Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND NEW YORK LOSE TO FEDS AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

In a policy decision handed down from the USDA, the federal government has refused to grant Mayor Bloomberg and New York City permission to stop allowing New York’s needy residents to buy high calorie, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup laden soft drinks with food stamps.

Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York, among many other government entities around the world, have been trialing numerous efforts to combat the obesity epidemic among adults and children.  New York requires posting of a calorie content of many foods for sale.  And in the latest effort the Bloomberg administration sought to disallow high calorie soft drinks among the list of subsidized items that needy residents could purchase using the food stamp program.  The federal government however disagreed and this refusal to grant the waver was met with relief by the soft drink industry.

What is striking about this turn of events and intergovernmental decision making is that it points to just how difficult the battle against childhood obesity is going to be.  If stopping the purchase of high calorie, sugared drinks using food stamps cannot be universally politically agreed upon then imagine how difficult it is going to be to tackle even more challenging aspects of the obesity epidemic where even more entrenched business interests fear a loss of market share or profits.  The increased consumption of high calorie, high carbohydrate soft drinks is one of the many factors linked to the childhood obesity epidemic.  It makes absolutely no sense for the government in any way shape or form to consume more high sugar, high calorie drinks during the midst of the epidemic.  Nor should the government encourage other similarly risky behaviors through subsidies if they are harmful to the individuals and harmful to the public.  Certainly, many people might choose to purchase high sugared drinks using other monies and that  in no way of course would be prohibited under the proposed New York change in the food stamps program.  But to argue that the tax payers ought to incentivize or encourage children to consume one of the most obesogenic foods during the midst of the rampant obesity epidemic, strains credulity.

GREAT JOB TO LACE EM’ UP TEAM AT BROWN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND WENDY DAMONTE

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

What an amazing morning!  I had the profound honor of getting to see the fantastic moms and dads of Lace Em’ Up, the organization put together by Wendy Damonte here in Reno, Nevada to engage kids and everyone in the school toward encouraging regular exercise.  In the program, all the children in the school are encouraged to get outside and run and in fact, they are awarded for all of the accomplishments.  Prizes are given when the children have run a cumulative total of 5 miles, 10m miles and special prizes are given to those who complete a half marathon and a marathon distance over the course of their many intervals around the track.

This year, Lace Em’ Up has a fancy, electronic bar code system where by the children run their distances and scan in bar coded tags on lanyards they wear.  The reward system is fantastic and the kids who achieve special distances like running the full marathon over the course of the year are acknowledged with their photographs on the wall of fame in the school assembly hall.

Wendy and her team of moms that founded Lace Em’ Up, do an amazing job and provide a tremendous amount of inspiration.  I have never seen 700 children so fired up to get outside and run as I have after the great assembly she and her team put together.

Now, how to capture all of the enthusiasm in a bottle…

Obesity treatment is going to pale in its impact when we compare it to prevention.  And programs like Lace Em’ Up offer us a glimpse into the future of how obesity prevention efforts that start in the school and emphasize healthy eating and fun exercise will pave the way toward a healthier America.

Napa Marathon Part II

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Fortunately by mile 10 the rain lightened substantially.  It actually became quite pleasant for a stretch, and just the faintest of breezes blew, moving some of the low lying clouds off the vineyards.  We passed Rutherford Hill, ZD wines, and Quintessa vineyards, most of them stunning and picturesque, but a bit of a rainy blur.  We crossed through the St. Helena region and I at least felt like we were making good progress as I imagined the map of the Silverado Trail in my mind’s eye.

As I ran, I was once again astounded by the range of body types and running styles as we approached mile 11.  A man who had to be in his late fifties chugged by me with a loud wheeze and a locomotive style that looked about as efficient as a rickshaw being pulled through mud.  Yet here he was on mile 11 and doing just fine, thank you very much.  I passed a few runners, but – let’s be honest -more runners passed me.  These included the old and the young, even some who were heavy set and some who flailed their arms in a much more lateral motion than seemed natural, but they all got the job done.  In fact most of them were putting me to shame.

About this time a gregarious threesome approached and one of them, a fellow named Mike with a white shirt that said “Visalia Runners” on it started chatting me up in a friendly manner that was his routine.  “What sort of time are you shooting for, Kent?’  He asked after a time.  I told him that my supposedly waterproof Garmin was clearly not waterproof and that my not-waterproof iPhone was also not waterproof, so I really had no idea what sort of pace I was on at this point in time, other than the fact that it was a tad fast.  So I told him I was shooting for around a 3:45 or 3:50 marathon pace to which he replied “Whoa, you are way ahead of that.  Just keep your legs under you and don’t get too far ahead of yourself.”  At mile 13.1 – mile “halfway point” – Mike checked the time for me and it was 1:45, so we were on for a pretty solid 3:30 race pace, and sadly I just knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that up. I stayed with him for a mile or so and then let him and his partners drift on ahead.

The rain eased to a light drizzle by around mile 15 and I cruised on for a while before beginning to really feel the pain.  By mile 16 I had given up any hope of running 3:45 and I was beginning to wonder if I could come in anywhere near 4 hours.  My legs felt heavy and my calves, knees and hamstrings all ached.  I had slowed to what I imagined was probably around a 10 minute mile pace and was in fairly desperate need of more significant walk breaks.  I soldiered on for a couple more miles at this sort of pace and then encountered a long, slow, winding hill someone had earlier referred to as Napa’s “heartbreak hill”, but mercifully it proved to be much less difficult than I had feared.  I walked a bit of it and ran my slow, shuffling gait up the rest of it – cresting and actually feeling a very temporary surge of energy moving forward.  And low and behold the rain actually stopped for a period of time about mile 20.  We passed Stags’ Leap, Chimney Rock and Clos Du Val wineries, some of the most beautiful wine properties in the world.  The long straightaway past Chimney Rock led me to look back over my shoulder, and I saw the tight winding group of runners flowing like a river down between the beautiful vineyards.

The problem after mile 20 was that I didn’t have the legs to run at much of a pace. I also dimly realized I simply was not willing to suffer quite as greatly as some of the folks around me.  A few others scurried by me, some of them looking lean and strong, but quite a few others chugged past noisily with obvious and profound grimaces of pain.  I had slowed to a pace that allowed me to carry on without enduring the sort of the pain that some of these folks clearly displayed.  Was I not strong enough or man enough, perhaps I should pick up the pace again to an 8 minute mile and really suffer?  I tried that for about ten paces and then lapsed back into my slow shuffling gait.  Fortunately as these last few miles ticked by I relied upon the sense of shame and embarrassment I had to avoid if I came in with too slow of a time.  I drew upon this feeble sense of honor that I must uphold to avoid pulling over to the side and walking, which by this point was becoming a pretty strong desire.  The scenery changed and that helped.  We turned through some beautiful tree lined roads and one could sense the finish now as we entered the outskirts of Napa proper.

Certainly visiting the beautiful wine country and running on a beautiful marathon course is a treat no matter how ill-prepared one is to run 26.2.  I always seem to finish these things with a similar thought in my mind, and it goes something like this, “if only I had spent X number of weeks, days and hours training properly I could have done so much better!”  But this is the way things are right now and the proper plan is to enjoy each and every opportunity to run in each and every race.

Encouragingly, the intersections were increasingly full of spirited supporters, the cowbells were ringing and the distance between intersections with supporters and clever signs grew smaller and smaller.  At mile 21 I told myself I only had an easy 5 mile run to go and broke it down into a 2.5 mile “out and back” –  that meant I really only had 2.5 miles.  And frankly, let’s think about this further, the last mile of a marathon is a gimme so we can just subtract that one and let’s really imagine that we only have 4 miles left until we reach the last mile.  I can certainly run the last mile, I knew that.  So what I really had left was a 2 mile out and back.  I could run two miles, turn around and come back any day of the week no questions asked.  So all I had to do was run two miles and by the time I had worked this out in my addled runner’s 20 mile brain I had probably already covered one of the miles, so I started the calculations all over again.  As I neared the more urban blocks in the city of Napa I actually thought I could hear the cheers from the finish line, which took place at Vintage High School, and for about a good mile and a half I think I did.  This of course spurred me on and prevented me from taking longer walk breaks than I actually wanted.  As I turned the final few corners and enjoyed the support of the great fans, my spirits lifted and I felt like I was glad had signed up for the race and gotten out of bed in the rain.  The pain I was feeling all over now meant that I continued to tell myself I would never do another one of these races again, but I knew that I would at least finish this one.  The home stretch was pretty short and only in the last few steps did I catch the clock, which turned over to 3:56 as I approached the finish line.  I raised my arms for that final photo and made sure my shoe hit the electronic reader so there would be no doubt.  Small victories finishing a marathon in under 4 hours.  Now I need to remember it was “just a training run” and build upon it for the next one.

And yes within a few hours I knew there would be a next one.

NAPA VALLEY MARATHON

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

The Napa scenery in early March of 2011 was certainly stunning.  Foggy, cool, beautiful, low plumes of clouds over the rolling vineyards and verdant hillsides, nothing to complain about except, er, a bit of rain.  The day before had been warm and mostly sunny so I was a bit discouraged to hear rain steadily falling when I awoke, nervous, at 3:00 A.M.  Unfortunately the rain kept up all the way through start time and indeed during most of the race itself.

Lately I seem to be entering races with the notion that they are “just another training run”, mostly because I struggle to do any actual proper training.  The race then serves as an excuse to get out and actually run a long run. But, as I always say when it comes to health and fitness, we have to use any possible excuse in order to accomplish our goals, even if we have to scale those goals back a bit.

By some great stroke of luck and planning, the hotel proved to be about two blocks from the starting line.  So I couldn’t have been happier avoiding the dreaded 4:00 A.M. wake up, the long bus ride and the standing out in the dark in the cold.  Instead, I very happily rolled out of bed, kissed my wife on the forehead, changed and walked my way over to the starting line.  This meant I only had to stand in the rain for about fifteen minutes prior to the National Anthem being sung and the race beginning.

I am a bit of a fair-weather runner, I’ll be the first to admit.  So standing in the rain in 40 degree temperatures was not exactly what I had hoped to be doing on Sunday morning.  I did give some serious consideration to climbing back in my warm bed, but before I could lose my sense of duty, the racers were getting ready, and I felt the surge of adrenaline that I hoped would carry me through the race.  The Star Spangled Banner was sung in a lovely if somewhat off-key tenor and surreptitiously I slipped my earphones in place (like most of these races nowadays the Napa marathon has banned iPods and earphones as a safety concern, but I remain a music rebel and am infinitely happier running with music than without) and I dialed up some Dave Matthews Band, live of course, and started out in the rain.  The race started out on a gentle, downhill slope, which was pretty wonderful, but had the effect of exacerbating the usual high-energy race start pace of the pack of runners.  I knew we were way ahead of the eight minute mile pace I had hoped to run for the first ten miles, but it felt so relaxing and so good to finally be moving in the rain that I didn’t bother to check my watch until the second mile marker. When I did, I had to downshift immediately because I crossed the first two miles in 14:05, a ridiculously fast pace for me and one that would clearly lead to early heartbreak if I kept going with that speed for much longer.

I dialed it down to a reasonably comfortable 8 minute mile pace and just began to enjoy the scenery and the music, and I even detected a degree or two warmer ambient temperature.  The road, The Silverado Trial, offered many curves and some gently rolling hills, the downhill of which threatened to bother my knees.  The slope of these was gentle enough though that it was pretty comfortable and I felt content staying at this pace for a while longer. Passing the gorgeous wine properties of Rombauer and Casa Nuestra, I thought happily for a moment about the wonderful route this race enjoys. In the back of my mind I knew I had not trained to maintain this pace throughout the whole race, but as I crossed mile seven the crazy notion began to creep into the back of my mind that just maybe I was in better shape than I should be if one only looked at the training regimen.  Let’s see, that added up to a grand total of about two runs in the last three weeks.  One of them, 9.5 excruciating miles banged out on the treadmill ten days ago while it snowed heavily outside.  And the other, a legitimate, if very slow, 21 mile run when the weather was nicer three Sundays earlier.  I just had not found any time between work and kids and everything in between to get any intermediate runs, do any speed work or put in very many miles at all over the last several months.  So why I let these foolish thoughts enter my head at all I have no idea, but somehow it occurred to me that perhaps I had some special genetic gift that had eluded me up to now, and that today it was going to show itself by allowing me to run a 3 hour and 30 minute marathon despite inadequate training.

Perhaps to dampen such foolish thoughts, at mile 8 the rain turned into a deluge.  I was now splashing through major puddles, and wide rivers of water were rolling from the shrubs and trees and embankments and off the steeply canted roads, which had clearly seen such precipitation before.  I was beginning to rethink the whole concept of finishing the race at all, but dimly realized that the logistical challenges involved in abandoning a race at this point were not very attractive either.

FEWER TEENAGERS DIE IN CAR CRASHES: A SMALL PUBLIC HEALTH VICTORY

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has analyzed the number of fatal car crashes with teens behind the wheel.  Over the last five years the number of deaths involving such accidents dropped about a third, from around 2,200 in 2004 to 1,400 in 2008.

The leading explanations for why this improved death rate has occurred point to changes in policies affecting youth drivers, such as the graduated driving license.  In forty-nine of the fifty states teenagers gradually gain full privileges behind the wheel. Younger drivers experience restrictions about having additional passengers, having young people in the car and driving at night.  The combination of these restrictions is thought to be a primary factor explaining why less traffic deaths are occurring with teen drivers.

Teen drivers still markedly increase the risks of accidents, averaging about four times as many crashes as adult drivers per number of miles driven.

The reason I found this information so noteworthy is that it serves as an example of a rare victory by the forces of public health in actually reducing deaths in an important area of health for young people.  I can’t help but think if there are some lessons we could draw to find policy solutions to make a dent in the much greater health problem for youth: childhood obesity.

Public health solutions arise somewhat more naturally when an acknowledged regulatory function such as driver’s licensure comes into play.  Driving a car is an area everyone would agree deserves some government scrutiny and is a public privilege.  Obesity and the personal choices of diet and exercise are just that: personal.  They are the governance of families and not governments.

Even things like breaks on school tuition, use of state scholarship funds and lots of other financial incentives for young people could be implemented, but these might also be considered discriminatory against overweight or obese people if viewed as penalties against weight gain.

Just how far the public would permit the government to reach in to individual lives and families to correct the obesity epidemic remains very unclear.

Certainly the severity and deadliness of the epidemic warrants some unconventional thinking about how to tackle the problem.  But in this most personal of health problems, finding the right answer to help us save children from early death and disease while balancing the respect for personal freedoms and family responsibilities will remain a great challenge.

THERE IS SOMETHING NOBLE ABOUT RUNNING IN SNOW AND RAIN

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Mind you, I don’t do this very often, in fact, truth be told, I go greatly out of my way to avoid doing even the most minimal training run when it’s raining and snowing. I don’t like to be cold. I realize this makes me weak and something less of a person in the eyes of everyone else I grew up with in Wisconsin, but I just can’t help it. When I must go out and the thermometer is below 40 °F, I start putting on clothes as though I were embarking on an Arctic expedition. My kids laugh at me.

But sometimes the running schedule, the work schedule, the kid’s schedule and the weather all conspire to make it unavoidable and today was one of those days. So I looked out at the foggy, 32 °F, according to my thermometer day and tried to think of every possible excuse for why I could skip this run that I had set aside time for. I was difficult. I had arranged coverage at the hospital, my kids had other activities going and I, for a few uncharacteristic hours, had no commitments and had nothing to do except what I was supposed to do: a 15-18 mile training run. I felt good physically. I wanted to run I just didn’t want to be outside in that weather.

But I bucked up, put the iPod on some jaunty music and covered my earphones with a wooly winter cap. Donned some long purplish leggings that I hoped didn’t look too bizarre. Three layers, gloves and my sunglasses. I seriously considered the idea of wrapping a scarf around my head and neck, but realized that crossed over into the ridiculous. No actual runner would have a scarf trailing behind them in the wind.

I felt surprisingly good. There was a certain nobility that kept me going. I felt like “Yeah, I can run in the snow and rain, that’s how great I am.” Never mind that I was considering turning back at just about every stride or that I was running a very, very slow pace or that I was preoccupied my iPod would become ruined if it got little droplets of water in it. I was doing it. So strange things carry you along. On this day it was a sense of purpose. A sense I so rarely have that I am committed enough to my mission to run the next race. That I didn’t opt out of a training run just because of a little cool temperature and a little bit of precipitation. In fact, after about six miles I was rewarded by a few rays of sunshine and the sensation of the rain, snow, sleet combination that had been striking my cheeks like unwelcome, little, tiny, frozen ice picks. In fact, it was downright pleasant there for a while. On the return leg, the temperature dropped noticeably. My fingers were downright cold and any notion of some sort of nobility had long since been replaced by a strong desire to be home in my warm house and to take a warm shower. A simple calculation told me if I kept running I would get there faster than if I stopped and walked.

So we rely on what we can. Most days it’s just fun, it’s nice to be outside, the sun is shining, it feels good to run and breathe in the fresh air and enjoy life. But on some days you find yourself carried along by some strange sensations and on this day it had something to do with a sense that running in the rain and snow is somehow good for me and I should be proud of it. Now that I’m home I’m not so sure any of that’s true, but I am glad I stuck it out. None of these sorts of notions are particularly explainable or have a whole lot of validity, but I say go with it. If that’s what is keeping you along propelling your legs forward then absolutely give into any sort of vanity, pride, competitiveness or whatever dark instinct is carrying you forward on your bid toward better fitness. It’s all too easy to give into a sense of comfort, warmth and well, yes, laziness.

THE FUTURE OF FOOD IN THE ERA OF OBESITY

Monday, February 7th, 2011

By many predictions, nearly all of us in this country will soon be overweight or obese.  We are certainly well on our way thanks to a complex set of conditions that collectively produce the “obesogenic environment”.  This certainly includes not only school, work and play lives that have deemphasized physical activity in favor or more sedentary paths and screen time.  It also however stems perhaps most clearly from increased consumption of increasingly delicious and inexpensive, high carbohydrate, high calorie obesogenic foods.  The purveyors of food have considerately catered to our burgeoning appetites and tastes, obliging us with ever-larger portions of focus group tested, perfectly delicious meals, snacks and treats that pack a wallop and deposit huge amounts of fat to our bellies and thighs to name a few places.

All of the science that has been applied to creating the obesogenic foods has been very successful.  Let’s face it, foods today are available more quickly, they seem “fresher”, they clearly taste better and we want more and more of them.  These foods have the advantage of science technology in their ingredients and preparation.  They also benefit from modern understanding of supply chain, preservation and fulfillment.  But what about the food of the future in the obese world in which we live?

I would like to advance the radical idea that the same background of scientific and technological innovation can and will supply foods that are aimed specifically at providing weight loss and weight maintenance while achieving goals of satiety, deliciousness and satisfaction in the consumer.  For example, an increasing array of rather tasty snacks, drinks and foods is slowly becoming available in corners of the food producing world like medically supervised weight loss programs.  The foods are scientifically based and effectively designed to suppress appetite rather than encourage it to promote less consumption of calories rather than more, and to help the consumer achieve success in the mission of losing weight and improving health rather than the mission of selling more burgers.

So will these “foods of the future” catch on?  One imagines a George Jetson-like household in which buttons are pushed and a dispensary offers up a nifty high metabolic protein shake and everyone smiles happily rubbing their skinny tummies.  This is likely to be the case for a tiny minority of people who see it as in their personal best interest to avoid overconsumption of calories and carbohydrates.  For the rest of us however, food is much more than nourishment for the body.  It is pleasure, it is comfort and so much more.  So while the foods will be there, the mindset that will allow the foods to work – that is help us become healthier individuals with trimmer waistlines – we must become more knowledgeable, more educated and more personally devoted to the cause.  And a cause, by necessity, involves giving up things like hot, crispy French fries and specialty ice cream, made-to-order sundaes is going to be a tough sell.

MAUI MARATHON PART II

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

At the split, a mere 13.1 miles, I had run 1:38, a fast time for me and one that ought to allow good finish.  At this point I was not feeling even a trace of fatigue, but that would soon change…

Around mile 15 the thought definitely had crept into my mind that I was no longer feeling so wonderful.  The tailwind that I had enjoyed for a number of miles was definitely no longer blowing in the same direction I was running.  And the scenery had changed a bit as well.  We were now navigating along a coastal road that offered a number of rolling hills.  I’ll be the first to admit I am no great fan of hills, mainly because of the pain that I experience in my knees when running up and down them.  I have studiously avoided hills in all of my training runs despite the purported helpfulness to the training cause.  I find that the need for ice packs and ibuprofen afterwards diminish some of my enjoyment, which is the whole point of running after all.

The race also took a decided turn for the worse on a section of road that no longer offered a nice secluded area for running, but instead had about a ten foot wide path demarcated by orange cones that ran right next to the highway.  Since the hour was getting later, commute traffic was in full swing so cars and trucks zoomed past at high speed with lots of buffeting wind shear and noise.  By mile 17 my walk breaks at the aid stations were, by necessity becoming much longer.  It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly was the nature of the misery I was experiencing.  It was not pain per say.  I tried to take inventory of all my body parts.  My feet were a little sore, sure.  Ankles and knees were feeling it, but not too bad.  I really was having trouble breathing, my chest didn’t hurt.  I really couldn’t point to any one single thing except that globally in the entirety of my being, I knew that was beginning to suffer.  I knew in my heart I had not trained for this race and, in fact I was supposed to be viewing the race itself as a “training run”.  Yet the competitor within me who wants to beat my last times had to go out fast and run the first half at a good pace and it wasn’t until around mile 15 that I gave up the idea of running this race in 3:30.  By mile 18 though I was seriously considering the idea I would not finish in under four hours.

SOME DAYS PITCHERS DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT STUFF

Monday, November 8th, 2010

My daughter and I were playing a board game, but I had the baseball game on in the background.  And one phrase caught her attention the pitcher had “good stuff” today.  What did this mean she wanted to know?

I found myself describing that sometimes pitcher’s have “good stuff” and other times they don’t have “good stuff”.  What’s meant by this is that some days, even though it’s the same pitcher with the same training, the same experience and expertise, the same baseball, same dimensions of the baseball yard and the pitching mound, he nails the strike zone, feels good, has a sharp breaking curveball and basically has everything he needs to be successful and accomplish his goal that day of striking out hitters and winning the game.  Other days, even though he’s the same person, he can’t hit the strike zone to save his life and his curveball has no snap.  The opposing team jumps all over pitchers on those days and you see the pitchers leave the game early and usually they wind up on the losing end.

I found myself going on to say this is a lot like life for the rest of us.  Some days we have it and some days we don’t.  I brought it around to her own experiences such as doing school work, practicing music or doing sports.  Most of the time she has “good stuff” and can play and practice, study and thrive.  Other days she feels tired and her heart is not fully in it.

This is an awful like what we all face as we age past our thirties and forties and face a challenging goal of maintaining fitness and avoiding weight gain.  Some days you’ve got the right stuff, and this means you’re motivated to exercise and avoid excessive calorie intake.  You have the willpower to stay away from the snacks and treats, monitor your calories, take note of grams of carbohydrates that you need to avoid and you do so successfully.  You make plans and stick with them.  But other days when you don’t have the good stuff, you’re motivation may be lacking and the willpower to avoid temptations is just not as strong.  Those are the tough days.

One of the real keys to successfully maintaining weight and successfully losing weight is to maintain the long view.  For example, keep in mind that cutting out just 96 calories per day results in about 10 pounds of weight loss over the course of a whole year.  Now think of the opposite, giving in and consuming an extra 96 calories per day results in a 10 pound weight gain over the course of a year.  So as much as weight loss success and weight maintenance success are a product of careful calorie counting and exercise, they are also a product of avoiding major lapses and downturns when you don’t have the right stuff, when you don’t feel motivated, when you don’t feel strong, when you feel like you are going to give into the temptations of the calories and desserts and treats, those days count just as much as all the rest.  So you need a battle plan to combat those days when you don’t have the right stuff.  You need to have successful ways to limit calorie intake even when you don’t feel motivated and you don’t feel tremendous willpower to resist eating and drinking more calories.  You also need a plan to find ways to exercise and burn calories even when you don’t feel motivated to do so.  So I suggest two main strategies:

  1. When you don’t have the “right stuff”, make sure the conditions in your house do not allow for a major lapse.  This means getting rid of all your favorite tasty treats, high calorie snacks and desserts.  Do not, I repeat, do not stock the pantry with your favorite desserts and treats.  Quite the opposite in fact, make it so that when you are padding around in your pajamas and have absolutely no willpower and find yourself wandering into the pantry, there should be absolutely nothing that remotely tempts you.  This will save you.
  2. Even when you don’t have the “right stuff” make yourself do a tiny, tiny, tiny, itsby, bitsy bit of exercise.  That’s right, take the first baby step.  Commit to walking outside your front door and maybe to the mailbox and no further.  Make just that much of a commitment.  And if that’s all you do for that day then I commend you because you kept your end of the bargain.  I suggest to you though that once you’ve reached the mailbox, your brain is likely to have changed and your attitude is likely to have improved to the point where you can then commit to walking a block and then let’s see what happens, maybe you’ll end up walking a few miles and turning a lousy day into a great one.

All of us have days when we don’t have the right stuff.  The trick is to find a way to win anyway, just like the best pitchers.

FIGHT FOR AIR RUN, HALF MARATHON IN DAMONTE RANCH, RENO-SEPTEMBER 12, 2010

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

The Fight for Air half marathon run proved to be a beautiful course on a stunning day.  I had brought a heavy sweatshirt that I could discard after the first mile or so expecting there might be cold morning weather, but I never needed it.  The sun had risen and the 8:15 start time allowed for perfect temperatures for a nice run.

The start at Damonte Ranch High School was kicked off by our popular Mayor, Bob Cashell.  I dialed up Pandora to stream in some good running tunes and prepared for a nice race moving toward the front of the starting line.

For reasons I can’t explain, the first mile for me was utter misery.  I felt like I was gasping for breath myself with my heart rate way above anything it should have been.  My Garmin said I was running about a 7:10 mild pace, typical for the start of races when everyone is moving out quickly, but for some reason it felt like I was doing an all out sprint.  I slowed down and tried to regroup, but it took a couple of miles for me to find any sense of a running groove.  Someday it would be nice to know why these things happen, but I think for most runners we know that some days we’ve got it and some days we don’t.

Into the long, flat, lovely course from miles 4 through 10, I felt pretty comfortable running around 8 minutes miles, not blowing the doors off certainly, but at least no longer feeling like I would need CPR imminently.  One section of the course takes the racers onto a nice hard packed trail and most of the course winds through very nice walking trails or neighborhood streets, a most pleasant morning.  At the finish, I passed the mile 12 marker and checked my Garmin, which confirmed the distance.  Then at about 12.5 miles, where we made a turn toward the high school once again, inexplicably a race monitor was yelling to each racer going by that we all had “one more mile” holding up one finger.  I imagine it through us all off a little bit, but made for a very nice and very short remaining “mile”.

All in all the race organizers did a fantastic job and the course was nicely laid out, even and pretty flat, making for a pleasant experience.  At one transition from the trail section back to the road there was a little bit of rough terrain to traverse, but nothing serious and I didn’t hear any reports of ankle sprains or other troubles as I left the course.

It’s great to see so many participants in a growing number of events in and around Reno and Lake Tahoe.  And the stunningly beautiful Reno September blue sky and sunshine ought to make for a great future for this race.


Dr. Kent Sasse, Medical Director | 75 Pringle Way Suite 804 Reno, NV 89502 | Phone: 775-829-7999

Dr. Kent Sasse serves the entire city of Reno and all the surrounding areas. Dr. Sasse is one of the nation's foremost medical weight loss and bariatric surgical experts.
Dr. Sasse has educated patients about food nutrition and weight loss for many years.

Copyright © 2007-2010 Kent Sasse, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

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