LABOR DAY RACE, FEE DONATION, AND POTENTIAL TRIFECTA.
Planning to run a personal competition this Labor Day holiday weekend, your last race at the end of the unofficial summer season? Earned Runs has the bibs if you have the commitment; just put in a request and you’ll get 4 free bibs to use in any way you wish, by yourself or with others. See the main page of the website for suggested uses as well as the FAQ page for more insight.
Since I intend to run a race as the last of one of my summer challenges, a donation equivalent to a registration fee has been made advance to the American Red Cross. The organization has been appealing for assistance with relief services for flood victims in Louisiana areas hard hit by heavy rains this past month. There may be heavy rain in the forecast. The GENEROSITY page has more information and links to some organizations that have been scored by Charitynavigator.com.
If in running a personal competition you are consciously careful to limit your use of natural and man-made resources and impact on the environment, you are likely to be running an earth-friendly race. If you race + are earth-friendly + donate to charity you will win an Earned Runs benefit ‘trifecta’ by bettering your self, your surroundings, and the lives of others!
ON THIS UPCOMING HOLIDAY WEEKEND you probably have your plans made. However, there’s a whole year of competition ahead to start dreaming about, and as temperatures cool and humidity levels lessen, it will be easier to think about pushing your body to its physical limits in a race.
There’s the lure of the hugely-popular, often famous, big city races and ready temptation to run the nearby small races, as organizational advertising tends to target by zip code (it seems so anyway). So what’s better, big or small? An article by Chris Foster for Competitor.com “The Pros and Cons of Small Races Versus Big Races” helps runners consider this question and ends with a link to a related article, “25 Iconic Road Races” by Ryan Wood, also for Competitor.com. Personally, I think a mix seems to be the perfect answer.
IF YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO THEMED RACES, enjoy running for charity, and looking for a race to bring your beer-loving friends together, even if you need to travel, consider the BeerFit Series.
This brew-centered event is held in different cities throughout the US and consists of the Brew Mile, “Four beers, one mile”, and the Power Hour Run, “How many miles can you run in one hour?” The Brew Mile Challenge is, as its name indicates, a 1 mile loop run which runners finish as fast as possible (standard race behavior) or after sampling as many as 4 beers along the course. The finisher medal is, appropriately, a paddle bottle opener that can be used to open two post-race bottles of beer included in the registration fee.
In the Power Hour Run, competitors race as many 1 mile loops as possible in an hour and are rewarded with a T–shirt that boasts the number completed in that time if 3+miles are run. The 2 post-race beers are also included.
How does water come into the picture? Organizers of BeerFit indicate that its mission is to raise awareness and money for Water.org. Although the specific nature of their support is not spelled out, the details of how runners can increase the donated amount is given for the Beer Mile event. An “extra” $10, $5, $3, $2, and $1 is given for runners who complete the race in under 6, 7, 8, 10, and 15 minutes respectively.
The schedule shows upcoming 2016 events in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Houston. If downing a cold beer or two few after a hard run charity race would make a perfect day for you, check out BeerFit!
Benjamin Franklin is erroneously credited with saying, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. Although historians say Ben was speaking about rain and its contribution to the growing of grapes and ultimately making of wine, there are many who are walking around wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the quote wishing it to be true.
Segment 36 Speculator NY to Ticonderoga NY
Segment 37 Ticonderoga NY to Fairlee VT
Segment 38 Fairlee VT to North Conway NH
Traveling onward through the eastern Adirondack Mountains, the first day of this week takes runners and walkers through NY State from Speculator to the town of Ticonderoga, near the site of the famous fort involved in both the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolutionary War. Before researching this route I had no idea that Lake George and Lake Champlain were in someway connected.
A map and a Wikipedia entry reveal that the two longitudinally-oriented lakes lie along a waterway that partially forms the borderline of New York State and Vermont, and that courses north into Canada. The town of Ticonderoga and the two mile long La Chute River represented a historically natural portage crossing between the large lakes, which along with rivers, allowed a direct route of travel between NYC and Montreal Quebec. Ticonderoga is located on the route extending from the northern shore of Lake George to the southern shore of Lake Champlain.
Like the Trek Travel bicycle tour on which this virtual route was based, the Ticonderoga Ferry will transport us across Lake Champlain to Shoreham, Vermont. The route then makes its way into the Green Mountains through the Brandon Gap (elevation 2170 ft). This time of year the autumn colors of the forested hillsides should be just starting to make an appearance. A check of a website that follows and attempts to forecast the New England Fall Foliage Season shows a few early signs of the color to come (in Maine) as of August 26.
