Sunday, February 28, 2010

A good week (50 miles) and more on fasting

This was a good week of running: (Mon. 8 miles, Tues. 5 miles inc. 6 X 800m between 2:51 and 2:55 at indoor track -felt great, Wed. 8 miles, Thurs. 8 miles. Fri 0 miles, Sat. 8 miles, Sun 13 miles-longest run this year). Total for the week = 50 miles.

I am continuing to play around with intermittent fasting. I won't call it a diet as it is more like an eating plan. I have completed 2 daily fasts a week for about 5 weeks now. I find it an easy way to cut down on calories, control eating, lose some weight, and feel good. I have found a few ways that people do intermittent fasting. There is not a lot to read or study if you want to try it, but here are some resources if you are worried that it may not be healthy.

The Fast-5 diet is a form of intermittent fasting with a daily short fasting period (19 hours, including sleeping) followed by an unrestricted eating window of 5 hours. You can download the book for free here. On this plan the book advocates doing this diet daily.

Eat, Stop, Eat is another plan where you fast for about 24 hours twice a week usually dinner to dinner. This is closest to what I do. I find it easier to not eat before dinner time, than to cut down food like on a diet. The hunger goes away quickly and you feel real good when on the fast. It does not interrupt my running at all. I have run many times while on the fast stage and notice no difference.

Nolan Shaheed is a world class 50 year old runner. I wrote about him here. He only eats dinner every day. One month a year he doesn't run and eats only one meal every other day. It seems to work for him as he has been doing it for years. Nolan Shaheed is even more well known as a world class jazz musician despite holding masters running records.

Emmanual Jal is a guy with a very compelling story. Born in Sudan. He became a lost boy and then a child soldier. He escaped through a desperate journey filled with starvation and death. Then he was rescued by aid worker Emma McCune. When she died in a car accident, be was sent to school in Kenya and eventually became a singer. His songs have achieved notice throughout the world. His story is told in the best-selling book War Child: A Child Soldier's Story. There is also a wonderful movie, also called War Child,  about Emmanual Jal. You can also download his new single free on his website here. I earlier wrote about Emmanuel Jal here. I mention him again because he too is on a fasting program. In order to help raise money for Gua Africa to build a school named Emma Academy in Sudan. Today, Emmanuel Jal is on day 457 of a fast where he only eats one meal a day. He plans to continue this fast until he raises all the money for Emma Academy. He has about $30,000 to go. You can donate here. I am a teacher and am amazed and saddened to learn that only 2% of all children in Southern Sudan complete elementary school. I think that Emmanuel Jal has the most important motivation for fasting. Here is the Gua Africa appeal for help for building Emma Academy featuring Emmanuel Jal's song "We Fall".

Here is Emmanuel Jal singing "Emma" live Nelson Mandela's 80th birthday celebration.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter Sports and the Olympics

I have enjoyed watching the Vancouver Winter Olympics when I have been able to do so. This year I have particulalry enjoyed viewing the cross-country skiing and biathlon events. The cameras have taken beautiful videos of these events and you can gain a large appreciation for the athleticism and ability of the these highly trained athletes. It is also much more interesting than watching the figure skating! I had missed seeing one event that I had heard was quite inspiring and dramatic: the men's 30K Pursuit. In a Pursuit the skiers complete 15K skiing using the classical style and then change skis and complete a final 15K using the skating method. In this race, one Swedish skier takes off after switching skis and tries to hang on to his lead through the final lap. I was able to see the video here on the NBC site. It is the live feed, but without announcers. You can easily skip parts of the race as it is over an hour long. However the videography is wonderful. It is like watching the Tour de France with all the close-ups and changing camera angles. Here is a recap of the race.

It got me to thinking that wouldn't it be great to get snowshoe racing events in the olympics? Either that or put snow cross-country running in the olympics. I bet that those Yaktrax runners could do some damage or just get some super spikes to race. Since winter Olympic games have to involve snow or ice, just set up a running course on the snow! If you think that sounds unusual, don't forget that in 1992 down the road at Franklin Field in Boston the World Cross-Country Championships were held in the snow. New Hamshire's Lynn Jennings won her 3rd World title in the race. John Ngugi of Kenya won the men's race and his fifth title. Paula Radcliffe won the women's junior race and Haile Gebrselassie finished second in the men's junior race. That is quite a list of champions. It might be a great way to get some of those Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes to start winning some winter medals too!

