Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

December News

The New York Times published two interesting articles on running and exercising this month.

The first one talks about a new study that shows that "The risk of dying on a marathon course is twice as high if you drive it than if you run it..." I promptly forwarded the story to my mother, who is constantly worried about my "obsessive" running. The researcher began the study "...out of annoyance with the enormous attention given to each death in a marathon — often even greater, he added, than the attention paid to the winner." Very true.

The second story talks about a mental technique many athletes use called "dissociation." The article says that "No matter how high you jump, how fast you run or swim, how powerfully you row, you can do better. But sometimes your mind gets in the way." In order to overcome the mind-block, some athletes learned a technique from Tibetan monks who "...reportedly ran 300 miles in 30 hours, an average pace of six minutes a mile [!!!]. Their mental trick was to fixate on a distant object, like a mountain peak, and put their breathing in synchrony with their locomotion. Every time a foot hit the ground they would also repeat a mantra." It turns out that most professional athletes use dissociation, even if they don't know it. For example, Paula Radcliffe counts 300 steps (which for her, make a mile). Similarly, some of us in the running group use a metronome. On each bip one foot hits the ground.

This is probably my last blog of 2007. One of my 2008 resolutions is to post a monthly blog covering noteworthy running and exercising news and articles, hope you enjoy them!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays...and be careful about flour

I have not forgotten my blog duties...I am done with this quarter and work deadlines, so I have some time to say hi!

Last Sunday we ran the first balanced athlete half marathon. We had one aid station at 'three friends' and one moving aid station (Eric carrying gels, extra water, and Brian's potion :-) ). We marked the tricky turns with flour the night before. Incidentally, later in the week I read this in a newspaper:
"Two people who sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare and now face a felony charge".

I guess next time we will have to find a less threatening substance to mark the course, any suggestions?

Eric and I feel very proud of the running group that has formed around the store. Many good friendships have emerged, and many more fun times await us!

I was looking through the holiday cards we have received, and I was so happy to see that many come from runners in the group. It is so satisfying to see that we are regarded as your friends, not as the owners of a store where you buy your running paraphernalia...

I am not sure if many of you know how the group started. We actually started having group runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays BEFORE the store opened. Three or four people would meet at the door, and off we went. I remember running and wondering how the group would change, and also hoping that it would grow. We would finish the run and go inside the store to stretch, among the unpainted walls, stained floors, and dusty space.

One year and a half later, here we are. Thank you all for showing up even on the darkest, wettest days. Hope to see you all next year! We have some fun 2008 plans, including the Tiger Mountain Relay, a group marathon in Alaska, and many local races!

The balanced athlete wishes you all a wonderful holiday season!