Sunday, June 26, 2011

SYTO5K Race Report

I will try to get a Juneathon( g ) update tomorrow, but suffice to say that my Juneathon( g )-ing hasn’t been what it should, although it is statistically better than last year’s event.

Special shout out to my home crew for allowing me to spend time doing this update as well as the race.

Pre-race, I was able to get away from the crowds and photogs long enough for my personal photographer to snap this candid shot of me in front of one of Tracey’s gardens. (seems as though I need to do a little maintenance on the road side of the fence…..)

IMAG0436When I pinned on the #1 bib number Bryce said, “why are you wearing a number 1? did you win a race?” Cute, little man, cute. No, I haven’t won a race since I was in 5th or 6th grade…. I drove to the start area, turned my .mp3 player to some jammin’ tunes, and started my warm up (this consists of making sure that the garmin is ON (check), that the car key is secure in its pocket (check), and that my shoes are tied (double check).

I chose to run this race on trails. Woods running is in my blood. I feel free…blah blah blah blah blah….I like the woods. I ‘belong’ there….The trail waswell marked, and I had no trouble finding the start line:IMAG0438

I ran this same course for the Fyto5K, back in January 2011. I love this local trail. I would run it every day if I could, just because. It is a nice out and back, or if you’d like, when you reach the other end you can run on roads to make a loop. I prefer NOT to do that. This view is of the trail this winter, and the one after it is the same trail section last evening.


Just a little different, eh? BOTH are very fun to run. As I was running along I tried to concentrate on being ‘light’ on my feet. I was trying to focus on my running, breathing, and how I ‘felt’. The scenery was nice, as usual, and as it has been rainy lately, the rocks and roots were especially slick. I almost went down in a heap a few times, but managed to stay upright. Didn’t even pull a muscle!

The terrain varies, as does the condition of the trail. There are places where you have to dodge mud and slick rocks, and also wide open sections like this:


As I mentioned, I felt great during this race. There were times when I walked, in places that I usually walk, but I find that on this trail the little walks help. Here’s the elevation profile from the Freeze AND Sweat Your Thorns Off 5k 2011.


Almost looks as though I should have brought along some climbing gear!! Teri (Garmin) tells the tale:

IMAG0444Not to disappoint the race director, I leave you with a final picture. What would this trail be without a picture of Uranus?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Boobs to men....

i once heard a saying that "breasts are to men what shoes are to women: even if you have a pair at home, you still can't help but look at more." Of course, this doesn't apply to me, so no worries. (i mean, i have some at home (shoes, too!), but i don't really look at others. honest...) ANYWAY.....
Last night's running class was great. It was raining decently at the beginning, and even harder in the middle, and then lightened up by the end. I was very happy to see that just about everyone showed up ready to move! Gotta hand it to these ladies: they are motivated!
Last night went like this: 5 minute brisk walk with arm circles, 3 mins streaching, then a skipping/walking cycle X 5, then jogging/walking/walking x 5, then 1km free running x 2. (not going into the details....if you'd like to see them, head on over to
Monday was the same, and there were some grumbles from the group about having to do TWO 1km free running sessions. Remember, these are beginners (mostly....ahem!), so to do 1km at your own pace at the end of a session can seem daunting. But they do it. Not for me, but for themselves. Last evening, 2 very cool things happened:
2 of our students, during their SECOND 1km, ran for the longest that they have run yet in the class! Holy smiles. It was WONDERFUL to see the smiles on their faces as they finished up. I ran with one for the first 1km, then after our prescribed 5 minute break, ran the 2nd 1km with the other. Very cool to be a part of that!
Oh. the boobs....well....there were 2 other ladies who talked about boobs (theirs and others) almost the entire time. It wasn't awkward for me, as I am a (male) nurse and have worked around mostly women for the past nearly 10 years. it just struck the rest of us as funny that the conversation lasted as long as it did. One woman remarked, "hey, i like talking about boobage just as much as the next person, but wow....!"+
As part of Friday's class, I plan to talk about hydration, SPIBELTS, fuel, electrolytes, and BodyGlide....THAT conversation should be a hoot(er).
Be Well....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Water my choices?