Watching the cross-country skiing also reminded me of a high school cross-country skiing trip I took back in 1975 at the The Stony Brook School. We had an excellent outdoor education program. For less than $5 you could sign up to go on a weekly trip (we even had an outdoor ed. teacher). I went canoing a few times and downhill skiing, but my favorite was this cross-country ski trip. Usually you got out of school on a Wednesday and returned on a Saturday or Sunday. On this trip we left Stony Brook (on Long Island) and traveled to the Adirondacks. We arrived after midnight and were told to put on our backpacks filled with our gear and ski to a hut in the woods. Was it 3 miles away? It took forever as we skiers kept crashing, breaking through the crust, and then having to be pulled out of the deep snow. We hunkered down for the night in a cabin and woke to the scariest thing ever.

It was complete dark and rifle shots sounded outside the cabin, just feet from where I was sleeping. Waking up in the complete dark in an unknown cabin deep in the woods to the sound of gunfire is never really pleasant. My imagination ran wild and I was not picturing pleasant scenarios. Eventually it was learned that this was our wake-up call from whomever was going to take us to the next lodging place. For the next few days we had immense fun learning to ski on these wonderful trails and playing games in the place we were staying at night. Here are a few pictures from that trip.

back: Doug Alexander, Mr. Terry Harrison, me. Gayle Anderson-Murray, Karen Fromm, Mr. Bob Cordz.
front: Lisa Andrews, Barbara Long
Barbara Long, Gayle Anderson-Murray, Karen Fromm, Doug Alexander, Bob Cordz

Mr. Terry Harrison (great teacher), Lisa, Barb, Karen, Doug, Bob, Rosemary

Doug Alexander (usually we looked like this)
Barbara Long (and then this!)

Rosemary McConkey, Lisa Andrew, Karen Fromm (sometimes like this)

Doug Alexander (off trail-rarely like this)

me (a little off focus)

That experience was a lot of fun, and I still like playing around in the snow! None of us were Olympic material,  however. We probably did not know that they even raced cross-country skis in the Olympics.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Horse Hill and Kingman Farm Snowshoe Races

(photos Steve Wolfe)

Yesterday, I got back to racing. My last race of any kind was the Beaver Brook snowshoe race on January 2. Now that I can run on my achilles, it felt fantastic getting into a race, well actually two races in one day. After the snow on Tuesday, I took my snowshoes out for a 5 mile workout at Mine Falls Park on Wednesday, just to make sure it wouldn't hurt my achilles. Things went great so I signed up for the Horse Hill Snowshoe race the next morning and went back to Mine Falls for another workout that afternoon. In 24 hours the trails had degraded and I didn't even put my snowshoes on. That led to reading repeated online updates on whether there would be snow to race on for the Horse Hill race Saturday and the Kingman Farm Moonlight Snow shoe race later that night.

Yes, we were told, there would be snow. Both race directors changed courses and worked hard to find the most snow-filled passages through the woods. Too bad for anyone that doubted that there would be enough snow for the races. Both races ended up being fun snowshoeing events.

The first race was the Horse Hill Snowshoe (results) race in Merrimack put on by Mike at  3C Race Productions. I wasn't sure of my fitness and what the course would bring, but I was thrilled to be at the starting line. The lead pack went out hard and fast and I fell in at the rear of a second pack as we hit the single track. The course only had a few patches without snow, but they were only for a step or two as it wound its way through the woods. There were a lot of ups and downs and corners and minor hills (that still felt pretty major). I started to pass a few people and amazed myself that I could get a quick burst of sprinting in to make a pass. I passed the lead woman snowshoer and started hanging on to the back of a racer named Chris Jasparro. He kept a steady pace and was catching up to the racers ahead of us. I seemed to keep this postition for a long time, until I started losing form (I had no idea when the finish would happen). I passed another racer at the bottom of a hill, but lost contact with Chris. Eventually I was caught and passed by the lead woman, Ann Rasmussen. I didn't maintain contact and she got a few seconds ahead and then she pulled away more. I was tired and was happy when I recognized I was nearing the finish. I thought the course was fantastic and fun and a great reintroduction into racing. My left glutes were really sore, but I noted throughout the race how much better my balance and stride was than in the past.

