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Showing posts from 2012

6 Steps to Forgiveness

As you usher in the new year with an orderly house, fresh mileage calendar, new calorie counter and commitment to save more money, I want you to consider doing something far more challenging this year. I want you to forgive. Forgiveness does not come easy. We all encountered people who hurt us ... boyfriends, parents, bosses, co-workers, best friends. Some are strangers we never see again, but most are people we once held close.  Chronic unforgiveness may make for great television dramas and novels, but in real life it is closely linked to numerous health issues like obesity, substance abuse, depression and anxiety. That’s why it’s important to learn to forgive, not for the people who hurt or offended you but for yourself. I recently attended a mental health conference session on this topic. “Forgiveness is a choice. It’s an act of your own free will,” the speaker told an overcrowded room. “It is an act of emotional release that brings some level of closure and peace. It also

My New Favorite Hike in San Diego

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I'd been wanting for years to hike up to the Mount Woodson summit but never got an opportunity until yesterday. It was so worth the wait.   This is one of the more popular hikes in San Diego, but not nearly as popular as nearby Iron Mountain (which I've blogged about numerous times ) or Cowles Mountain (which I've never done). That may be because it's not an easy trek, but it's not super difficult either. You just need some stamina, a lot of water and conditioned glutes and quads to truly enjoy this 7-plus-mile course. Boulder fields mark the course. Mount Woodson Trail is distinguished by the many boulder formations. It's fun, especially on the ascent, to give some of the big rocks names. One that didn't make it into the blog (at least in this post) is called "Butt Crack." Another is referred to as "Potato Chip" and featured in the photo below. Yes, it's as scary as it looks if you suffer from a fear of heights. No w

The Candy Canes and the Creche

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The Cardiff Kook decked out for the holidays. One of the (truly) bright spots of running this month has been the brilliant displays of holiday lawns on my early morning runs. The decorations and lights pale in comparison to the previous night’s offerings, but there are enough of my neighbors who through their generosity or forgetfulness leave their holiday lights on all night. One house in particular takes the cake for its juxtaposition of the secular and the sacred. A nativity scene – the kind that over the past two decades has gotten municipalities in trouble -- is surrounded by a fence of giant candy canes. Just beyond are neon palm trees with glowing globes, while up on the rooftop is a giant Star of David. Each time I pass it, I wonder if the homeowners are showing homage or humor for such a distinctive display. This inner debate keeps my mind off the leaden legs and labored breathing as I charge up a nearby hill, where other property owners show more creative re

Here's to New Beginnings, Mayan Style

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Wordless Wednesday

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Crowd[ed] Wisdom

Part of me doesn't want to publish right now while the nation continues to mourn for those killed on Friday. Sometimes running sounds so trivial, and this is one of those times. That said, I wanted to be sure everyone at some point takes a look at a New York Times piece  on a recent study that was addressed on this blog too about the marginal, sometimes even morbid, returns on running as we age. It's potentially bad news for anyone training for an Ironman in their 40s, 50s and beyond, provided health and fitness and longevity are what drives you. No surprise, that study generated a lot of public discourse. And, of course, there were plenty of other studies to trot out showing just the opposite. That's the problem with studies, and with runners. They come in all sizes and flavors and you don't have to look too hard to find one that agrees with your own stance. And that's the gist of the Times piece. That and why people exaggerate their pace when it's easy to

And Then the Clouds Parted

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It was a running joke (he he) during my tenure with the track club that if I planned a group run, it rained. I'm glad to see as part of my legacy that tradition remains. Drops fell right up to the start, but then the clouds parted and the brave souls who planned a rainy run were blessed with blue skies as we started the 6th annual San Diego Track Club Christmas Card Lane Fun Run. My participation was by invitation since I'm no longer part of the training group. It's a hard course. I know because I designed it and yet that didn't make me run any better up the steep hill at the start and gradual, grueling hill towards the end. But I got to reunite with old friends, like Irene and her husband, and meet a few new ones on the course. My conversation with a securities fraud attorney was especially interesting. The predicted time competition is still in place, and I was knocked out of contention by a lot of other women more intuned with their abilities. The guy who wo