I drink a buncha water. probably close to 2L per day, just in the form of WATER, not including coffee. (and yes, i balance it out with electrolytes....) I rarely drink fruit juices, I don't drink cola/pop/soda. Rarely iced-tea. I typically don't buy beverages at gas stations, and when we go out to dinner, it is "coffee and water, please". Insider tip: DECLINE THE LEMON in your water at restaurants. They are typically the MOST HANDLED FOOD in the place. NOT everyone washes their hands as well as you would like to think they do....and then...PLOP! right into your beverage...mmmmm....cesspool.....
But where was I? oh, right. Water. Short version: chose TAP. At least it isn't medicated.
I drink water from the tap. not the britta/whatever, but straight from the tap. sometimes, because i am a REBEL, i will drink from the GARDEN HOSE!!! yep.
but this past weekend, at Mike's graduation party, I drank a bottle of Nestle PureLife water. It went down fine, i didn't get any in my nose, and things were good. Until i read the ingredients. Yep, that's right; ingredients. FOR WATER.
I expected to see "two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen", but was AGAST to see the following listed as being ADDED to 'purified water':
Calcium Chloride
Sodium Bicarbonate
Magnesium Sulfate

what what WHAT??? seriously? yep. So today i went to their website to try to figure out WHY these things were added to my water. I found this:
(this space intentionally left blank), accompanied by the sound, not crickets. it was a sucking sound. what was making it? the sound of $1.29 per 500mL bottle being SUCKED out of our pockets under the guise of WATER. I CALL SHENANIGANS!!!  The label states that these are added 'for flavor'. Ummm....water doesn't HAVE flavor. Further exploration of their site helped reinforce what I thought: it isn't WATER, it is a BEVERAGE. but it is masquerading as water. With MEDS added. yep. meds.
I took the liberty of googling the ingredients. here is what i found:
magnesium sulfate n. A colorless, crystalline compound, MgSO4, used in fireproofing, ceramics, matches, explosives, and fertilizers. {{{{{{CERAMICS????? exPLOSIVES????? no, thank you.}}}}}
What is Magnesium Sulfate?
Magnesium Sulfate
Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium is important for many systems in the body especially the muscles and nerves. Magnesium sulfate also increases water in the intestines, which may induce defecation. Magnesium hydroxide is used as a laxative to relieve occasional constipation (irregularity). {{{oooh! THAT's a PLUS.....I feel healthier already...}}}

SODIUM BICARB:::(a salt)
Is it safe for my child to take this medicine? Not if your child has an allergy to sodium bicarbonate or any other part of this medicine. Be sure to let healthcare provider know if your child has any allergies or reactions to medicine, food preservatives, or dyes. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected your child. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other symptoms involved.
Not if your child has any of the following conditions: High bicarbonate levels, high sodium levels, low calcium levels, unexplained belly pain, or water in the lungs.
{{{how often do we check WATER to see if we may be allergic to the INGREDIENTS??????}}}
What side effects can this medication cause?
Sodium bicarbonate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
increased thirst {{{WAIT, WHAT??? increased thirst after drinking this??? OOOH! what a great marketing plan!!! "drink our water. we bet you'll want more!!!!"}}}}
stomach cramps
CALCIUM CHLORIDE::(another salt)
Calcium Chloride
OxyChem is the world's largest producer of calcium chloride, a premium salt with a variety of beneficial uses.  OxyChem's calcium chloride products are used for snow and ice control, dust suppression, road stabilization, agriculture and in many other applications including oilfield services. {{SAY WHAT???? 'sure' it isn't quite the same as what is in my bottle, but, it???}}
OtherCalcium chloride is used in concrete mixes to help speed up the initial setting, but chloride ion leads to corrosion of steel rebar, so it should not be used in reinforced concrete.[12] The anhydrous form of calcium chloride may also be used for this purpose and can provide a measure of the moisture in concrete.[13]
Calcium chloride is included as an additive in plastics and in fire extinguishers, in wastewater treatment as a drainage aid, in blast furnaces as an additive to control scaffolding (clumping and adhesion of materials that prevent the furnace charge from descending), and in fabric softener as a thinner.

SO....i'm not going to tell you NOT to buy bottled water (even though I would like to), but PLEASE, PLEASE read labels. Not just on your cereal. Not just on your canned soup. Even on your water.


Be Well,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stuck on you….