The small town of Fairlee VT is on the border with New Hampshire and is near Lake Morey, which declares it has the longest groomed ice skating trail (4.3 mile network) in the US, when winter conditions permit its full operation. Next the route courses through the White Mountains to the village of North Conway, New Hampshire, which is about 60 miles from the last destination of the trip, Portland Maine!
You won’t be climbing it, but not too far north of the route is Mt. Washington, at 6288 ft. the highest peak in the NH and most the prominent east of the Mississippi River. The mountain summit is famous for it’s erratic and sometimes treacherous weather (highest windspeed recorded was 231 mph in 1934); a non-profit observatory there researches Earth’s weather and climate. North Conway is in a year-round, outdoor recreational resort area, well known to climbers and hikers.
Only one more day of moving your legs to go!!!
Segment maps for week 14 are here and on the RESOURCES page
AN AMERICAN TO EMULATE. Okay you may be sooooo over the Olympics by now. However as our nation’s athletes and those of the rest of the globe have spent at least 4 years, sometimes much longer, preparing to provide the world with exciting original-content entertainment for 14 days, a recap of their special accomplishments seems appropriate. Before we move on to the new TV season’s shows.
Competitor.com put together 2 slideshow articles that are easy to move through. One, 31 slides in length, “US Track and Field Storms to Huge Success at the Rio Olympics” says what many may not realize; this Olympic event was, for the US Track & Field Team, a GREAT showing. The best since 1932! This slideshow mostly honors USA medal winners.
The second slideshow, “10 Amazing Running Moments at the Rio Olympics” by Brian Metzler, is 11 slides in length and highlights memorable instances of athletic performance and sportsmanship by USA and other nations’ champions in running and field events. Some moments received a lot of play by the media; others, not so much. What comes to my mind is 41 year-old American Meb Keflezighi’s run in the men’s marathon foot race.
Meb dropped back in the race before reaching the halfway mark. It seems he started to experience gastrointestinal distress at that point and had to stop several times, but was able to complete the remainder of the distance. Just before crossing the finish line, as he was acknowledging the crowd’s cheers in probably his last Olympic performance, he slipped on wet pavement and unceremoniously went down. He kissed the ground and gamely performed several push-ups before getting to his feet. It was a bit like 73 year-old actor Jack Palance at the 1992 Academy Awards show, receiving an Oscar for his role as Curly in the “City Slickers” movie, showing his vitality by doing several one-handed push-ups on stage as he accepted his award. In the post race interview he emotionally expressed his gratitude for our country and all it had given him and his family. He was so proud to have his 3 daughters witness his participation in the marathon as a representative of the US. It was a Kleenex moment. What an athlete and a patriot!
Meb could have focused on coming in 33rd place and not medalling, the slick conditions of the course from rain, or the likelihood his ‘stomach problem’ was due to poor food safety or drinking water in the host country. But he chose to bring attention to all that was good in his life and this effort. It surely was a teachable moment for young and old, and recreational and professional competitors on good sportsmanship.
To me he was showing us all how to ‘RUN HAPPY’!
AN ARTICLE FROM CNN.com by Jacqueline Howard “How Much a Decade of Obesity Increases Your Risk of Cancer” brings attention to a study examining the long-term health dangers to women carrying excess pounds. Roughly 70% US adults are overweight and 36% are obese, making the condition an important public health concern.
Melina Arnold, a scientist at the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer was lead author of the study, “Duration of Adulthood Overweight, Obesity and Cancer Risk in the Women’s Health Initiative: A Longitudinal Study from the United States”, published in PLOS Medicine on August 16, 2016.
The study followed nearly 74,000 postmenopausal women, recruited at ages 50-79 years from late 1993 to late 1998, over a mean of 12.6 years. Approximately 60% were overweight or obese as adults. 6,301 invasive obesity-related cancers were recorded during the study. Obesity-related cancers were identified as those in which previously there was “convincing evidence of a positive relation to excess BMI*: colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, postmenopausal breast, endometrium, ovary, kidney, and thyroid”.
