Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Slim Fast

You’ve probably heard that several millions cans of Slim-Fast have been recalled because of a possible bacterial contamination.

Here’s an equally valid reason to avoid Slim-Fast: it’s junk. Look at this nutrition label:

This is supposed to be a meal replacement? It’s a soda with a little fat and protein thrown in. Okay, given the meals many people eat, I guess that would be a replacement, but you get the point.

Look at the ingredients list for the powdered version:

Sugar, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Maltodextrin, Gum Arabic, Milk Protein Concentrate, Cellulose Gel, Soy Fiber, Buttermilk Powder, Potassium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Dextrose, Salt, Guar Gum, Soybean Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, Carrageenan, Sodium Phosphate, Acesulfame Potassium (A Non Nutritive Sweetner) and Aspartame.

Sugar is listed first. That means it’s the primary ingredient — ingredients are listed in order of their proportion in the product, if you didn’t already know. Not surprisingly, the nutrition website where I found the label gives Slim-Fast an “A” for nutrition. It’s low fat in fat and cholesterol, you see.

I tried the Slim-Fast plan maybe 15 years ago, one of my many failed attempts to lose weight. I lasted three days on it. After drinking a can of this swill for breakfast, I’d be famished by lunch. I’d be hungrier than if I just skipped breakfast entirely.

Now, of course, I know why: the sugar. I most likely woke up in a mild state of ketosis, burning stored fat for fuel. Then I’d down a can of sugar, which would spike my insulin. The insulin in turn would tell my body to start packing the calories into my fat cells and hold them there. So I ran out of fuel. I remember sitting at my keyboard one morning, an hour from my usual lunchtime, feeling mentally fuzzy, my hands shaking from what was obviously low blood sugar.

At that point, I said to heck with this and went out for lunch instead of drinking another Slim-Fast. Unfortunately, since I didn’t know any better in those days, I probably went out for pasta. But even that’s an improvement over this glorified soda.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Down the ladder

Noel and Donny and Ralph joined us up there tonight. The workout was

Interval 1000 m 3:41
Interval 800 m 2:47
Interval 600 m 2:00
Interval 400 m 1:14
Interval 300 m 0:53

Get faster each one..


50 wallballs (10 pounds) for time

Monday, December 28, 2009

The health benefits of green tea

Researchers seeking an explanation for green tea’s apparent health-giving qualities believe they have found it in the form of substances known as polyphenols. These constituents of the tea plant have what is known as ‘antioxidant’ activity, which means they have the potential to quell disease-promoting molecules known as free radicals. While green tea contains several polyphenols, research suggests that the most potent weapon in its armoury is likely to be a compound known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG has been found to have a number of cancer-protective actions in the body, including an ability to help in the deactivation of cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens).

The supping of green tea has been linked with a reduced risk of cancer in both men and women. In one recent study, women drinking the equivalent of about half a cup of green tea a day were found to have a 47 per cent reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those drinking none at all. In another study published earlier this year, researchers found that men consuming three cups of green tea each day had about a quarter of the risk of prostate cancer compared to non-green tea drinkers. Other research has found that increased green tea consumption appears to protect against other forms of cancer too, including those of the stomach, colon, lung and skin.

The apparent liquid assets of green tea seem to extend to benefits for the circulatory system too. Research has found that individuals who consume green tea tend to have lower blood levels of cholesterol. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition last year found that the drinking of green tea was associated with a significant lowering of blood pressure levels. These benefits go at least some way to explaining research which links green tea consumption with a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease.

While consumption of this big-in-Japan beverage is on the rise in the UK, we mostly elect to drink tea in its black form - itself made by subjecting green tea to a process of fermentation. The fermentation of green tea causes the chemical conversion of much of its EGCG into compounds that seem to offer more muted benefits for the body. While studies show that that black tea has the potential to benefit health, the research suggests that it’s green tea that deserves the cup

