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I was out for a swim at the coast guard base this morning when I ran into a group of retirees out for their routine swim.  The guy leading the pack was 92 years and was a pilot for the Marines.  The youngster was 82.  They were all excited to be around me because I was so young.  I retired from the reserves over 15 years ago.  I stuck around to watch them swim for a little while.  They all got in the pool and started swimming laps.  This pool has no life guards and they still get out and do it.  If something goes wrong, when they are in the deep end, there is no help available.

As I was watching them in awe, they would come and talk to me.  They all talked about how lucky we were to be able to retire from the military and have the nice pool available.  They also told me that I had a long way to go and I have no excuse to stop going for a long time.

I had to agree with them that I have no excuse to stop.  This made me think of the young lady who posted a picture of herself on facebook with the caption “What’s your excuse?”.  She got a lot of abuse for being a role model.  I wonder what would happen if I went to the local news media with a picture of these nice old guys who were trying to encourage me by saying I have no excuse to stop trying?  I was honoured and enjoying myself with these guys.  I saw hope in them.

My goal with alamedarunners is to inspire hope and encourage people.  I do reviews because they are fun and a change of pace.  I was out running yesterday when I saw a guy on his balcony enjoying a smoke.  I was feeling pretty tired when I reached that encounter.  I wondered if either of us was wrong with our choice.  I don’t know which one of us spent more money on our hobbies.  I imagine mine would cost more, if I threw in the bike.  What ever you do, go have fun.

I had a lot going on between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My workout routines were and still are all messed up.  I had a routine that I followed.  The downward spiral from a messed up routine is amazing.  I found a lot of reasons to not do my workouts.  When I am in a groove, I find ways to squeeze my workouts in.  Now that I recognize the error of my ways, I am getting back into the groove.  I have a half ironman triathlon to do in July.

I got out for an easy 4 mile jog yesterday and I am none worse for the wear today.  My goal is to run the Oakland Running Festival half marathon on March 23, 14.  I just set that goal, now I have to register.  I found that it helps to have a goal.  Goals help us stay dedicated.  There are not goals like an Escape from Alcatraz swim.  If you can swim, I highly recommend doing that event at least once.  There is no goal like swimming from Alcatraz.  They San Francisco Bay does not care why you skipped your training.  It will swallow you up, if you are not prepared.

Back to running.  I did a 4 mile run because I knew that it was well within my limits.  When you take time off or messing up your schedule, take it easy.  Injuries happen, when we try to make up for lost time.  If you lost a month, take a step back and ease into your training.  I ran (jogged) 4 miles yesterday.  I rode my bike today.  I will jog again tomorrow.  I plan on running an easy 5 miles with an option to cut it short a mile, if I feel tired at mile 3.  I don’t have a running plan yet.  I am going to wing it for now.  Give me a couple of days and I will have something posted for a 2:15 half marathon training plan.

Get out and run.  Take it easy and do not get injured.  If you can run a block, do it.  Build yourself up and get strong!

Benefits of Kinesiology Tape

Injuries happen along the way, whether during training or on race day, and it is demoralizing to be sidelined with a major injury. Using kinesiology tape is a popular technique that aids in injury recovery and can be used during intense training – or on race day – to help make sure your body effectively holds together.  Instructional video available after the jump: Read more… »

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium safe.  They may be safe in small quantities but consider portion sizes.  A portion is 8 ounces and you usually get 1 to 2 portions per day.  How many soda drinkers drink 16 ounces of soda per day?  Diet soda has a negative image these days.  I did a Google search for “diet+soda” (see below for complete list).  The top 15 items were mostly negative.  11 of the top 15 items were negative.  I am not sure if the chemicals in diet soda are harmful by themselves but I would rather have the sugar over the chemicals.  I don’t think soda is harmful if you drink less than 3 gallons per year.

