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Archive for April, 2009

Running On A Boat

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Get your towels ready.  It’s about to go down!  Forget land, you’re on a boat (be advised there are some curse words in the link to this song but it’s still funny nonetheless)!  You’ve got your swim trunks and your flippy floppies but make sure you bring your training plan and make some extra copies…in case there’s a dolphin splashing and getting everything all wet or something.

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As summer approaches you may have plans to travel on a cruise boat.  I know, you never thought you’d be on a boat but this is as real as it gets.  Just as real as maintaining your running habits and training prowess.  It can be difficult to keep up with your running while vacationing on a cruise boat.  Not only do you have less time and less surface area to run on but you also have all the food you can eat, 24 hours a day.  I suggest you take advantage of the abundant food and making sure you offset it by continuing to run your training plan.  Here are some ways to help you do that:

Run at Port:  This makes sense right?  You are traveling on a cruise boat so you can visit a different places so why not take your own running tour?  Typically the areas closest to cruise boat ports are geared toward tourist so get off the beaten track and get a real feel for the area and the culture.  However, be very careful.  Do not run alone.  Run the whole time and do not stop in area where there are no other people around.  Do not run at night.  Unfortunately cruise port areas typically have high crime rates.

All Feet on the Deck:  Most cruise boats have a small track on one of the upper decks.  It is usually about 1/4 of a normal track loop so be prepared to do a lot of rotations.  A great running work out I came up with so I didn’t have to do as much distance on the small track is called the Starboard Sprint.  It is an interval run in which you sprint when you are running straight into the wind and then jog the rest of the loop.  It’s a great work out and it allows you to enjoy the cool sea breeze.  Finally you can use trade winds to your advantage!  Toss your head back and forth, let your hair down, and extend your arms straight out like Leo for full effect.

Treadmill:  More like dreadmill…seriously though, it is a viable option to keep training when you’re on a cruise boat; however, it isn’t the same as running on a treadmill on stable land.  The boat has a lot of movement which can make it difficult.  Try running on it at times when the boat is not swaying very much; like when it is close to port.

Get your run in and maintain your figure and training while on vacation.  After your run sit back and relax.  Take a picture.  You’re on a boat!  Like Kevin Garnett, anything is possible!

Vibram Five Fingers Review

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Yes, I’m writing about something I have not tried yet.  Sometimes our job is to start conversations, spread information, and increase awareness.  I mean it is the Internet and all.  I’m Chris Barber and I just found the Internet.

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So I’ve heard a lot of talk about Vibram Five Fingers this past week and I thought it was something I should share with you.  One of the places I saw people talking about the Vibram Five Fingers was in our Running Forum. Here was the answer that was given:

“They’re just about as ugly as your feet — though more colorful!

As far as running in them, there are a lot of people doing it. For example, see this interview with a runner who’s done 2 50Ks and 2 marathons in his FiveFingers.

There are also many types of Vibram Five Fingers depending on what type of activity you plan to use them for.  More info on styles.

It’s hard to argue with the fact that your feet were designed by 10s of thousands of years of evolution to handle the pressures of walking and running around the earth without wearing padded shoes. In other words, most sneakers are messing with mother nature’s plan for your feet — to be unshod and free.  More on this here.  And more on VFFs generally.”

A Plan to Motivate Yourself to Always Go Running

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

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My cross country coach from High School came up with an idea called “the 20 minute rule.”  No, it doesn’t have to do with how long a piece of food has been on the ground before you can’t eat it, it’s about getting out and running for 20 minutes everyday no matter what.  We all make training and running plans but some days your body or mind tells you that you don’t feel like running.  First of all, stop listening to your mind, it only tells you what you want to hear.  Secondly, why are you thinking about not running?  Well, if you do find yourself in this situation you need to make the 20 minute rule a part of your life.  I know you already have enough rules in your life, but this one is different, it is actually for your own benefit.  Finally a rule all about you!  Well, other than the rule at your local grocery store about not shopping while dripping sweat.  You probably should have showered after your run last week before you went there.  That was pretty embarrassing.

