Thanks to the assistance of PJ Gorneault from Caribou, ME who I met at Race #7 in Bangor, I found an opportunity to race in Bar Harbor, ME on August 30th. I contacted PJ after the Downtown Mile in Lowell, MA was canceled at the beginning of August. PJ informed me about the Eden Athletics Running Club on Mount Desert Island, ME putting on the first ever Jack Russell Downhill Mile. It worked out very well for my schedule as I could drive on Friday about 3.5 hours from southern Maine to Mount Desert Island and then race on Saturday morning.
Frank Hague, President of Eden Athletics, was instrumental in helping me make arrangements from the moment I contacted him about the opportunity to race in Bar Harbor. Frank is the leader of a wonderful group of athletes that were very welcoming on my trip to their community. The runners know that they are fortunate to live in one of nature’s spectacular places. Couple that with Acadia National Park and its 45 miles of carriage roads, a gift from philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his family, it makes for an outdoor athlete’s summer paradise. From the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, the sunrise can be seen first in the United States.
The mostly downhill course winds through a residential area. It has a small patch of incline in the first quarter mile and a few portions of flat, but it is quick course. The idea for the event and course came from Tom St. Germain, who is an Eden Athletics member and a chef who works long hours at the Jack Russell’s Steakhouse. Tom got his wish for runners to come out and feel the fast turnover on the mile course. As the race progresses over the next couple of years, I am sure that the very caring organizers will alter the fifty yard finish on the grass and keep it on the road to ensure the safety of the racers. I finished in 4th place at 4:36 for race #17. I came in behind 3 runners preparing to do excel at the Philadelphia Marathon in November: Judson Cake, PJ Gorneault, and Evan Graves. I enjoyed the cool down run with them after the race as I learned more about the area and their upcoming aspirations.
When I was registering for the race, one of the organizers gave me bib number 500 (saying it was for 5:00 minute mile). Then before I could leave for the starting line, another organizer came up to me and made me laugh as he then exchanged my bib number to 459 (saying to think positively for an under 5 minute race and wished me well). Here is a photo with Tom St. Germain and his son Walker and Frank Hague – thanks guys for a great event!
I am planning to fly to Minneapolis, MN on Friday morning right after McCain addresses the Republican National Convention of Thursday evening (that is, if Hurricane Gustav doesn’t cause too much trouble on the Gulf Coast -there are reports that they might alter the start of the convention). We will see what Mother Nature brings us this week. I am planning on running the Minnesota Mile in Duluth, MN on Sunday September 7th – this will be my first visit to Minnesota during this 20 week trip.
Many people have written me asking what I eat? What do I drink? What supplements do I take? So I thought it was time to answer a few of your questions.
After running a 4:37 at the Masters Indoor Nationals in 2007, I had a guy at my home club ask me, so what are you “on” to run like that at your age? And I said, “soy and broccoli.” Thus, the name for this blog entry.
I have been a vegan now for over 20 years. I first changed my diet to be a lacto-vegetarian (still consuming milk products) back in 1985 when I was training in New England before going over to play a few tennis tournaments in Europe. Usually, people need time to feel the effects of going vegetarian. Some feel terrible during the transition because their bodies are used to a certain nutritional intake. I was different. I immediately felt the dramatic effects of more energy and more balance as I was waking up the same way with a little “bounce in my step” everyday. My change to a vegetarian diet started back in the 80’s when the veggie options available today were non-existent. But I stuck with it, and the better I felt, the more I wanted to learn about it.
So when I moved to India in 1987 to coach the Junior National Tennis Team in Madras, I went as a lacto-vegetarian and soon transformed my diet into being a vegan (no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy). Many of the reasons at the beginning were due to basic health reasons in India: ice cream in India then was eaten with a risk of typhoid, the milk needed to be boiled as it was delivered to your door in a plastic bag directly from the cow, and the cheese in the late 80’s in India (Amul brand) was disgusting. So I became a vegan. I tried dairy products again for a brief time when I returned to the United States in the early 90’s, but I felt better without the dairy – so the vegan diet stuck. Now that I reside in the United States, I try to buy “organic” products as much as possible that are fairly reasonable. Everyone’s body is different, but my vegan diet has worked wonders for me.
I should also add that I do not drink any alcohol. After my years at a Bowdoin College fraternity, I outgrew the need to consume alcohol. I stopped drinking socially in 1987 when I joined a company with a “no drinking” policy. Then, after leaving the company in 1992, it became a personal choice as I no longer wanted “to miss any moments of life.” So the combination of vegan food and no alcoholic beverages still stands 21 years later at 45. I wake up the same way everyday – no hangovers from alcohol or heavy foods. I think it helps my physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
I have a long list of supplement sponsors that would like me to use their product to promote better health, recovery, hormonal balance, etc., but I choose to just take one vegetarian, multi-vitamin a day in addition to my food. With the help of my brother and Nutritional Consultant, Marc, I have a protein with every meal. This regime helps balance my sugar, blood, and nutritional levels.
