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HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUNE !!!

Three years ago, June started coming to see me three times a week for her hour-long training sessions. She was 87 then. Since that time, she has become one of my most disciplined clients and a source of inspiration for every around her-including me.

Affectionately known at the gym as “Nana June,” she is always smiling and upbeat–which, as most of you know, is not always easy during workouts-and loves sharing stories of her beloved pets, especially dog Casper, with all passerbys. 

It was a great honor for me to be recently invited to June’s 90th birthday party, and although she and I both agreed that ice cream cake probably wasn’t really good for us, we loved every bite of it.

                       

Tomorrow, here in Venice, Florida, we will-in our own small way-pay homage to last year’s Boston Marathon bombing victims and survivors in the form of a 5.2 mile memorial run.

Fittingly, the race will start at Patriot’s Park, then take us up over our own version of “Heartbreak Hill” (aka The Legacy Trail Bridge), wind down towards the north jetty with its urban condo feel and finish in Centennial Park-another aptly named locale.

Sponsored in part by the South County YMCA as well as many local businesses-several of them with ties to the Boston area-this first time event is sure to be a great success, and, more importantly, raise monies to be donated to One Fund Boston, the charity set up to help the bombing survivors and their families. 

Despite the gamut of emotions I am feeling as I get ready to partake in this special road race, when I reflect on the significance of the run one word continually comes to mind, and that word is “community.”   Or, more accurately, “communities.”

While picking them up and putting them down along the course, I will be reminded of our running community, both here and abroad, and how we runners share a camaraderie that unites us and how running symbolizes a spirit that is free, pure and good. What’s more, runners often run for a cause (7,700 will run on behalf of a charity at this years Boston Marathon alone) and we take pride in being part of something bigger than ourselves.   

I will also be thinking about our local community and how it has come together to support our brethern to the north. Specifically, local businesses and individuals who raised money or made in-kind donations without a moments hesitation, and the volunteers who signed up to help and who are so integral in making sure things run smoothly for all involved.

However, most of the strength I muster tomorrow will be derived from the resiliency of our American Community and our people. People like Carlos Arredondo, a volunteer at last year’s marathon who, despite some personal setbacks of his own, became a recognizable hero for running towards danger and not away from it, for helping the injured, and for truly representing all Americans.

I am both humbled and inspired by Carlos’ actions and by the actions of all the first responders and individuals who helped those in need, but as I plod along tomorrow and in the days to come, I will hold close to my heart the victims of the tragedy and the survivors who overcame obstacles most of us cannot even begin to imagine. They will forever remain an inspiration for us all. 

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Thanks to all who played a part in putting the Boston Strong Memorial Run together, especially:

Gulf Breeze Apparel, Bit Of Boston Restaurant, Shamrock Cafe, Darryl and Jo Henry, Island Organics, Sunshine Boyz Island Home Furniture, Cafe Bagel, Burgundy Square Cafe, Pings Chinese Restaurant, Brew Burgers Restaurant, Amore’ Restaurant, Mama Mia Pizzeria, ABC 7 Sarasota, Culligan Water and, of course, our good friends with Zoomers Running  Club.

 

                    

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.  Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.”  “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply.  “We’re raising boys.”  ~Harmon Killebrew

One father is more than a hundred Schoolemasters.  ~George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.  ~Bill Cosby

Father! – to God himself we cannot give a holier name.  ~William Wordsworth

Henry James once defined life as that predicament which precedes death, and certainly nobody owes you a debt of honor or gratitude for getting him into that predicament.  But a child does owe his father a debt, if Dad, having gotten him into this peck of trouble, takes off his coat and buckles down to the job of showing his son how best to crash through it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland

A father is always making his baby into a little woman.  And when she is a woman he turns her back again.  ~Enid Bagnold

Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!  ~Lydia M. Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.  ~Johann Schiller

A father carries pictures where his money used to be.  ~Author Unknown

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.  But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Mark Twain but no evidence has yet been found for this (Thanks, Garson O’Toole!)

Dad, you’re someone to look up to no matter how tall I’ve grown.  ~Author Unknown

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.  ~Gloria Naylor

There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.  ~John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994

It kills you to see them grow up.  But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn’t.  ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge.  ~Phyllis Diller

Are we not like two volumes of one book?  ~Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

The greatest gift I ever had
Came from God; I call him Dad!
~Author Unknown

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  ~Elizabeth Stone

Never raise your hand to your kids.  It leaves your groin unprotected.  ~Red Buttons

I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.  ~M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.  ~Author Unknown

There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found
While journeying east and west -
The only folks we really wound
Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.  ~Dinah Craik

Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later… that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.  ~Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat.  Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher’s mound.  Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together.  Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.  ~Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968

 

 

 

 

                                

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Okay, so I don’t usually use this space to toot my own horn or pat myself on the back, but today I’m making an exception. However, this has nothing to do with vanity or self-promotion, but rather, how discipline and routine can pay off-especially for runners.

