic group of college students who embrace running as part of their academic commitment. 

The club is hosting a 5K this Saturday, on the greenway and adjoining trails in Boone.  It's fun to watch the event unfold.  All profits from the event go to Slow Food High Country-Boone, part of a global organization which “works to advocate for farmers and artisans who grow, produce, market, prepare and serve wholesome food. The group seeks to raise public awareness, improve access and encourage the enjoyment of foods that are local, seasonal and sustainably grown,” according to

Here's a report on the run from our university news source:

I'm taking my commuter bike with panniers to the event and will be the roaming problem solver.  Let's give these young running en…

Healthy, fit and happy: Pick two

A while back I blogged about the balance we strive to maintain in our ultra endurance lives.  Things seldom fall into place as we would have it.  On most occasions, we shuffle the deck and push forward with the cards we are dealt.

Bicycling pioneer and wheel king Keith Bontrager developed the mantra "light, strong or cheap, pick two."  If you're into bicycle wheels, it's fun to play with the combos - you can have light and strong wheels, but they won't be cheap.  You can have cheap and light wheels, but they won't be strong.  It's a wonderful comparison model that can help you reason through how to design the product.

Our bodies are not that different.  I'll bring forward the "healthy, fit and happy, pick two" scenario for your review and enjoyment.  For on most any given day, you'll find yourself on top of two dimensions, but crashing and burning on the third.  Let's play with it for a second.

Being healthy becomes a near impossibil…

Steve Clymer: Solo coast to coast

Here's one of Boone area's finest...Steve Clymer wetting his wheels in the Atlantic in Jacksonville, FL.

Steve decided to take a vacation and spin across the USA.  He began in San Diego and approximately seven weeks later, he capped the ride.

Steve was the guy who got me to the hospital when I went down hard from a wasp sting.  He's a great leader and a powerhouse cyclist.  This is what makes our community great; individuals like Steve Clymer live as good examples and have your back when it's need.

Great to have you back, Steve.

Stay tuned for a more detailed report as it becomes available.

McDougall and Master Competitor lead run

Click through to the link below and read about the run I put on with "Born to Run" author Chris McDougall.  One big point the Appalachian State journalist missed was that we had a skunk on the trail!  Little bugger raised that back leg and we scrambled!

Plantar fasciitis cure part 2: Voodoo magic

I've been scouring the Internet, traveling deep into blog posts and discussion strings regarding my blown shoulder and plantar fasciitis.

My inflamed right foot is about 75% improved.  A good researcher will tell you that "isolating the variable" is essential in determining what the true effect is.  However, I mixed several "cures" and came up with a healing combo.

Here's the inside scoop:

Calcium and magnesium (+ zinc).  Someone posted that a deficiency in these can affect heal spurs.  But isn't a heal spur built up calcium?  Then again, who was I to question a solid source like chat on the Internet?  I ran to Wal-Mart and bought a big bottle and am up to 100% recommended dose.Magnets.  Came to realize the arch supports I found in the depths of my gear box had magnets incorporated into the arch.  If you don't know, there are healing rays emitting from aliens who live on the interior of Mars and magnets are able to attract and channel these rays int…

Packer vs. Panthers then crash and burn

My good buddy Jeff, with his wife Patti and daughter Steph, invited me to their tailgate extravaganza for the Packers vs. Panthers game in Charlotte yesterday.

I left the mountain with a scratchy throat and dry cough and summed is up as allergies.  But as the day progressed I got worse.  Got home around 8 pm, just in time to melt down.  Yuck.  Chills, cough, sore throat, and of course all that wonderful expectorating phlegm we love to embrace.  Just what are you supposed to do with that stuff?

I'm on the couch this morning minus voice, sipping coffee.  Such a busy week but as we well know, our health is everything.  Hard to take on the day when you body is in malfunction mode.

Big news is that I called the allergist, doubt I'll do the rush immunotherapy for bee things this Thursday. Hard to go from a get 'er done guy to a stay on your feet guy.

My plantar fasciitis is better but my body is worse.  Stay tuned.

Plantar fasciitis cure part 1: Anti-minimalist approach

I have been living within the minimalist running view for several days now.  Have to admit my interest has heightened and I may try a few barefoot laps on the football field very soon.

But for now, back to reality. I needed to get another run in this morning and it was time to maximize the treatment for my injured right foot.

