Thursday, April 29, 2010

Update from Eric

As some of you may or may not know a good friend of Ashley and I is out exploring the world until Sept or so. As I recieve emails from him I will post them on here because they are very interesting. Enjoy.

Namaste Everyone –

The Himalayan mountains are magnificent!!! I think most of you know this already but I just finished a wonderful 19 day trek through the rural and Khumbu regions of Nepal. Before setting off I was fortunate enough to have a personal guided tour of Kathmandu with my guide Nawang Samden Sherpa. My dear friends Clay and Donna set us up and he was so kind as to let me stay with his wife and family in their home during my stay. Their hospitality was incredible and I miss their company (and endless supply of milk tea) already.

I basically completed what is called the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek. However, most folks typically fly into Lukula and begin their trek out of Namche Bazaar, but given that I’m flexible with time I decided to take an alternative route which started in Jiri. This adds about 6 days, but exposes one to rural Nepal where you can shake the crowds, find people farming rice and wheat in the terraced fields and walk through beautiful rhododendron forests. All in all, we covered about 75-85 miles, hiked nearly 100 hours and by the time we reached base camp we ascended almost 9,000 meters – the full height of Mt. Everest from sea level!

One particular night it got pretty chilly since we were at about 13,000 ft. Noticing I was cold, Nawang’s son Tsheringwangchu said “come sit by the fire”, which ended up being the ceramic oven of our lodge where a woman was cooking our dinners. At first I felt like an intruder but everyone seemed relaxed. Moments later I noticed a little girls head pop up from a bed, so not only was I in the kitchen but also their bedroom. Moments later the husband arrives and feeling uncomfortable I got up to leave, and noticing this the husband touches my shoulder and says “, please sit”. It’s hard for me to describe, but this is what stands out about the people of Nepal for me – very, very kind, genuine, and hospitable.

The mountains are incredible. They are so huge it makes you laugh. And, if you’re like me and enjoy mountains, they can definitely raise some emotions. They certainly did mine. Eight out of ten of the worlds highest mountains are in Nepal and I got to see four ;>.

Also, cruising the streets of Kathmandu on the back of a motorcycle will make you feel pretty alive! It’s a developing city and while very crowded and polluted, it’s an interesting place with a lot of character.

Tomorrow I’m off to India with a stop in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddah. It’s gonna be soooo hot!!!

Thanks to my friends Clay and Donna for setting me up for much success in this first part of my trip.

I’m working on posting pics on FB, but I’ve encountered some technical difficulties which I hope can be repaired by finding a better cyber café.

Hope everyone is doing all well back home. Thanks for all the emails! Keep ‘em coming.

Miss ya'll,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dine-n-Dash #1 5K

Well ran my 1st non-snowshoe race of the year last night out at the Boulder Rez and it went a little better than I expected. I really did not know what to expect since my running volume had taken a hit from starting this new job while I am figuring out how to balance it all and the fact that I have only done one track workout about 2 weeks ago. The track workout was nothing intense at all, just some 10X100, 5X200, and 2X400 so I could work my way back into some sort of speed. With that I figured anything under 24 mins would be a good start to this 6 race series.

Got there about 5:50ish and after getting ready, I walked/jogged around Coot Lake with Neal for about 25 mins as a warmup. I wanted to run a little more than I did but I just was not feeling it.

The cowbell went off and I tucked behind two guys who were running side by side so they could do all the work going into the 20-30mph winds that were whipping off the water. I hit the 1st mile in 6:25ish and thought what the hell! With that I felt maybe I have a shot at breaking 20mins which is my goal to do in one of these 6 races. The 2 guys that were breaking the wind for me started to hurt and slow down from the wind so I passed them and I was on my own from there.

After the 180 degree turn around I started eyeballing people in front of me. First was a guy in a long sleeve black shirt that I passed shortly (within quarter mile), about here is when I saw Neal kicking some ass heading toward the turn around. My next target was a local named TK who I meet a few years ago before he got kicked out of the Boulder Trail Runners. He is pretty quick and I have never been able to beat him in a race or keep up with him when our paths cross.

