Friday, February 20, 2009

Your Story--Brad Anderson

Here is one of our 10 winning stories for a Moab half marathon entry. Definitely one to remember when the going gets rough. At some point, it gets tough for everyone, but only some people decide to fight back. Brad, even with some doubt and difficulties, you most certainly came out of the corner fighting!

I first remember wanting to be a runner on July 24, 1981. My dad was running the Deseret News Marathon. I was only 4 years old. When he came by us, we ran with him for a block or so. I remember thinking how much fun it was. Over the next few years we followed him the a few Canyonlands Half Marathon or 5 mile races. I remember thinking runners were so cool.
I ran my first race when I was in 3rd grade. It was a 400 meter race in Liberty, Utah. I was a little nervous when I lined up, giving a girl in a Pink Warm up suit the stink eye as I thought she was my competition. After the gun went off I took off "Hell bent for leather" for the finish line. After crossing the finish line in first place, needing to scrap bugs from my teeth I was hooked. I ran many 5k's and 10K's over the next several years, always winning my age group, which wasn't always filled with too much competition back in the 80's. I had a pretty strong ability for the sport, and I liked being known as a runner.

By High School I was still running. I took Region in the 2 mile that year and placed at State. I was good, but not amazing by any means. I took Region in XC and the mile my Sophomore year, but didn't really get tons faster. But the winter of 1993-1994, my Junior year, I really dug into my running. I had a goal of taking state since I was a Freshman, and new I had to do some extra work to get there. I would run after basketball practice, which was tough since we started after the girls team, since we only had 1 gym at Dear old Morgan High. So I would head out in the dark and cold most nights. I even ran before our team played in the State Championship Title game in Cedar City, Utah. I liked Basketball, but I was a runner through and through.

All of my work paid off that track season as I went on the win the Mile, and 800 meter title and took 2nd (still a disappointment) and was named the 2A Track Athlete of the Year. My Dad was the track coach which made it extra special. In fact, our school didn't really have a Cross Country team when I got into High School, so my Dad started one. He knew I loved to run, and so he helped me reach my goals.

I would read Runners World every night. My Dad had boxes of them. I would cut out pictures of my favorite runner's. I idolized Ed Eyestone and Paul Pilkington. To me it was like seeing Elvis Presley running down the road when I would see them doing runs in Morgan. My Dad had a locker in the Weber State XC room and I would hear about all of the runners. I always imagined how cool it will be when I run for a college. But at this time I thought I loved to run because I was good at it. I thought I ran because I liked winning.

That summer I lived in Utah County, with my grandparents, to run with a track club. I got so much faster, and was logging some good miles. By the time Cross Country rolled around, I was fit, faster than ever, and ready to really tear things up. I had gained so much confidence, and felt I really had a handle on my running. I knew it was about time to really start looking for a college to run at, and things were looking great. But then one night after a High school Football game the first week of school I was a passenger in a one car rollover in Weber Canyon. The doctors were hoping my parents would make it to the hospital before I died. Things looked very bleak for the first few days. Doctors didn't think I would come out of the coma. But things started to turn around.

I was moved to the U of U, where I came out of the coma. I didn't quite understand the seriousness of the accident and thought I'd be out of the hospital in time for State XC. And I still planned on winning. Due to my injuries which were from a Traumatic Head Injury, I could not walk, move my left arm, eat or talk. But with the help of great therapists and Doctors I was on the road to recovery. My one goal was the run. I would ask my Physical Therapist every single day if I would be able to run again. Of course the answer was "I don't know." But I was determined to run again. I knew there was a chance I would never run again, but if that was how it was going to end out it would not be because I didn't work hard to do it again. I gave it my all in PT. I had so much help from family, friends and the entire community of Morgan. I had many visits from a good friend, Ed Eyestone. Without the help from so many people it would have been nearly impossible.

I also credit running for helping in my recovery. I learned that hard work pays off. I remembered all of those dark winter nights after basketball practice. I remembered all of those morning runs before school. I learned how to work hard. I knew that it takes hard work to reach your goals. I ran my first step at State XC, when I was able to go watch it. My Physical Therapist was not happy with my 2 or 3 steps since she said I could have really hurt my since I still had little control in my left leg. But it didn't matter to me...I ran.

