Why We Started Loop-the-Lake New Year’s Eve Run

Yesterday, I ran 9 miles around White Rock Lake in Dallas.  I had a few friends tag along and we had fun discussions and great laughter.  Much of our time, believe it or not, was centered around talking about running and food and general ideas on health.  We spent some amount of time talking about how we raise our children.  We acknowledged our imperfections, but expressed our dreams of our children being healthier and being able to contribute greatly to society.  Although I didn’t spend a great deal of time explaining what was going on in my head, I was remembering why I started the Loop-the-Lake Foundation.  

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Lately, I have done a lot of reading and searching the web about the link between nutrition and obesity.  I was amazed by what I found.  I learned virtually every diet “we” go on ultimately fails us after some length of time.  At the same time I learned nutrition is just as important as exercise to make and keep the body lean and healthy.  I don’t think the nutrition element is emphasized as much as it should be.  I also found out about the typical american diet for children.  I was shocked and saddened to learn the real facts.  For example, most kids now think macaroni and cheese or a cheese pizza is considered a vegetable.  

Many children get more than 50% of their diet from fast food restaurants.  What was more incredible was learning that many kids below a certain income level have little access to fresh produce.  Apples, oranges, celery, these are items very remote in a kids diet today.  I was raised in the 70s and 80s in a big northern city.  I was one of the few over weight kids in the neighborhood.  My nickname of “ten ton” was almost a badge of honor when it was time to pick a football team.  When we were choosing teams for tag, that was altogether a different story.  Still we had more access to fruits and vegetables.  Fast food was simply a special treat rather than a regular diet.  

Now, instead of one in ten children who are overweight or obese, we have one in four or one in three.  Children are developing type II diabetes before they reach their 18th birthday.  When I was a child, I knew no one with type II diabetes.  I did have a good friend who suffered from type I.  Unfortunately, he did not see his 11th birthday.  Even then, as a young boy, I had a rudimentary understanding of the disease he suffered from.  Frankly, we never thought type II diabetes could even happen to children.  That was reserved for the “old folks”, using my childhood vernacular. 

But today, one third of the children born after 2000 will develop this disease.  Black and Latino children will suffer worse at an alarming 50%.  These numbers are so surreal that I had to check them several times.  The path we’re on is leading to this type of destruction.  What will we do when we need young men and women to participate in the Olympics?  What will happen to our work force?  What will become of our military?  The numbers are far reaching.  The combination of poor quality food, lack of exercise and low availability of healthy food choices has our nation in a perilous state.  
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For some time I thought there was little I could do.  But I know the little I can do can go a long way.  When I learned about Marathon Kids their agenda touched my heart.  Yes, they are a marathon program to please us fanatical runners.  Their participants run one mile a week for 26 weeks culminating with a Spring celebration for the final mile.  This a tactic for teaching the importance of movement and regular exercise.  But they know it is not enough.  Marathon Kids also teaches kids about nutrition and even plants gardens in schools to teach children how to grow their own healthy foods.  It seems to be a complete package.  The parents I run with who have children in the program sing its praises.  Every story makes me smile.

Better yet, Marathon Kids offers the program free to the children and every $10 raised allows another kid to participate.  So, over the last three years Beth Crider and I have set a goal to raise $10,000 so that 1,000 local Dallas children could be added to the program.  We’ve come close every year, but have not yet made the mark.  We need the help of our local Dallas runners.  

Our annual Run Around White Rock Lake is on December 31st at 7 AM.  We host the run on this day regardless to what day of the week it lands.  We’ve invited the runners we know and each year the run has expanded.  I believe this year we can reach that mark.  Those who donate $30 will receive a cool Loop-the-Lake souvenir and their name in a drawing for more prizes.  Donations of $50 will pay for 5 children and $100 will pay for 10 children.  You get the point.  I’m asking that we all give what we can.  We’ll accept any amount anyone is willing and able to give.  
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One important element to Beth and I is that we keep the run fun and simple.  We do not require a donation for our runners to join us on December 31st.  We really want to see your smiling faces, rain, cold or shine ready for the final loop of the year.  Just come out and hang with us, enjoy some coffee, get a snack and meet some like minded (probably crazy because we love running so much) people.

If you plan to attend and you want to donate, please click here for our online donation page and sign up early.  We take donations on the day of the event, but it makes for a long line and could delay our start.  

Thanks for all your support over the years.  We can’t wait to see you!

UPDATE:
Donations Received To Date:  $1,632
Percentage of Goal Met:  16%

15 Days left to reach our goal!
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Got Rid of Plantar Fasciitis Forever?

The worst injury I’ve ever experienced has now been gone for nearly a year.  My running life has changed so much since then.  I used to over compensate my stride, limp every morning or after sitting for long periods and I had just general discomfort while running.

That time has passed and now I’ve learned a lot about how to treat and maybe prevent plantar fasciitis.  Read on if you’re interested in learning how I kicked the itis out of my plantar fascia… 

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Brief Story on the Hard Runner’s Attempt at Yoga

Today I tried my first ever yoga class.  One of my long time running buddies from church convinced me to give it a try.  Well, I knew I wanted to try yoga for some time.  Practically every runner I know who has tried yoga simply loves it.  I, on the other hand, don’t like the idea of doing something that makes me look stupid.  That limits me to a very small number of things I can do.  Yoga is not on that list, of course.  

(Now this is a yoga pose!  What was I doing?)  

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But my friend reminded me that I look pretty stupid running too, but I still do that.  Enough said, I decided to give it a try.  Probably not a great idea to try it right after running a 6 mile run at close to tempo pace.  Lately, however, this body has been feeling strong so my confidence was up.  After all, I’ve recovered this year from plantar fasciitis, problems in both knees (ITB syndrome) and lost 30 extra pounds of useless weight.  Surely I can take on a simple yoga class for a short hour.  Besides, most of our stretches after we run are mock versions of various yoga poses anyway.  How hard could it be?

I tell you what, it was harder than I imagined.  My body simply was not designed to hold some of those poses.  And the yoga instructor, bless her little heart, was about 60.  She could move that body of hers around better than most 30 year olds I know.  Hows that for making me look stupid?

(Couch Yoga, Brilliant!) 

At about 30 minutes into our workout, I was taking on a bit of a sweat.  Great, I thought, this is way more than some simple stretch routine!

After about 40 minutes, I thought, if she puts us in that downward dog one more timeā€¦ one more time!  Of course, my downward dog had given up and my upward dog had fallen down.  My warrior I, warrior II and warrior III had all taken up arms against each other.  My pigeon was cooked and my triangle, at best was a square.  But I rocked that child pose, yeah!

All in all, it was a beneficial experience and I think I may have found a viable complement to my running.  Yep, I’ll try it again next week.

Never, never stop running.
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New Post: Prep for a Twenty Mile Run

So, I think I’m ready for a hot, long run tomorrow morning.  Dallas, this summer, has offered up some of the hottest days in history to hit the streets and run.  If you’re in Dallas, I don’t have to tell you what the weather is going to be like.  I won’t waste time positing a pic of the weather app from my iPhone.  A true pet peeve for one of my running buddies, Anthony Logsdon.

But, for the heck of it I took a pic of my running nutrients to post today.  I stopped in at my trusted local running store to stock up on gels, beans and waffles.  

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I’ve noticed over the years of long running that I really hate fueling up during a run.  It really doesn’t make sense, but I have the hardest time convincing myself to fuel my body during the thick of the run.  Something happens to my brain at about mile 4 when I’m usually feeling great.  I know I have another 16 miles to go, but I cannot imagine that I’ll ever feel bad.  “Surely, I can run forever,” I tell myself.  Therefore, I usually just take a quick sip of water and press on.  Around mile 15 I find myself wondering, “how on earth will I ever finish?”  

That was me.  A year ago, even two or three years ago.  This year has been different.  I’ve been working hard at taking in electrolytes and calories at regular intervals.  I have not perfected it yet, but I know it’s important to do.  Since I’m qualified clydesdale, according to most marathon officials, I burn more energy per minute than those shirtless, sub 8 min/mile stallions.  I lose more water, too.  I tested myself before and found that I lose a whopping 9 lbs. on 20+ mile days.  That is an entire gallon of water!  I cannot figure out how to put all that back during the run, but I’m trying to reduce the loss as well.  Don’t know if that is truly possible, but I believe extra calories during the run will certainly help.  

Over the last couple of long runs I’ve done much better at taking in supplements and water.  I can tell the difference in my ability to finish and recover.  

Here’s a quick glance at my replenishment plan for tomorrow morning:

1. One Honey Stinger Waffle about one hour before start
2. 1-2 Endurolytes capsules every other water stop
3. One Honey Stinger energy gel at alternating water stops (alternating from the Endurolytes capsules)
4. Jelly Belly Sport Beans – whenever needed to relieve boredom spells
5.  EAS Myoplex Shake (after the run recovery drink)

If I manage to consume this heavy diet of packaged nutrients (still highly unlikely), we’re talking over 900 calories.  Let’s compare that to the 3100+ cals I’ll burn and there’s little wonder why these runs are so tough.  But what’s not to love?  I get to hang out with a great group of people, laugh a whole lot, and challenge my body and mind.  I’m blessed!  Who cares about the heat?

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Update on Asics Landreth 7 and a Little Bit on “Shrinkage”

Remembering two Saturdays back in Dallas TX, the middle of July, what a perfect morning for a 14.5 mile run.  Well, there really isn’t a good day in July in Dallas for a long run, but we did a have slight break from the humidity.  I had a chance to try on my new Asics Landreth 7s for a longer run and was glad for it.  Hurray, I think I have my new distance shoe.  Of course, I was still suffering a bit from whatever knee issue I’m having, but other than that I was good to go.  The group I run with is so great, too.  They run at the right pace for marathon training.  Some groups are out running their marathon pace each week, which I can’t do anymore.  The group I’m with knows very well that “you only run race pace on race day”, except for shorter speed work days, of course.  At any rate, I was in good company and it gave me a chance to test out my knee and the new shoes.  
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The shoes really are pretty comfortable.  I did take time to pay attention to how my feet were feeling through the hotter temperatures and the usual torture tests.  No bad rubbing in uncomfortable spots, no pinching or toe bumping.  Hitting the surfaces felt natural.  Just what I was looking for.  Again, the best shoe is the shoe you don’t feel.  

The rest of the run was a bit of a challenge.  Taking on the hills took a toll on my energy and going down hill really stressed that bum knee.  I still managed to do it in fair style.  I had wonderful side support from our local Luke’s Locker Fit ATP leaders.  I just have to give them a shout out.  They were on the road at those niche intervals, offering water and the much appreciated Gatorade.  Oh yeah and ice, plenty of ice.  Is it rude to recommend a few cubes in your shorts to help bring down your body temperature?  We’re all runners here, so you know we get pretty frank.  

Honestly, I have been running marathons for 8 years and this was the first time I had tried the “ice down your shorts” trick.  It does make a difference, although I may have had a George Constanza moment after the run.  If you don’t get the reference, check out episode 20, season 5 when you get a chance.  You can find it on “Crackle” with an iPad or Roku player.

Fast forward two weeks and still going strong in my new Asics Landreth 7.  I’ve been faced with one pretty bad challenge this year in Dalls, the freaking heat and what it does to my shoes.  I mean, they come home very sweaty.  I have tried one time this year to simply put my other running shoes out on my patio to air dry after an eleven miler.  The result?  A funky (not the Parliament Funk) pair of shoes after just one long run, yes one run.  Cannot make that same mistake twice, so with the Landreths I placed them in the washing machine.  Oh no you may be crying out in your head, the death to my shoes.  I’m willing to wager that it is much worse to try to spray my shoes with some artificial odor killer than to simply let them handle the wash.  

Hear me out before you offer a total conviction on all counts.  

First off, I wash them with all my sweaty towels and running clothes from the day.  This means that the shoes should not have to hit up against the hard washer interior too much.  I also use a mild detergent like the Sports Tide or a liquid detergent.  Also, I use cold water.  I notice cold water works just as well as hot so long as the clothes, towels and shoes have not set around too long before washing.  This is a same day exercise to be sure.  Then I set the shoes on my back patio.  Not too sunny, but pretty warm and the shoes dry in about three hours.  I think they’ll last longer, since they will not have dirt and grime build up, which must break the shoes down as much as a weekly visit to my washing machine.  It’s worth it to me to risk one pair of shoes to see how this method will work. 

Or you could try this method of washing your shoes, but I don’t like applying brushes to my shoes.
 

I’m simply sick and tired of funky shoes before a run.  And this Texas heat is not going to give our shoes a break.  When I get done on Saturday mornings my shoes are soaked through from my sweat.  Nothing and no one deserves to endure that funk for too long.  Many spies would give up their secrets if faced with my shirt after a 10+ mile run.  I may give one of our intelligence agencies a call and offer my services.  

This Saturday another hot 16 miler and then back to the washing machine for my Asics Landreth 7.  Never, never stop running.

And if you have the time, watch this before the Olympics Marathon.
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Am I a Real Runner? – List of Great Running Movies (read on…)

So I’m waiting on the next rainy weekend in Dallas.  I may be waiting for sometime since it rained a little on Sunday, and that’s usually all we’re going to get.  But, if another one shows up this year, I plan to stay at home, pop some organic popcorn, sit my family down and make them all watch a day’s worth of running movies with me.  The wife just rolls her eyes and endures the hard runner‘s silly interests, but my kids… oh my kids are still at that wonderful age where just being around me is all they want.  Naturally, I take every opportunity to exploit that like any good father should.

At 3:30 this morning, while soaking my legs, I decided to search for a list of movies about running, in anticipation of our next rainy weekend.  It took a while, but I did find a cool running blog that just so happened to have a list of running movies.  As I reviewed the list I was pleased to notice that I had not yet seen a good many of these.  Gives me something to look forward to.  Then my runner’s pride set in and I said to myself, “just how do you call yourself a runner, if you haven’t seen these?”  Dang that pride!

Well, I estimate that I’ve seen about 30% of these.  What about you?  I would appreciate your comments on your percentage and your all time favorite running movie.

Christina from Phoenix put it this way on her blog.

I found running movies and running documentaries that I had seen but many more that I had never heard of. (I’ve seen 39% of the movies on the list). 

She has done a pretty good job of giving us a full list of running movies.  Some may think movies like Forest Gump fit the running movies genre loosely.  I say, let’s make some room for any flick where the lead spends a good portion of the film running even if he’s got crazy, Elvis legs. 

Never, never stop running.

Movie-runner

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Why I Love to Run in the Morning

Today, the hard runner wants to explain why running in the morning is so important to me.  I have been running regularly since 2004 and have not stopped since, unless I was suffering from some injury.  That has been a little more often than I’d like to admit.  However, the fascination of getting up early in the morning before the sun rises and before there’s any traffic on the road has always held my interest.  I’ve learned from reading many studies that you burn more fat calories in the morning because you don’t have as many carbohydrates in your system after a full night’s sleep.  Of course, to take advantage of this benefit, you must run before breakfast or getting any food in your system.  If you’re doing a long training run, more than 75 minutes, I wouldn’t suggest you run on an empty stomach.  That could land you in the hospital or at least you’ll have a pretty miserable experience that day.

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Another benefit I found is the clearing of the mind.  Similar to how some people like to meditate or pray before starting their day, running can get you ready for a busy day.  I believe in prayer, but I do enjoy adding running.  It gives me an opportunity to think about what I need to do during the day and often helps me come up with some pretty good solutions.  Nothing else has had an chance to bogg down my thinking.

It’s so easy to put off exercise if I wait until later in the day.  You know the challenge of getting busy or staying a little later at work to get something done.  Next you have some dinner party you have to attend or your kids’ soccer practice you have to get them to.  Little time is ever left for you to take care of yourself once 5 pm shows up.

And the far best thing I love about early morning running is that I can cry, or whimper without anyone seeing me.  I guess this works at night too, but there are far fewer people around at 6am.  I remember from the 1980s or 90s an Army commercial that ended, “The U.S. Army, we do more before nine am than most people do all day.”  I just love that sense of accomplishment you earn by realizing you have done a complete guilt free workout before most people get out the shower to go to work.  And if you really feel fancy, you can add another workout at the end of the day.  That’s bonus fat burning and muscle building potential that few will ever see.

See this video and tell me how great it is to run at White Rock Lake – Dallas in the morning.

So tomorrow morning, when you’re suffering the heat and humidity during your training run, think of this…  You could be running at 2:30 pm!  Never, never stop running!

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