Yesterday, during the “Doo-Rag” 5K held out at Englewood Beach, I placed 2nd in my age group with a time of 22:33 (7:16 pace) and 30th out of 431 runners. Typical for how I’ve been performing this year.

In fact, this event marked my third 2nd place age group finish in 2013 to go along with three 1st place finishes in my age group this year as well. My secret? Sticking to a formula that works. A formula for me that is.

Given that every runner-and athlete for that matter-has a routine and training program that he or she follows, and that what works for one might not work for the other, it would be pointless to try and map out a “one size fits all” running strategy here.

So, instead, I thought that I would pass along my night before rituals and let you decide if you’d like to try a few: 

1.) Never, ever do any heavy lifting before a race. This includes both at the gym and at home. If your wife wants to rearrange the living room furniture, she’ll have to go it alone.

2.) Eat carbs. Preferably pasta, and no, beer doesn’t count.

3.) Put on a nasal strip before going to bed. This will help you wake up congestion free and help your breathing during the race-which is important during a race.  

4.) Abstain from “it.”  Although, it may be a myth that “it” weakens the legs, why take chances. Besides, if you follow tip#3 above, your partner probably won’t mind taking the night off. 

5.) Try and get at least 7hrs of sleep. And, should you follow tip#3 above, it should be “snore-free,” making your partner happier about the resolve you showed in following tip#4.

Good luck and happy running!

 

 

                                         

How cool was it to see Neil Diamond at Fenway Park today leading the crowd in a heartfelt rendition of “Sweet Caroline.”  After a whirlwind week full of both tragedy and heroism, his appearance brought much needed smiles to all! 

Thank you, Mr. Diamond!

          

Yep, it’s that time again. The time when a lot of us assess where we are at in our lives and the changes we resolve to make in the year ahead. And, unless we are perfect, this isn’t a bad idea. However, the problem a lot of people run into when it comes to resolutions is that they make vague and general promises to themselves that are difficult to stick with and achieve.

For example, if one of your new year’s resolutions is to lose weight, then be very specific. “I want to drop 5 pounds by February 1st,” or “I want to be able to fit into my old dress by Valentine’s Day.”

The key to making resolutions you can keep is to create realistic possibilities for yourself and very stringent timetables to keep you on track.

Good luck and good health in the new year!

                          

If you slip up today and indulge in a treat-type food today (i.e. ice cream, cookies, chips, soda pop, or anything else high in fat, sugar or calories), “counterbalance” your unhealthy choice by choosing a healthy activity afterwards.

Once you have given yourself time to digest your one sensible serving of the not-so-healthy choice, reconcile it with one of the activities below:

30 Jumping Jacks

30 Crunches

30 Squats

30 Lunges

5 minutes of walking, jogging or running

Obviously, these small amounts of activities won’t completely wipe out the unhealthy splurge, but they will put your mind in the right place-creating a focus that perhaps wasn’t there before.

This focus will help you relate food and activity in a realisitc way and remind us that when we eat the wrong things or too much of something, we need to burn it off.

I am often asked which is better: butter or margarine?

Well, butter is mostly saturated fat. Saturated fat raises our LDL (bad) cholesterol, our risk for obesity, heart disease, and some cancers.

Hard stick margarines are a combination of saturated fats and, even worse, a high concentration of trans fats. Not only do trans fats raise our LDL (bad) cholesterol, they also lower our HDL (good) cholesterol-doubling the risk for heart disease.

So, what is the solution? The answer can be found in canola-based soft tub spread (still called margarine in some varieties). 

Canola-based products are comprised of healthier monounsaturated fats which, when used in moderation, are actually good for our hearts. Furthermore, canola-based products contain no trans fats and mandatory nutrition labels make them easier to find at your local grocery store.

Bottom line: keep that stick of butter around for occasional desserts and recipes, but go with the canola spread or canola liquid spray 80% of the time as a healthier option.

Back on August 8th, I posted a great do-it-yourself granola recipe. However, because we don’t always have the time to bake, I thought I’d share a few tips on choosing store bought granola bars.

First, know that not all granola bars are good for you. In fact, some are so sugary sweet that they are analogous to eating a candy bar. The reason: wholesome oats covered in sugar and hydrogenated (trans) fats with cookie, chocolate and candy chunks thrown in for good measure.

When choosing a granola bar as a mid-morning or afternoon snack, look for one that has less than (12) twelve grams of sugar and (3) three grams of fat but at least (2) two grams of fiber.

Too much to remember? Then, just pick a granola bar without candy or cookies mixed in. Rather, pick one that includes oats and nuts whenever possible.

Finally, although there are a lot of great granola bars out there to select from, here are a few that get the healthy stamp of approval:

Quaker Chewy 100 Calorie Granola Bars-Lowest in sugar and (3) three grams of fiber

Kashi Crunchy Almond, Flax or Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars

Natures Valley Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

Barbara’s Nature’s Choice Granola Bars

Clif Bars-Technically an energy bar, but a good granola substitute