1.    Aspartame Facts – familydoctor.org?
2.    News for diet soda
3.    Sugar Crush: Why Diet Soda Sales Have Crashed
4.    Artificial sweetener aspartame is safe in diet soda, European review says
5.    Beer, Diet Soda Sales in Mystery Decline
6.    Diet soda – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
7.    7 side effects of drinking diet soda – Health – MSN Healthy Living
8.    Diet Soda Doesn’t Help You Lose Weight | TIME.com
9.    Diet Soda Sales Lose Their Fizz | Video – ABC News
10.  Does Diet Soda Really Cause Weight Gain? What Experts Say
11.  Diet soda: Is it bad for you? – MayoClinic.com
12.  New study is wake-up call for diet soda drinkers – CBS News
13.  Images for diet soda
14.  Diet soda news, articles and information: – Natural News
15.  Diet Coke: Home

There are concerns and studies showing a correlation between diet soda and obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  The Internet has amplified fears.  Sometimes the raising the alarm is a good thing and sometimes it is fear mongering for attention.  I do my best to eat and drink organic products but I am healthy and I can afford organic food.

The stevia plant is the current sweetener of choice by the diet fad gurus.  Stevia is regulated by the FDA under “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) which means the rules of approval bypassed the FDA under the GRAS rules.  Hmmm, we went from aspartame that was approved by the FDA to stevia that was not approved but is used under the GRAS provision.  I can’t say which is better.  I can say that if you have to choose between the two, moderation may be the best choice.

I am a regular reader of Slashdot.  They were recently bashing diet pills that are approved by the FDA.  I am a believer in things that are approved by the FDA.  Congress and big business may push laws through that affect the FDA but I think the FDA does the best they can to look out for our safety and well-being.  The diet pills are called Qsymia and Belviq and must be prescribed by a doctor.  If that is what it takes to get you started, by all means, go visit your doctor and ask for a prescription and a weight loss program.  Going from a dormant lifestyle to a healthy one has to start someplace.  If it takes a pill to get you started, take that pill and get started on your way to good health.  I am sure your doctor will want you to move to natural alternatives as soon as possible anyway.  The cynical people will tell me the doctors want to make money by selling prescriptions but I think it is the patients that want to take a pill to solve their problems.

Don’t take my word for this.  Read as much as you can to make informed decisions.  It seems like life is a pendulum.  If you are extreme in any one thing, you seem to swing the other way and be extreme again in something else.  Do the Google search for diet soda and read the links.  I am singling out diet coke because they made the list.  Contact diet coke and ask them about healthy soda drinking habits.  I bet they will give you good answers.  They don’t want you to die; they want you to buy soda.

Research and moderation is key.  Get started.  There is no time like the present.

It is officially the off season for me.  Since I did not plan on running a marathon in December, my off season began in October but I kept on training in hopes of another Rapha 500 challenge in 8 days event around Christmas.  I tried the challenge two years ago and failed miserably but this year looks promising.  I discovered both Rapha and Strava at the same time for that challenge and I am happy that I did.  They are both good organizations and I owe to myself to complete the challenge.

Back to the off season training article.  Most of us pick an event as our main or “A” event.  Sometimes we do two “A” events in one year but we still have the same feeling when we finish our main event.  It is a feeling of accomplishment.  We achieved our goal or we did not achieve our goal.  If we did not achieve our goal, we will either quit or dedicate ourselves to achieving our goal next year.  My message here is for the people who achieved their goal and then asked “Now what?”  It is a weird feeling when a mission has been accomplished and you have no follow up goal.  Most of us find ourselves in this predicament at one time or another.  I am bringing this up because I am in the “now, what” stage myself.  Here is a list of things I do to keep myself ready for the next season.

  • Find next “A” event
  • Maintain core strengths
  • Lift weights
  • Swim a mile at least once a week
  • Ride my bike farther than 40 miles at least once per week
  • Run close to 10 miles per week
  • I also like to do a couple trail half marathons during the off season to keep my endurance up
  • Check your calendar for the last season.  Did you get injured?  What were you doing before you were injured?  No calendar?  Create a plan to track your workouts.
  • Pick your next event
  • Develop your training plan for the event
  • Decide what your fitness level should be when the training begins

Picking your next event is usually the most fun part of the process.  There are so many events in so many locations; it can be hard to choose.  If you are picking one of your first events, it is so exiting when you realize that you are going to be an athlete.  I still remember my first race, when the race director raised his bull horn and said “athletes, gather around”.