Passed mile 2 in 13:03ish still keeping TK the same distance from me, I just could not close on him. The last 1/2 mile hurt as we went across the last dam straight into the wind. Sucking air big time and having a major side ache I crossed the finish line in 20:06 according to my watch, 20:10 according to the race watch. I finished the same distance from TK as when I started trying to catch him, just could not close it out.

That is a PR for me by over a minute and 45 seconds! Huge! Of course this is the first 5K race I have ran since 2006. I am sure if I would have ran one in 2007 or 2008 I could have easily broken 20 mins. Hopefully it lead to some better times over the next 6 weeks. I want to beat TK just one time during this series and break 20 mins for 3.1 miles.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mental Health Providers Should Prescribe Exercise More Often for Depression, Anxiety, Research Suggests

Keeping up with the trend this week of coming across articles that are related to exercise this one was sent to me by Neal. You can find the link here.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 6, 2010) — Exercise is a magic drug for many people with depression and anxiety disorders, and it should be more widely prescribed by mental health care providers, according to researchers who analyzed the results of numerous published studies.

Exercise has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health," says Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "The more therapists who are trained in exercise therapy, the better off patients will be."

Smits and Michael Otto, psychology professor at Boston University, based their finding on an analysis of dozens of population-based studies, clinical studies and meta-analytic reviews related to exercise and mental health, including the authors' meta-analysis of exercise interventions for mental health and studies on reducing anxiety sensitivity with exercise. The researchers' review demonstrated the efficacy of exercise programs in reducing depression and anxiety.

The traditional treatments of cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy don't reach everyone who needs them, says Smits, an associate professor of psychology.

"Exercise can fill the gap for people who can't receive traditional therapies because of cost or lack of access, or who don't want to because of the perceived social stigma associated with these treatments," he says. "Exercise also can supplement traditional treatments, helping patients become more focused and engaged."

The researchers presented their findings March 6 in Baltimore at the annual conference of the Anxiety Disorder Association of America. Their workshop was based on their therapist guide "Exercise for Mood and Anxiety Disorders," with accompanying patient workbook (Oxford University Press, September 2009). For links to more information see

"Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger," Smits says. "Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing."

After patients have passed a health assessment, Smits says, they should work up to the public health dose, which is 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity. At a time when 40 percent of Americans are sedentary, he says, mental health care providers can serve as their patients' exercise guides and motivators.

"Rather than emphasize the long-term health benefits of an exercise program -- which can be difficult to sustain -- we urge providers to focus with their patients on the immediate benefits," he says. "After just 25 minutes, your mood improves, you are less stressed, you have more energy -- and you'll be motivated to exercise again tomorrow. A bad mood is no longer a barrier to exercise; it is the very reason to exercise."

Smits says health care providers who prescribe exercise also must give their patients the tools they need to succeed, such as the daily schedules, problem-solving strategies and goal-setting featured in his guide for therapists.

"Therapists can help their patients take specific, achievable steps," he says. "This isn't about working out five times a week for the next year. It's about exercising for 20 or 30 minutes and feeling better today."

Story Source:

Adapted from materials provided by Southern Methodist University.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Exercise pain is a good thing

I just keep coming across these article the past couple of days that are worth sharing. Here is another one, hope all is well from snowy Boulder Colorado. Here is the link for the article.

Exercise pain is a good thing
Early exercise discomfort happens to everyone. But fear of those initial sensations can cause people to play it safe.

By Eric Heiden
Tribune Media Services
April 4, 2010

In the world of fitness, practice doesn't just make you perfect, it also makes you more comfortable.

As you first dig into a new fitness regimen, as many people do this time of year, the discomfort of exercise can be, well, uncomfortable. The burning muscles and gasping for breath can feel desperate.

It takes a minute to adjust

Experience at exercise will eventually transform these early trials into feel-good experiences, but at first your systems can't deliver what exercise demands of them. The sensations of breathlessness and burning muscles, for example, correlate with the intensity of your effort. When you're out of shape, numerous receptors all over your body beg your brain to slow down: I can't maintain this. As you beef up each system, however, fewer receptors holler for mercy because your systems are no longer working so close to their maximum capacity. Eventually, the number of receptors screaming at your brain will level off, and more pleasant sensations will be able to rise to a conscious level. The signal that was once an emergency siren will become just a familiar signpost: I've pushed this hard before. I can handle it. It'll be OK.