I went home and noted that the Kingman Farm Moonlight race was still on despite the warm temperatures, but in limited fashion. This was the one race I was looking forward to since I heard about it last year. Racing at night through the woods with a headlamp on just sounded like a challenging and unique experience. I had ordered a Petzl Headlamp and was pleased to see that I chose a good brand as the company was one of the sponsors of the race. I sat down to watch some Olympics and promptly fell asleep, waking up at 4:00 and having to hurry to make the 6:00 start in Madbury.

About 2/3 of the field did not choose to show up and run (they were given the option of getting their entry fee back or using it for a race next year). Again, too bad, because they missed a fun race. At the start we were told that places would not count and there would be no awards (everyone would have a chance to win the many awards). The option of using Yaktrax pulled over running shoes was also given and it seemed a bunch of fast snowshoers immediately chose this option. I was in it for the snowshoing.

At the start the Yaktraxers took off in a fast sprint. I fell to the back of this pack with my snowshoes on and tried to figure out how this running at night thing worked. It was hard to see what I was running on. it was either white (snow) or brown (not snow), but fortunately it was mostly white. There were a few rocks painted orange and who knows what else underfoot. Not knowing the trail it was all a mystery to me. As the pack pulled ahead, I realized I had two choices: look at what is underfoot or look ahead to see where the course might be going. I had one guy about 50 feet ahead and I tried to watch him. He had refective stripes on the back of his shirt, which was very helpful. I could see him turn here and there, but eventually he got too far ahead. I started catching a guy on snowshoes, but he was more difficuly to see as he did not have reflective gear on. Eventually I caught him, right before the open field. I had to navigate that without anyone in clear visual sight. Finding the orange flags was difficult, but I stayed on course. Getting back into the woods let me know the finish was coming, but I didn't know how soon. I wanted to go fast as I still had a racer behind me, but I didn't want to trip or take a wrong corner. Eventually the finish appeared. What great fun this race was! I may be wrong, but I looked around at everyone's feet at the finish line and I only saw one person with snowshoes on when I had finished. Everyone else ahead of me ran with the Yaktrax, but they all would have proabaly beat me with snowshoes on anyhow. (results)

I was pleased to be able to run not one, but two races. My left glutes were sore before the second race, but it mostly went away as soon as I started running. Today, I will admit to being extremely stiff, but I am recovering quite well and my body does not feel out of alignement!

We retreated to the town hall and had some soup, rolls, and brownies! It was nice to be indoors. Then they began handing out all sorts of prizes. I think everyone took home something. How great is that! I won a six-pack of beer, but traded it for a nice Ambler hat. Great, I needed a new hat! After everyone won something, they put all the numbers back in the hat and pulled again for three more prizes. I didn't win the snowshoes, but I did win the Nathan Sports Blizzard winter hydration system. Scott Graham tells me the Yaktrax are good for running on snowy or icy roads. I may have to get a pair for next year, and get some more outdoor runs in with my new hat and hydration system. Chris Dunn put on a great race and I am sure that next year it will be even harder to get into as I am sure many races put off their entry unril next year. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of running at night through the woods.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rethinking the Boston Marathon

I guess I waited way too long, but I checked last week and the Gate City Strider's bus to the Boston Marathon is full. I knew it might fill up before I signed up, but I guess I was waiting to sign up before I wasted more money on the marathon without any idea if I could run it this year. I told myself I would sign up as soon as I could get in a long run of 13+ miles, something not too easy with the bad achilles that has limited my running. With all the physical therapy I have been doing the past two months, I didn't want to push more than I should and mess up the good stuff that I have been working on. The PROS for running Boston this year would be: I am registered, I should be fit enough to run (not race) with my current progress, and probably most important is that is is 10 years since the Nashua School department would not let me take a personal day to run the race, so I ran "The Last Shift" with race director Dave McGillivray. The CONS for not running this year: It could mess up the physical therapy I have been doing, I haven't done the training as of yet, and I don't want to figure out a way to get to the start. Unless I find another running club with a bus to the starting line or someone else who is driving to Hopkinton, I will probably do the smart thing (losing my $130 registration) and watch the race on television.

