November 06, 2008

Warning: running can be dangerous to your health

I know what you're thinking: heart attack, knees problems. However, I will bet that you never, ever considered this.

Thanks to the lovely and talented Helen for the link.

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November 20, 2008

Public service announcement

For the 3rd or 4th year in a row (I'm too lazy to check), I'm posting a PSA for the Great American Smokeout, which will occur on November 20 this year.

More information found here, although it appears as though the date still refers to 2007.

Update: And Bill gets into the act as well.

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July 07, 2008

Well, that was hard

I finished Week 1 of the Hundred Push Ups training program, or rather I should say that it finished me. Based on last week's results, I'd say that there's a better than average chance I'll have to repeat week #2. However, I'll wait until this coming weekend to make that determination. Regardless of how this week -or any subsequent one- turns out, I'm confident that I'll be able to post about my success at some point.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today.

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June 26, 2008

Get strong

Via Joe Carter comes this: The Hundred Push Ups Training Program. It's a pretty good 6 week program to get you ready to, umm, perform 100 pushups. I'm fairly certain that I can squeeze it in, although my fitness time is kind of tied up right now training for the Richmond Half Marathon (it's been a decade since I ran that distance).

Anyway, check in at the website in 6-7 weeks. You might see my name listed among those who successfully completed 100 pushups.

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June 17, 2008

And now for something completely different

I'm not much of a runner. Okay, I do run, but I'm kinda slow. I can disguise that fact a little bit by running long distances, such as the half marathon, which I've run 6 times in the past. However, when Suntrust became the sponsor for the Richmond Marathon, they dropped the half, for reasons which continue to escape me. As it turns out, marathons with sister halfs are pretty popular these days, so Suntrust is, at long last, bringing the half marathon back to Richmond. And I'm going to run it. Again.

Things are a bit different for me now. I injured my knee some years back after my daughter was born, which prevented me from running without pain. After rehab, I continued to not run without pain, although with some new unwanted pounds that slowly took up residence in and around my midsection. So I started running again in January 2007 and have run in a few races, mostly of the 5k and 10k variety, although last week's James River Scamble added some brutal hills into the mix. Now I want to get ready for the 13.1 miles that I'll have to run and I don't want my time to be too slow. For me. I don't really care what other people think. My best time in a half marathon is around 1:48, which time I don't expect to beat this year as I'm really, really slow now. I can run 9-10 miles right now, but I'd like to add a little speed to the mix. I started searching around for some training tips and stumbled onto this 9 week training schedule over at Runner's World. Excerpt:

Presenting a can't-fail nine-week program for beginners, experts, and everyone in between. For some time now, the half has been the hottest race distance out there, with dozens of new events springing up all across the land. Here's why: For newer racers who've maybe finished a couple of 5- or 10-Ks, the half offers a worthy-yet-doable challenge without the training and racing grind of the marathon.

For more experienced athletes, training for a half bolsters stamina for shorter, faster races, plus it boosts endurance for a full 26.2-mile challenge down the road. In fact, the half is the ideal dress rehearsal for its twice-as-long kin. And unlike a marathon, which can leave your tank drained for a month or more, you can bounce back from a hard half in as little as a week.

So find a flat, friendly half a few months out. To get you there primed and ready, turn the page to learn about the three can't-fail schedules we have on offer.

Four Training Universals

Rest means no running. Give your muscles and synapses some serious R&R so all systems are primed for the next workout. Better two quality days and two of total rest than four days of mediocrity resulting from lingering fatigue. Rest days give you a mental break as well, so you come back refreshed.

Easy runs mean totally comfortable and controlled. If you're running with someone else, you should be able to converse easily. You'll likely feel as if you could go faster. Don't. Here's some incentive to take it easy: You'll still burn 100 calories every mile you run, no matter how slow you go.

Long runs are any steady run at or longer than race distance designed to enhance endurance, which enables you to run longer and longer and feel strong doing it. A great long-run tip: Find a weekly training partner for this one. You'll have time to talk about anything that comes up.

Speedwork means bursts of running shorter than race distance, some at your race goal pace, some faster. This increases cardiac strength, biomechanical efficiency, better running economy, and the psychological toughness that racing demands. Still, you
want to keep it fun.

The novice schedule looks a little underwhelming, while the intermediate schedule looks a little taxing. I'll probably shoot for somewhere in between. Regardless, it will add some structure to my training, which is probably a good thing.

In case you're wondering why I'm trying a 9 week training program when the Richmond half marathon isn't until November, I'll simply state that there are other halfs between now and then which I'm thinking of using as a yardstick for my progress.

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July 11, 2007

A painful memory

First of all, let me wish Val a speedy recovery from her surgery. Everyone who wants to should stop by and wish her well.

However, her tale of woe is unfortunately too familiar to me. Before I get into the details, I'll give you a little bit of a related story so that you'll understand my state of mind.

About 24 years, while I was working as a su chef in a country club, my friend the clubhouse manager had taken several days off for repeated doctor's visits. One Sunday morning, while waiting for customers to arrive for the weekly champagne brunch, I asked him what was wrong. The following conversation ensued:

"So what was the matter with you?"

"Kidney stones."

"Bummer. I've heard that they hurt like hell."

"Yeah. They couldn't see 'em on the x-rays so they used a [cannot remember the name anymore] to take a look."

Being somewhat knowledgeable in medical stuff, I immedately grasped the implications of his comment and replied quite calmly:

"They shoved a camera up the inside of your dick?!"

"Yeah. What's worse is that they still couldn't find the damned thing. So then they tried bombarding my kidney with ultrasound to try and break up the stone."

"Did that work?"

::shrug:: "No idea. They still couldn't see it. So they shoved the [evil device] back in to take another look. When they didn't find anything again, they tried ultrasounding the little bastard again."

"Holy crap... well, you seem better. I guess that it's gone now?"

"Apparently. What the doctor said was 'The hole was probably enlarged enough so that it passed on its own.'"

I still cringe when I read that statement. Anyway, it's now a dozen years later and I awake around 5:00 a.m., experiencing some pain which, unlike others I had felt before, kept increasing in intensity. I couldn't stand, sit, or lie down in any position where it didn't hurt. However, if I stood hunched over like 95 year old man with back problems, I didn't have to try too hard to not scream. Anyway, I couldn't really drive in the postion, so I asked my mother to drive me to the hospital, all the while wondering in I was dying.

Fortunately, the guy checking people into the emergency room didn't waste any time. When I stumbled through the doors, he hit the nurse call button and had me fill out paperwork as they rolled me down the hallway.

Quick note: hospitals will not treat you with pain medication unless you've signed the consent form first thinking, rightly, that the medication reduces your ability to give proper consent. For the record, the pain was so bad that I'd have signed almost anything.

Anyway, the doctor asked a couple of questions about the pain and its location, and then followed up with the "I think you've got a kidney stone" comment. At least now I knew what made me long for the sweet release of death. And then, unbidden, came a memory which I wish had stayed forgotten:

The hole was probably enlarged enough...

Okay, so the kidney stone not only caused pain, it made me quite nauseated. The pain medication killed the agony, but it had one downside: it also caused nausea. However, pain free and vomiting was preferable to pain-filled and vomiting, so I didn't complain. Also, they were pumping in tons of stuff via the IV: the medication, fluids and dye for the stone which, hopefully, would make it visible on the x-ray.

The hole was probably enlarged enough...

After having waddle around the x-ray machine with my IV jar in tow, they had me try to go potty. As it turns out, the massive quantity of fluids being pumped into my veins had made a beeline for my bladder. This was supposed to help me pass the stone.

The hole was probably enlarged enough...

They gave me a paper cone with a mesh filter at the bottom, designed to catch anything that fell out. However, notwithstanding the pressure in my bladder, I simply could not go.

The hole was probably enlarged enough...

So I went back to the table and waited for a while, at which point they had me try again. Once again, I proved incapable of a task that I had proven quite good at since birth. It was the third failure that made me whimper a bit though.

The hole was probably enlarged enough...

It didn't take a seer to know that something bad was going to happen to me very soon if my body didn't do what I needed it to.

The hole was probably enlarged enough...

Finally, on the fourth try, a little pebble went ::plop:: into the cup. I think that I wept a little, although I'm not entirely clear on whether it was from happiness or pain.

In any event, I then spent a couple of hours sleeping waiting for my mother to come back. The pain went away and it hasn't returned yet. Hopefully it never will. One of the more horrible things that the doctor told me was there are some people whose bodies form kidney stones every few months. Every few months. I've sliced off the tip of a finger before (no bone, it grew back eventually) and the pain from that little mishap wasn't in the same ballpark as the kidney stone pain. It didn't even play the same game.

Anyway, go wish Val well. And wish yourself a kidney stone free life.

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November 17, 2005

Public service announcement

Well, it's almost time for the annual Great American Smokeout, where smokers who really want to quit prove to themselves that they can stop smoking for one day. This year's date is November 17. For more information, go here.

This post will stay at the top of this blog until November 17 has passed us by.

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