Thank you for sticking around….I have had a very emotional and psychologically stressful past 7-10 days and haven’t had the chance to post to the blog. My mind is full of several topics that I hope you will find interesting, and I plan to post more frequently this week.
In the mean time, here are some hints as to what’s cookin’:
Race announcement, more on (moron) water, running class, Juneathon( g ), finding your passion, and a few other things.
Please stick around.....
I appreciate it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Humidity and Hydration

Hotter temps are here, all over the place. Well, unless you are reading this from the Southern Hemisphere. In that case, you'll have cooler temps, but perhaps drier weather, which still plays a vital part in hydration status...Hmm. Only took me TWO sentences to get off track....
Alright. We've all heard it: drink plenty of water! drink more water! thirst is often confused for hunger. drink water instead. Drink, drink, drink! Never be more than an arm's length away from some refreshing water! Drink smart water. Drink skinny water (seriously?). Drink vitamin water.
Ok. Not really. that smart, skinny, and vitamin stuff is just BOGUS. One of my favourite commercials on tv now is one where there are a buncha girls playing soccer and the coach tries to get them to drink some sugary crap-laden beverage. one smart alec says something to the effect of "if we lose water when we sweat, why not just drink water?" GENIUS AWARD!!!!!!
except that it isnt' that easy.
we've all heard about dehydration. who has ever heard of over-hydration, known medically as 'hyponatremia'? Although not as big a problem with the general population (think: chip eaters), athletes can be prone to this condition. Let's take some time here to learn a bit about it, how it can impact you, and what you can do to help prevent it. (short version: balance).

The most basic definition of hyponatremia is 'low salt levels in the blood stream'. Salt is essential to live. It serves many purposes in the body from transporting water into and out of cells to nerve conduction. Water 'follows' salt, too. What? Yep. If salt leaves your body (urine, sweat), water goes, too. If you take in too much salt (Chinese food, bar snacks), you drink more (or at least your body wants you to drink more). This is one reason that people with high blood pressure are often told to limit salt. It willlimit water (fluid) retention and thus lower blood pressure.
Let's assume that you, as an athlete, eat the 'proper' amount of salt for YOU. With your normal intake of nutrients and water, your body enjoys a nice balance. Now you workout/run/whatever. Sweat your thorns off. Just drippin' wet all over the place. You drink water. Lots of it. But then you don't feel so good later. Kinda spacy, maybe a little clumsy, disoriented. Not a dehydration headache (ouch! been there!), but just not right. So you drink more water. Why not, right? Welll.....
If you replace water without replacing salt (and other electrolytes like potassium), you run the risk of hyponatremia. You create a dilution in your blood that has a very low concentration of (let's say) salt. Not good.
I learned about this the tough way. I was on a training exercise with the military at Ft. Somewhere, and we got a call for a medivac for a soldier who had gone down in the field. We all suspected dehydration, so we pumped him full of IV fluids. FAST. he was disoriented, slow to move; we were getting a bit nervous. then after we found out that he hadn't eaten ANYTHING yet that day, and had been drinking water by the gallon....we put the two together. yikes. a tough lesson all around, but especially for that Joe. he'll not make that mistake again in a hurry.
So how do we avoid or prevent it? Balance. Experiment. There are almost as many 'sports drinks' out there as there are readers of this blog. ok. wait. maybe that should be reversed. anyway, there are only a handful that are actually WORTH anything to your body. Mostly they are worth something to the company's bottom line, and not to your health. shame, but true. I am not going to badmouth any specific brands (Powerade would get really mad at me if I did. So would vitamin water.) (whoops).  and they aren't the only ones. Here's my most basic tip. READ THE LABELS. Electrolytes are important to replenish here, NOT things like HFCS, SUCROSE, SUCRALOSE, ORANGE DYE #5, etc, etc....just DON'T do it.
I have found that a product called NUUN works well for me. My son (5), loves it. I dilute it a bit for him, but he really likes the lemon lime and triberry flavors. I don't work for Nuun, but i do like their product, their company, and their engagement with amateur athletes, so i don't mind talking them up.
I also like GU Chomps, but if i eat while running, i tend to choke, so.....i need more practice.
CLIF Bar makes a CLIF SHOT that is pretty good, too, and comes in all sortsa flavors.

Optimize your intake for maximum output. Simple. The more you know about the way your body works and what works for your body, the better off you will be. I welcome suggestions for other topics as well.

If you want to watch a video from Web MD on the topic, click here.
Thanks for reading.
Be Well,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

U-sain in the membrane....