The reason the 20 minute rule works so well is because it solves every run or not to run dilemma.  Some days you feel like you are too busy to get your run in.  Not true.  You always have 20 minutes.  You stayed up late the night before and are not able to get up early enough in the morning to get your run in, now you’re already behind in your daily activities.  You have a busy day and don’t get home until 100o at night and still have some things to do before retiring to bed.  Go run for 20 minutes right when you get home.  Everyone can squeeze 20 minutes out of their day to exercise no matter how busy you are.  For instance, instead of watching that episode of Bret Michael’s ‘Rock of Love’ to relax a bit before heading to bed, go on a quick 20 minute run.  Running is a better way to decompress and reduce stress anyways than watching a bunch of groupies throw themselves at an old rock star.  Man, Bret Michaels must constantly be stressed!  He has to run more than 20 minutes a day.

The other situation we all find ourselves in is when we aren’t feeling well physically.  The 20 minute rule does not apply to injuries.  If you are injured and should not run then don’t do it.  However, if you are feeling a bit under the weather but are still able to get out of bed, then you are still able to run for 20 minutes.  The point here isn’t to continue to break down your body (you must compensate for exercising while under the weather by taking the right medicine and hydrating), but help you not lose the level of fitness you have built and make you feel better.  This is why the rule is based around a timed run.  If you are really feeling sick then run 2 miles in 20 minutes, it’s fine.  However, I guaranteed that 90% of the time you will feel better, run faster than expected, and often run for longer than 20 minutes.  Running cures everything.  If not, I’ll give you your money back.  The toughest part is just getting out and running, it’s all downhill from there…with some uphills.

There’s always an excuse not to run.  Tell me all about it…in 20 minutes.

5th Ranger Training Battalion Ranger Run, Mountain Bike Race, and Duathalon

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Have you always wanted to be an Army Ranger?  Then join the Army and go to Ranger school.  However, if you have other commitments that won’t allow you to join the Army then do the next best thing, participate in the 2009 Mountain Ranger Run, Mountain Bike Race, and Duathalon.

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The 5th Ranger Training Battalion (5th RTB) in Dahlonega, GA is hosting a 5K and 15K run, duathlon, 34K mountain bike race, and children’s 1 mile fun run on May 30th, 2009 to benefit local charities.  The courses are the most challenging and scenic trails in North Georgia.  They are the trails that Army Rangers use to train on, did you think they would be easy?  Challenge yourself in any of these events.  If you want more of a challenge than just running then try the dualthalon which starts with the 5K runners, transitions into 34K mountain bike race, and ends with a 2 mile run.  Are you more of a team player?  Perfect.  So are Army Rangers.  Teams of six people will participate in the 15K and will be required to stay together through out the race.  Just like a Ranger.  Never leave your teammates behind and finish the race together.  Use this event to bring your organization, club,  or business closer together by accomplishing a difficult tasks as one unit.  The Army has been using this technique to build teams and teach leadership for years, it will work for your group too!

Not only is this a challenging race but it is also a great event for the entire family.  Even your young Rangers can compete and challenge themselves in the 1 mile fun run.  After your family is done being all that they can be, stick around for the other activities.  There will be static displays, awards ceremony, fallen Ranger Memorial Dedication, and a Rangers in Action Demo.  What a great way to see what the men (and not women, who are technically not allowed to be Army Rangers) who are defending the United States.  There will also be a open house which will have Army Ranger combat techniques, military mountaineering, hand-to-hand combat, as well as the static displays.  What a great opportunity to take a peek into what real United States Army Rangers do!

You can register for this awesome event online or by paper.  Register by May 25th to pay the lowest entry fee possible.  The 5K and 15K are currently $25, 34K is $30, duathalon $35, a team of 6 is $100, and the 1-mile fun run is $5.  See, although the Army is uniform they are still able to differentiate prices.  Pay for what you race and stay around for the free Army Ranger entertainment!

Be all that you can be, in the 5th RTeeeeee-B…2009 Ranger Run, Mountain Bike Race, and Duathalon!  What a great way to challenge yourself and see if you have what it takes to be a United States Army Ranger!

Meals to Eat Before Running A Race

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

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As a registered dietitian and a runner I like to make sure I have a power-packed breakfast before a race.  Here are some recipes that I like.  Try them out yourself for your next big race or trail running adventure!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1-2 packets instant oatmeal

2 tbp peanut butter

1 banana

Few teaspoons chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Prepare oatmeal per directions on package.