Unfortunately, folks often give up training before this happens because they believe that early discomfort is a signal that they are not cut out for exercise.

Don't give up

The truth is, everyone is cut out for exercise.

Early exercise discomfort is natural and universal — it happens to everyone. But fear of those initial sensations can cause people to play it safe. So they end up choosing activities that come easy to them and avoid new types of fitness training.

Ironically, the areas that challenge you are often the ones you need most to achieve balanced overall fitness, according to exercise performance physician Max Testa. He also points out that these areas hold the potential for the greatest leaps in benefit.

Some scientists now believe that your body signals you to stop exercise well before the point of exhaustion, to keep a little in reserve in case you need to run from that lion in your evolutionary past. But each time you can motivate yourself to push through that point, your body sets the limit a little higher. Continuing to exercise will actually "immunize" you against the discomfort you feel when you first start out.

Elite athletes

Until you reach the competitive level.

At elite levels, all of the athletes competing against one another possess very similar physical abilities. Testa contends that at this level, what determines the winner is who can take the most pain. The ones who can motivate themselves through progressively higher levels of discomfort end up at the top of their sport, says Testa. But, he adds, when they are competing, they are all in pain.

That was definitely true for me. When I was competing, I was nervous before races about how much suffering there was going to be — how much it was going to hurt. These days, things are different. I get to sample a number of sports and experience the various pleasures each has to offer — eventually.

Eric Heiden, M.D., a five-time Olympic gold medalist speed skater, is now an orthopedic surgeon in Utah. He co-wrote "Faster, Better, Stronger: Your Fitness Bible" (HarperCollins) with exercise performance physician Max Testa, M.D., and DeAnne Musolf. Visit

Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The cure of all common health ailments is vitamin D

Get out from in front of your TV's and get OUTSIDE! Here is more on the benefits of just getting outside. You can find the link here.


The cure of all common health ailments is vitamin D

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, fibromyalgia and depression have one thing in common and it is vitamin D deficiency.

In a book authored by Dr. Michael F. Holick titled THE VITAMIN D SOLUTION: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problem, he identifies the causes of vitamin D deficiency, outlines the reasons why it is vital for our health and offers a 3-step program to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D in our bodies.

Dr. Holick, an international expert has studied vitamin D for more than 30 years. From his research, we know every cell in the body carries a receptor for vitamin D and it is not just for the purpose of bone health only.

Increasing vitamin D levels can treat, prevent and reverse a significant number of daily health ailments such as high blood pressure and back pain, reduce symptoms of chronic problems like diabetes and arthritis, and prevent infectious disease like H1N1, and cancer.

Dr Holick also recognizes vitamin D as being able to improve infertility, weight control, memory and mood.

Also know as the "Sunshine Vitamin," vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, but a hormone that is made in the skin, as a result of exposure to sunlight.

Milk and mushrooms can supply as the necessary vitamin D and Dr Holick advices people to take supplements in order to ensure optimal levels of the crucial vitamin in the body.

THE VITAMIN D SOLUTION provides latest research from all around the world, insightful historical background, a simple strategy for reconstructing and maintaining an optimal level of vitamin D that mixes a sensible amount of sun exposure, supplementation and foods loaded with vitamin D.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Colorado, California Cities Dominate Slimmest Cities List

Like this is a big surprise. I got this article off the WebMD internal site here at work and thought I would share. Not a big fan of the BMI being all that useful for active people but it does give a picture of the general population. Enjoy.

Colorado, California Cities Dominate Slimmest Cities List
Healthy Habits Abound in Top 10 Least Obese Cities

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News

March 5, 2010 -- Finally, a top 10 obese list American cities can be proud to be a part of.

A new ranking of America's least obese cities shows that healthy habits make for thinner residents in several Colorado and California cities, which dominate the top 10. Obesity rates in the top 10 least obese cities are an average of 15% lower than rates found in the nation's top 10 obese metropolitan areas and much lower than the national average of 26.5%.

Here are the top 10 least obese metro areas based on their percentage of obese residents.