My running is going real well. I ran 38 miles last week: Mon. (PT) Tues. (Track: 3X a set a 400m, 400m 800m ran the 400's between 85-89 and the 800's between 2:55-3:00).Wed. (PT) Thurs-Sat (8 miles each day) Sun (10 miles-longest run this year). I continued playing with intermittent fasting. I did not eat a breakfast any day this week and on Saturday and Sunday I did not eat anything until dinner time. I have now done this for four weeks and I am going to have to wear my pants a size down (after moving up a month ago). I haven't weighed myself at all as I go by how I feel. So far it is a very easy system and I have no energy drops when running, in fact I feel better. Today also ended my last day of  physical theapy. I have been going twice a week to Select Physical Therapy in Nashua for two months and the results are fantastic and still coming in as my body adapts and changes. This has been the best therapy I have ever done for my running. It takes work, but it puts me in control of fixing my own body. I just needed the eyes and knowledge that I got from Jackie to set me on the right path. I would highly recommend her as a therapist for anyone in the Nashua area. I have tried so many different things to fix my stride and with this therapy I feel that I am finally headed in a positive direction.

Within hours of the end of physical therapy (although I will still be doing the exercises on my own)  a new exercise tool was brought to my house by UPS. I have been eyeing the TRX Suspension Trainer
for quite a while and finally ordered one last week. I needed a way to do some of the progressions of exercises in the Convict Conditioning book I have been using as well adapt and find new ways to work the muscles that physical therapy has exposed as my weak and unstable muscles. It looks like a lot of fun and I look forward to using it.

I am also looking forward to a great year of running straight and running strong!

Fitness Anywhere Video
I haven't tried these AURIAEarphones , but they claim to be made for runners Here is a link to a video explaining them from

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2010 Boston Indoor Games Men's 5000m race

One interesting thing that I observed at the Boston Indoor Games was that some athletes had some type of chip attatched to the top of their singlets (see Bernard Lagat above).  I wasn't sure what it was, but figured it had to be some sort of timing device to give lap times to the coaches or something. Well LynxSystemDevelopers posted some videos online of the races and it appears that they had a robot cam to track the race and generate and display lap times. According to their youtube page:
Video footage taken by robotic camera driven by IsoLynx athlete tracking technology of Bernard Lagat's new American Record 5k. Note that only Lagat, Daba and Rupp are wearing IsoLynx tags. All data generated by IsoLynx.
Here are their videos of the 5000m race. There is no sound , but the video is well done and the lap times are recorded on the screen. I saw the race already so I didn't watch all of the videos, but it was interesting to see another vantage point of the last few laps on the third video.

Update: Here is an article on the Lynx timing system. They want to use the technology in football and horse racing as well as track and field. 

Also someone posted on the top 50 American 5000m times (I hope it is accurate). I see former college teammate, Danny Henderson, is holding on to spot number 50. That is quite a list of great American runners and I guess the list proves me to be a track geek as I recognize every name on that list except # 49 Sean Graham.. I only ran a couple of track 5000m races in college, but my 5000m PR was run in the same track race with two of these top 50 runners. OK, we were on the same track at the same time, but the closest I got to them was at the start and when they were lapping me. If only I could have run each mile of that race 60 seconds faster, I would then place in the top 5 of this list!

