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Showing posts from January, 2010

3 Down; 1 (or 2) To Go

Between a party last night, an overdue freelance assignment, a new part-time job that starts Monday, today's all-day Web design class and tonight's usher duty at The Old Globe, I didn't have time to work out. Again. That's OK, these crazybusy days help keep me from jumping ahead of the doctor's rehab schedule. So does the dull pain that still periodically pops up in my afflicted achilles tendon. Today marked three months since my last run. Another month or so and I can try to run on a treadmill and work my way up to dirt, asphalt and, finally, concrete. Next to cracking my hip and ankle a few years ago in a marathon, this is the longest I've gone without running in 20 years. And you know what? I'm fine with it. I guess we do mature as we age.

Not Of This World

I suppose I had the same reaction the first time I went to a marathon expo, but I spent this afternoon surrounded by triathletes in Mission Bay and just felt a wee bit out of place. The swim stuff was intimidating, the bikes cost more than my kids’ college tuitions and the running representation was minimal. Plus, what’s up with all the guys who shave their heads?! I wasn’t the only one daunted. In one clinic the speaker looked at all the fit folks and said, “I’m a little intimidated that you might make me swim or something.” That talk was about optimal power, led by Dr. Allen Lim , the director of training for Team RadioShack (Lance Armstrong’s latest cycling team). Most people use heart rate or sweat rate to measure intensity. But you can somewhat accurately measure your power by continually ranking your exertion from a scale of 1 to 10 and multiplying that number by time/duration. This way you don’t have to rely on a Garmin to tell you if you're running race pace; you’ll feel

Wordless Wednesday

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Nutrition and Normal Weight Obesity

Last night I was reading a book about a popular plus-size model, which includes a chapter on eating disorders and fat bias and several times quotes a UC Davis nutritionist. My daughter had mentioned earlier that she was excited about her nutrition class, a favorite on campus. So I asked her the name of the professor. It wasn't the same woman, but it turns out my daughter's learning sports nutrition from none other than Liz Applegate , who should be a familiar name to anyone who's been an avid or even casual reader of Runner's World . She's had a column in the magazine for many, many years. Meantime, I'm learning about what the Mayo Clinic calls "normal weight obesity." It's a term for thin people who are still "fat." Conversely, there are plenty of heavier people who actually are healthier because they don't carry as much fat. It also includes both scientific and anectodal evidence that just because you lose weight doesn't mea

My Sunday Stroll With Isaac

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After a week of wet misery, everyone was out today for some fresh air and Vitamin D. I spent Sunday morning strolling along Shelter Island (photo above) and one of my favorite neighborhoods in Point Loma just beyond there. It has a secret beach that only the locals seem to know about; it also has some of the most unique homes and gardens. I walk through Roseville whenever I babysit a little tyke who lives nearby. He always saves the rare screech of displeasure for Shelter Island. I think he knows this place is special to me, which makes it special to him too. A lot of people run through Roseville but don't really notice it because it's one of the first areas beyond the Rosecrans National Cemetery that they (literally) descend upon in the America's Finest City Half Marathon . Most people by then are wondering if they missed the first water station, given it's August and it's usually hot. Alas, you have to run 4 miles (almost a third of the way into the course) be

The Simplest of Hacks

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When I used to interview hackers for a living, I would go home and do the equivalent of showering after talking to a mass murderer or rapist: I'd immediately change all my passwords. An article in the New York Times about poor password protection should alarm anyone who values their privacy or money -- especially if you use Facebook and MySpace since a company apparently unknowingly gave up the goods on 32 million users. The data were analyzed by good guys to find out what passwords people used. Sadly, they are the same ones used 15 years ago. Simple Passwords Remain Popular, Despite Risk of Hacking In the article, one of the industry's best-known hackers explains why we keep using poor passwords: information overload. He recommends that you maintain at least two passwords in your head. One can be semi-easy for stuff you don't necessary care to protect; the other should be difficult and used for anything involving online banking or e-commerce. The standard is to create

Wordless Wednesday

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Why San Diego Runners Don't Do Storms

Micky from DailyMile left me a joke this morning: “What is the opposite of a Storm Chaser? A Californian Runner.” It’s true. We don’t do storms here, not well at least. But for good reason. If it’s been months since the last rainfall, the accumulation of oil on the roads mixes with the moisture and creates similar conditions as snow or sleet. We fishtail all over the place until the ABS kicks in, and then we fear our car is broken until we remember that it’s a safety feature. This place also floods very easily because it’s urban and it’s desert. There’s a lot of concrete and asphalt, and what pure earth there is just doesn’t soak up water well. Once the grounds saturate, trees start to topple and city sewage contaminates local rivers and beaches. Sometimes homes head down hillsides. If you are riding your bike or running in a bike lane with cars, you are particularly vulnerable—and stupid. Even on a sidewalk, you are at risk of slipping because it’s so slick. Though highly unscienti

