Thursday, May 31, 2012

How To Train For And Run A 100-Mile Race

Sounds like good advice to me. From Jason Robillard, who has run enough ultras to be a certifiable nutter. :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

50K Trail Ultra Barefoot!

Way to go, Adam!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dogs and Yellowjackets, Part II

Kipling, ready for action.
Kipling's my dog. He a strange creature, and we all marvel at his many odd habits.

The oddest by far is his penchant for eating yellowjackets.  Dead, alive, or merely injured, he savors them like they're the greatest delicacy on the planet.

In this post I first mentioned this strange habit of his:
"He was too busy eating the yellow jackets that were eating fallen peaches. Do all dogs like the taste of yellow jackets? And yes, they sting him as he's trying to eat them. He jerks his head back, sometimes two or even three times as he's trying to choke them down.

"Yellow jackets must be really, really tasty.

"He's been eating them for a few years now, and it's gotten to the point where if I see one on the ground, I'll call him over for a treat."
Well, this evening a yellowjacket decided to strafe us during dinner outside a few times. Finally I'd had enough, and picked up a handy phone to stun the critter. (Kipling seems to prefer them alive.) Then I called the dog over:

He doesn't even peep when that thing stings him in the tongue. Amazing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Wow, that was easy.

The Weston Memorial Day 5K is my home-town race, and the first running race I ever did. It was also the fastest race I'd ever run, after all, I was running from a man with a knife.

Since then, I've had faster runs, but have never put up a faster pace in a race than that one. When I collected all my races on Athlinks recently, I was shocked to see how little improvement I've had running. Part of that was from not repeating races, but another part was, I think, that I just wasn't training correctly.

Over the last year, I've taken up the Maffetone style of training. I've seen a great improvement, I think.

So here are my prior races:

Weston 5K

I didn't run the race in 2011. And here's today's race:

Weston 5K, 2012

And for reference, here's the table from my Maffetone Method Update post, showing my improvement over the past many months:

Paine to Pain Tempo
Mile Pace HR Pace HR
1 8:08.2 170 8:57.9 183
2 9:23.2 181 9:51.3 166
3 8:53.9 182 7:52.6 168
4 9:49.4 178 9:21.2 163
5 8:35.6 179 8:05.9 166

Here are the splits and HRs from today's race (I'm using the times from my Garmin Forerunner 310XT, which, as always, are off the official times):

Weston 5K, 2012 Splits

What blew my mind about this race was how easy it felt. I was pooped at the end, as you should be, but not nearly as bad as in some other races I've run, where I didn't go nearly as fast. And after a few minutes and a couple sips of water I was planning a long run for tomorrow morning with a friend. So yeah, I think it's safe to say that 1. The Maffetone Method is working for me, and 2. I could go a lot faster if I keep this up. Which I will.

The key thing is that my training for this race has been between erratic and nonexistent. The only consistent running I've done since I pulled my calf last fall was in the last week. While I wanted to PR, I didn't really expect to, because my training's been all over the place. I'm very happy.

I'd also like to note the amazing timing system this race uses. I got back from the race and checked my email, and discovered this:

Yes, that's right. They sent the results to my Gmail account 4 hours before the race finished! That is incredible. I guess I'm lucky I didn't check my email before the race, or I might not have even bothered to run it!

Oh, and I wore my Speeds, which are still my all-time favorite all-purpose running shoe. Pre-race nutrition was, as always, a cup of coffee with cream. Post-race nutrition was unnecessary. Calves feel slightly worked post-race, but over all my legs feel great.

P.S. Updated the post with the rest of my times for the Weston 5K.

Friday, May 25, 2012

"Dispute Over Labeling of Genetically Modified Food"

From the New York Times:
"The F.D.A. has said that labeling is generally not necessary because the genetic modification does not materially change the food."
That's baloney. They don't do long-term testing on genetically-modified foods, so they have no idea if it materially changes the food. Why don't they do long-term testing?

"The F.D.A. has said that [long-term testing] is generally not necessary because the genetic modification does not materially change the food."
Yeah, that's pretty circular, but there you have it.

Labeling foods made with Genetically-Modified Organisms is a no-brainer for me. Eat it or don't eat it as you please.

In my state the attempt to have GMO food labeled flamed out recently:
"...Roy replied that “The labeling provision was eliminated from the bill due to fears that it opened the state up to a lawsuit. The attorneys for the leadership and Governor’s office felt that the Constitutional Rights of Monsanto gave them the power to successfully sue the state. Their main duty was to protect the welfare of the state.”

"Paik's partner in leader [sic] Right to Know CT, Tara Cook-Littman, stated, “The constitutional argument is absurd, and everyone knows it. As long as Connecticut law makers had a legitimate state interest that was reasonably related to the labeling of products produced from the process of genetic engineering, the GMO labeling bill would be considered constitutional by any court of law.”

"She added, “It appears that the biotech industry’s influence was in place all along, waiting for this tactic to be deployed at the last minute, with no time to argue before the vote.”..."
So they couldn't pass the law because Monsanto has a constitutional right to feed you GMO foods without your knowledge. People who rely on politicians to protect their interests are nuts.

I'm not against GMO foods, per se. I think that, in theory there could be benefits, as in the case of "golden rice". But there are risks to altering the genome of plants as well, as the creation of modern "wheat" demonstrates.

And the FDA is not to be trusted when they tell you it's safe. They haven't done the work that would allow them to assure us of that:
"The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which delineates FDA's regulatory authority for foods, defines food as articles used for food or drink for man and other animals. The Act, however, does not require pre-market clearance of food and thus, many genetically modified plants do not require formal pre-market review by the FDA as they are food...