1. 12:56.27 Dathan Ritzenhein Zürich 2009-08-28

2. 12:58.21 Bob Kennedy Zürich 1996-08-14

3. 12:58.56 Matt Tegenkamp Bruxelles 2009-09-04

4. 12:59.22 Bernard Lagat London 2006-07-28

5. 13:01.15 Sydney Maree Oslo 1985-07-27

6. 13:10.00 Adam Goucher Heusden-Zolder 2006-07-22

7. 13:10.86 Alan Webb Berlin 2005-09-04

8. 13:11.77 Mebrahtom Keflezighi Heusden-Zolder 2000-08-05

t9............Tim Broe Oslo 2005-07-29

10. 13:11.93 Alberto Salazar Stockholm 1982-07-06

t10...........Anthony Famiglietti Walnut 2007-04-13

12. 13:12.24 Chris Solinsky Heusden-Zolder 2007-07-28

13. 13:12.91 Matt Centrowitz Eugene 1982-06-05

14. 13:13.32 Abdihakem Abdirahman London 2005-07-22

15. 13:13.49 Bruce Bickford Oslo 1985-06-27

16. 13:14.80 Bill McChesney Zürich 1982-08-18

17. 13:15.06 Marty Liquori Düsseldorf 1977-09-04

18. 13:15.16 Bolota Asmerom Heusden-Zolder 2007-07-28

19. 13:15.33 Ian Dobson Carson 2005-06-24

20. 13:15.44 Doug Padilla Helsinki 1985-07-04

21. 13:15.86 Jim Spivey Berlin 1994-08-30

22. 13:16.02 Dan Browne Heusden-Zolder 2004-07-31

23. 13:16.03 Ryan Hall Carson 2005-06-24

24. 13:17.44 John Gregorek Oslo 1987-07-04

25. 13:18.19 Ralph King Eugene 1982-06-05

26. 13:18.46 Brent Vaughn Palo Alto 2008-05-04

27. 13:18.50 Nicholas Rogers Heusden-Zolder 2000-08-05

28. 13:18.54 Mark Nenow Oslo 1984-06-28

29. 13:19.1 Craig Virgin Oslo 1980-07-15

30. 13:19.22 Rudy Chapa Eugene 1979-04-07

31. 13:19.37 Steve Plasencia Oslo 1985-07-27

32. 13:19.4 Duncan MacDonald Stockholm 1976-08-10

33. 13:19.50 Todd Williams Lausanne 1995-07-05

34. 13:19.60 Ryan Wilson Eugene 1999-05-30

35. 13:19.62 Paul Cummings Eugene 1982-06-05

36. 13:19.68 Ryan Kirkpatrick Walnut 2007-04-13

37. 13:19.73 Jim Hill Oslo 1983-06-28

38. 13:19.92 Jonathan Riley Heusden-Zolder 2007-07-28

39. 13:20.19 John Trautmann Walnut 1992-04-17

40. 13:20.35 Ed Moran Walnut 2007-04-13

41. 13:20.43 Josh McDougal Walnut 2007-04-13

42. 13:20.49 Joe Falcon Eugene 1990-06-01

43. 13:20.57 Jorge Torres Palo Alto 2005-05-29

44. 13:21.60 Chris Fox Oslo 1983-06-28

45. 13:21.87 Steve Prefontaine Helsinki 1974-06-26

46. 13:22.18 Evan Jager Eugene 2009-06-26

47. 13:23.20 Dick Buerkle Zürich 1980-08-13

48. 13:23.38 Paul Geis Helsinki 1974-06-26

49. 13:23.50 Sean Graham Heusden-Zolder 2007-07-28

50. 13:23.57 Dan Henderson Eugene 1985-06-01

Monday, February 8, 2010

2010 Boston Indoor Games

My daughter Hannah accompanied me down to Boston Saturday evening to watch the 2010 Boston Indoor Games. We had a great time and enjoyed some sensational races. We sat in the same place the my son Andrew and I sat last year, the seats at the corner right after the starting line. We tooks  front row seats, but rarely sat there as this is the only place in the field house where you can go down by the track and watch the race from trackside, which is what we did.

The highlight of the event was Bernard Lagat's American record in the 5000m race. After the race Bernard came over to where we were seated on the floor and handed his victory bouquet to the girl sitting next to Hannah (if you watched the coverage on ESPN2 you would have seen us). Here is our video of the last lap and finish (I forgot to recharge my batteries and we used Hannah's camera and most photos and videos came out poorly).

