Tag Archives: South Florida Runs

From Asthma to COPD: This Runner Promises to Keep Going

IMG_1944Ailments, illnesses, sicknesses…they all seem so distant, foreign, disconnected from you…until someone close to you, a friend, family member, etc., is diagnosed, assigned that title, matched with said “situation.” And from then on, that name, acronym, label is no longer someone else’s problem or sad story…it’s now yours as well.

This was never so true as when my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and then passed away two very short years later. But today, I’m referencing COPD. Sure, the commercials on TV are pretty common, the pretend definition “chronic old people’s disease” always a throught or two away, but in reality did I know what COPD actually was? No, and I am pretty sure the majority of people out there don’t either. That was until, my friend and running buddy Sam informed me via text one afternoon that he had just been diagnosed with COPD. He was telling me not to spread the word or make some official announcement, but rather because I had put out a feeler via social media asking friends if anyone knew someone with COPD, asthma, or some other related breating ailment. (You see, my other friend / Palm Beach Post reporter Steve was looking for a local person to be profiled for the next issue of Health Living Mag, distributed by the Post.)

Sam let me know that he was probably the ideal candidate for the profile – having had asthma as a kid…and now only months early being diagnosed with COPD. He wasn’t sure if he really wanted to spread the word and announce to people he had COPD…but figured it was a good thing to tell his story in the hopes of helping, informing someone else. So he put his own concerns, selfish feelings to the side and offered up his full story. Sam and I sat outside Starbucks one morning…and he told me what a diagnosis of COPD really meant, when he received it, what his plans were, and what he was scared of…

And that’s where the story becomes real. Sam’s real fear/concern in telling me (and the Post and its hundreds of thousands of readers) his story…is that by putting it in writing, out there for everyone to read and hear, was making it real. He knew he couldn’t avoid it anymore, pretend he didn’t receive this news from his doctor, etc. He’d have to accept it, strategize, plan, and go-on with his life – different or not. I think the fear is still there…Sam acknowledges he is dealing with it still…and probably will for a while. But what I told him (and will say again here) is that life can’t always be planned. Diagnoses, changes, challenges happen. And if you focus too much on them and what will happen next, you will miss out on today. So yes, plan and strategize and do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy…but be sure to live every day life to the fullest, unconcerned with what you can’t control, and focused on being happy.

We didn’t know my mom would be diagnosed with cancer and die two years later. We couldn’t plan for that…but what we can do, is make sure we are living every day to its fullest while we are here. It’s the only way to win at life, regardless of what is thrown your way (good or bad).

So with that said, please read on…Here’s the Palm Beach Post, Healthy Living Magazine cover feature story on my good friend Sam.

Healthy Living: Can this Boynton Beach Man Out Run COPD?

PB Post Healthy Living - 2 PB Post Healthy Living - 3 PB Post Healthy Living - Cover

WPB Examiner Article: SouthFloridaRuns.com Hits 500-Member Mark

I’ve talked about my involvement with SouthFloridaRuns.com many times and how I credit the casual running group for getting me back into running over the past few years. Well apparently I’m not the only one loving the group and experience of attending runs and social gatherings! Now, there are more than 500 others!

Read up on how and why SouthFloridaRuns.com first got started, what the secret to its success is, and how you can get involved and join us for an upcoming run…by reading my most recent West Palm Beach Running & Fitness Examiner article here.

And don’t forget to share the article with friends; the group is aiming to hit 1,000 members next! Go SouthFloridaRuns.com!

 

National Running Day – June 6, 2012

Ever heard of National Running Day? Neither had I… Until someone on the South Florida Runs team mentioned it the other day and I was interested enough to look up the “holiday” to learn more. So I thought I’d share what I found with you…

National Running Day, held annually on the first Wednesday in June, is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running. Wherever we are and whomever we’re with, we run—fast or slow, alone or with others, all over town or just around the block. It is a coast-to-coast celebration of a sport and activity that’s simple, inexpensive, and fun. It’s the perfect way for longtime runners to reaffirm their love of running and for beginners to kick off a lifetime and life-changing commitment.

Nationally Running Day is promoted by a number of organizations around the country, including the NY Road Runners Club. It started as a grassroots initiative just a few years ago but has since grown into a worldwide day of fun and movement, according to Mary Wittenberg, New York Road Runners’ president and CEO. 2012 marks the fourth annual National Running Day.