20 Years of Road Races

Yesterday we celebrated the holidays and three birthdays all rolled into one terrific brunch at our friends George and Li's house in Carmel Mountain Ranch. Prior to pigging out, we ran 5 miles (well, I ran 4.7 and really I walked the last .2 because I was done with those hills). I had on the first race T-shirt I ever "won" -- from a Jingle Bell Run in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 6, 1992. Wearing it yesterday, I suddenly realized this was my 20th anniversary of entering a race. I'd been running off and on much longer than that, but that morning changed the direction of my running. I'd run for years but with no concept of pace or mileage. I ran purely for fun in high school and college and later to lose the baby fat after two children in rapid succession. I ran through historic neighborhoods of Antebellum homes, along demonic-dog-infested country roads and even once encountered a bear . It wasn't until we were again living in Elizabeth City, N.C., that my

Wordless Wednesday

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Benefits of Oolong Tea

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I'm a huge tea drinker. I have, like, at least 5 cups a day. And although tea is very subjective, I've become pretty good at distinguishing good teas from not-so-good ones. Lately, I've been consuming oolong tea as much for the taste as for the potential health benefits. Those benefits include: Reduced cholesterol in the bloodstream Weight loss Improved digestion Stronger bones Reduced tooth decay I'm not sure how many, if any, have been scientifically proven to do any or all of that, but I do notice that when I have a couple of cups, I'm less hungry and more awake. This is no surprise since oolong combines some of the best benefits of black tea and green tea. I personally think it tastes more like green tea, which is mild. Some people claim oolong tea helps improve their skin. And reduce their stress. Where you buy your tea counts. If you don't know already, the stuff you buy in most supermarkets is the lowest grade, the dregs of earlier harves

A Bright Start to the Winter Holidays

We did something unusual for our Saturday morning walk/run/hike group. Would love to embed the video but I guess Google, owner of YouTube, no longer plays nice with Vimeo. Here's the link: https://vimeo.com/54682517

Survival of the Fittest

A hat tip to my friend Deborah for sending me a link to this fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal that should give older athletes some pause when it comes to training hard after training for so long. What the new research suggests is that the benefits of running may come to a hard stop later in life. In a study involving 52,600 people followed for three decades, the runners in the group had a 19% lower death rate than nonrunners, according to the Heart editorial. But among the running cohort, those who ran a lot—more than 20 to 25 miles a week—lost that mortality advantage.   Others in the article question whether data is being manipulated to prove a point, but I keep thinking anecdotally of men who die of heart attacks during races, including one exceptionally fit man who was well known to many here . And even though the research focuses on older runners, a younger professional triathlete is mentioned for repeatedly passing out during competitions and requiring &q

Wordless Wednesday

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The Tour of California Returns to San Diego

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Just learned that the Amgen Tour of California, the largest bicycle race in the nation, is returning to San Diego County after a four-year absence. The last time, the tour ended here (we went to the Rancho Bernardo start of the final stage and then loved watching the Tour de France style climb up Palomar Mountain on televison) and there was a massive turnout. Next May, it'll start here and run north to Santa Rosa. I hope there's another great turnout so the Tour comes back. I know a lot of the star cyclists have been tainted by doping charges and convictions. It's still exciting to be part of a live event of this magnitude and I hope many of my fellow San Diegans will be there to support the cyclists during the first stage of a great race.

Your Brain on Exercise

While we were all coming down from our food comas this weekend, researchers were gathered in Chicago to discuss the latest studies on the aging brain. One study that stood out (to me, at least) was one that showed Alzheimer's Disease progresses differently in women and men. I always knew Alzheimer's was more prevalent in women and assumed it was because there are more women and especially more women who live into their 80s and 90s. But it seems the disease actually may attack more gray matter (which you need) in women sooner, while men show signs of cognitive decline from Alzheimer's sooner. That's based on a small sample - a little more than 100 people recently diagnosed with the disease. The other study of note reinforces something that's been discussed repeatedly on this blog: staying active and exercising regularly can stave off non-genetic dementia. This time it is a UCLA study of 876 seniors, average age 78. Those who maintained an active lifestyle - wal