The women's 5000m wasn't as exciting, as Tirunesh Dibaba ran well, but mostly by herself. Here is the finish. I like second place finisher Sally Kipyego's excitement at setting a new PR.

Other interesting thoughts on the races includes the women's 400m. Dee Dee Trotter is suprisingly tall and thin runner and started right in front of us. She ran a great race and won even after stumbling at the 200m mark. I was pulling for Monica Hargrove, though. She smiled over at us (we were about 5 feet away) a couple of times before she got in the starting blocks. She has a very friendly smile!

It was exciting to see Will Leer try to take the mile run from Nick Willis. He did not win but set a PR.

The last two jumps Chelsea Johnson made in the pole vault looked very dangerous. She held on to the pole both times and it snapped out of her arms.

All the results are here.

Our seats were about 20 feet away from the track, but we usually watched at trackside or walked another 20 feet to go to  the autograph booth where Hannah was happy to get a poster authographed by many stars. I talked briefly with a few of the runners.

 Brian Ollinger was very friendly and I asked him how his training was going for the steeple. He asked if I was an ex-steepler. Well, I gave it a try once and ran quickly up to the barrier and decided even more quickly to stick to the 1500m and 5000m B team during my college career. Actually, I wasn't too good at those distances and ran spring marathons mostly during college track season.

Jorge Torres was also very talkative and friendly. I asked him how he felt after his NYC Marathon debut. He said he could run after the race, but it really beat him up and it took 6 weeks to start getting his legs back. Fernado Cabada said he was getting over injuries and just had a relatively good run. I know how that feels (the injuries-not the relatively good runs at his speed). Hannah told Katie MacGregor that when she ran her first race Katie was also in it. Hannah won first place for 4 year olds in the Millenium Mile a few years back. She is used to meeting famous runners. Deena Kastor gave her the award at that race! Aries Merrit kept looking at me and smiling about something. I think some high school girls were giving him a hard time! Hannah also met Martin Fagan, Amy Mortimer, and a few other runners. Ato Bolton, former sprinter now announcer, came over to talk with a woman sitting next to us. He is much shorter than you would think! We had a great time enjoying the track and field show! I would rather be trackside at a meet like this, then stuck up in the stands at some Super Bowl. It is much more up close and personal.

Keeping the Achilles Tendon Loose

Weekly 50+ Training Thread on Let's Run.

I got in 32 miles this week. My progression over the past few weeks (from memory as I don't record anything) is 2 miles, 12 miles, 18miles 28 miles, 32 miles. I got the track workout in on Tuesday but not much else until the weekend. The last three days I got outside for an 8 miler each day. My achilles (or soleus) is still sore, but I can run on it just fine and I am enjoying my runs feeling so much more stable and strong in my hip and with a much smoother stride. I do this TP Massage routine on my lower leg to work out the kinks in my calf and soleus before running and it really loosens things up. I use these products, but you can do a similar thing with foam rollers and rubber balls.

I am also doing some Z-Health lateral ankle tilts that seem to keep me looser and more stable in the ankle joints. Here is a quick presentation of some of the Z-Health ankle drills from

Here is a depressing recent New York Times article called Vigor Quest by Tom  Dunkel on age-management and it is not the aging process as seen in this quote that is what is really depressing.
The human body is a symphonic masterpiece of flesh and blood, but it wears out like any clanking machine on the factory floor. The ruthless tick, tick, tick of time strips gears, nibbles at bushings. On a submicroscopic level, damage is done by free radicals, unstable atoms that have a toxic effect on cell membranes and DNA. In addition, telomeres, the protective tips on chromosomes, fray from the stress of continual regeneration, much as serial photocopies of an image lose their crispness.
What is troubling is what some aging athletes are injecting into thier bodies to find that fountain of youth.

For the third week in a row I did an intermittent fast for two seperate days. That is 3 weeks and 6 fasts, plus I usually go without breakfast on most days. This week I didn't eat until dinner time on Friday and Sunday (today). Both days I ran 8 miles before breaking the fast and both runs went just fine. Here is an audio interview of Brad Pilon of on fasting and exercise.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Anatomy of Running

I had my best victory of the year last night at the Gate City Strider's indoor track workout. I was curious as to how my achilles would handle some speed-work. It was a bit tight on either side above the heel during the warm-up so I wasn't sure what would happen if I tried the workout. Once I started running intervals, the achilles did not hurt. I did 5 800 meter intervals at about a 3:00-3:05 pace. The middle one was supposed to be a mile, but I stopped at 3/4 of a mile because I couldn't fake the lack of mileage at the pace. The last 800 felt the best because my hips had the best alignment. Unfortunately my left glute medius tightened right up from overuse (probably why it was best one) and I couldn't run any more. All last year at track workouts I would get the same thing and would be sore for a day or more. It mostly went away after a couple of hours last night and the best thing is there was no achilles pain today and it feels the best it has in over a month.

Today I had another postural restoration physical therapy session and it went great as I am learning which moves affect which muscles and which muscles need activation. Twice the therapist has done some joint mobility work on my left foot. The inner half has no mobility and the outside of that foot has too much. That helped pull my left toe's metatarsal down and has given me more stability (what I was after here). That big toe however is now learning to connect with the ground. I then have to stop relying on my constantly activated  TRL and learn to activate my left psoas muscle instead. I also have a lot of work to do in order to keep strengthening my very weak left glute medius. Furthermore my right shoulder is behind my left shoulder so I have to learn to strengthen and use my left upper obliques and right lower obliques. I have only three more sessions of postural restoration and I trying to learn all I can to continue strengthening and activating the correct muscles to bring me back into alignment. I can only say that this is great stuff!

I saw a new book on running, so I ordered it from Amazon tonight. It is called Running Anatomy and looks like a good source to really see these muscles that I am working on.

I was over on Coach Jay Johnson's site checking out a video and I saw a link to a post of his on coach Dan Pfaff. It is a good post, but it also has a video on a book I have been hesitant to buy for over a year. I keep hearing good reviews on Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists
from multiple sources, but I keep thinking that it would be way over my head. However I saw a link to a view on that page that is an introduction to the book. Here it is:

One of the fascial "trains" is shown in a model at about 30 second in. It shows how distant parts of the body are linked together. If you follow the yellow line from the toe, up the hip, across the obliques and to the opposite shoulder you will see it pass every single muscle that I mentioned above that I am working on through postural restoration (except this shows it on the opposite side of the body). Everything is connected. One of these days I will get brave and buy this book to see if I can figure it out.

Here is the Jay Johnson video I was originally looking at. It is for using medicine ball routines to strengthen your running. It goes along with an article in this month's Running Times magazine. Here is the page on Jay's site.

I am doing a "single leg haybales" without the medicine ball for my therapy, but will be adding the medicine ball later. I am also doing rotational  lunges with a medicine ball (not in this video) so it was interesting seeing some other routines.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Long are your Telomeres?

A recent New York Times article "How Exercising Keeps Your Cells Young" by Gretchen Reynolds tells of a study of runners in Germany that show that running produces younger looking telomeres in middle aged runners.

When the researchers measured telomeres in the middle-aged subjects, however, the situation was quite different. The sedentary older subjects had telomeres that were on average 40 percent shorter than in the sedentary young subjects, suggesting that the older subjects’ cells were, like them, aging. The runners, on the other hand, had remarkably youthful telomeres, a bit shorter than those in the young runners, but only by about 10 percent. In general, telomere loss was reduced by approximately 75 percent in the aging runners. Or, to put it more succinctly, exercise, Dr. Werner says, ‘‘at the molecular level has an anti-aging effect."

Telomeres are tiny caps on the end of DNA strands.

When cells divide and replicate these long strands of DNA, the telomere cap is snipped, a process that is believed to protect the rest of the DNA but leaves an increasingly abbreviated telomere. Eventually, if a cell’s telomeres become too short, the cell ‘‘either dies or enters a kind of suspended state,’’ says Stephen Roth, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Maryland who is studying exercise and telomeres. Most researchers now accept telomere length as a reliable marker of cell age. In general, the shorter the telomere, the functionally older and more tired the cell.

These middle aged runners had an average age of 51 and ran about 50 miles per week. May you run long and keep your telomeres long!