So, with a quite anti-minimalist attitude, here's the cure I developed:

1) Pulled my Brooks Addiction off the shelf.  These beauties are full motion control models, the antithesis of minimalist shoes.

2) Slipped in a set of Powerstep insoles.  They feature a rigid, jacked up arch.

3) Slid in a pair of Dr. Scholl's sport gel inserts on top of the Powersteps - the Dr. Scholl's also have a semi-rigid arch support.

4) Put on some medium-thickness Injinji toe socks.

5) Found an old arch support wrap in my gear box.  Positioned it solid and tight at the highest point in my arch, then slipped the prepped dog into the shoe.

So there I was, jacked, locked, lo…

Chris McDougall runs at Appalachian State

Best selling author and "know your footstrike" proponent Chris McDougall was the featured convocation speaker at Appalachian State University.

Having the "Born to Run" author on campus was an invigorating experience.  Despite my trashed right foot, I sucked it up to take Chris on a trail run Thursday...then we repeated the effort for 30+ students and friends who came out for today's run.

It's great to get a new crop of runners into the woods and to watch McDougall work the crowd. He's tireless in selling the running form over product mantra.  He's a good communicator, convincing, and receptive to all individuals.

McDougall brought a real twist to convocation.  Instead of a regurgitation of the book, he told the tale of an accomplished tree climber who fell from the height of 96 feet.  Instead of screaming and flailing, the falling man filled his lungs, moved his body into a horizontal position, and used an arm to absorb impact.  Yes, there were brok…

Reader writes about cycling etiquette

Ohio ultra posse member Mike Cleary dropped a nice comment onto the master competitor blog regarding cycling and shared use of bikeways:

Thanks for this bike post. How fortuitous. Not just the organized ride but how about the casual ride. My 24 miler from my back door on the Alum Creek Bike Path just became a 36+ ride. There's a bridge over Route 33 now that lets us go all the way to Pickerington Ponds. Well, actually right now you have to climb over rebar and concrete forms with bike in hand but it's doable. Here's a little something going on along the same lines.

Just because you have a five color jersey and full bike outfit doesn't mean you are living in a different world from the rest of us. It's OK to acknowledge we exist. You could even say hello. Just because you have a $4,000 bike doesn't mean you can cross into the opposite lane when cutting corners or flying into a blind underpass. And listen, just because you and your friend have bought big cruiser bik…

The Clegg crew: 206 miles to the beach

Here's a huge master competitor shout-out to my riding buddy Jimmy Clegg. He was part of a crew of 11 hammer-heads that burned a pace line 206.6 miles from Thomasville, NC to Cherry Grove Beach, SC, this past Saturday.

This is a no-nonsense outing.  The boys blast off at 6 am with lights front and rear, then drop into pace line format with each man taking a three (3) mile pull off the front.  The group stopped every 33 miles for a 10-12 minute regroup and go.

Jimmy told me it got a bit ugly during some of the stops, but no one fell off and the cronies finished in formation at 6:15 pm.

"We had two flats, some stomach distress and leg cramps, but nothing to shut us down," said Clegg.

Jimmy had been my friend for about 25 years.  He's way out of my league, a real outlier when it comes to performance for the 50+ crowd.

Watch the embedded youtube segment...enjoy.

"Lost Art of the Group Ride"

Here's a great piece written by attorney Peter Wilborn and published on  It's a valid perspective and pertinent advice for both rookie and veteran:

Every so often, I’ll ride a recreational group ride. I love the comraderie of cyclists, the talk, the last minute pumps of air, the clicking in, and the easy drifting out as a peloton. “I miss riding in a group,” I’ll think to myself. The magic ends by mile 10. The group will surge, gap, and separate, only to regroup at every stop sign. I’ll hear fifteen repeated screams of “HOLE!” for every minor road imperfection. And then no mention of the actual hole. Some guy in front will set a PR for his 30 second pull. Wheels overlap, brakes are tapped, and some guy in the back will go across the yellow line and speed past the peloton for no apparent reason. A breakaway?! I curse under my breath, remembering why I always ride with only a few friends. Doesn’t anyone else realize how dangerous this ride is? How bad i…

Surviving the Snake 100K: Getting back in the saddle

After almost six weeks off a bicycle (except for 10 minutes prior to the crash) I made my comeback ride at Surviving the Snake metric century in Mountain City, TN.

It was a small, inaugural event with lots of potential.  Caring volunteers, nice course with ample flat stretches, nice aid stations and finish line food.