"...The labeling of food derived from genetically modified plants is a matter of some controversy. FDA does not consider the method of production, including genetic modification, to be meaningful information which is required to be on product labeling unless the modification results in a significant material change in the food product.... However, the majority of the plants which have completed the [voluntary] consultation process have not triggered any labeling requirement."
One of the nice things about the Paleo diet is that you aren't eating the GMO stuff that's currently available on the market, which is mostly corn, soy, canola oil, and wheat. However, as they're introducing GMO tomatoes and salmon, this is starting to become annoying.

As I've detail before (here, here, and here), you are the long-term test for the FDA. They do short-term tests in the lab for gross toxicity (for drugs, not for food), but more subtle effects wait for consumers, and statisticians, to discover.

So if you want to be the guinea pig for this stuff, God bless you. Let me know how it turns out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fevers and Cancer

As a follow up of sorts to the Are Fevers Paleo? post, it turns out that there's an epidemiological relationship between fevers and cancer:
"Since the 19th century, it has been repeatedly observed that spontaneous cancer regressions were coincided with acute infections and the cancer patients had a remarkable disease-free history before the onset of cancer [1]–[4]. In the 20th century, an inverse association between infectious diseases, particularly febrile ones, and cancer risk has also been consistently found for malignant melanoma and glioma using modern epidemiological methods [1], [3], [5]–[7].

"With the widespread introduction of antibiotics and antipyretics since the beginning of the last century, however, the critical role played by fever has often been overlooked, resulting in considerable changes to the clinical course and magnitude of the immune response that develops following acute infections [1], [8]. These changes may be part of the reasons for the substantial increase in the age-adjusted incidences or mortalities of malignant diseases during the early part of the last century in western countries [9] and in the late of the last century in China [10]. It has been observed that every 2% reduction in infectious disease mortality was followed by a 2% increase in cancer mortality over a 10-year interval from 1895 to 1963 in Italy [9]."
Medicine, like Economics, is full of unintended consequences. It wouldn't surprise me at all to discover that messing with the immune system messes with the immune system in unexpected ways...

Monday, May 7, 2012

"How Common Are Medical Errors? A Horror Story"

If you've found this via Seth's Blog, welcome. My brief post about Wolverine's story is here: New Blog I'll Be Following: Roar of Wolverine.

The second paragraph from the email of mine that Seth quotes is:
"Could a high-carb diet promote harmful infections? Or does a high-fat diet somehow protect against them? Or is it just that a well-nourished body can fight them off?"
Interesting question, to which I don't know the answer.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Scott Jurek's "Eat and Run"

"My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness".

Sounds interesting. I'm curious to learn what kind of vegan diet he uses to fuel his exploits. Christopher McDougall told me that Jurek's very aware of the limitations of the vegan diet, and is very careful to get proper nutrition. (I love the title.)

McDougall posted that they're going on the road, and will be in NYC on June 5. I'd like to see the Jerker talk, I'll try to make it in.

The picture to the left (from McDougall's blog) is from this run, that's John Durant's lovely sister Maggie, who helped John (did most of the work) organize the NYC Barefoot Run, which I hope will take place again this year.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Quote Of The Day

"To evolve you must be involved"
Glen Plake.

From Wildsnow.

"Bread Sales Take A Beating..."

...As more consumers go gluten-free:
"Paul Hetherington has been with the Baking Association of Canada for nearly 20 years and he has never seen people so turned off by bread.

"At least not since the Atkins diet was a major fad, and, unfortunately, this is worse.

"While Atkins was a short-term fad, Mr. Hetherington, the president and chief executive of the association said the current adversity to bread is different because the grain-based staple is now plagued by several factors that are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

"First, cash-strapped consumers are being more disciplined with not wasting food products.

"“Bread is a perishable product, so if one is more careful with it, putting it in the freezer for example, it doesn’t go stale,” he said.

"Also, recent dietary shifts due to a stigma associated with wheat products and an embracing of gluten-free diets by people who are not adverse to gluten have driven down bread volumes, Mr. Hetherington said...."
The science is telling us that Atkins was right, and people are figuring out that avoiding "wheat" is an easy, reliable way to feel better...

Thanks to Jimmy Moore on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Blog I'll Be Following: Roar of Wolverine

An incredible story. When I first read his story (from a link on Twitter) I thought, "there, but for the Grace of God, go I". Well worth following.

See his post on Medical Errors for a Kafkaesque (Dante-esque might be more appropriate) journey through the modern health system, and what can happen when error and pretty unbelievable incompetence combine to turn a routine procedure into a life-altering disaster.

Hopefully he's start posting about his dietary approach, which is 100% opposed to the MAD, and makes perfect sense to me. It's literally saving his life.

P.S. Follow-up here.

Japanese Food Porn From Darya Pino

Makes my mouth water.

"What Are “Hydrolyzed Soy Protein” And “Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein,” And Why Are They In Everything?"

Great post. In a nutshell, we're tricking our bodies to eat things other than what they should be eating:
"...The answer becomes clearer when we realize that all the foods in the above list are heavily processed products of agricultural civilization. if we look down the list of free glutamate-containing foods until we find non-processed foods available to Paleolithic humans, we find shellfish (100-200), meat, fish, and milk (20-70)...."
That's what we should be eating: "shellfish..., meat, fish, and milk". The rest is just filler, or partial nutrition.