2. Mix peanut butter into prepared oatmeal.

3. Slice banana and place on top of peanut butter oatmeal.

4. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top if desired.

5. Enjoy and good luck!

Breakfast Quesadilla

Ingredients:

2 6-inch flour tortillas

2 eggs

1/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheese (pepper-jack is perfect)

1/2 avocado

Directions:

1. Scramble eggs in non-stick pan over medium heat

2. Sprinkle half of the cheese on tortilla, scatter scrambled eggs over cheese, sprinkle rest of cheese over eggs and top with last tortilla

3. Place quesadilla on paper towel and microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until cheese melts.

4. Cut quesadilla into 4 pieces and spread with avocado

5. Enjoy and good luck!

Energizing Morning Yogurt

Ingredients:

1 container low-fat yogurt (any flavor)

2 tbsp chopped nuts of choice (e.g.- almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.)

2 tbsp dried fruit of choice (e.g.- raisins, cherries, cranberries, etc.)

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients together

2. Enjoy and good luck!

Strengthening Cheesy Toast

Ingredients:

2 slices hearty wheat bread

2 slices reduced-fat cheese

1/2 apple, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions:

1. Toast slices of bread in toaster, place one slice of cheese on each piece of toast and place in microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese melts.

2. OR place slices of cheese on slices of bread in toaster oven until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.

3. (Optional) Top slices of cheese toast with sliced apples for extra crunch, sweetness and nutrition!

4. Enjoy and good luck!

How to Fall While Trail Running…or just Running.

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

We all fall sometimes.  It’s ok, it’s not embarrassing.  Just like anything in life, it’s all about how you do it.  If you are trail running, then you look cool falling because you are extreme.  If you are running on the road, then you look cool falling because you are obviously exhausted and have pushed yourself to the limit.  So now that your ego feels better, here’s some tips to keep the rest of your body from getting hurt by a fall.

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1. Watch Yourself Falling: When you are going down on a trail run there is nothing you can do to stop the fall safely.  It is usually best not to try to grab on to anything to stop your fall.  Instead, look at the terrain you are falling on.  Make sure there is nothing dangerous like roots at your head or rocks near your knees where you will land.  Lean your body so you will hit the ground in the safest place possible.

2.  Prepare for Impact: Our instincts are to put our arms straight out in front of us to try to catch our fall.  Try not to do this.  When your arms are extended they will take the brunt of the impact.  Instead, bring your arms close to your chest with your palms facing out.  Your hands will be the first thing to touch the ground, but because they are bent at the elbow, they will have a way to absorb the impact better.

3.  Plan your Roll: Once you get your hands in position and are ready for impact, plan which way you want to roll.  You need to quickly decide where is the safest place to roll with your momentum.

4. Roll: Impact first with the hand on the side of your body that you want to roll to.  Use the second hand’s impact as a spring to propel you in the desired direction.  You don’t need to push hard at all.  Your momentum will do most of the work, you just need to give it some direction.

5.  Get Up: There are some techniques to rolling back into a run but I’m not going to talk about that.  The most important thing here to get back up.  Stop resting and keep trail running!

Why Do You Have More Energy After Running?

Friday, April 24th, 2009

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All runners say the same thing, “When I’m tired, I go for a run and feel I have more energy when I’m done.”  This doesn’t make logical sense.  How can you get more energy by expending energy?  There are two main reasons.

Runner’s High: No, not like the runner in the picture above smoking something, it’s the euphoric feeling you get from running.  Attaining a Runner’s High makes you feel like you have more energy and highly positive feelings.  It is a mental state as a result from physical activity.

Technically, a Runner’s High is associated with the release of endorphins in the brain.  Endorphins are any group of opiate proteins with pain-relieving properties that are found naturally in the brain.  The word endorphins comes from two parts: endo- and -orphin; which are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean “a morphine like substance originating from within the body.”  Knowing that human cells have receptors for this drug suggests that the body produces its own morphine like substances which it is believed can be attained by running long distances and gives us the feeling of a Runner’s High.  It’s science.