I am no sprinter. Heck, i am barely a runner. But I like to sprint. It is fun. I like to see my legs pumping out in front of me, feel the wind moving across my balding head, and to feel my legs cramp up in rebellion against the sudden demands. Well. They have, in the past. Not so much now.
Last evening I blitz-kleaned the floors at home and then set out for my run. During the last half hour at home I drank a Vanilla #GenUCAN shake mixed with soy milk and ate a chocolate chip cookie. Yes. I did. I grabbed some water, Teri, and off we ran.
As you can see, the first part was down a big, long hill. I hate that hill. Very unsafe. No real shoulder, blind corners, fast drivers. But I survived. Nice quick climb up through a cemetary and onto the football field (flat spot). I ran 8x100yard sprints, walking back to the beginning after each sprint. There were times when i could feel my shoes slipping on the grass, which was interesting. It meant that I was pushing off harder than my shoes could grab. Cool.
The sprints, except for the last three, were 14 seconds. You can see one up there where i failed to push the button to start the timer. Duh. I am very ok with 14 second 100 yard sprints for a 42 year old slightly out of shape male. I am going to make it my bench mark for the season. This fall I'll do it again and see where I am.

Juneathon Day 7 'sorted'.

Be Well,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New whys...

I've been running for a while. Not in the Forest Gump way (I shave every now and then), but in the "throughout the course of human events" kind of way. My reasons have fluctuated and evolved over the years, but have basically remained the same:
I enjoy it.
I like the 'freedom'.
I relish the thought that if it is a good run or a bad run, it is entirely up to ME. I OWN it.

Last evening I coached my first ever running class. Followers will recall that I had approached the town with the idea of teaching an adult (not THAT kind....) running class as part of the Rec Department's summer offerings. The idea was accepted, and here we are! I have received fantastic support from the folks at GU Energy (link) has also provided me with some product samples for participants. Yes, it is only for a 5k, but part as part of the class i want to talk about fuel options that are alternatives to Snickers bars.
During the first part of the class last night, while we were doing introductions and other small talk that typically makes my skin crawl, some of the people started talking about why they decided to spend 3 evenings a week learning how to run. I thought I would share them with you, as perhaps you, too, are looking for reasons to start running or exercising or stop eating so many chalupas or...whatever.

"I have always wanted to run, but never thought that I could. I am tired of thinking that I can't do things that I want to do."
"I used to smoke 2.5 packs a day. I quit last fall, cold turkey. I told myself that if i could quit, I would start to exercise. Here I am. I don't know if I'll be able to even get through the first class, but I am going to give it a try!"
"I am volunteering with Habitat for Humanity this summer, and am hoping that this helps me get into shape!"
"My sister needs to do this for her health. The only way I can be sure that she does it is if I do it with her."

See? Many different reasons to attend the same class, perform the same workouts, and ultimately achieve the goal of running their first 5k this Aug. The journey is going to be quite a bit of fun! Last evening we all completed the training, which will be repeated W and F evenings.

We walked 2.2 miles, with some very light jogging mixed in. Everyone came away smiling, and the one lady who wasn't sure if she'd make it was VERY happy that she had, and is already looking forward to the next session.

Me, too.

Be Well,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Care to join us?

This evening is my first class of my first class of 5k Beginners Programme, developed by Julia and Shauna over at A pair of super ladies, both of who, interestingly, are not natives of the countries which they now call home. And then there's me, over here in the USA, running one of their courses. A true international collaboration!!!

Here is the letter that i sent out last night to the 6 participants. Wouldn't you want to come out and play, too?

My name is Gene, and I will be working with you to get you ready to run a 5k event by the end of the summer! I am very excited to get this rolling, so I wanted to touch base with the participants before tomorrow's class.
Here are some things about me that you might want to know:
My cell number is NPA-NXX-XXXX. If you need to get in touch with me before class or have questions, please feel free to give me a call. While I am at work the phone is mostly off, but please leave a message and I will call you back. Alternately you can reach me at this email address just by replying to this message.
I am an RN at the VA Medical Center, and have been a nurse for almost 10 years. Prior to that I worked in the telecommunications department at Mass General Hospital. Before that, a cook, before that.....well, the stories go on and on. I have been a runner for most of my life, but have only in the past few years really been bitten by the bug. I enjoy it so much that I want to get as many people involved as I can. I am sure that sounds pretty corny, but I really do!
I can't wait for tomorrow so that we can start this journey together. I'd like to meet over by the football bleachers, near the pool, at Hartford High School. We can talk about alternate places to meet tomorrow. If it is raining, let's meet there anyway and see what develops.
I have attached a brochure that introduces the program and and lays out the training for the first week. If you can't download it, please let me know and I will see what I can do to get you one. I will have some tomorrow either way.
Please make sure that you have a water bottle, perhaps a towel, and running shoes. If you don't have running shoes, we can still train, but your feet will be much happier if they are wearing comfortable, supportive shoes meant for the activity.
Alright! Again, feel free to hit me up with any questions by phone, email, or even Twitter  (@boutdrz) !!
See you tomorrow!
Be Well,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Juneathon(g) day 4 #fail

See the activity on RunSaturday
Type: Cross - Hot Air Ballooning
Duration: 0:00:00
Distance: 0.00 mi
no, I didn’t ride in a balloon. nor did I really do any ‘workout’. I moved earth, I moved mulch. I shot hoops solo in the driveway, I rode around the cul de sac with 5 year old on our bikes.
for all of you non-juneathoners out there, I will be doing a ‘regular’ post soon. perhaps tomorrow. I dunno. morning is busy cheering at a half marathon, afternoon will be at a family gathering.
see you soon!
Be Well,

Junathon(g) Day 3.

imageI ran on trails today. There is a system not far from where I work that offers many hill challenges. As you can see by the graphic, it starts out pretty steep, then gets steeper right before it hands you your lungs and thighs on a bed of fresh raspberries. Glorious. This time of year I can’t make it to the top without stopping. By the end of the season, I still won’t will be able to make it. Fun to watch my progress. At the top is some sort of tower. It isn’t very tall: the fence around it only 8 feet tall. I think that it has something to do with the local airfield, but I don’t know that for sure.

Anyway, it was great to get back out into these trails. Not much had changed, except that I have never seen water in the reservoir. Today, it had water in it, about half full. There was an older man with his dog, who was very obedient, playing at the water’s edge. They were the only two creatures I saw on the run. Bliss.

Made it back to the car without incident and then came home. Day 3, done and done.

Be Well,


Friday, June 3, 2011

Juneathon(g) Day 2

late, and a dollar short.
Day 2 included a planned event. The company I work for (Feds) staged a "VA2K" event at nearly all of our facilities (Veteran's Hospitals) across the country. The purpose was two-fold: 1)collect supplies for our homeless Veterans 2)get people outside during the day to walk/run/roll for 2k. As i mentioned on Day 1, i had to map out a(nother) 2k course. so i did.
Yesterday morning I walked the 'tough' course with one of our RD's, planting grade stakes and stapling logo'd arrows to them: We called it the tough course because it included the most elevation changes via stairs and roads. The other two courses were simple loops around two different parking lots.
We handed out visors and pins to people who registered and provided them with water and fruit for 'recovery' from their walk.
Just before we closed up shop, one of my friends from the OR came down and i walked the course with her. She's getting ready for a half-marathon this Sunday. I didn't get in, but will be there to cheer her and some other co-workers' on to their finish.
So that made 4k of walking for the day.
Until i realized that somebody (me) had to go pick up the grade stakes that we had planted earlier. So I did. YAY! 6k walked for the day.
Juneathon(g) day 2 sorted.

Be Well,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Juneathon(g) day 1

Yes, we’re back at Juneathon. And today, the first day, which coincidentally is also World Run Day, I ran.


Ok, well, they were both rather short runs (a mile each) but they served two masters. The first was to map out a 2k course (the THIRD ONE) for a 2k event that we are having at work. I don’t know why the other two that I created weren’t good enough, but I am just a member of the team, not THE team….. I ran 5 figure 8’s around one of our parking lots before I got to 2k. Done and done. except for the map, which I have to create and then put in .ppt format so that I can email it to work so that I can go in early and print it out and make copies that are just going to blow away at the empty registration table and then the Police (yes, Police, not security. PAHLEEEEZE don’t call them Security…) will want to throw me in Levenworth where I’ll be somebody’s b!tch and my legs will get all itchy because I won’t have a chance to shave them in jail and then welll….I guess I’ll just find a rock and put it on the papers.

The next run was for ME. kinda. it felt great to be out there, sweating, heart beating, getting odd looks from coworkers. good times. I mapped out that 3 laps around the parking lot’s outer loops is .5 miles. so I ran those three in negative splits, then walked a lap while I chatted with a colleague, then ran three more before heading home. good way to end a day. should do it more often….maybe.

I’d wanted to get out on the trails today, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

Perhaps next time.

Be Well,