Saturday, December 26, 2009

B.U. Mini Meets

I went into the B.U. Mini meet today. Never ran in a actual track meet before. I wasn't sure what to expect. I heard horror stories of long lines not being able to warm up, sitting in corral for a long period. I was pleasantly surprised not to have any of those problems. There was a little wait to sign up but its wasn't bad at all. I found the whole thing to run very smoothly. One thing I did was warm up to early . I wasn't sure how to time the event but there was plenty of time and room to warm up.It was a great atmosphere for running. I bumped into Charlie Kelly and Dale Smith in there so I had to people to chat to.They called my heat up. I was hoping to PR here would love a sub 5:30. The first 3 laps I hit 40-41 right were I want to be.I pretty much lose track of the time from that point. I'm a little boxed in and I don't want to sweep to the 3rd lane to pass these two runners. I'm sitting back and waiting hoping I have something left. Our pack runs down two runners.One guy is hurting a bit and the other young runner worries my a bit. I don't want to see him with a 100 meters left. The pack of four has three laps left and my legs are starting to burn.One of the women in the pack makes a move and a women and a guy fall back a little and I cut into the 1st lane trying to stay with her. 2 laps to go just trying to hold on now. I'm not going to catch the women in front of me just trying to hold . 1 Lap to go my legs are on fire.. Guess who comes up on my shoulder the young kid I passed earlier. He blows right by me..I finish up with 5.31. not what I wanted but I'll take it...Next week I'm thinking about 200-400's..................

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Party Time

At this time of year, sometimes containing the damage is the best you can do. Here are some choices you may be facing at parties over the next couple of weeks:

Mixed Nuts or Olives?
The ND Choice: Olives
Olives are high in monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol, and low in calories. While nuts also contain healthy fats, they are much higher in calories and it can be hard to stop at just one small serving.

Soft or Hard Cheese?
The ND Choice: Soft Cheese
Although not diet fare, soft cheeses tend to be a bit lower in calories and fat than hard cheeses. So opt for Brie or goat cheese over cheddar and gruyere--but still watch your portion sizes

Roast Beef or Ham?
The ND Choice: Roast Beef
Although roast beef can be slightly higher in calories, it has far less sodium than ham. Ham and other cured meats also contain nitrites, which you are better off without.

Champagne or a Cocktail?
The ND Choice: Champagne

Champagne clocks in at only 75 calories a glass, while cocktails can easily add up to hundreds of calories for just one drink. If you must have a cocktail, keep it simple with a vodka or gin martini to keep the calories down.

Cocoa or Eggnog?
The ND Choice: Cocoa
Almost anything is better than artery-clogging eggnog. Even if you make the cocoa with whole milk, it’s still the better option—but to minimize fat and calories, choose low-fat milk. Cocoa also contains flavonoids which may help prevent cancer and heart disease.

Pecan Pie or Pumpkin Pie?
The ND Choice: Pumpkin pie
Reach for a slice of pumpkin pie over pecan and you’ll save yourself over 200 calories per slice. Plus, pumpkin is packed with nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, K, E, potassium, iron, and the list goes on.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why Antacids Will Never Cure Your Heartburn

Heartburn, also referred to as acid reflux or indigestion, is one of the many common symptoms of compromised health that we’ve come to accept as normal. According to the National Institute of Health, 20% of Americans suffer from heartburn symptoms at least once per week, and nearly half of these people experience symptoms every day.

As with most health problems, conventional medicine treats the heartburn symptoms of acid reflux without making any effort to understand or address it’s cause. Unfortunately, the popular methods of treating heartburn symptoms actually worsen their most common cause and can potentially lead to significant health issues.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Knock Out Knee Pain

by Jane Hahn

Is your 10-K training, half-marathon training, or marathon training being hampered by knee pain that resides directly below the kneecap? If so, you may be battling the most common running injury: patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). Also known as runner’s knee, PFPS accounts for roughly 20 percent of all running injuries. The main symptom of PFPS is pain below the kneecap that is generally mild at first and felt only during running. But if training continues and PFPS progresses, the pain becomes more intense during running and is also increasingly felt at rest.

PFPS is a mysterious injury in that it is not associated with any major structural damage in the knee. Experts now believe that the essence of the injury is chronic excitation of pain nerves in the knee caused by inflammation and general tissue degradation. Because it does not involve significant structural damage, PFPS usually responds well to modest reductions in training that give the tissues a chance to repair themselves and break free of the cycle of inflammation, and allow for the general muscle recovery necessary to any training program.

Studies have shown that PFPS sufferers commonly have weak hip stabilizers. The hip stabilizers are the muscles on the outside of the knee that must keep the hip and knee in alignment when the body is supported by one foot during running. If they are too weak to do their job properly, the knee’s movement is inhibited and tissue damage results. Doing exercises to strengthen the hip is an effective way to prevent and overcome PFPS.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The 48-Hour Countdown

The final two days before a race are very important. The final workouts, meals, equipment and mental preparations and logistical planning you do in this window can have a major impact on your performance – for better or worse. Here’s a checklist of things to do in the 48-hour race countdown to ensure that you get the most out of the hard training you’ve done.

48:00 – Do a short, fast workout
Your next-to-last workout before a race should be relatively easy, so you’re not fatigued on race morning, but it should include a dash of speed to prime your nervous system for competition. For example, run three miles easy, then run 6 x 30-second relaxed sprints.