So even though you have expended a lot of energy running you feel better.  Think of it like consuming alcohol.  Alcohol is a depressant and should make you tired, but it also releases endorphins, giving you the feeling of more energy.  That’s why there are laws for how late establishments can serve alcohol, because people would be able to stay there forever consuming it.  Likewise, this is why alcohol is served 24 hours in Las Vegas, NV; it’s the endorphin capital of the world!

Runners are Healthy: The other reason runners feel better after exercising is the secondary behavior of typical runners.  Runners typically engage in healthy activities because they know they have to run and need to be fresh for it.  Therefore, they usually get better sleep, eat healthy, and engage in less unhealthy activities which gives them the ability to recover quicker, feeling the benefits of running sooner after the run.  The more you run, the healthier you will be, the better your body is able to recover, giving you are great feeling after every run.  The more you run the more energized you feel after running.  I’ll post the regression later so you can really see the relationship.

You can’t make running love you, but you can teach your body to love running.  Go ahead and teach your body how to love again.  It’s been a while.

B.A.R.E. – Bare Your Hide 5K Run & Walk

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

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B.A.R.E. or Butts A’runnin Race Enterprises is starting their new 2009 Bare Butt Chasers East Coast Race Series on May 16 with the Bare Your Hide 5K Run & Walk.  There will be a special prize at the end of the season but you must participate in at least 2 races to qualify.  Run this race and set the tone for your naked domination…of the race series.  This race takes place at the beautiful Carolina Foothills Resort in Chesnee, SC.  Come up the day before the race to do a warm up jog on the trails or just enjoy relaxing with your naked body.

This race starts on gravel roads, then through wooded trails, ending at the terrific finish line on the lawn beside the clubhouse.  Don’t worry, the only spectators for this event will be the members, volunteers, participants, and guests.  So make sure you bring guests who don’t mind seeing your body bouncing up and down on the trail.  Strollers and pets (even if they are participating naked) are not allowed on the race course.  Participants must be 21 years or older so this isn’t a young family event; however, if you have a 30 year old son still living at home then bring him along!  Race entry fee gives you access to the resort for the day but the price for one guest is $15 and the regular resort fees apply to each guest thereafter.  In order to provide the most accurate timing for the race series they will be using ChampionChip.  Don’t worry, you can attach it to your shoes.

Remember, you can run this race fully clothed or nude.  I personally am not a nudist, but have run one of these races before and still talk about it today.  Someone once told me that success is measured by how many cocktail party stories you have.  If that’s true, I want to be more successful than that Ted Turner fellow!  If this is your first time visiting a nudist resort the only thing you need to remember is to bring your own towel to sit on.   It’s nudist ettiquette.

Race registration is $25.00 by May 8th and will be $30.00 after.  Go online and register today…wait, you’re already online.  You can also print, fill out, and send in your registration form.  Either way you can register naked!  Next up, running a 5K naked!

Big Peach Running Company Event: Adventure Racer Robyn Benincasa

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

I attended an event last night hosted by a local Atlanta running shoe and accessory store, Big Peach Running Company.  It was a lot of fun and featured the guest speaker, adventure racer Robyn Benincasa.  Big Peach Running Company events are a great way for runners to come together to talk and learn more about running.  What better place to talk running than at a Running Company store?  Big Peach puts on a lot of great events which attract a variety of organizations from Get Fit Atlanta to Trail Blazers Adventure Racing.  If you are a novice runner or fitness guru, there was information available for you.  Not to mention the free food provided by Sweet Tomatos in Kennesaw!  I probably should have just mentioned that at the beginning.

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I was a real treat meeting Robyn Benincasa.  Robyn is a EcoChallenge Adventure Race World Champion, Raid Gauloises Adventure Race World Champion, has finished in the top 5 in over 20 Expedition Adventure Races, is a 10 time Ironman finisher, and is a San Deigo firefighter on an all female crew.  Obviously she has pushed herself to the limits both physically and mentally numerous times.  Robyn was able to share with the group in attendance video clips of some of the amazing stories she has had in Adventure Racing.  During her presentation I kept thinking of similar situations I had been in while in the Army in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Ranger School.  I thought to myself, ‘I had to be in these stressful situations.  Why would anyone volunteer to do such strenuous challenges?”  To push and learn about yourself.  To become mentally stronger.

