Thursday, July 30, 2009

MSG - can it cause weight gain?

We've all heard how MSG is bad for you. It gives people headaches, Chinese restaurants talk about how they avoid it, and no one knows what it is. Monosodium Glutamate, MSG for short, is pretty much in all processed foods. Just read the labels. Now according to a recent study it seems as though MSG has a positive correlation to weight gain. That doesn't mean scientists know why the two are related, but it seems as if they are. More research needs to be conducted to know what the relationship is and why it exists, but for now this falls under the general category of "eat less processed foods".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm back! Sort of....

So I've finally had a chance to breath, but I'm not completely unscathed. I'm still not running yet (not surprising), and I am going to have to drop the accounting class I'm taking right now. It's a hard class on its own, but with all the stress of moving and buying the house I've fallen behind. With the accelerated level I'm on with grad school missing a week of work is a disaster. Plus I'm just not understanding many of the principles, so I will take this class as soon as I can next time. I have the book and the syllabus for the class so I can study before class starts. I'd rather lose the partial tuition now than to fail the class, cause my GPA to drop, and waste the full tuition on the failed class only to take it again.

So on to running...

I found this article on Yahoo! that discusses how important it is to swing your arms as you walk. I liked it because the faster you pump your arms while running the faster you run. Have you ever noticed that? One of the things I learned in the training sessions getting ready for the Peachtree is to avoid wasting energy with extraneous arm movements, but done right it is very beneficial. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

There just isn't enough time...

So between buying the house, packing, remodeling, school, work, and anything else life can throw my way I haven't been able to find time to run since the Peachtree. That was about three weeks ago. My running is going to suffer considerably for this break, but that's okay. I think I was getting a little burnt out with the intensity of training. Red made a very good point today. When we would go on our group runs with the training group, we were supposed to be running at an easier training pace. We actually ended up running race pace which burned us out and caused us to peak too early. *sigh* Oh well.

Hopefully once life calms down a bit I'll be able to discover some new running routes around the house and get back to sharing my adventures in running. For now, I'm going to have to experience life's other adventures for a bit. Fear not! I'll still update the blog, but it won't be about my personal running for a couple weeks.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Everything Running Book, 2nd Edition

This was the first book I had ever bought and read that dealt solely with running. I bought it because I was particularly new to running and felt a little lost. I mean, running seems to be intuitive but I felt like I really could educate myself better on the finer points. This book claims to be able to help you at any running stage - "From circling the block to completing a marathon, training and techniques to make you a better runner". At the time I was barely past the "circling the block" phase.

What's good:

This book does a great job of breaking things down. Being a part of the "Everything" series, it can be extremely simple in its explanations. It runs the gamut from what kind of shoes you should buy to the clothing you should wear to how to prepare for races of all types (5ks to marathons and beyond). My favorite part of the book is the beginner's mileage build up chart. It starts with 6 weeks of walking for various amounts of time, then slowly begins incorporating some running. This is how I first started building my endurance to be able to run 3 miles straight.

What's bad:

I think that if you already know something about running that this book is too elementary. I also feel that it doesn't cover as many areas of running as it could, however the audience they're trying to reach is not one I am a part of anymore.

I definitely recommend this book if you're new to running and want to know how to get started. It was a great investment and really helped me start off on the right foot.

The book can be purchased for dirt cheap at Image found at

Monday, July 13, 2009

I see runners!

As a personal update, Rex and I just bought a house in a northern suburb of Atlanta - Cumming. Since the area is recently developed, I was concerned that there wouldn't be a big running culture up there. I think I've been proven wrong so far. Each time I've driven up there I've seen runners. I saw one in my neighborhood when I was looking at the houses for sale, and I see them along many of the larger roads as well. Next on my list once we get moved in and settled is to check out the local parks to see how those trails are. I still have access to the awesome parks and trails in Alpharetta after work, but I know I'll want something a little closer to home on the weekends.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pool hygiene

This doesn't have anything to do with running, but since it's now summer time and many runners use the pool for cross training purposes, I thought this article might be of some use to everyone. It contains information about what we need to do to protect ourselves from everyone else's germs and general ickiness. It really makes me glad I haven't been using my apartment pool lately, as it doesn't seem to be cleaned very often and kids live in it all summer long.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Peachtree Picture!

Here is a picture taken before the race - i.e. before I looked like a hot mess. Enjoy!

Is the BMI a hoax?

I just came across this article on that gives 10 reasons why using the BMI formula is wrong. I've always known that those who are really athletic end up with skewed BMIs, but it gives compelling reasons why we need to abandon the system completely and look at other things like waist size. I don't think I count as really athletic, but I've often wondered if at 5'3" and between 135-140 lbs if I'm really borderline overweight. Could I lose a few more pounds? Probably. Am I truly overweight? I don't know. Perspective tells me no, since so many people around me are much larger than I am. I want to say that most Americans are overweight, but now that we're questioning the BMI that assumption is invalid.

Can we truly measure ourselves against one another by some mathematical formula? I don't think so. In the end I think we should focus on being in shape and healthy, not trying to hit some magical number based on height and weight.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

One common migraine trigger: low blood sugar

So yeah...let me explain some more about my big mistake at the Peachtree. See, low blood sugar can cause migraines. Exercise lowers your blood sugar. When you're hypoglycemic, you have a problem keeping your sugars high enough to begin with. Starting a 10k with a growling tummy equals disaster. I didn't have too many issues, except the inability to keep running at a decent pace, until the race had finished. I started developing a headache at the finish line, and I figured it was just some tension in my shoulders.

Unfortunately I misdiagnosed my own headache. It grew worse until I was nodding off on the drive home. Migraines make me want to crawl into a hole and sleep for days until the pain goes away. I got home, cleaned up, took three Advil, and took a nap. When I awoke, the migraine was worse. I finally took some prescription strength migraine medicine and began feeling better after I had eaten my second meal post-race. It took two full meals, including one peach milkshake from Chick-fil-A, to get my sugars back to the right levels.

I keep making stupid mistakes, so hopefully you can all learn from them. I'm not making them on purpose....I promise!! Make sure you're eating properly before the race to avoid what I went through.

The Peachtree Road Race

I finished!!! Woooohooooo!!!! I'd tell you how long it took me to finish, but I forgot to start my watch so I'm guessing it was around 1:25. I ended up with a run/walk, and was totally distracted by everything going on. I can really see why people sign up for this year after year and why people wake up at the crack of dawn just to watch it. Here's how my day went:

I woke up super early to get to the start early. I was in time group 9, so I didn't start the race until just before 9 am, but I wanted to make sure I had parking and what not. Unfortunately this is where I made my biggest mistakes. 1. I didn't bring a banana to the start which meant I started the race hungry. 2. I parked too far away from the MARTA (Atlanta's mass transit) station which necessitated a long walk back from the finish.

The race was packed! I mean, it's one thing to know there's 55,000 people there, and another to experience it. Luckily the Atlanta Track Club, who puts on the event annually, knows how to handle this and we didn't have many problems with crowds. There were people there from all walks of life. Walkers, runners, and attention grabbers. I saw a guy in a purple body suit- a full body suit! - a bride with a veil, a group of guys as chip and dales, and guys in all pink raising funds for breast cancer research. I'm sure there were many more that I missed, but it was a lot of fun looking for those people. The spectators were hilarious too.

I will post pictures as soon as I have more. I have a couple pre-race pictures but want to see how the post-race pictures look. I'll have to order those.

All in all, this was an awesome experience. If you ever consider running the Peachtree, I'd recommend adopting the mindset of being a participant in a spectacle of fun, not racing. I think if you take yourself too seriously with the run you risk missing out on all the crazy shenanigans that make the Peachtree so unique.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009