31:00 – Get a good night’s sleep
Getting adequate sleep is critical to endurance performance at all times, but it is never more important than in the final days before a big race. In a recent British study, runners covered 6 percent less distance in a 30-minute time trial after being awake for 30 hours than they ran after a full night’s rest. While that’s a pretty extreme sleep deprivation, even a few lost hours of rest could keep you from reaching your race goal.
Because of pre-race jitters and early-morning race starts, it can be difficult to get a full eight hours of shuteye the night before a race. So be sure to get a good, long sleep two nights out.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little more to add from Linda's post

Sleep deprivation mimics many elements of the aging process. One could make the argument that how you feel when you are sleep deprived is likely how you will feel if you are both diabetic and old (sleep deprivation dramatically impacts insulin sensitivity). Improved sleep time and quality will help you: Lean out, avoid depression, autoimmunity, heart disease…it might even help you be a better athlete. This is a very interesting article for me in that coaches simply tried a schedule more conducive to better sleep and they saw immediate performance improvements in their players.

I just downloaded this book to my Kindle. I hate to be Captain Obvious about sleep but I suspect that it's most likely a missing component in many of our training plans. We get so hung up on our training schedules, and getting all of those runs in -- many times before dawn or late at night -- that proper sleep is an afterthought.

If you're at a plateau and not seeing the results you want despite a solid training plan -- check your nutrition and rest. Adding another hour a night to your daily sleep could make all the difference and get you to that next level. Sound impossible? If you have time to run 40+ miles a week, I know you can figure out how to get more sleep. Dare I suggest swapping out some miles for sleep one morning a week?

Once I started weight training more frequently, I found that without proper sleep and nutrition I could make zero progress and felt sore and tired all the time. It sounds funny, but simply sleeping more isn't the easiest thing in the world when you've gotten by on 6-7 hours for years. It took a few weeks to adjust, and involved staring at the stupid clock wishing that minutes would pass faster (those of you that have suffered from insomnia know what I'm talking about) 9 hours, as the author suggests, would be a stretch for me, but increasing to 8 hours has made all the difference. Try it and let me know how it works!

As for the book, it's full of scientific studies that are about as interesting as watching paint dry. Everything you need to know is on the front cover :-) I'll update this post if there are any other worthwhile tidbits when I finish it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Running Faster

There’s a good chance you can lower your running times by simply refining your running skills. Speed skill is so important to running that I have the athletes I coach do drills and other skill-enhancing workouts every week throughout the year. The skills that need mastering are simple and few.

Biomechanically, there are only two things you can do to run faster. You can run with a faster cadence or you can run with a longer stride. The fastest runners in the world, such as the Kenyans, do both of these. The place for you to start in improving your running efficiency is with cadence. Let’s examine how you can do that.

The next time you go to a race or watch one on TV check the cadence of a few select elite runners. To do this count every time a runner’s right foot strikes the road for 20 seconds and then multiply by three. The Kenyans are running at a cadence of 94 to 98 even late in a long race such as a marathon. The others generally have a cadence of 90 to 94. So the only way these lower-cadence runners can keep up with the Kenyans is to lengthen their strides. That’s inefficient because it produces a bit of vertical oscillation. They bounce up and down just a slight bit too much. And since the finish line is in a horizontal plane, energy expended vertically is mostly wasted.

Count your cadence the next time you are out for a run. If you’re like most age group triathletes it will be in the range of 76 to 86. And the slower an age grouper runs the lower their cadence becomes. Elite runners tend to keep their cadence about the same even when running slowly. They’ve trained their nervous systems to fire at a set rate which isn’t appreciably altered by pace.

Besides reducing vertical oscillation, running with a higher cadence means the foot spends less time in contact with the ground. That means running faster. Until your foot comes off the ground you aren’t going any place. It’s like an anchor.

So let’s work the other direction now – from foot contact time back up the chain to cadence – to see how we can improve your running times.

To minimize foot contact time you need to reduce the angle at which your foot comes in contact with the road surface. If you land on the heel with your toes pointing skyward at about a 30-degree angle, which is common for slower runners, it will take a relatively long time for the foot to be lowered to the pavement and then to rock forward and finally come off the ground at the toes. This will take only a few more milliseconds than had you put your foot down flat on the pavement and then toed off. But those extra milliseconds for each footstrike add up by the finish line.

It’s alright to have a slight heel-first contact with the road. But it should be so slight that someone you’re running at would not be able to see the bottoms of your shoes. You can check this for yourself by having that person shoot a video of you running at the camera. Do you see black soles? If so, you have an exaggerated heel strike. Minimizing it will speed you up.