When I got out of the Hospital and was doing Therapy at home, things had really sunk in. I was not as optimistic as I was when I was at the U. It was so exhausting for me to run even 25 meters. My balance was terrible, and my left leg was still so weak. I admit, for a while I didn't know if I would ever run again. My gate was really different, and it was embarrassing for me. It was at this time that I started dating , my future wife, Amber. She would come to PT with me. By early Spring, I was thinking more seriously about running again. Of course, I wasn't the lean, fit guy I once was. I would go down to the High School track late at night and try to run. I went at night so no one saw me doing it. My left leg was still weak, and my foot sometimes drag on the ground a little. There were several nights after going 200 meters I just got frustrated, kicked over the garbage cans and vowed to never run again. But then I would get home, look at all of the running pictures of elite athletes on my wall, the quotes,the posters, and soon I was determined to run again.

But still, I was embarrassed to have people see me run. But it was Amber who said: "If you want to run, then run. People aren't looking at you thinking: 'Look at how he runs.' They're thinking: 'wow, he's running again." It was then that I decided that I was going to run again. I wasn't going to worry about how I looked. I loved to run, and there wasn't anything that was going to stop me from running again. I started running again, though not much. I was so out of shape, and it was still difficult with my left leg. But by Fall of 1996 I was running almost daily. And by that Spring I considered my self a runner again.

I love running. I love being known as a runner. I don't care what I look like when I run. It doesn't matter because I am running. It's obvious that I was hurt some how. I often get asked in races if I hurt my leg. At first I say" No", wondering what they are talking about, but then I realize I look like I am hurt. Still to this day I ran nearly everyday. I race as often as possible. I don't run to win, but I do run to run as fast as I can. I realized that is always why I ran. It wasn't about winning like I thought. It was about hitting the roads and running as hard as I could. I still train like I am actually fast, and I still strive for PR's. I do not Jog..I run...even though it can look a bit awkward. Sure there are times I am self conscience about it, but I get over it. I consider myself a true runner. I know I can't always run my fastest, but I can always run my hardest.

I coached Track at XC at Morgan High School for several years. I was lucky enough to coach future Olympian, and my current sister-in-law Lindsey Anderson for 4 years. Now I help out at Davis High School with their XC team. There are still days I don't feel like running, but all I need to do is ask myself: "If you lost the ability to run tomorrow will you regret not running today?" And the answer is always "Yes".

Brad Anderson

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Muscle is where your health is

Have you ever noticed the obvious physical difference between a distance runner and a sprinter? Yeah, many distance runners are almost too skinny. Now, the world class runners may be a little more genetically programmed to be extra thin and need to be as light as possible too, but even many of those athletes are realizing that perhaps there is a performance edge they could gain if they had a bit more muscle and strength. But, what about you? If you’re not running for a podium position, does the concept of being stronger matter? MOST DEFINITELY because MUSCLE IS WHERE YOUR HEALTH IS. As long as you are a human, then adding and strengthening your muscle tissue will increase your immunity, help you reach your fitness goals faster, increase your performance, produce more anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone and help you lose body fat more quickly. This will not happen with just aerobic exercise. So every person out there looking to look, feel and perform their best should be doing both strength work and faster running work.

So once you decide to lift weights, then what? That gets a little bit trickier because there are so many options. And actually, a lot of good ones too. So here are some ideas:

If you are a beginner:

  • Stick to lighter weights and higher reps like 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
  • Go no more than twice a week for an hour.
  • Lift upper body, lower body and core.
  • Find exercises that doesn’t use machines that you sit in or are supported.
  • Train your body to support itself.
  • Go to a body sculpt or body pump type of strength class.
  • Hire a trainer to help lay out a program or try resources below, but go lighter.
  • Stick with easier exercises for 3-4 months until you have strengthened your joints to handle harder movements like squats or deadlifts.
  • Take a week of now and then.
  • Lift most of the year.

If you are more experienced:

  • Use a periodized strength program that cycles through muscle endurance, hypertrophy (muscle building) and power phases.
  • Make sure to know your 1 rep max numbers so you are lifting as hard as you are supposed too. For example, if you are supposed to lift 70% of max, do you really know what that is?
  • Most all exercises should be functional and/or compound movements.
  • Try a book like this
  • Try a DVD like this (great demos/programs.)
  • Hire a knowledgeable performance oriented strength coach. Ask for references.
  • Add plyometrics in the spring and summer.
  • Lift twice a week most of the year.
  • Take a week off now and then.

    Whatever lifting program or class that you decide to pursue, be smart. If you get really tired, then lighten up or take a week off. Always take time off in the 10-14 days before a big race or event. Overall, give yourself time to adapt your body and be patient. At the very least, realize that muscle work is an essential part of training. So, get going, get tough, get strong and stay on it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kick That Cold Carrot Concoction

We all know that dreaded feeling of the winter blues invading your body and taking hold with it’s death grip around your head, chest, stomach and/or muscles. Such a drag to know that YOU are about to. get. SICK! But, if you are lucky, you just might beat the odds and kick it to curb before it arrives to camp out in some cozy corner of your body.