The event was initially intimidating, in that I was paranoid about riding. Was concerned about the fear of falling. But that was put behind me within the first couple of miles, when my buddy Earl and I pulled a pace line at 20 mph.

The actual "snake" was a 2.5 mile climb through switchbacks.  Nice pavement and good views.  A couple of nasty dogs on the climb but I think that's becoming mandatory in Tennessee...can't seem to go there without a bad dog story.

My shoulder adapted to the ride, but I'll admit that the constant pressure of leaning into the bars brought a deep ache.  It was probably premature for 100K but I set the goal and completed the ta…

A physician's report on Crank e-Gels

I commented on Crank brand electrolyte gels in an earlier post.  
Endurance sport friend, physician and vascular surgeon David Campbell came forward with some hard science on e-Gels.  Check out his excellent summation:
Here is my 2 cents worth on the Crank gels. Personally I really like the stuff. 
The amino acid idea is an interesting idea. Amino acids can be used to produce "energy" ( which is in biochemistry terms is ATP or adenosinetriphosphate) via the Krebs cycle. The most effective fuel for making ATP is glucose or more commonly known as fructose. Glucose is stored in the body mostly as glycogen in the liver. As you know, most of us have about 2000 cal of glycogen available before our body must switch to alternative energy sources such as fats and proteins. Consequently, fructose supplements are just like having some additional glycogen on board. The limiting factor is how fast your bowel can absorb the fructose into your system.Crank's primary benefit definitely com…

Nonagenarian is outed while running half-marathons

Here's a great story for runners everywhere:  A 90-year-old man was telling his wife he was going to local running races - to stand on the sidelines and watch.

Truth is, he's been hoofing it in the races and was "caught" when neighbors spotted him running in TV coverage of an event!

Wilf Cooper has completed six half-marathons. On one occasion, he made a race despite falling down stairs and dislocating his shoulder and breaking ribs.

But now that's he's been outed to his wife, it looks like his running career may be seeing the final finish line.

I'm checking out this 90-year-old athlete in black and am amazed at his prowess.  It's motivation for all master competitors as we pile on the years.

Check out the complete story in the Daily Mail at:

Zack Galifianakis is Curly

One big aspect of my benefit package at Appalachian State is $1 movies most every weekend.

I stepped out last night to view "Hangover 2."  Quite a few laughs and off-color humor, inclusive of the drug-dealing monkey that smokes cigarettes.

Zack Galifianakis marches to his own beat of humor.  I recently learned the quirky comedian calls Wilkesboro, NC home.  And that's also home to my wonderful mountain bike trails, if and when I can return to them.

I hit me during the film that Zack both looks like and in some ways mirrors the antics of another great visual comedian, Jerome Lester Horwitz, aka "Curly" from the Three Stooges. If I'm bringing something forward you aren't aware of, check out their official website at

Schema theory tell us we have a bunch of facts and experiences banging around in our brain bucket. If put in some specific order, our schema helps us explain the world and how it works.  If new information coincid…

Tiger Woods' status is down: Protecting your "brand"

Spotted this interesting piece of research in my daily news feed:

STILL REELING from missing the cut at the PGA Championship in Atlanta, Tiger Woods and his new agency are having to face the reality that he may be damaged goods as a sponsorship ambassador. A study from Ipsos Mori has found that almost a quarter (23%) of US consumers considered switching from brands that he endorsed following his admission of extra-marital affairs. Sponsors are often advised to stick with tarnished properties and contribute to the reform of a sport or athlete but this latest data shows Gillette, Accenture, Tag Heuer, Gatorade and AT&T were right to ditch the golf star to protect sales. Wayne Rooney was next in the survey with 14% of consumers in the UK saying his off-field antics would cause them to switch brands but this response was much higher in the developing world. Consumers in fast-growing markets like India and China were reported to be much more sensitive to the bad behavi…

Al Howie: The uncelebrated ultra man

I was checking for daily updates from the guys at and came upon an excellent article in a Canadian publication, The Globe and Mail.

The story chronicles the activities of Al Howie, one of the greatest ultramarthoners of all time.

Howie would just as well run across the United States as run a marathon. He was a low profile individual who never went for the limelight. Now, at 65, medical problems have reduced the former ultra hero to only three miles a day.

It's best if you read the story and enjoy a fine tribute to the ultra man of yesteryear: