May 30, 2016

I'm A Half Fanatic

By completing 3 half marathons in 49 days, I am officially a "Half Fanatic" (the requirement is 3 within 90 days).

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You can see my "Glutton Free Diet" reviews of each of the three races by following the links below:

(5/28/16) Goat Mountain Gallop: Conquering The Grimm Reaper

(5/1/16) Volcano Valley: Be Careful What You Wish For

(4/9/16) Oregon Spring Half Marathon: Race Review


My swag from all three races.


April 15, 2016

Race Review: Goat Mountain Gallop (Conquering the Grimm Reaper)

New Blog Post at The Glutton Free Diet --> Conquering the Grimm Reaper (a review of the Goat Mountain Gallop half marathon)

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September 14, 2015

Race Review: 2015 Pints to Pasta 10K

The following is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet: Race Review

I ran my first ever official 10K race yesterday, and I really thought this distance was a lot of fun. It wasn't quite the endurance challenge of a half marathon, but challenging in its own right.

The Pints to Pasta event was part of the Hood to Coast race series, and included either a half marathon or 10K. The half is actually Pasta to Pints to Pasta, but the 10K fits the title; starting on the gradual downhill of N. Greeley Ave in Portland and passing by Widmer Brewing (Pints) and crossing the Willamette River via the Broadway Bridge, then following Naito Parkway along the waterfront, and transitioning up a brutal hill to Barbur Blvd. / Corbett Ave. before heading sharply back downhill to SW Macadam Ave. and the finish line at The Old Spaghetti Factory (Pasta).

When Tony, a friend and running motivator, asked if I wanted to run Pints to Pasta with him, I was hesitant at first because I assumed he meant the half marathon, and I was already signed up for a half the following weekend (this coming Saturday). When he clarified that he meant the 10K race, I jumped at the chance. I was a little nervous because I had only done small races, and wasn't sure I wanted to join a few thousand other runners on a Sunday morning -- but I'm glad I did it. It was a pretty big step for this routine-oriented stick-in-the-mud.

Since this was my first 10K race, I can't say whether or not it was a PR (personal record), but considering the one grueling hill on the course, I am very happy with what I was able to accomplish -- it definitely ranked in the top 5 times I've done for that distance (depending on how accurate my phone's app was for tracking those training runs). I am perfectly happy finishing at 389th place out of 1649 participants (41/88 for my age group).

It was truly a perfect morning for a run -- cool but not cold, mostly clear, with the sun just starting to peak above the horizon as we started down Greeley. The scenery of the river and downtown was gorgeous, and the bridge crossing over the Willamette was fun; and we got to listen to a good cover band play modern classics as we recovered in the shade along the southwest waterfront.

This was my first time getting beer/wine after a run, but since it was included, I decided to give it a try. I went with a Hefe Shandy (half Hefeweisen beer, half lemonade) and a glass of Pinot Grigio. The idea of eating pasta and drinking beer/wine at 9:00 in the morning, after finishing a good run, seems so strange; but it actually worked. The penne pasta with mizithra cheese was the bomb!

While we had a great experience, it was not a perfect event. The choice of route through old town (just for a few blocks) was incredibly stinky, and probably should be reconsidered for next year. The L-O-N-G hill up Barbur to Corbett was grueling, and could have been worth it if we could have "turned and burned" once we reached the top; but the hills back to Macadam were so steep that we actually had to hold back to keep from wiping out or tearing things up. An approach from Waterfront Park / SW Moody Ave. would really improve things, if that is even logistically feasible (or maybe down the east side to Tillicum Crossing next year?).


This is the elevation plot from my RunKeeper app. (click to enlarge)

The other disappointing part for many was some poor planning by event organizers with regard to parking and shuttle buses. Tony and I made it to the shuttles pretty early, and were on one of the first buses to the start line for the 10K. At about 6:45, they announced that the start would be delayed from 7:30 to 7:45 because of parking issues. It ends up that the 15 minute delay was not anywhere near enough time to get all of the 10K runners to the start line, and in fact many racers did not get started until 60-80 minutes after the "gun". Apparently race organizers thought 5 buses would be enough to shuttle 1650 people across Portland in a one-hour time-frame -- so it was not just a matter of "not enough parking".

Hopefully they will improve a few things for next year, as I really thought it was a lot of fun!

May 26, 2015

Are You Fed Up?

This is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet

You really should be fed up with the obesity epidemic that is gripping North America. You really should be fed up with the way our elected government officials, both liberal and conservative, are bowing down to the big food companies and hiding the true dangers of excess sugar intake.

There is big money in processed foods, especially the fast food and soda pop industries, and the documentary Fed Up exposes the big, sugar coated, cover up. I highly recommend watching it, but be prepared to be challenged and outrage by what you see.

I'm not ready to give up sugar in all of its forms, but soda pop is definitely one I do not miss -- I gave it up over a year ago, and will not ever go back on that wagon. I am willing to make the bold statement that sugary drinks, including fruit juice, are the largest contributors to the obesity epidemic in North America. Yes, even 100% fruit juice is a contributing factor.

Of course we should not confuse whole fruit with fruit juice -- whole fruit is actually a form of sugar we should be trying to eat more of, since our bodies can handle the sugar and fiber together. It's when we remove the fiber, and process the sugars that our bodies can't handle the onslaught of sweetness -- it doesn't matter if it's High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), granulated sugar, raw sugar, or fruit juice.

The one point from this documentary that really resonated with me is the fact that big food has prevented the FDA from requiring food labels to list sugar content in the form of a percentage. All foods list the total grams of sugar per serving, but you will not find what percent of the recommended daily allowance that makes up. If most of us were to actually pay attention to those numbers, I think we would probably put a lot of the foods back on the shelves and not in our carts.

Most organizations that are genuinely interested in health recommend that a maximum of 10% of your daily caloric intake come from sugar. That means that for an adult male with a recommendation of a 2000 calorie diet, the maximum intake from sugar per day should be 200 calories, or 50 grams. To find the percentage, just look at the food label and muliply the grams of sugar by 2, and that is the percentage.

For example, the imitation maple syrup (that I'm ashamed to admit lives in our pantry) has 44 grams of sugar in a 1/4 cup serving; which means one serving contains 88% of your recommended daily allotment of sugar. A 12-oz. can of Pepsi has 41 grams of sugar, or 82% of your RDA. So a small amount of syrup at breakfast and one can of pop at lunch puts you at 170% of your daily allowance. Incidentally the real maple syrup has 50 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup serving, but at least it's not HFCS, right?

Throw in everything else in a typical American diet that has sugar added to it, and it's not hard to see how easily our diets end up containing 300-400% of the sugar we should be ingesting. It made me go through my pantry with a Sharpie and convert all the sugar content into percentage, just so I have a better idea of how much I'm eating.

Now, I'm not ready to give up the 3 teaspoons of raw sugar I have in my coffee every morning, but I am willing to look at how much I take in throughout the day, and continue cutting back if needed. There are 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon, so that puts me at 12% of my allotted intake right at the start of the day, but if I can keep the rest of the day under control, I'm fine with that.

ARE YOU FED UP? Watch the documentary, and make changes in your own life.

May 23, 2015

Product Review: Nathan QuickShot Plus Insulated Flask

The following is a repost from The Glutton Free Diet:

Staying hydrated is a vitally important task for anyone engaging in prolonged physical exercise. With most organized road races, there are hydration stations set up periodically throughout the course, so it's easy get your water or sports drink fix. But with longer training runs, or shorter runs on hot days, staying hydrated means carrying water with you, or planting water bottles along your route.





Hiding water bottles ahead of time is not an option with the route I typically run, so I decided to give the Nathan QuickShot Plus Insulated Flask (pictured above) a try, since I like the idea of being able to strap it to my hand instead of physically holding the bottle. One nice feature about this strap is the hole at the top which allows your thumb to fit through -- it really makes it easy to strap to your hand and forget about (almost). 

The reflective, insulated bottle holds 8-oz. of water, and the small zippered pouch is large enough for about two energy packs, Kleenex, and a few pieces of ID -- there's even a tighter fitting netting pocket that holds credit cards, etc. There is velcro at the bottom of the strap that allows for adjustment, so it will fit different sized hands. 

I do find that I need to move the bottle from my right hand to my left hand after about 5-miles to change things up, but after about a minute I usually switch it back -- and repeat every few miles after that. Some people may never be able to get used to it, so before you purchase one, you may want to try carrying a similarly sized item in your hand during a run and see if you resist the urge to throw it into the weeds.

After a month of extensive use, including two 13.1 mile runs, I can find no faults with the product itself -- it does everything as advertised. It doesn't leak, the zipper pouch is easy to access on the move, and it's easy to get the right fit on your hand. The only real question is whether or not 8-oz. of water is enough for your individual needs.

On my initial 13.1 mile run using this product, temperatures were quite cool, with a pretty good downpour of rain midway through; so the capacity was more than adequate. It was also up to task for the 8.5 mile run I did in warmer weather a week before the Volcano Half -- and in both of those cases I downed a single Honey Stinger packet midway through the run. 

On the day of the actual Volcano Half, temps started to climb into the upper-60's with full sunshine, by halfway through the race; and I definitely had to rely on the hydration stations on the course -- I would have needed to rely on them even more if I had decided to take two of the Honey Stinger packets during the race, as each packet needs to be ingested with a few decent gulps of water. 

I would recommend an alternative source of hydration if doing longer training runs during warm weather conditions, or for any hydration-supported road races longer than 13.1 miles. Other than those exceptions, I am very happy with my QuickShot Plus, and would highly recommend it.

May 13, 2015

2015 Volcano Half Marathon... I did it!

To read about my experience running my very first official half marathon, follow this link: The Glutton Free Diet: 2015 Volcano Half Marathon


It was tough, but I finished it!

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Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." — Matthew 19:14 NoahEmSillyBW.jpg

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