1. Fort Collins/Loveland, Colo. (16%)
2. Boulder, Colo. (16.6%)
3. Barnstable, Mass. (16.9%)
4. Colorado Springs, Colo. (17.2%)
5. San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles, Calif. (17.6%)
6. Reno/Sparks, N.V. (17.7%)
7. Santa Cruz/Watsonville, Calif. (17.9%)
8. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif. (19%)
9. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, Calif. (19.2%)
10.Denver/Aurora, Colo.* (19.3%) and Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, Conn.* (19.3)

The list is based on a nationwide Gallup poll conducted in 187 metro areas in 2009. Researchers calculated the participants' body mass index (BMI) using their self-reported height and weight . A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese.

Healthy Habits the Norm in Skinny Cities

What's the secret to a skinny city? Healthy eating and exercise habits. The survey showed that nine out of the 10 least obese cities rank in the top third of the Gallup-Healthways Healthy Behavior Index. The index measures exercise, eating, and smoking habits.

Researchers found that most residents of the slimmest cities said they ate healthy "yesterday," frequently eat fruits and vegetables , and exercise regularly.

In fact, half or more of the residents in all of the least obese cities report exercising for at least 30 minutes three or more days a week. That's in sharp contrast to the nation's 10 most obese cities, where in all but one less than half of the residents report exercising that much.

Smoking rates were also lower than the national average in all of the least obese metropolitan areas.

Access Builds Healthier Cities

Although individual habits play a large role in keeping obesity rates low, the survey shows community conditions also play a part. Researchers found that residents in nearly all of the nation's least obese cities report above-average access to affordable fruits and vegetables, having a safe place to exercise, having enough money to buy food, and having health insurance.

Those conditions also foster healthier cities. All of the least obese cities have diabetes levels lower than the national average of 11% and heart attack rates below the national average of 4.6%.

Here's a snapshot of how the least obese cities fared in terms of physical health.

National Average
11 % Diabetes
30.6 % High Blood Pressure
27.5 % High Cholesterol
4.6 % Heart Attack

Boulder, CO
5.0 % Diabetes
20.1 % High Blood Pressure
25.8 % High Cholesterol
3.1 % Heart Attack

San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA
8.3 % Diabetes
24.7 % High Blood Pressure
24.4 % High Cholesterol
3.3 % Heart Attack

Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, CT
9.3 % Diabetes
29.7 % High Blood Pressure
28.4 % High Cholesterol
3.4 % Heart Attack

Reno/Sparks, NV
8.1 % Diabetes
25.6 % High Blood Pressure
25.1 % High Cholesterol
3.7 % Heart Attack

San Francisco/Oakland/Freemont, CA
8.3 % Diabetes
27.7 % High Blood Pressure
24.8 % High Cholesterol
2.8 % Heart Attack

Santa Cruz/Watsonville, CA
8.5 % Diabetes
25.5 % High Blood Pressure
23.4 % High Cholesterol
2.2 % Heart Attack

Fort Collins/Loveland, CO
7.0 % Diabetes
22.8 % High Blood Pressure
19.7 % High Cholesterol
2.3 % Heart Attack

Barnstable, MA
7.1 % Diabetes
38.1 % High Blood Pressure
28.9 % High Cholesterol
4.4 % Heart Attack

Denver/Aurora, CO
7.5 % Diabetes
26.5 % High Blood Pressure
23.7 % High Cholesterol
3.0 % Heart Attack

Colorado Springs, CO
6.5 % Diabetes
22.9 % High Blood Pressure
21.7 % High Cholesterol
3.4 % Heart Attack

San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles, CA
8.9 % Diabetes
31.4 % High Blood Pressure
25.1 % High Cholesterol
3.9 % Heart Attack

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being report is based on telephone interviews with more than 353,000 adults 18 and over between Jan. 2, 2009, and Dec. 29, 2009. It has a margin of sampling error of 0.2 percentage points

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dash -n- Dine 5K series

I have been thinking that this year I should do some shorter races to try and improve my speed a little. I think the year that I was was in the best shape I have ever been which was 2007, I did more shorter races.

So with that thought process I signed up for a series of six 5K's that are held out at the Boulder Rez every Tuesday night. My hope is that I will set a 5K PR over the series and get in one of the first 2 waves of the Bolder Boulder. Of course my 5K PR is not that great as you can see on the side of the webpage so I should be able to bring that down a little. I would be great to get it under 20 minutes.

So all you Boulder fast runners you better watch out! I am gunning for you.

Link to the race website: