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Showing posts from April, 2014

Body fat, weight and set point theory

Ever feel like it's game on with your exercise and diet plan, but you're not seeing progress on the scale?

There's a solid piece in my new book "Mind Over Diet" that unpacks how your body reacts to its set point. There's an emotional, psychological and physical dimensionality to how your settle in with a specific weight range and body fat profile.

I was intrigued when the following input came into my inbox today. It's another update from blog reader and Mind Over Diet adherent David Campbell. David is a former vascular surgeon, so I'd give his medical perspective a lot of credence. What resonated for me was that on some occasion, we eat to satiate emotional needs, while on other occasions, our bodies are making a physiological response.

David thanks...and keep us posted on your Mind Over Diet progress!

I have a couple of thoughts on your set point discussion in MOD.

 In medical school ( this was back in the 80's for me) they taught a lot about set p…

Sony sport headphones gone forever

One of the best running products ever made is no more.

Several months ago, Sony did away with its Sony MDR-W08L Vertical In-The-Ear Headphones.

Yes, I know they're old school, but the sound is good and they stay in place, all the time. I have run thousands of miles with these headphones and can attest they fit well, lock into place, and offer a nice mix of bass and treble.

I used to buy 5-6 pair at a time from Amazon, at about $8 a pair. I'd run them hard and sweat them out, then go to a new pair in six months or so.

Imagine my surprise when I tried to re-order and found out they were discontinued. I actually went as far as to call Sony, where a disinterested customer service rep tried to steer me towards Sony's more modern wrap-around-the-ear model. I have tried several models and brands and don't appreciate the fact I have to readjust them every 5 minutes. Once you've been on the roads and trails with the Sony MDR-WO8L, anything else is second place.

It's ea…

"Dream a little dream" with Int'l Mountain Bike Mag

Here's another great "free" Internet opportunity: Check out the latest issue of International Mountainbike Magazine @

It's hard to do, but this online pub captures the spirit of adventure in both still photos and a great option for interactive videos that are implanted within many of the pages.

Let' me be honest: My mountain biking experience has little or nothing to do with these youngsters and their ability to get air. However, I also noted that every other caption indicated that the rider in the pic was currently injured! I guess coming down hurts a lot more than going up.

But, no matter the age, we can all dream. I can remember those magical days in the mid 1980's when mountain bikes were just coming out...and we were tearing up the trails...anyone remember elliptical chainrings?

What ever your ability or disposition to taking chances, mountain biking is inclusive (I write about my "stay alive" technique in &q…

Crickets in your protein bar?

I was listening to Ben Greenfield on the Endurance Planet podcast while jamming on the strider machine this morning.

A great discussion ensued regarding protein sources. Of course we have casein,  whey, plant based, soy...but crickets?

Ben mentioned that he enjoyed a new brand of cricket protein bars, made by Exo. Here's a link for more info:

And here's a bit of promo talk from the site:

Exo will introduce to the West one of the most nutritious and sustainable protein sources in the world: insects. Through combining cricket flour (slow roasted and milled crickets) with organic and all-natural ingredients such as raw cacao, dates, almond butter and coconut, we have created a bar that is high in protein, low in sugar, incredibly nutritionally dense, and packed with omega 3 fatty acids, iron and calcium. Our bars are free of: unnatural sugars, gluten, grains, dairy, soy, artificial preservative…

Pre-riding the Beach Mountain Century

Monday was an add-on break connected to the Easter weekend. So, instead of drinking 12-packs like many others in the parks were doing, a small group of us opted for a big dose of punishment, pre-riding the new Beach Mountain Century loop.

Here are all the details on this flog-your-way-to-the-top epic ride:

We took a 10 am start out of Valle Crucis, with an immediate climb up 194 into Banner Elk. If you have not made this climb, well, you better come over and try it for yourself. If it wasn't for the casual attitude and pace of ride leaders Paula and Dave, I would have packed up the tent and went home. You have to take it ever-so-easy on the long climbs and then enjoy the descents on the other side.

Near Bethel, we did the Cat-1 level climb on Stone Mountain Road. It's 1.5 miles of body pain. You'd think cycling was in the legs, but you're putting so much into it that when I got home, it felt like someone got after me with a ball b…

Umstead 100 revisited: Living in the afterglow

A couple of weeks have passed and that gives an opportunity for thought and reflection. Here are a few more add-ons to my Umstead 100 report:
The 2014 overall winners, John Dennis and Liza Howard, completed Umstead in roughly 1/2 the time of us back-of-the-packers. That says a lot for them...and it says a lot for us.I'm a big fan of Dr. Scholl's "Active Series" inserts. They contribute additional cushioning and it helps over the long haul. I used them inside my Brooks Cascadia 5's. I really enjoy that trail shoe, but I wonder how a low heel drop model like the Brooks Transcend would play out over 100 miles.There's a great link on the Umstead 100 home page regarding blister prevention: I don't have 100 mile feet, never have, and deep blisters become excruciating. I got the bright idea to use some second-skin-like blister gel packs on the balls of my feet. Within a lap or so I felt them shift up and scrunch under m…

The threat of heart failure in endurance sport

Sad story in the regional news: Two runners fell over dead at the recent Raleigh Marathon.

It's unfortunate, but these stories are not uncommon. Check out this great input from my friend and Master Competitor reader David Campbell:

Very sad to hear that. There was a runner in Dallas who collapsed at mile 12.5. I think people pick up the pace near the end and their heart rate can't take it so well. I was about 100 yards away. Before I could get there some one jumped on the fallen runner, did a few chest compressions and up jumped the runner looking ready to fight the next person who did that to him!

As a cardiovascular surgeon I always adhered to the fact that exercise does not cure cardiac disease but rather unmasks it. There is a large portion of the population with significant cardiovascular disease that are asymptomatic until  they exercise and hit a critical heart rate. …

100 mile ultras 1989-2014. Rest in peace.

Slow, methodical, pace. Self-negotiating each loop, hill and finally every step. I finally found my way to another official finish at the 2014 version of the Umstead 100 mile, held this past Saturday at Umstead State Park near Raleigh, North Carolina.

I crossed the line in 27:41 (unofficial) and went into the lodge for some pancakes.

It was a great year to make a comeback. I made a finish at this fine event in 2008, then came back for a DNF with 50 miles in 2012 and another DNF with 62 miles in 2013. This time around, I set my mind on survival as the primary goal. I jogged/walked to around half, then started the "ultra shuffle" the final four laps.

I have never been fast and now, at 57, I'm getting slow(er). The margin for success fades. Umstead is eight (8) 12.5 mile loops on a scenic, somewhat hilly, hard packed dirt path. The 30-hour cutoff hovers in the back of your mind all day.

A huge Umstead shout-out to the fine aid station volunteers, who offer a turnkey operat…

Brooks Transcend: It's good for what ails you

DISCLAIMER: I'm a Brooks promotional athlete. Have been for a long time, almost 20 years. So, in a research sense, I may be biased.

Now that I have that out of the way, let me post a quick shout out to the new Brooks more-is-better model, the Transcend. Here's a promo statement from the website:

"Explore plush new worlds and leave behind the traditional laws of comfort with the all-new Brooks Transcend. On a mission to maximize the Float experience, every element of this shoe was innovated using biomechanical insights. From the Ideal Pressure Zones that disperse impact to the Guide Rails that provide on-demand support, not to mention the plush comfort of Super DNA cushioning, the Transcend’s thoughtful design will blow your mind. Head reassembly not included."

Let me add a few comments. I'm a guy who has run in almost every shoe Brooks ever made, from the early days into the more recent Pure Project line. I may be on the trail in Cascadia, then g…

Oak Mountain 50K + 2

It's been a while, life got in the way of my blog posts.

Shame on me, so I'm going to play a bit of catch up and pepper you with master competitor updates. They may be short and sweet, but I hope useful in your own fitness and nutrition planning and execution.

A couple of weeks back, I finished the Oak Mountain 50K + 2.  I had to rename the event for your benefit, in that the event does play out at 33 miles. When you're my age and my speed, two extra miles is a ton!

I truly enjoy Oak Mountain State Park. I mountain bike there quite a bit and know the main trails. But the ultra is a different game. At one point, we were hand over hand rock climbing over the crest of a waterfall. That surely will reduce your minute-per-mile pace.

A confession: I'm directionally challenged, daydream too much, and get lost. Here's a big shout out to my two trail partners on the day, CeCe and Rob:

We made quite a day of it, talking, tell tall tales, and most of all, staying on course! …

The book launches

It's been a long journey, but "Mind Over Diet" is live on Amazon Kindle for digital sale. The paperback version will be accessible in a few days.

I have been working to develop a promotional campaign, so I'd ask that master competitor readers spread the word. This book is different from the others, in that it prescribes very little. Instead, it asks you to step forward one small increment at a time, taking ownership and building your own success story.

Here's an intro teaser:  Ever hear of the "naked test?"