Seriously though, there are some real deal natural methods of fighting and/or lessening the blow of illness. The trick I would like to pull out of the hat this time is what we’ll call the Kick that Cold Carrot Concoction. The ingredients will go right into your body and start fighting viruses and bacterias like crazy. The big guns in the drink are raw garlic and raw ginger. Garlic has been used for thousands of years to fight of disease and infections. There is a lot of folklore that surround this bulb, but science has started to back up the medicinal uses to help people understand that it does more than just fight of Vampires. There have been many successful studies done on it’s capabilities to kill of virus, bacterias and fungal infections in the body. Garlic also has powerful cardiovascular protective and free radical properties. The more raw garlic you eat the better. Then, there is the ginger. This root is a superstar at helping the stomach and intestinal tract. It is a bit spicy so go easy on how much you use at first. Finally, there is the nutritionally powerful carrier liquid of carrot juice. Freshly juiced whole carrots are best for sure, but using a store bought organic 100% carrot juice will work if needed.

So here is the easy recipe for one person

2-3 cloves of garlic with skins off
A small ¼ inch chunk of ginger root peeled
Raw carrots—enough to make 4-6 oz of juice

Put garlic gloves and ginger root in tube first, but don’t turn on juicer. When you start adding carrots, then turn on juicer and juice until you get 4-6 oz of the carrot concoction.

Use the store bought organic 100% carrot juice and pour 4-6 oz in a blender. Please do not puree carrots as that will be way to thick of a drink. Press the garlic through a garlic press into the blender and grate the ginger root into the blender also. Blend briefly.

WORD OF CAUTION:This drink should be taken on an empty stomach. Drink it all at once and drink it fast. It may be quite spicy and may make you sweat, chill, momentarily dizzy and burn in the stomach briefly. Drink water immediately and then eat a meal. However, you may have to sit for a second before eating. I am not kidding about this either. But, to resolve any concerns you may have, I have added this great little video of my 5 kids taking a shot of this drink and surviving.

So give this puppy a serious whirl when you are fighting an ailment. Take it once or for a couple of days if necessary. Remember to keep the drink to 4-6 oz and not put in too much ginger. So here is to your, get back to training!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Your Story--Tracy H.--50 yrs.

My story begins as a full-time professional athlete, competing internationally for Canada as a Ballroom and Latin dancer. To support my habit, I taught 35-40 hours a week of dance lessons plus everyday a 2 hour practice session with my partner and two hours of ballet and stretch classes on a weekly basis. I also studied for exams to get a PhD in dance method.

I took handfuls of vitamins and looked great, swirling and twirling in beautiful dance costumes. I was super lean, could kick to the sky and split to the floor, I was a respected champion in my field. Little did anyone know that inside I suffered with chronic constipation, mental fatigue, yeast infections, painful hemorrhoids, bronchitis and debilitating migraine headaches.

Back then I never thought of drinking water or eating raw food. I lived on easy to find fast food, plenty of hamburgers and French fries and high refined carbohydrates and lots of trans fats. I just wanted to get filled up, and thought 'food was food.' I had no idea that food quality was so important and I never associated my diet with my health problems. I thought my health problems were genetic; at least that's what I was led to believe. After all, my mother, sister and grandmother all suffered from the same ailments as I did.

On the outside, my appearance was clamorous and I performed extremely well, but on the inside, I was tired, physically worn-out and mentally burnt-out. I couldn't cope with the stress and the pressure, so…I decided to retire. This meant forfeiting my career status. I was 24 years old!Boy, if I knew then what I know now!!!

Everything changed when I met Cory (my husband). He explained his philosophy (in graphic detail), sparked my interest in preventive medicine and helped me to understand the importance of whole food. As a result of following his advice and applying the ten principles revealed in his Recipe for Health, I am literally 'born again'. At 50, I'm stronger and faster than I've ever been. All of my former health problems are long gone, and I know it's because of how I nourish my body with high quality food and drink. Nutrition is a science and I now realize that food can heal the body or act as a poison. What a revelation! Never underestimate these wise words...

"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food."- Hippocrates

Today, I prepare all my own meals, which gives me the knowledge of what I am putting into my body. Buying pre-made, pre-packaged food with unknown ingredients are the real silent killers. Like most active people I want to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen and be as productive as possible. Whole food, as close to nature as possible, fresh and raw or lightly sauté meat, fish or chicken in coconut oil is the only healthy healing food that I put into my body now. The rewards are tenfold.

Filtered water, freshly squeezed fruit juice and protein shakes are the liquids I consume on a daily basis. I eat a large green salad with homemade dressing and a protein for dinner and a vegetable plate with a protein for lunch. When I need a starch for more energy I will have wild rice, yams or manna bread. And don’t forget, I take plenty of vitamins, minerals and EFA’s to protect my immune system. Pretty simple stuff!

Having said all this, it is also important to understand that I have learned to know my body very well. I know when it isn’t working at optimum levels and what the causes are of any symptoms I may have. I do not take any over the counter drugs or prescription drugs, which is quite an accomplishment at my age. It‘s obvious that this system is working for me. I keep the excess body fat off and remain lean year round, no PMS or headaches or achy joints. I never would have guessed 30 years ago that diet had anything to do with performance. I will never go back to my old ways of eating, it’s poisonous. I just wish everyone else could see the light too!

Tracy Kaye Holly BIO
Tracy is the Executive Director to the Cory Holly Institute and a CSNA (Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor) Master. She is the author of several books including “The Athlete’s Cookbook” and “Sports Nutrition for Kids”, and writes for several national health magazines.
Tracy lectures to children, teens and women’s groups on health and wellness and staying fit for life. Tracy has an eclectic background as a professional international competitive Ballroom and Latin dancer and continues to teach. She has competed as a Masters athlete in Fitness and Bodybuilding and works as a professional Emcee for these events.

Monday, February 2, 2009

If you want to run faster, then run faster!

Many runners, bikers and swimmers ask the question, “Do I need to do speedwork in the off-season?” Well, I guess that would depend on if you want to become faster, healthier or lose bodyfat. If you want to do any one of those things, then YES, do speedwork.

Speedwork can be done in many ways and there are at least 3 different types of faster workouts that can and should be done. For now though let’s worry about the most basic place to start. I will call this workout REPITITION work which, ironically, is a workout skipped far too often in endurance athletes who are already doing some form of speed day. It is also the perfect kind of workout to start with if you are a beginner.

What is a REPITITION workout? Basically, it is when you do shorter intervals with lots of rest. Sounds fun, ehh? Seriously though, I am not kidding here. You actually get tons of rest and get to go for short distances lasting anywhere from 15 seconds -90 seconds. What is the catch? The catch in this case would be the speed part. You do have to go pretty fast. Not quite an all out sprint, but a pace that is backed off enough to relax and think about your form. An example would be to do 8 X 200 meters on the track with a 200 meter slow jog in between. When you are fully rested (how cool is that), then you go again. Remember that you have to go pretty fast, but not too fast or you may not be able to finish. The goal is to run the distance at a speed that you might be able to actually RACE for 4 times the length. So the 200’s would be run at a pace you might be able to all out race an 800.

The great part about this kind of workout is that you give your body much different physiological signals than when you run slow. When you do REPITION work, you are training your brain and muscles to go faster, run more efficiently and powerfully, and kick out more growth hormone. This growth hormone burst is a legal way to get an anabolic workout in. So you get to build muscle, strength and power (which all endurance athletes need a little more of), build your immunity and give your body even more fat burning signals. The hard part about the slower base mile type of running is that you are actually telling your body the opposite. I have seen countless endurance athletes (including myself) run and run all that slow distance and not be able to lose fat. But, if you add speedwork and weightlifting, then you get a totally different hormonal response. And of course, you get strength and speed and power. Those gains will most definitely help you become faster as you apply them to longer, race pace oriented workouts.

Remember to always warmup for at least 2 miles before doing a set of REPITITIONS. Take plenty of rest in between and do them only once a week at most. Sometimes after about 3-4 weeks, you need a week off. And then of course there are tons of variations. You are free to do any combination of 100,200 and 400’s that don’t exceed two miles of fast stuff and most people do about 1.5 miles worth. Always match the interval distance with that much slow jogging. On the road, you can go by time once you have a feel for this workout. So an example would be to do a 90 second fast effort (about 400 meters) and then rest for about 3.5 minutes so you are leaving about every five minutes for the next one. How many? Not more than 2 miles, so that would be 8(about 400 meters) of them at the very most. When the going gets a bit tough, just remember it takes time to adapt so stay as relaxed as you can.

Should you do them all year? Yep, pretty much. The only exception being your 3-4 week rest period after your last race of the season.