This is why Robyn does a lot of corporate presentations, to motivate organizations, build leaders, and focus on teams.  Sounds like the Army to me.  Robyn was able to share some amazing stories like the local villager who was recruited to fill a spot on a team and compete in an Adventure Race without ever being in a canoe or even riding a bike!  The team finished in 2nd!  The local villager at the beginning of the race said, “I’m not sure if I can do these things, but I know we can as a team.”  The strength of teamwork is universal.  No matter who you are or where you live in the World, the team is always stronger than the individual.  This is the main difference between pushing yourself to your limits while running versus Adventure Racing.

Another inspirational story and video she shared was when her team, in 1st with a 3 hour lead, reached the final stage of the race and could not find their support team who had their bikes.  They found out that their support team was about day behind them.  Robyn’s team was visibly distraught by this news.  However, one team member didn’t lay down in exhaust and anguish, he set out to solve the problem.  He was able to break the language barrier and arrange to purchase locals’ bikes to finish the race on.  They even incurred other obstacles in the form of penalties from race officials for not using proper bicycles, although the ones there was using were far inferior to the official race bikes, and were able to overcome and finish the race.  This was a true test of mental toughness and determination.

Robyn is sharing that mental toughness and determination she has gained from adventure racing to start Project Athena.  The mission of Project Athena is to help women with breast cancer and other medical or traumatic setbacks live their athletic and adventurous dreams. Awareness for Project Athena is achieved through the ultra endurance endeavors of an experienced and high profile all-female adventure team who embody the spirit of Athena.  It is a non-profit foundation that encourages women to not just survive–but go on to STRIVE after enduring life altering yet life affirming medical conditions.  Robyn Beninecasa and Project Athena aim to keep the dream alive.  Please click here and donate to help keep this dream alive.

In order to keep our dreams alive we all have to work together to accomplish our goals.  Thank you Big Peach Running Company for organizing this great event and bringing a magnificent team of runners and experts together.

Trail Running Technique for Running a Faster Trail Race

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

“For me, it’s just the way I live my life. I grip it and I rip it….Richard Gere’s a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who’s a hero. The music that he’s created over the years – I don’t really listen to it. But the fact that he’s making it, I respect that. “  -Hansel from the movie ‘Zoolander.’

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I’ve never seen you trail run, but the fact that you are on this website learning and adding trails, I respect that.  There are many different techniques for trail running from how to cross water to techniques for whiping yourself around sharp corners.  These are all good skills to have in your repertoire in a trail race, but a better technique is to do nothing at all.  You’re good at that!  Only worry about one thing during a trail race:   running fast.  How?  By gripping it and ripping it like Hansel.  That Hansel is so hot right now.

Don’t over think the trail.  Run it at the same pace you would run on any other surface.  Of course, you have to make some minor adjustments to your stride to avoid hazards and maneuver the trail’s path, but really you just need to run fast.  The faster you run the quicker you will finish the race.  It’s math, but don’t calculate it, just run the trail!

For example, have you ever thought about a problem or conflict for a long period of time only to make the same decision you would have made when you first encountered the issue?  You just wasted a lot of time thinking.  I subscribe to the school of thought that 95% of the time your gut reaction is correct.  However, we spend 60% of our time on a problem trying to figure out that other 5% that our gut may have missed.  That’s inefficient.  It is the same on the trail.  You spend more time slowing down and thinking about how you are going to approach the obstacle than if you would have just run past, through, or over it; 95% of the time getting the same result you would have if you thought about your approach.

Often runners see a tree and a sharp turn so they slow down to be able to grab it and whip themselves around.  Don’t slow down, just whip yourself around as fast as you can.  If you are approaching water, don’t map out how you are going to maneuver it, just make a one step move in your stride.  You will instinctively know where to react to avoid as much of the water as possible without slowing yourself down.  If the water is large, I suggest running straight through it.  If there are rocks or roots on the trail, step on the small ones and barely alter your stride for the bigger ones.  Don’t let the trail dictate how you run your trail race.  Show the trail who’s boss!  You’re the one that does all the dictating around here!

Grip it and rip it.  That’s how I live my life bro and I’m correct 95% of the time.  That’s an “A” all the time.