So how to appropriately celebrate National Running Day? Go for a run of course! Need someone to run with? Join the South Florida Runs group tomorrow, Wednesday, June 6th at 6:30pm at the corner of A1A and Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. We meet there weekly and go for a run. The distance and pace are up to you. There are 2 mile, 4 mile and 6 mile routes. See you there!

Here is an article from the Huffington Post (2011).

Here are some fun facts to get you excited about National Running Day:

The typical American runner…

  • Is one of nearly 43 million in the U.S.
  • Is just over 41 years old and has been running for 13 years
  • Runs an average of 26.1 miles per week

In the last 10 years,

Additionally,

  • More than 500,000 people finished a marathon in the U.S. in 2010
  • More than half of the nation’s runners want to run a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, or marathon this year
  • The half-marathon is the nation’s fastest growing and most popular race. More than 5 million people finished a half-marathon in the last five years
  • Last year more than 1.5 million high school students ran competitively for their schools

Update on “Have A Beer” Post

Every once in a while I seem to post a blog that peaks people’s interest…the most recent one being: Have A Beer…Or Maybe Not. One of my friends from the SouthFloridaRuns group, Andy, mentioned that when has a beer before a race or run, it’s purely for relaxation. He doesn’t do it to run faster and hit a personal record (PR); he grabs a beer when he just wants to have a good time and not go for time. As he said, “Having the beer before the run ensures that it will be a fun, relaxing run; Obviously I won’t be going for PRs or be super competitive.” I then wondered, if on some of those runs he does actually go faster – because he’s relaxed without any stress. I asked him but he wasn’t sure that he ever hit any PRs post beer consumption.  Another guy in the group, Joey, says he will sometimes consume a few glasses of wine the night before a race. It’s his trademark. I’ll have to follow-up with him as to whether he feels it helps him…

While discussing all of this, Sam (leader of the SouthFloridaRuns crew) mentioned a study he had seen about how drinking alcohol/beer may help women more than men. I had not found the study in my research so once I came home, I immediately located it to share it here. So here it is – straight from Runners World: Beer Run! (Note that this scientific article is about the post run beer not the pre-run beer as I wrote about in my last post.)

Here are some important pull-outs from the article written by Christie Aschwanden.

  • Turns out the research on alcohol and exercise is as herky-jerky as our culture’s attitude toward the bottle. Most early studies investigated alcohol’s potential as a performance enhancer. It seems ridiculous now, but during the 1904 Olympic Marathon, U.S. gold medalist Thomas Hicks was given a mixture of brandy, strychnine, and egg whites in an effort to gain a competitive edge. Many coaches then believed alcohol boosted energy.
  • Being a former scientist, I had my own theories about how drinking and running mix, and I couldn’t resist putting them to the test. The nearby Colorado Mesa University had just opened the Monfort Family Human Performance Research Lab, a state-of-the-art exercise-science facility that seemed like the perfect venue to explore alcohol’s effects on running performance. My friend Gig Leadbetter, Ph.D., coaches the school’s cross-country team and is an exercise scientist at the Monfort Lab. He’s also a home brewer and winemaker and, without any arm-twisting, agreed to put together a study for Runner’s World.
  • We’d recruited five men and five women—myself included—ranging in age from 29 to 43, all moderate drinkers (defined as drinking less than the recommended daily limits of two drinks per day for men, one for women) and who ran at least 35 miles per week…Everyone reconvened the following Friday evening for the first Beer Run. We ran on treadmills for 45 minutes at a pace that felt steady, like tempo, but not overly strenuous. Then we gathered on the patio behind the lab and drank cold beer (or the placebo) and devoured plates of pasta and tomato sauce (carbs!). The next morning, volunteers returned to the lab for the first Exhaustion Run, a task as grueling as it sounds. After we ran at a fast clip for as long as possible, researchers measured our heart rates and metabolic factors, such as oxygen consumption and carbon-dioxide production. Every three minutes, they asked us to rate how hard we were working.
  • Right after the second Exhaustion Run, I sat down with Leadbetter to review a few results. The first shock was personal: I had assumed my second Exhaustion Run was so poor because I had drunk the real beer the night before. Wrong! I had actually been served the placebo the previous evening. Surely my results were a fluke. Leadbetter sent all the data to Bob Pettitt, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and statistics expert at Minnesota State, Mankato. “The women did better after beer, but the men canceled it out by doing worse,” says Leadbetter. The five women ran an average of 22 percent longer the morning after drinking Fat Tire, while the men ran 21 percent shorter.
Full article here.