Happy Thanksgiving

"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."   ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections On The Human Condition

Wordless Wednesday

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Just Not Tough Enough

Used to be race officials tried to mask a course’s difficulty with euphemisms like “rolling landscape” and “negative net elevation” for a very hilly, challenging route. Nowadays they play up those rigors, whether it’s natural obstacles, like steep, rut-filled trails, or manmade ones like the electric shock treatments in a Tough Mudder race.   So it was when I read that the inaugural Griffith Park half marathon and 10k trail run would be tough, I figured I would rise to the occasion. I looked at the course, the elevations, those crazy directions and as time drew near I fixated on one of them: Come prepared. I won a race entry in Jeff’s giveaway over at Detroit Runner . And I didn’t want to let him or the race director down. I also told everybody and his mother I was doing this. So for weeks leading up to today, I told myself I could do this. That I would do this. But my body wasn’t responding in kind. I’ve neglected my running pastime (and, let’s face it, blogging) for months

Wordless Wednesday

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Can You Follow This?

Here are the course directions for next weekend's 10k in LA . . . . Follow the paved road down 100 yards, and on your right you will notice Fern Canyon Nature Trail . Take this trail. Follow it up through the canyon, and onto several sets of old wood steps. Follow this until it reaches back up with the "Mineral Wells Trail".   Turn right here, and follow down about 50 yards until you reach a three way intersection where you will then go left at East Trail or Old Zoo Trail as some call it. You ascend north as views begin to open up to the east. In a few minutes you reach an outward bend that cuts back sharply southwest to begin a traverse through Spring Canyon. You get glimpses below of the road coming from the old zoo, which will be your return route. Soon you get your first look at Bee Rock high on the slope above. The trail begins to descend to Spring Canyon stream. In few more minutes you arrive at a four-point junction, 0.7 mile from the start. Straig

Wordless Wednesday

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Should New York City Hold a Marathon Right Now?

I've been reading about the "controversy" surrounding the NYCRR's decision to hold the marathon this weekend despite the past week's devastation from a superstorm. There's a movement to have it postponed, but that's impractical. And there's an offer for anyone who can no longer make this year to be automatically entered next year, but you'll have to pay again. Officials say a lot of infrastructure issues will be resolved by Sunday, and the police and fire officials will be more easily diverted because it's a slow day for them otherwise. Politicians keep noting that this is a huge economic driver for the city. And fans say the event is needed for a morale as well as money boost. I had an online poll in my original post, but it messed up everything else on the blog so I took it down. So, are you a "Yes" or a "No"? Get the Poll">http://www.widgetbox.com/i/b39de1ed-d762-41ac-9cd8-39ad5eb92748">Poll Creat

The Point

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Stonington Point   When I first saw “Visit Anne’s Childhood Home” on the official vacation itinerary, I secretly worried this would be a major letdown. The visit along a narrow, rural road would take all of 10 seconds, maybe less if there were cars behind us. And while a significant chapter in my own personal history, the place on Pequot Trail hardly registered as an attraction to others. But it turns out I can claim not only the modest yellow house but all of Stonington as my personal domain, and so it came that we four spent an entire day within my former hometown’s borders. And, we got to spend more than mere seconds trespassing visiting the place where I grew from a toddler into a teenager. We started with apple picking on a farm, a first for me. The first thing that struck me was that the trees were pruned to bushes to make access easier. The second oddity was payment. A half peck was a very reasonable $5 but there wasn’t anyone to collect the cash. Just an unsecured b