How can you learn to minimize heel strike? Or, to put it another way, what causes you to land on your heel with your toes high off the ground? The answer to this latter question has to do with your knee. The only way to land on your heel is to lock, or nearly lock, your knee out straight. This is what you would do if you were running fast and trying to stop abruptly. You would straighten your knee and land on your heel. So running this way is like running with the brakes on. No wonder it slows you down.

The fastest way to experience flat-footed running is to run with your shoes off. Shoes with their often thick, rubber heels seem to be saying to us, “land here.” As soon as you take them off you’re back to the way our ancient ancestors ran on the grassy plains of Africa. We’re also running the way the Kenyan kids learn to run – without shoes.

I have the triathletes I coach do a drill called “strides” almost every week in the Base period. If they can do this without shoes, all the better. Often they can’t because snow and cold weather in a winter Base period make this impractical. But whenever they can they are encouraged to do this drill shoeless. This may be on a treadmill during the winter. Another option is to do this drill in “water walkers” – light, slipper-like shoes that fit snugly around the foot and are designed for the beach. (Be careful at first not to do a lot of barefoot running initially as you may well develop tender tendons as your feet and legs adapt.)

The strides drill is simple. Go to a park or other grassy area that has a very slight downhill grade of about one percent for 150 yards or so. Warm-up for 10 to 15 minutes. Then take off your shoes (or put on the water walkers) and run down the hill for 20 seconds. Do this six to eight times in a session. This should be a fairly fast run, but you could go much faster. In other words, hold back just a little bit. Focus on a flat-footed landing with the knee slightly bent. Count every time your right foot strikes the ground. Your goal is 30 to 32. That’s a cadence of 90 to 96. Don’t try to go above 96. Note a landmark where you completed the 20-second stride. If you start at the same spot for each stride, during the workout, as you warm up even more, you’ll finish farther down the course indicating that your stride is also getting longer since cadence remains steady. You’re now running like a Kenyan.

Now for the hard part of the drill – at least for most type-A triathletes: Turn and walk back to the start point. Fatigue is the enemy of skill development. Walking will make sure you aren’t fatiguing as the workout proceeds.

As your fitness improves you can insert drills into the walking portions. Start by doing skips as you did when you were a kid. Do 50 total skips on the recovery. This will further ingrain the flat-foot, slightly knee-bent landing. Later in the Base period do these skips for height. How high can you skip? Skipping for height builds power in your legs which in turn increases stride length – without even trying.

When out for your normal Base training runs occasionally check your cadence. Try to raise it by two or three RPM. This will feel awkward at first, as if you are running with baby steps. And your heart rate will probably rise even though you aren’t going any faster. It will take a while for your nervous system to adapt to a higher cadence. During this time you may seem to be going the wrong direction. That’s common and necessary if you are to eventually run faster as your body adapts. Hang in there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


7x600 2 mins rest

Interval 600 m 2:04
Interval 600 m 2:01
Interval 600 m 2:02
Interval 600 m 2:02
Interval 600 m 2:03
Interval 600 m 2:02
Interval 600 m 1:59

"A fitness regimen with no goals is like driving to a destination you have never been to before without a map or directions. Goals keep you on track. You seek out guidelines and information on how to achieve them. Make those goals!!!" by freddy c.

Monday, December 14, 2009

One of Linda's workout buddies...I heard he's not always that intense...He's Cleaning and Jerking 275.........

Cities with the best water:

1. Arlington, TX
2. Providence, RI
3. Fort Worth, TX
4. Charleston, SC
5. Boston, MA
6. Honolulu, HI
7. Austin, TX
8. Fairfax County, VA
9. St. Louis, MO
10. Minneapolis, MN

Cities with the worst water:

1. Pensacola, FL
2. Riverside, CA
3. Las Vegas, NV
4. Riverside County, CA
5. Reno, NV
6. Houston, TX
7. Omaha, NE
8. North Las Vegas, NV
9. San Diego, CA
10. Jacksonville, FL

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Food for Healthy Intestine

Asparagus contains a special kind of carbohydrate called inulin that we don't digest, but the health-promoting friendly bacteria in our large intestine, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, do. When our diet contains good amounts of inulin, the growth and activity of these friendly bacteria increase. And when populations of health-promoting bacteria are large, it is much more difficult for unfriendly bacteria to gain a foothold in our intestinal tract.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Too Sick to Train?