Overweight status was defined as BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2, and obese as BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2. Statistical modeling was used to analyze the self-reported BMI obtained from study subjects at baseline ages 18, 35, and 50 years (the information was retrospectively recalled), and from “weight and height measurements at baseline and at 3-year follow-up, and from self-reports at follow-up years 4–8”.
For every decade of being overweight the study found an overall increase of about 7% of all obesity-related cancers. “After adjusting for the intensity of overweight (that is, how overweight individuals were), these figures rose to 8% for postmenopausal breast cancer and 37% for endometrial cancer”.
The average duration of being overweight was 31.3 years and of being obese was 20.6 years. Overweight or obese women were slightly younger at baseline age, “had a lower education and were more likely to be African-American”. They tended to be less physically active, have higher calorie but poorer quality diets, and report being diabetic.
In the CNN article a point is made that additional questions have been raised about overweight, obesity, and cancer risk by this study. For example, the authors now wish to know if the age of overweight onset matters, specifically if onset occurs in childhood or at a younger rather than an older adult age.
The last section of the scientific paper identifies what these findings mean. The researchers conclude, ”how much of their adult lives women are overweight and how overweight they are play important roles in cancer risk. This finding highlights the importance of obesity prevention at ALL AGES and from EARLY ONSET” (capitals letters added by me).
What do the findings mean for running? Simply focusing on calorie restriction to achieve weight loss as a healthy life goal can be disheartening for women or men. Setting running or walking competition goals, and then following a training plan and adopting a sport-friendly nutritious diet can transform the passive, negative ‘subtraction’ mindset of dieting into the active, positive exhilaration of ‘addition’ as the dieter becomes the athlete.
I think this type of cycle (run… train… compete… repeat) is more likely to help individuals sustain a SAFER body weight over a lifetime than loss-and-gain, yo-yo dieting. The study showed that the INTENSITY of overweight increased cancer risks with time. This means that merely weighing LESS, even if not within the ideal BMI range, carries LESS cancer risk. Thus, working toward this more reasonable outcome can be a worthwhile effort that might be aided by the addition of competitive sport activity.
Encouraging children and adolescents to engage in competitive sport activities may significantly delay the onset of overweight and obesity in adulthood. Barriers to participation like equipment cost, venue availability, and skill acquisition are relatively low in running/walking compared with other sports. Opportunities to compete are nearly endless, especially with free Earned Runs bib (shameless plug) at any age. Family participation in the same races is easily arranged; inclusion of siblings, neighbors, and schoolmates almost automatically engenders friendly rivalries.
Current runners and walkers might look outside themselves, invite hesitant onlookers of either gender to join in the fun, and shepherd them along the way!
*BMI= Body Mass Index
THANKSGIVING IS 13 WEEKS FROM TODAY!
IF YOU WISH TO TRAIN to run in a 2016 TURKEY TROT 5K Race, the time to start planning is now. Of course you should decide on a training plan (see below) if you have not yet run a 5K. ALSO think about inviting others, possibly non-running family and friends to join in the fun with you that weekend. Run in the same race or at distant locations (EarnedRuns will be happy to help with that by providing bibs).
A 10-week plan that tarts September 12, adapted from one first published on Competitor.com in July 2011 by Mario Fraioli and later in 2014, will be posted on the RESOURCES page as of today. You can download it here too. It is only a DRAFT. Details on the TRACK DAY workouts will be provided on a separate document later this week; the DRAFT plan only has them listed as TRACK DAY#1, #2, #3, etc. If you follow the link to the article from Competitor.com, you’ll have access to the original and can follow that one instead. They are fairly similar. One difference is that the EarnedRuns version has rounded up the fractions of minutes (30 seconds) to full minutes to simplify the plan. Another is that warm-up stretches, MYRTLs, foam rolling, and strength training is spelled out on the calendar as a reminder they are important. When finalized there will be an explanation for why this particular plan was used as a model.
Think about cool, crisp autumn days for training, spiced pumpkin lattes for after-workout treats, you favorite snuggly fleece jacket….and what an accomplishment it will be to finish the race, like thousands of others that holiday. It can become a new (or renewed) tradition!
EarnedRuns 10 week Turkey Trot Training Plan for beginners DRAFT
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO RUN A SPECIFIC RACE AND WANT OPINIONS AND PERSPECTIVE about that event which is not advertising hype, there’s a service that might help you. BibRave posts reviews and other feedback about races on its company’s public-interfacing website so that would-be participants can learn more about a race before registering; runners can leave feedback after their race experiences as well. Runners that are “motivated, active, social, vocal, and enthusiastic” racers are recruited to become ‘ambassadors’ for the company. Called BibRave Pros, they receive race-specific perks for their efforts to “tell the world which races are the best and why”. The company, headquartered in Portland Oregon, was launched in late 2013.
A few small races I searched each had one review; several others were not yet in their system. Like all sites that rely on voluntary submissions it will take some time to populate the database with information. It seems like it has the potential to be tremendously helpful to runners, so the link will be posted on the RESOURCES page. What do you think about it?
AT THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE 2018 SUMMER OLYMPICS in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil the organizers of the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games were able to start the hype about their big upcoming event. If you were wondering which location is next after Japan to have the honor of hosting the Games like I was, the answer is that it has not yet been decided! Los Angeles is making another bid and trying to bring the event back to the USA. There’s a lot more about the process of successfully winning a bid and how LA is hoping to win that competition in the LA Times article, “Behind the Scenes LA 2024 Consultants Work to Push the Bid” by David Wharton.
The future US Olympic Track and Field Team members for that great event might still be in college, high school, or even elementary school now. What an incentive running on ‘home’ turf would be to train hard for those Games. At least for marathoners there would be the added excitement of potentially finishing the iconic race in the famous LA Memorial Coliseum, the home of the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics.
The first Games in which a women’s marathon competition was run was the 1984 Los Angeles Olympiad, won by American Joan Benoit (now Samuelson). An American did not win the men’s marathon that year, but with the recent terrific showing of both the men (Galen Rupp won a bronze medal and Justin Ward finished 6th) and women (Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Linden, and Amy Cragg finished, 6th, 7th and 9th respectively) in this past Olympics, surely there would be enough excitement to inspire TEAM USA between now and 2024 to make history there. Regardless it would not be too far to travel for me; I would plan to go, especially having lived in LA.
“15 EASY WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR METABOLISM” by Men’s Health for Active.com contains a mixed list of means to help increase body metabolism that don’t involve exercise. A proposed scientific basis for each action item is provided. The authors also offer other useful information about how to make changes.
Whether or not making these changes significantly boosts the rate at which your body burns fuel, doing so can contribute to a healthy lifestyle if appropriately incorporated into your daily routine and diet.
Here they are briefly stated; the slideshow article has more discussion:
-Stand and move more
-Increase PROTEIN intake
-Add calcium (milk/dairy)
-Drink adequate water (stay hydrated)/ make it iced
-Increase vitamin D (salmon) intake
-Switch to ORGANIC FOODS (eliminating organochlorine pesticides)
HOT PEPPERY FOODS (capsaicin)
IRON-RICH FOODS (Spinach, lean meats, shellfish, beans)
FIBER-RICH FOODS (fruits and vegetables)
ARGININE-RICH FOODS (watermelon)
-DRINK coffee and tea (caffeine and catechins)
Some dietary items overlap a bit and adding certain foods may take care of more than one suggested change.
PROTEIN: For example to increase protein, you might add dairy products to boost the amount, especially if they were previously lacking, thereby also increasing calcium intake. Or add salmon to increase protein +vitamin D. Canned salmon, with the soft bones mashed up with the flakes of fish, is a good source of calcium. It’s delicious on green leafy lettuce salads.
FIBER: dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, beet greens, etc) also contain IRON and calcium! Watermelon contains fiber too although not high amounts.
WATER: hydrate well and perhaps burn a few extra calories by drinking it icy COLD throughout the day. If you don’t like the taste or look of fat free MILK, drink it over ice; it is almost flavorless, like water, and is more refreshing when iced.
The very first way suggested by the article to increase metabolism (not on the list above) is NOT to diet. If you are trying to increase your metabolic rate to achieve weight loss by following the advice of the article alone you will be disappointed. Analysis of your current diet and elimination of calorie dense, low nutrient foods will be necessary.
Segment 33 Bradford PA to Corning NY
Segment 34 Corning NY to Cazenovia NY
Segment 35 Cazenovia NY to Speculator NY
This week we will make our way from the Keystone State of Pennsylvania into the Empire State of New York, first to a city known for it’s manufacture of glass and ceramic products, Corning NY. The city is south of the Finger Lakes (FL) region, which you will skirt on this trip. The area is famous for beautiful woodland scenery, vineyards, and wine making. There are officially 11 long narrow sometimes very deep Finger Lakes in this central part of the state, carved by glacial action, as are many of the geographic features of the Great Lakes. This area of New York is a main part of the Iroquois homeland, a Native American nation that was one of the most powerful in colonial times. The village of Watkins Glen NY, north of the route at the south end of Seneca Lake, is known for the nearby beautiful rushing stream, waterfalls, and gorges in the State Park, as well as the Watkins Glen International racetrack, which is on the NASCAR Sprint Series schedule.
The route passes from Corning through Ithaca, which lies at the southern end of Cayuga Lake, then east of the city of Syracuse to the historic village of Cazenovia in the town of the same name. Ithaca is the home of Cornell University, which is both a private Ivy League and a public land-grant educational institution, and Syracuse is home to it's namesake University. Cazenovia Lake lies at the northeast edge of the town, and although it is situated at the far eastern end of the FL region and not officially included with the 11 Finger Lakes, sometimes is called the 12th Lake because it seems to have similar glacial origins.
The last stop this week is Speculator NY, deep within the Adirondack Mountains. The route runs eastward from Cazenozia and enters Adirondack Park, the boundaries of which correspond to the dome-shaped area comprising the Mountains, about 160 miles wide and a mile high. If you stayed at an inn you might enjoy relaxing in wooden Adirondack reclining chairs that derive their name from the area. You will have earned it! Only 4 more days of effort remain, about 300 miles of road.
Click to link to the segment maps, which also can be downloaded from the RESOURCES page, as well as the Itinerary and Calendar.
HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT YOU HAD THE 'RIGHT STUFF' TO COMPETE in an ultramarathon? ‘Ultras’’ are races longer than a marathon’s 26.2 miles (42.1K), and often are 50K (31.1miles), 50 miles, sometimes 100 miles or more in distance. The most famous (or infamous) are held in venues with extreme environmental conditions. Like the Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord, a mountain challenge race in Europe’s 6th smallest country, with 44,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, highlighted in a Competitor.com article by Allison Pattillo.
However, did you know that some ultras will hold races of lesser distances in a ‘festival’ type of event, like 5K, 10K, and half-marathon races will be run on the same day/weekend as a marathon. In addition to the Andorra Trail Vallnord 100-mile event, there are 70- mile, 50-mile, and marathon races, and a 10K!!! Beware, the Solidaritrail 10K it not a piece of cake; it has 2,500 feet of climbing! The event was recently held in July 2016, so there’s time to plan your trip and train for 2017 (date not yet posted on the website).
Below is a list of other ultra events featured in a 2008 Runner’s World article with upcoming race dates substituted for those originally published.
Ice Age Trail 50
La Grange WI May 13, 2017 http://www.iceagetrail50.com/
Farm to Farm Ultra Run
Freeport, ME October 9, 2016 http://farmtofarm.weebly.com/about.html
The North Face Endurance Challenge
Eagle WI Sept 17-18, 2016 and Park City UT Sept 24-25, 2016
Chicago Lakefront 50/50 Ultra
Chicago IL October 29, 2016 http://www.chicagoultra.org/
Kansas Ultrarunners Society
November 12, 2016
Boonsboro MD November 19, 2016
OTHTC High Desert 50K and 30K Ultra
Ridgecrest CA December 4, 2016
Tejas Trails (multiple races)
Huntsville TX throughout the year
Mississippi 50 Trail Run ( also 20K, 50K races)
Laurel MS March 4, 2017
FALL SHOE SEASON WILL SOON ARRIVE . An article, “How Running Surfaces and Speed Influence Injury Risk” by Ian McMahan for Competitor.com discusses new insights by science into running injury, something shoe designers and manufactures hope to help runners avoid.
“Despite innovations in shoe cushioning, training and sports science, the rate of running injuries hasn’t budged since shoes were being made in waffle irons. One of the reasons for this unchanging rate is likely that each runner is their own laboratory, with a specific set of injury do’s and don’ts that depend on gender, genetics and a whole host of other factors. “
Running surface is one factor to be considered in injury prevention. Softer surfaces like trails, sand, or treadmills, have long been thought to be easier on the joints. According to the article, the body compensates and adjusts for the firmness of the running surface, based on past experience and physiological ‘data’ derived from previous runs. In other words, on softer surfaces the leg muscles stiffen more and on harder surfaces the muscles stiffen less, such that the “over all impact on the leg virtually remains the same whether running on trails, a beach, or concrete”. This process by which the brain and body act to maintain the stiffness of the surface/leg/shoe unit is termed “muscle tuning”, the article explains.
Runners may ask, what does this mean for injury prevention? The answer is to change up running surfaces in training programs. “Just like a runner would try runs of different intensities—tempo and interval training for instance—my advice is to incorporate a little bit of all the different surfaces into training,” says Dr. Brian Heiderscheit, Director of the University of Wisconsin’s Runners’ Clinic, who was quoted in the piece.
An article in the British Journal of Sports medicine by BM Nigg and colleagues from the University of Calgary in Alberta Canada examines the role of the shoe in this surface/leg/shoe unit. In spite of dramatic changes in shoe construction over the past 100 years, the authors say, footwear selection has not influenced the FREQUENCIES of running injuries. They contend there is a “lack of conclusive evidence” that two variables, impact characteristics and ankle pronation/eversion, are the “prime predictors of running injuries”. The article abstract says that “two new paradigms are suggested to elucidate the association between footwear and injury impact and ankle pronation: ‘the preferred movement path’ and the ‘comfort filter’. These researchers propose that each runner selects a comfortable footwear product using their own ‘comfort filter’ that allows them to remain in the ‘preferred movement path”.
The 'comfort filter' paradigm is this: runners already select a shoe that is most comfortable FOR THEM, using a personal, built-in "comfort filter'. This selection has the effect of reducing injury risk and contributing to performance. It's "not that footwear could have an influence on running injuries. On the contrary, footwear does appear to influence the frequency of injuries since we already select the most comfortable shoe and avoid uncomfortable and potentially harmful footwear", they say.
The ‘preferred movement’ paradigm is this: the skeleton of an individual runner attempts to stay in the same movement path, that person’s ‘preferred movement path’. Muscle activity ensures that the skeleton stays in this path. A ‘good’ running shoe allows the skeleton to move in the ‘preferred movement path’ by demanding less muscle activity than a ‘bad’ running shoe.
The authors admit that this new way of thinking about shoe selection and running injury doesn’t solve the problem of injury. It clears the way for considering the issues differently, such that measures to alter shoe cushioning and foot pronation are not the primary injury prevention strategies.
These are complex issues and I cannot say I comprehend all that is presented in this reported research. Expert trainers and coaches have told us that we must listen to our bodies, and investigate and ‘fix’ situations in which running is not comfortable. We must work to maintain and build strength in ALL muscles involved in running, not just the big groups that move us forward, but also in the smaller muscles that balance and stabilize that forward movement.
Someone asked me if research has identified which runners tend to become injured and eventually give up running. I have NOT found that literature! My experience is that runners with discomfort tend to keep running, even after short trial periods of rest do not change the situation. Without correction of the underlying problem, the discomfort may progress to pain. Continued pain causes dysfunctional running, which leads to more and different pain. When the burden of pain results in lack of function, we stop and seek medical care. Therapy is most times aimed at returning function to the level of the non-running population. If there’s inadequate information, opportunity, desire, and a readily available support system to assist the sidelined runner in correcting the problem that snowballed to injury, a return to running as a sport is unlikely.
The remedy is to persevere in seeking, far and wide if necessary, a diagnosis of the specific weakness/imbalance that initially adversely affected running. The reason for visiting the doctor may be the end result. The key to success is following the therapy prescription once given, for as long as needed, realizing a problem tendency has been identified that will require persistent work to prevent relapses. I’ve gone through several injury ‘cycles’ and finally, hopefully, learned the lesson of prevention. It’s worth it!
THERE'S AN EMERGING TYPE OF PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING CHEATING in sports that Olympic officials will be studying once the 2016 Rio Summer Games are over. It involves inserting synthetic DNA segments into specific cells to increase the production of proteins thought to improve athletic effort in competition. Gene-doping.
An article in the UPI.com (United Press International, a news organization) Home/Health News section by Stephen Feller, “Olympic Officials Plan to Investigate Gene Doping By Athletes”, gives readers a peak into the tactics and methods that will potentially be used by the anti-doping agencies to uncover evidence of gene-doping, at the time of specimen collection, as well as in the past.
The article explains how the retro-active examination of Lance Armstrong’s blood lead to discovery of his use of the hormone EPO (erythropoietin) and other banned substances, as far back as 1999. This explains why cycling officials took the extreme action of stripping him of medals and wins back to 1998. Modern cheaters are thinking that it won’t be possible to detect a synthetic gene sequence once it has been incorporated into cells, but according to this article they are mistaken!
Another article, in TheScienceExplorer.com, “Explainer: What is Blood Doping and Will Any Athlete at 2016 Rio Have Tried It?” by Colin Moran from the University of Stirling in Scotland, explains why gene doping can be harmful to athletes both short- and long-term. Firstly, he indicates, “poorly-executed” therapies may not work. Also, there are dangerous side effects that can be predicted with our current knowledge, explained below using EPO as an example. Experience with other unrelated therapies tells us that there may be unforeseen consequences to any treatment, especially if mis-used, that can only be recognized over time. The article warns of the “potential for off-target effects, whereby the gene therapy process unintentionally alters some of our healthy genes, creating unexpected side effects.”
Take naturally-produced EPO as an example. It’s increased production mainly in the kidney (some in the liver) is vital to survival in persons with anemia or other conditions that result in too few circulating red blood cells (RBC’s). This hormone stimulates stem cells in bone marrow to make and release more RBC’s when a low level of blood oxygen, which is carried by red cells, is sensed by the kidney. Overproduction of erythropoietin can lead to erythrocythemia, in which too many RBC’s are present in blood. An increase in red cell mass causes blood to be viscous or thick; there is less plasma. Viscous blood does not circulate easily in blood vessels and vital tissues may not be properly perfused. Impaired circulation to the brain can lead to serious consequences like stroke and obtundation. There is also potentially an increased risk of clotting.
Science is amazing; is not something to be studied in isolation from society. A need in one area of life may lead to the development of technology that nobly solves problems, alleviates suffering, or eliminates dysfunction. There can be abuse of that science and technology, as in the case of gene-doping. However efforts to detect such abuse may in turn result in further discoveries or applications that once again positively impact society. Who knows, the quest to find cheaters may ultimately help others!
I hope all the 2016 Olympic champions remain a source of inspiration to the world, and that news out of the anti-doping agencies proves that competing unfairly is not a winning strategy.
RUN HAPPILY and FAIRLY!
RUNNING FOR OTHERS. A while back there was a BLOG post (7/26/2016 http://www.earned-runs.com/blog/on-your-left-stroller-running) about a mom runner setting a record for stroller running at the Chicago Half Marathon. It seems natural that a parent who wishes to spend time with the little ones(s) and at the same time enjoy a great workout would take to running with a child-loaded stroller. Competing purposely with a stroller in front definitely kicks that parenting activity up a notch!
An article from Competitor.com “Man Sets Half Marathon World Record Wearing a Business Suit”, demonstrates how a runner has turned to sport to help his child. It features a dad running in a full business suit (a vest was worn) to raise awareness of Fragile X Syndrome, a condition affecting his autistic son. There was a fund raising component too, but the details were not provided in the piece. He set out to break the world record in this category and DOES IT!!! He had a terrific finish time (1:18 and 10 seconds); incredibly, while wearing a tie and dress shirt.
It’s amazing how runners find creative, often absurd, and touching ways to be better parents, spouses, friends, citizens, patriots, etc., literally wearing their hearts on their ‘sleeves’ (running apparel and gear), in support of loved ones and causes.
In my mind, running is an activity in which we, as runners, feel we have significant control. However life circumstances can generate situations in which there is little control. It’s no wonder that runners and other athletes try to bring the worlds of sport and misfortune together, attempting to use personal physical energy and determination in sport to power changes that improve the lives of the suffering.
This article also shows how an INDIVIDUAL in ANY race can IN SPIRIT ‘donate” their competitive effort on behalf of another. It can be done publicly, like this dad, or privately such that only the recipient is aware of the offering. A ‘donated’ finisher medal is tangible proof of love and respect that can be given through an organization (Medals4Mettle on GENEROSITY page) or personally. (more discussion on this appeared in a BLOG post 5/18/2015).
The next time you train for a tough race, consider privately letting a needy loved one know in advance that you are dedicating your preparatory efforts and the competition to them. This action will surely 'up' the stakes and double the incentive to work hard and perform well. Some recipients may treasure training updates from you as they endure a tough situation or care regimen.
BLOG Post 5/18/15: Generosity
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running enables us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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