Developing the plan is not easy.  There is no plan that fits everyone.  We all have to come up with our own plan.  I recommend looking at other peoples plans to use as a reference for your own plan.  I do the same thing myself.  I can take my own plans from 10 or 15 years ago and tailor them to my current needs.  As I get older, my recovery is not the same as it was 15 years ago.  My nutritional needs are certainly different from 15 years ago.  In fact, the grocery store is different from 15 years ago but that is another matter entirely.  I encourage everyone to put at least one rest day per week in their training plans.  I tend to be more prone to injury when I am training over 20 hours per week.  I used to consider a 2 mile swim day as my rest day.  That was not a good idea.  Rest means rest.

Whether your “A” event was a couch to 5k or the western states 100, rest up, pick your plan and have fun.

Do what you can and be satisfied

I seem to have daily conversations with people who are ashamed of what they do.  Don’t be ashamed of what you are doing.  If what you are doing makes you happy, continue doing it.  The idea behind life is to be happy.  I am not really sure how a healthy life style relates to a long life.  I do know that fit people can get from point A to point B faster and they can be productive a point B faster.
Here is a list of recent comments and my thoughts:

  • “I can’t run a mile, but I try.”  All you can do is try.  If you keep trying, you will get there.  Do not overdo it.  Plug away by jogging a few steps then back to walking.  Before long, you will be jogging more than walking.
  • “I only work out 20 or 30 minutes a day on weekdays only.”  That is great.  Doing any type of physical activity is better than sitting at your desk all day moving files around.
  • “I want to lose weight.”  This is probably the most common thing I hear.  My advice is to start small by eliminating the fast food lunches a couple of days per week and bring in food that has not been processed in a factory.  I am not sure of the health benefits of food that has been designed by scientists and use chemicals with names that I can’t pronounce but I do know that empty calories can help make you fat.
  • “I am doing the couch to 5k and now my (insert body part) hurts.”  Take it easy.  You can take a day off or walk more for the run/walk portion.  All pain is not good pain.  When in doubt, rest.
  • “I read on the internet that I should do this exercise, now I have a sharp pain here.”  Rest the area that has a sharp pain.  Ease in to the aggressive workouts.  Do not trust any one source without asking questions.  If you can get a personal trainer, get one.  If you can’t get a trainer, read multiple articles before you try things.  http://www.livestrong.com/ is a great resource.  I go there regularly for training and dietary ideas.

Did you notice a pattern?  Most people tend to overdo things and pay a price for it.  I am no exception.  I learned a lot of things the hard way.  It is usually best to make small changes that you can maintain.  Fad diets and workouts are great at motivating you for a short period but it is hard to maintain the enthusiasm for long.  Take it easy and be satisfied.


Saint George, UT – December 9th, 2013
 –ENDEVRTM , creators of the MyID medical bracelet and other health and wellness products, has launched their Dear Motorist campaign promoting cycling safety and driver awareness. The innovative brand has partnered with various sponsors, including Bell HelmetsCamelbak, and Shimano, amongst others, to help educate and create a more positive relationship amongst drivers and cyclists on the road. The initiative has been brought to life in a touching short film, which will be used to further highlight their efforts online and through social media.

Dear Motorist invites cyclists and motorists alike, to go to the dedicated landing page at dearmotorist.com, and share their experiences, by either: taking a pledge or writing a letter to be more aware of their surroundings on the road. The campaign also offers those who may have lost a loved one to a road accident the opportunity to share their story, leading up to the global event, Bike Week, starting on May 1, 2014.

Full release available after the jump: Read more… »

Mizuno Wave Evo trial

mizuno-mens-wave-evo-levitas-410505-f-pri-9D4I

The Mizuno Wave EVO running shoes have a flat sole that is designed for a midfoot or forefoot strike.  I have the Levitas style.  Let me start out by saying that I love to take long strides and strike with my heel first.  Although I am a neutral runner, by toes point out slightly.  Striking on the outside of the heel wears out the heel quickly and creates a lot of stress on the outside of the leg.  Between the stressed out legs and my capacity for over doing things, I am always injured.  I took a chi running class that changed my running technique from leaning back to leaning forward.  It seems to help. But I still want to strike with my heels.  I was browsing around The Sports Basement one day when I stumbled on the EVO running shoes.  I tried them on and they were very comfortable.  They were so comfortable that I bought a pair.