When you are experiencing symptoms of a cold or the flu, should you continue your marathon training or triathlon training as normal, do you need to cut back, or must you stop entirely? It all depends on the type and severity of your symptoms:

Conquering a Cold

Most experts agree that it is okay to continue exercising as normal when you have a mild or moderate head cold with symptoms such as sinus pressure, runny nose, cough and sore throat. But a cold that has moved into your chest, with symptoms such as chest congestion and tightness, is more likely to negatively affect your training—and if a cold negatively affects your training, then your training may negatively affect your cold! So in such cases, listen to your body and use common sense. If you are reasonably comfortable when you train despite your symptoms, and if training does not worsen your symptoms, go for it. Otherwise let discretion be the better part of valor and take a day off.

Fighting the Flu

Until recently there was virtually unanimous agreement in the medical community that one should not exercise while battling flu symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and body aches. Newer research, however, has called that dictum into question. For example, a 2009 study by researchers at the University of Iowa found that moderate daily exercise improved flu symptoms in mice infected with a flu virus. The key word here is “moderate.” Attempt only short, low-intensity workouts when you are experiencing flu symptoms, stop exercising immediately if you feel horrible while working out at a low intensity, and simply avoid exercise completely if you feel miserable even thinking about working out. So, as with colds, listen to your body and use common sense in deciding whether to train with the flu.

Protecting Your Immune System

While exercise generally strengthens the immune system, strenuous individual workouts such as long marathon training runs or lengthy speed sessions temporarily suppress immune function. Therefore you should also consider your training workload when trying to decide how to respond to symptoms of illness. If you’re feeling under the weather yet you’re training moderately, it is unlikely that you’re suppressing your immune system and making it harder to beat the virus. But if you’re in very heavy training, it might be best to cut back your workouts to give your immune system a quick boost so it can beat the virus instead of letting it linger and possibly affect your training for many weeks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pure Protein

There are different kinds of protein, however, there is a difference in how your body sees these. In order for your body to release Glucagon (counter hormone to insulin) your protein source must be a pure one (it must have had a face, and soul and you killed it to eat it!!!!). Therefore, if you are using dairy products (string cheese and Greek yogurt) as a protein source your body will not recognize this as a protein source and will not release Glucagon. Does this mean you need to cut out all dairy? Not necessarily. You may just need to re-visit your protein sources to make sure they are pure and use dairy in moderation. Also be weary of using beans as your source of protein.

Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas in response to low blood glucose; it works to raise blood glucose levels. Its main effect is on the liver, where it promotes conversion of glycogen to glucose. It is also available as a drug that is used to treat severe low blood sugar hypoglycemia.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


5x800 2:30 rest


I used the tempo trainer tonight for the 1st time on the track.It keeps on pace like nothing I've used before.One thing I've notice running the turns, each one is harder and harder...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Lools like the Shamrock site is down .....I'll post the results here until I can get back in ..

Total Points for Each Club

Gate City Striders 107
Winners Circle Running Club 97
Somerville Road Runners 77
North Medford Club 76
Greater Derry Track Club 63
Whirlaway Racing Team 43
Greater Lowell Road Runners 42
Shamrock Running Club 41
New Hampshire Athletic Alliance 30
Merrimack Valley Striders 30
North Shore Striders 26
Wicked Running Club 24
Squannacook River Runners 19
Mystic Runners 14
Gil's Athletic Club 11
Andover Striders 10
Melrose Running Club 9
Sandown Rogue Runners 5

DIAMOND GIRLS Female Seniors 2:34:38 4
THE FROZEN SHAMROCKS Coed Open 2:54:38 11
SHAMWRECKS Mens Masters 3:13:26 3
SHAMROCK 50 CLUB Mens Seniors 3:16:41 5
SHAMROCK'S BORN TO BE WILD Mens Seniors 3:24:57 3
HERE COMES SHAMROCK-CLAUS Coed Masters 3:40:14 1
HUSTLIN' HONEYS Female Open 3:50:13 4
SHAMROCK SHUTTLE Mens Veterans 3:50:42 3


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 caught up with three-time US Olympian Jen Rhines as she was training in Mammoth Lakes, California. Jen walks us through a short workout and gives us a glimpse inside early season training.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The coach really mixed it up tonight.I would have never guess this for the workout. The coach gave us 2 assignments numbers from 1-14. We couldn't tell anyone what they were. We all started running at a relax pace. When we came around the coach would call out a number.If that was your number you would take the lead and run your assignment. Everyone had to follow the leader at the leaders pace. Some of the assignments were
sprint 1/2, sprint full lap,race pace 1,2,3 laps, tempo pace 1,2,3 laps,pushup , burpees, sit ups, butt kickers, high knees. All and all good workout changed things up from the regular intervals........

We did 1x800 to finish things up 2.38. Donny is back.......