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Showing posts from May, 2013

Fit all the way...on 7 minutes a day?

According to the New York Times Magazine, our need to build an endurance sport base may be over. The publication cited the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal, which states that  our own body weight, 12 exercises and 7 minutes a day is equivalent to a "long" run and visit to the weight room:

I'm not buying in all the way, but I do know that as we age, strength training is optimally important for performance. In other words being old, wispy and feeble sucks.
Here's my new strategy for the second  half of summer:  30 minutes less running per day, time I will reinvest in this new strength plan.  I'm going to implement it for time, with slow methodical motions devoid of rep count.
The initial sessions will seem as an eternity. But the resistance and static motion will strengthen and sculpt.  I'm hoping to mov…

Mike Weigold: The "master" of international study abroad

Here's master man, figuratively on top of the world "down under" at the Three Sisters (on left) vantage point within the Blue Mountains.

At right is Dr. Mike Weigold. Mike is my mentor, was a member of my PhD dissertation committee, and is also a visionary for study abroad over more than a decade.

I'm trying to piece this together in a master competitor post, with some connection to endurance sport. What I can profess is that all master's level athletes need a holistic approach to life, incorporating balance that promotes wellness in all aspects of the day.

That is what Mike brings to my game plan. He's a friend who seems to appreciate my presence on his world tours, first as a PhD student and now as a graduate and alumni. Mike allows me to cut running loops and also participate in his "big show" overseas.

Much of what happens can be comical but on other occasions, it's liberating. Mike is associate dean for undergraduate affairs and also a pio…

Sydney 13.1: Is course-cutting acceptable?

Here's a shot of the wrecking crew I ran with at yesterday's Sydney, Australia Half Marathon.  On left is Virginia Hamrick (who runs like a gazelle) and on right is Hannah Helms (who gutted out her first-ever 13.1 finish).

That's master man in the middle. The dazed look on my face represents some of the tomfoolery I noted on the course, related to massive course cutting by a substantial portion of the field.

Joan Benoit would not be amused (for those who can't recall Benoit, she's the inaugural women's Olympic marathon winner in 1984 who never cut a corner, even in training)

On some sections, the road would sweep to the left or right and hundreds of runners would jam through sidewalk or market areas to take a short line into the next turn. On another occasion we had an out and back section; many runners turned back prior to the final marking cone.  I was nearly steamrolled going to the final cone and making an official turn back.

I have read reports that it…

Sydney Park Run is fun for all

Here's a great civic event in Australia:  Fun run 5K every Saturday in Sydney Park. Timed and free! I have been to two, will make a third before I leave this great community.

This local fitness enhancer draws about 200 runners of all sizes and shapes. The day begins with group calisthenics; it's always good to stretch a bit and get the blood pumping!

The start area also shares space with a nearby doggie park, where canines are allowed to run free. So if you're the uptight kind, stay calm because you'll be cutting lines around dogs, kids, gaggles of runners, and other pedestrians out on the day.

It's interesting to see the wonderful support volunteers who host this event. It's run much like a pay event in the USA. Start banners at the start and finish line, corner workers, timing officials, and a good attitude by all. Some things are bigger than money.

I made one of the final turns at last week's event and a corner workers …

Australia and obesity: Fast moves and thin bodies

I'm starting today's blog with a bit of a shocker...please meet my friend "monster bat."  He and about 10,000 of his friends hang out in the trees in Cairns, then exit into the night at dusk. They are as big as hawks and make strange screeching noises.

Let's talk a bit about obesity...or in the case of Australia, the lack of obesity. It's hard to ignore the fact that after one week running and walking miles of streets, I have yet to see a noticeably overweight person.

Of course, this observation requires more study to truly delve into the facts.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics states:

In the Australian Health Survey, measured height and weight were collected to determine a person's Body Mass Index. BMI based on measured height and weight is considered to be more accurate than self-reported height and weight. See the Glossary for cut-offs for BMI.

In 2011-12, 63.4% of Australians aged 18 years and over were overweight or obese, comprised of 35.0% overw…

Warning! Beware of miscreants at dawn

Here's a great piece of advice when running in any unknown urban environment, especially when out of the USA.

I like to run early, sometimes prior to dawn.  When I am going out, the hookers/hooligans/hangover-challenged eggheads are coming out of the bars.

Some of them are angry drunk and looking for a fight, or possibly down on pocket money and intent of relieving you of your cash.

I got roughed up one time in Madrid by some soccer hooligans and it almost happened again this morning. My advice is to run wide from doorways and also around corners. Listen to the conversations and if the tone is adversarial, jog across the street and make get out of range.

It's sad to see, but my day as a runner is beginning when the night life crowd is about to expire. It's not always a fun encounter when our paths cross.

Be careful and stay safe.

Running in Sydney: A few observations

It's been six years, but I found myself back in Sydney, Australia this past week.

It's a runners paradise. Where ever you are, just head for the opera house at the harbor. I'm staying in the infamous Kings Cross area (Google it for more details) and from there can run due west to Hyde Park; at that point, I hit all my running marks from my previous visit.  Run north through Hyde's, then veer left towards St. Mary's and pick up the road leading into the botanical gardens area.You can route through that area then connect to a nice paved access to the opera house. From there, do the Rocky thing, run up the stairs, pump your fists, and claim victory.

A few comments:

There are several species of bats in Sydney. The ones in the gardens are as big as owls. We were informed they were removed five weeks prior for health reasons. Darn.

A comparison of runners, Sydney vs. a USA counterpart? I'd put the Aussie crew from bottom to top at 25% to 30% faster. Everyone has a g…