My new shoes were nice and comfortable for my first run.  I did notice that they seem to be about ½ size large.  I am not sure if they are big or they feel that way because they are vastly different from regular running shoes.  Without the heel padding, I tend to land more on the center of the foot.  I did not alter my stride intentionally.  It happened because there was no structure to encourage me to strike heel first.  I don’t know if it is good or bad to land mid foot as opposed to landing on my heel.  I do know that landing on my heel causes stress on the shin and outside of my leg where landing mid sole causes stress on the calf and inside of my knee.  My non-scientific reasoning says it is better to work the calf because it is a larger muscle.

If you noticed my comment about landing on a different part of your foot works different muscles, you may be prepared for the consequences of working new muscles.  I took my new shoes out for an easy 3 mile jog.  About an hour after my run, my calves started to show their displeasure.  Wow!  I had a lot of sore muscles.  I had sore muscles that I did not know existed.  There are a lot of muscles below the calf and around the ankle.

I have been wearing the EVO’s for about two months now with no injuries and no worse for the wear.  I am used to the long feel of the shoe and wonder if the shoes run big or it is the way I am accustomed to running shoes.  My runs have been between 3 and 5 miles with no pain.  I did push the pace on a 3 mile run with no adverse effects.

Things to note:

  • I am a neutral runner with high arches
  • I do triathlons and run the occasional marathon
  • I injure myself 2 out of 3 times that I train for a marathon
  • I replace my running shoes every 300-500 miles
  • Most of my injuries are running related
  • EVO’s are cheaper than regular running shoes
  • EVO’s are light
  • I love shopping at Sports Basement
  • If you try minimal shoes, start with easy runs
  • So far, I like the EVO’s and consider them a success.  That may change when I get up to the 15 mile runs but I will remain optimistic.

I ordered a new pair of minimalist shoes to try out.  They are still sealed in the garage.  I forgot who made them but that is part of the fun for reviewing things.  I hope they are close to Mizuno shoes for comfort and better for fit.  Amazon has them for about $110 but you can find them for $80 at Road Runner sports.  If you have not been to a running only store, I highly recommend it.

Running, rest and age

Resting is a very difficult thing for most runners.  We hang with people who have been running their whole lives without missing a day of running for the last 30 years.  We also know people who are part of the marathon maniacs club who have to run something crazy like 7 marathons in 7 days to join the club.

We know these normal people who can do these amazing things and think we can do that too, if we work hard enough.  To help ruin our mindset, we remember running as teenagers with no adverse effects.  Hell, half of us would smoke or drink or both before running with no adverse effects.  We also read magazines and articles telling us to run 6 or 7 days per week where we run hard one or two days then do a recovery run for an easy day.

I would like to point out that rest is allowed.  If you are training for a marathon and work your way  up to 6 days a week that is fine.  If you are just starting out, rest is a good thing.  A lot of us like or liked to have fun in our youth.  Some would call it a misspent youth while others will have a different opinion but that is another topic entirely.

When we reach our 30’s, we realize our bodies can’t handle the abuse and some of us change our ways.  When we begin to change our ways, we look to the fit people who never stopped being healthy.  Quite often, the healthy people give very sage advice about taking it easy.

Most of don’t want to listen to the sage advice because we want to catch up to them.  Listen to the sage advice.  Going out too hard and too fast can cause injuries.  If you don’t let the injuries heal properly, they may become chronic.

Read as much as you can and try to tailor a plan to suit your needs or goals.  If you don’t have any goals or know how to create goals, you can always go for the old 10% increase per week or lose 1 pound per week.  If you think to yourself that a 10% increase over 0 is equal to 0, find a couch to 5k plan to get you started.

We are all different, find or create a plan for yourself and modify it as you go along.  Most of us create a plan where we will run a sub 30- minute 10K after two months of training.  Very few of us will achieve that goal.  Most of us will modify our goals to something a little more reasonable.

What’s the most popular day every year for road running races?

Thanksgiving Day!

Ever since recreational runny became a trendy activity, and with more people going from couch to running, turkey trot races are extremely popular. People can wake up and get in a quick workout before going home and preparing the feast – or watching football.

In 2012, there were 490 Thanksgiving races with a total of 835,000 finishers – and it continues to grow after five years of momentum.

Brazen Racing hosts the Nitro Turkey Thanksgiving 5K, 10K, and Little Turkeys Race – and it’s a super fun event.  The small kids love racing the giant Nitro Turkey.