Wordless Wednesday

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Choosing Sides

The weekly Saturday meet-up notice said we’d start our hike through Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve at Parkside. I figured they really meant Canyonside Park because the place they call Parkside I call Creekside. That’s how I managed to hold up a surprisingly large group yesterday in a parking lot a stone’s throw from my old home. We walked to the “waterfalls” – a rock formation with water running through it – and then I ran back, mainly to stay warm and also to help build confidence for an LA trail race (run, in my case) in a few weeks that I am woefully unprepared to complete. A big buck galloped across Park Village Drive at the start and a blue heron took flight just as I did on the return. I’ve been in a period of restoration. For six weeks I did nothing but work at an intensity and productivity level that now even amazes me. I woke around 4 (sometimes 3) to take care of all the little things before embarking on my “real work” around 5 in the morning. I took breaks to bathe,

Wordless Wednesday

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Me & My Friends

Can't seem to embed the video (anyone beside me starting to have it up to here with Blogger? . . .) There will be a post to go with this video in the coming days. http://vimeo.com/51888519

Where I Am As You Read This

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"Fall in Vermont" photo courtesy of flyingdreams.org

The Science Behind Sunsets

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Sunrise over Scripps Ranch If you typically run at sunrise or sunset, then you've been privy to some pretty impressive scenery lately. One of the perks of autumn and winter are more spectacular dawns and dusks than at other times of the year. I wanted to embed a video, but Blogger isn't letting me. Here's a primer on why the skies are colorful: http://bcove.me/drzz0bdw Here's also a nice explanation of why sunsets are so spectaular now .

For Those Times You're Too Torqued

There's the stress relief running provides, and then there's the stress running produces. Some people run purely to burn calories or win medals and others just to enjoy. Most runners I know fall somewhere in between, investing in the gear, clothes and race fees to keep their running interesting and add a little more purpose to weekly workouts. A couple of weeks ago my friend Deborah passed along an older article in Runner's World that should sound familiar to anyone who runs as a form of stress management. Eventually running itself drives you crazy. It's easy to do. Most runners I know are Type A personalities. Why else would anyone need a Garmin? And if you like to enter races, you suddenly have a timeline to follow. Most of us also have other people who depend on us, so if their plans don't mesh with ours, we get irritated. And, as we enter cold and flu season, there's always the debate about when to run and when to sit out a head or chest cold with our A

Hear! Hear!

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  This is a news anchor's response to a critical email.

Lights! Cameras! Run!

When you're working as hard as I am these days, you miss things. I didn't notice that the cheapest grade of gas jumped 20 cents in two days to $4.39. I didn't notice I left my shoes at the office (don't ask). And apparently I didn't notice a car crashed into the public library less than a block from me. I went out this morning on an increasingly rare run and immediately found a group of news stations camped at the corner. One might indicate they were there for local color, but two or more means real news. The more crews, the bigger the story. This one paled in comparison to the slew of television reporters holding court in July at a house on Sparren. On that run-by, I discovered the gunman behind the horrific mass killings at a Colorado movie theater had grown up in my suburb. The old Anne would have stopped this morning and asked what's going on, but the new Anne is on a tight schedule for the next couple of weeks. So I just Googled it when I got home.

Wordless Wednesday...Sort Of

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  Thanks to fellow VPI alum Victoria C. for passing this along.

3 Miles in Stockton

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I think the first time I heard of Stockton, California was in 1989 when a lone gunman open fired on an elementary school .   Much later, it was featured on “60 Minutes” at the start of the housing crisis, when people talked of walking away from their homes.   For five years, it was just another city we passed through on that dreaded drive up the I-5 to UC Davis. Then, earlier this year the city filed for bankruptcy . So maybe my mental picture of Stockton was tainted, but after spending a couple of days there last weekend, I now think I misjudged the place. I flew up for my daughter’s white coat ceremony at University of the Pacific.   Our other daughter drove down from Sonoma County to join us.   It’s a pretty campus, though we spent little time there. Instead, we hit a lot of strip malls and department stores, de rigueur for my visits. The students like to talk of how ghetto Stockton is, and how limited its retail, restaurant and recreation options are, but I

Wordless Wednesday

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Shortest 5k Ever

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  When is a 5k as easy as can be? When it's actually 1.4 miles, not 3! I participated in a walk around Liberty Station in Point Loma this morning and we had two options: 5k or 1 Mile. The vast majority picked 5k but the course ended at 1.4 miles. I suspect we were supposed to do a second loop and then some but it was hot and it was late in the morning and no one wanted to be stuck in traffic when the mega Rock Church service got out. It was still a great event, a Remembrance Walk put on by a local hospice. I put a note in the memory quilt for my grandmother, but I could have filled the entire thing with as many people as I've lost in recent years. Recent months, even.

Sleeping on the Job

Sleep - and specifically how to get enough of it - is a frequent subject here at Run DMZ. So when I find a piece that either reinforces or defies the 8-hour conventional cycle, I want to share it. Today's New York Times has such a piece in which the author argues that it may be time to stop thinking we need big blocks of sleep to function properly when shorter bursts of good, quality sleep may do. Robert Stickgold, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, proposes that sleep — including short naps that include deep sleep — offers our brains the chance to decide what new information to keep and what to toss. That could be one reason our dreams are laden with strange plots and characters, a result of the brain’s trying to find connections between what it’s recently learned and what is stored in our long-term memory . Rapid eye movement sleep — so named because researchers who discovered this sleep stage were astonished to see the fluttering eyelids of sleeping subje

Are 30 Minutes of Running Better Than 60?

Shorter workouts may help you lose more weight than longer ones, according to an article in yesterday's New York Times. A Danish research group took three groups of sedentary, overweight men in their 20s and 30s and assigned each a level of structured exercise to perform for 13 weeks. They also were required to keep detailed food logs. The group that didn't add exercise to their regime, didn't lose any weight. No surprise there. The group that worked out daily for 60 minutes lost an aveage of 5 pounds. But the group that worked out 30 minutes daily (burning 300 calories jogging, compared to 600) actually lost more weight, an average of 7 pounds. Researchers think the 60-minutes group actually ate more and were less active other hours of the day to compensate for the fatigue from running or cycling for an hour that day. So if weight loss is your goal with running or cycling or swimming ... or whatever aerobic activity you choose, shorter workouts may be the way to go

Wordless Wednesday

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Wrong Side of the Moon

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This morning as I headed out on a familiar running route, I thought the moon was all wrong. I couldn't recall seeing it just above the horizon where the sun would rise in another hour. I haven't been running much lately, but I have noticed it's darker in the morning and warmer during the day, currently 106 degrees outside my air-conditioned room. Of course, the moon was in the right place. I wasn't. Every once in awhile we all are hit by circumstances, planned or otherwise, that just throw us off our game. Could be bringing home a new member of the family or learning to live without someone. Could be a new job or new commute. Could be an unexpected trip, like to the doctor or Discount Tire. I went to both this week. The doctor was for my husband, who has a troubling and mysterious foot injury. Then I was on my way to work when my front tire split. Add learning that a beloved member of the San Diego Track Club passed on top of an old friend's death and some p

Wordless Wednesday

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'Your Body May Be Your Best Coach'

I'm long past chasing PRs in running, but for those of you who are still seeking new bars to cross, consider this experiment written about in New York newspapers and summarized well on The Brilliant Blog . Basically, beginning runners were given 10 weeks to train for a half marathon. None knew much about the art, let alone science, of running and so they just did what came naturally. And, guess what, they steadily improved. Their bodies instinctively learned how to economize their movements and improve their endurance and speeds. They did it by listening to their bodies, rather than generic magazine articles telling you how to run a faster 5k. And they remained uninjured even if their gait and foot strikes were not the norm. The results "raise an interesting question in regards to teaching people to run," Isabel Moore, head researcher at the University of Exeter, told The New York Times. “If runners can self-optimize [then] maybe we should teach runners to learn to un

Higher Than Any Bird Every Flew

I’ve been thinking a lot about my wedding. I planned the entire thing in an hour while I was bored at work. I remember going to visit the priest, Father Kenneth, to see if I could get married at the church about a block from my office after learning a Catholic had to get married inside a Catholic Church – not the Sheraton two miles down the street as I had outlined on my Reporter’s Notebook. Father Kenneth began reading from a mental punch list. Bridesmaids? Just one. Groomsmen? One again. Formal? No, an afternoon wedding. With a mass? No, definitely without. Photographer? I’m working on that one. Flowers? Any recommendations? Music? For some reason, it never dawned on me that we’d have to actually hire someone to play the organ and sing. I obviously hadn't been to many weddings. The priest put me in touch with an organist, who picked all the songs she wanted in her wedding.   And I only knew one wedding singer, a woman my age, 24, that I worked wit

Stop Looking at the Clock

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One of the things I really like about the group I now run with on weekends is they are punctual. We start early, and we start on time. With my other training group, we started an hour later and still people would show up really, really late. These late-comers tended to be younger, though not always. In listening to an NPR report earlier this week, I think maybe now I know at least one reason why these groups are so different. Members of my current running/walking group are all middle-aged; the other group had a lot of 20- and 30-somethings, and they operate on a different circadian rhythm. You see, as we age, our bodies still require the same amount of sleep but not necessarily at the same time. Our circadian rhythm is triggered by a natural fall and rise in body temperature. When we are younger, the core drops later in the evening but doesn't rise until later in the morning -- thus, as teenagers, college students and young adults, we tend to stay up late and sleep in on wee

Alone in the Pack

I was midway through this morning's run when I stopped at a hillside park to get a drink from the water fountain. I saw a group of dogs sprint from their elder owners toward me. Initially, I thought nothing of it because it's a public park and surely these people wouldn't allow vicious animals to run loose. But, you see, dogs behave differently in packs. Especially when a heavy-breathing, sweaty stranger enters their realm. One dog in particular named Charlie seemed to lead the charge and next thing I know I was surrounded by a couple of labs and three mixed breeds, none wagging tails and Charlie bearing teeth. Two were younger and didn't seem to know quite what to do or where to go, but they were mesmerized by Charlie's territorialism -- so was I. I tried to walk but the pack just tightened in on me. So I looked up, pretending not to be scared and could tell the group of five people were realizing this wasn't a friendly encounter. That's how I know th

A Regular Runner ... Sort Of

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The creator of this short film about a marathon runner from Tennessee asked if I'd check it out and blog about it. I like it. I like the way it's shot. I like the guy who is profiled. He doesn't do anything fancy or special or endorse a certain diet or lifestyle. He just likes to run, and apparently very fast. Thanks, Page. Great work. (What's not so great is broken code that won't allow me to embed the video. I tried and tried and couldn't get it to work, so I'm just including a link to the documentary instead.)

Guest Wordless Wednesday

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Photo from Ironman Lake Placid courtesy of Louise R., who also has a great sense of humor.

Another Reason to Find a Running Partner

We all know that running with someone else can improve our pace, our spirits and our distances. But here's another reason: it really improves your mind. At a workshop last week, a national expert in dementia care urged everyone to engage in healthy lifestyle choices now to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and other types of memory impairment associated with aging, poor exercise, bad diet, stress, poor sleep habits and head injuries. (And even if she didn't mention it, there's now evidence forgetting to brush and floss teeth can contribute to the disease too .) It's also important to not socially isolate yourself since doing so can lead to "cognitive stagnation." That's why I'm recommending everyone occasionally team up with a running partner. When you carry on a conversation while running you engage the brain differently. -You take turns talking, which requires you to think before speaking. -You use decision making to decide together where

Summer Slowdown

It’s not your imagination that I’m not as chatty as I used to be – on this blog, your blog and email. Two things happened. My laptop that holds my RSS feeds is on its last breath. The battery died three years ago, and I never replaced it. Instead, I relied exclusively on electricity to keep it going. Then it started to send out small distress signals culminating in a keyboard FAIL. First the n and then k keys no longer work, which makes it difficult to blog or comment when you can’t use every letter in the alphabet. T hen our IT policy changed at work and I no longer do anything personal using company equipment – even on my lunch break. This means I can’t access my personal e-mail account, nor read or respond to running blogs. It took a week to get used to the new system, but then a funny thing happened. I became incredibly productive. Without the distractions, I could focus for longer stretches on tasks at hand.   I always thought I carefully managed my days, but I now realize