Do It For the Dolphins

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One of last year’s most-awarded documentaries is The Cove , now out on DVD. It exposes –- through great effort, I might add –- a Japanese village that has been slaughtering tens of thousands of dolphins unsold to amusement parks like our own SeaWorld. I should warn you: it is not for the faint of heart. But see it, you should, especially if you enjoy eating fish or sushi. Like all good documentaries, it contains calls to action . One thing we can all do is more broadly consider the impact our own eating habits have on the rest of the world and make small adjustments to slow down demand and help prevent devastation of our natural resources. Continue to eat fish; afterall, there’s plenty of evidence that non-contaminated seafood is good for you. But be careful what you buy from grocers or order in restaurants, and how often. The Monterey Bay Aquarium provides pocket-sized pamphlets on recommended sea creatures to eat , based on where you live. It also tells you which to avoid to aid co

A Note On Email Security

I was sitting in my friends’ Point Loma condo on Wednesday, watching the Haiti earthquake aftermath on CNN and reading the Wall Street Journal’s article on Google’s finger-shake at China when it dawned on me that many of you use Gmail and probably don’t know what goes on with all those messages you’re passing back and forth and then store for...well, maybe forever. That includes emails you keep with important username and password information. I’ve been told Gmail is the preferred Web-based email among some personal brand experts. I’ve also been told it’s still the worst for privacy violations. Most people are aware that everything you type into a message is prone to periodic scans so that the company can then send you targeted advertisements. You agree to this in Gmail's terms and conditions for use. But until this week, you may not have known that Google may not be the only one sifting through your messages. Fear not, it’s finally encrypting your messages so that it’s a little

Wordless Wednesday

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Returning to Running After a Torn Tendon

I just returned from my second visit to the orthopedist and the good news is my torn Achilles tendon is now only 1.5 times the size it should be. This is significant because just a month ago it was more than twice as large as the healthy one. Here's what’s worked: Doing the bulk of my cardio in a gym. I’ve been using the rowing machine and stationary bikes to try and shed some extra holiday weight. I haven’t dropped an ounce, but my pulse and resting heart rate are spot on. I’ll incorporate the elliptical next week, now that I know the tear is finally fusing – to what, I’m not sure. The final stage will be to start running, in March, on the treadmill, which provides the most giving surface for this injury. The gym has become my lab of sorts. I experiment with what works for my body at various stages of the healing process. Getting my outdoors fix by walking and doing “gentle hiking.” I don’t make a very good gym rat. Even when I lived in places with brutal winters, I had troub

One With the Om, Again

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I love Saturday mornings again. I had all of my errands - including washing my car - done before 8:30 a.m., when I arrived at a former gym to warm up on the rowing machine before starting a beginner's yoga class. I know I'd mentioned taking yoga classes before, but this was the first time in more than (gulp!) three years that I actually did it. I was thrilled when I found out the instructor was the same one I enjoyed when I took Yoga for Runners . This class, which had several true newbies, was perfectly paced. We focused first on breathing techniques ("breath of fire" being my favorite) and then launched into your standard beginner's poses, such as mountain , child's pose , downward dog , and triangle . Best of all, I didn't need a single correction from the instructor. I did, however, need a block for assistance on occasion. But as one of the oldest in the class, and also one of the injured, I felt it wise to 'fess up early that I'm in over

The Rowing Revolution

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A few years ago a Red Dress Run buddy and I contemplated trying out for a masters rowing team in Mission Bay. Both of us had reached that point in running where marathons were no longer gratifying and ultras took too much training time. Many master rowers aren’t just former college crew members; they are long-distance runners ready to give the joints, but not the muscles, a rest. I then had an unconventional work schedule and couldn’t make the 5:30 a.m. summer tryout camp sessions, so I quickly abandoned the idea and instead became a one-woman indoor rowing crew at my gym. However, it wasn’t until this month that I actually looked into correct form and discovered a wide variety of workouts. That’s because I will be exercising almost exclusively in a gym for the next couple of months as my torn achilles tendon continues to heal. Like running, form is everything in rowing. Fellow Southern Californian Glenn recently rediscovered indoor rowing and has posted some great information . Fits

Wordless Wednesday

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What's In Your Wallet?

Another perennial goal for a lot of recreational athletes is to be better with money, whether it's trying to retain more of it or to spend it more wisely. Carrying cash is a great way to mentally track your money and use self-restraint. You won't buy that $4 latte if you only have $3 in your wallet, now will you? Cash, however, is increasingly impractical for routine purchases, such as buying gas at stations without an attendant. The debit card now accounts for the majority of non-cash payments. I think credit cards are still No. 1 for online purchases, mainly because they carry fraud protection against digital thieves. But debit cards rule otherwise because they are considered close to, but more convenient than, cash. Most of us are aware of new rules that now prevent credit card companies from gouging good customers. But the debit card continues to be a mystery to many. Here are a few online resources to help you best use plastic, be it for a new pair of running shoes or a

Learn How to Eat

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that a fair number of you plan to eat better in 2010. If so, you might be interested in some tips from one of the leaders of the current Real Food Movement, Michael Pollan. He's got a new paperback to guide your gastronomic decisions . Among my favorites of the one-page passages in Food Rules (culled from online reviews): Be the kind of person who takes supplements, then skip the supplements. Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk. The whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead. It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car.