I wanted this 20 week journey to reflect me and my life. I wanted this journey to represent good, clean health that anyone can do. I was always curious how fast I could go as I got older with my vegan lifestyle. With this 20 week challenge. I wanted to find out how consistent I could be every week in changing environments. My immune system has held up well so far in this long summer of travel. Now with four races to go and a lot of air travel remaining, I look to my “soy and broccoli” base to help me power through the finish.
Last Friday evening on August 22nd, my Mom, Sekyen and I drove down to Salem, MA for the Derby Street Mile. Salem, Massachusetts is historically known for the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 and Derby Street is a one-way road that runs through the main part of the tourist district adjacent to the harbor. The Derby Street Mile is put on by the Salem Parks and Recreation Department and they did a superb job in putting on the mile race that had 20% more participants than in 2007. This point-to-point race is faster at the beginning than at the end as the third quarter goes slightly uphill as well as a portion of the finishing quarter. I knew a couple of the runners who ran the Derby Mile in past years and noticed their slower times. So I was aware that I had my work cut out for me. Last year, only 3 participants finished under 5 minutes, this year there was 4. I finished 4th in 4:56 with my slowest time yet, but after the hectic week that I had with my two clinics in Vermont and New York, I was happy to run a sub-5 minute mile and keep the streak going now at 16.
As you can see in this short video, Salem Parks and Recreation hired the local police to lead the race with a police car and a policeman on a Segway. Also, Doug Bollen put on a fine post-race celebration at a local hotel with refreshments and awards that was enjoyed by all the participants.
I am looking forward to my trip back to Maine to train and then race in Bar Harbor on August 30th. It should be a wonderful week to visit with some family, train everyday, and then travel to a race without having to board a plane. I hope to run a faster time after a week of training, less travel, and more sleep.
During my few days at home in Sarasota, FL, I spent an evening at the University Sleep Specialists for a “sleep study and analysis” with www.OneMileRunner.com Sleep Consultant Dr. Peter Fort, MD, FCCP.
It was an interesting evening as I learned a great deal about sleep patterns and the importance of proper sleep for peak physical and mental performance. Never again will I doubt the value of quality sleep. “Delta” sleep (deep sleep) is a time when our muscles and organs repair. For anyone who wants to optimize their day, taking the time to sleep deeply and sufficiently is a must.
Check out this 11 minute video of my experience at the University Sleep Specialists. It takes you from the preparation phase and through the diagnosis. This will give you a good idea of what to expect if you are interested in participating in a sleep study yourself.
Here is a photo at the beginning of my sleep exam as Tony begins to put on the wires in the proper places for ideal readings.
Here is a photo after Tony gets done attaching all the wires on me…what do you think?
Here is a photo with Dr. Peter Fort after he went over my sleep study and analysis. You can visit The University Sleep Specialists at www.universitysleepspecialists.com
I will be traveling to New England on Saturday the 16th for a clinic in Vermont, followed by another clinic in New York. I will be participating in Race#16 in Salem, MA on August 22nd. Thank you all for your support as I enter the final quarter of my racing events.
On August 7th, Sekyen and I flew into Springfield, MO for our only midwest stop on our 20 city tour. After checking out Missouri State University and the historic Walnut Street area, I won the “Maui Mile” race in 4:43 on Saturday, August 9th. Here is a brief video on our trip, race, and Hawaiian theme with race director, Richard Johnson:
After traveling to 15 road races around North America, I have seen many different ways to time a race, but in Springfield with the Ozark Mountain Ridge Runners, they showed me a new way to time the event. They use a “wired bib,” so when you go through the finish line, an individual records your time by slapping your bib number with a paddle. This wired paddle records your time after going through the finishing chute. Now depending on how fast you are going, the slap can be soft or hard. The instructions for using the “wired bib” inform you to attach the bib in your chest area. I usually pin my bib much lower on my shirt. And if you pin the number on your shorts, well – good luck…check out the video above to see my finishing “slap.”
This was also the first road race that did not stop traffic or close down any roads. Richard announced at the beginning of the race to be aware of these conditions. I am glad that nobody got hurt crossing over a dangerous wooden railroad intersection in the final quarter and that nobody got hurt with ongoing traffic.
Richard Johnson gave out some very cute, unique Hawaiian awards. Here are a couple of photos of me receiving my “Maui Mile Monkey.” I put this delicate award in my carry-on bag on its way back to Sarasota.
It seems like we have not been back to reload in Sarasota for quite some time. While at my home base this week, I have appointments with Stacie Nevelus and Dr. Tammy Keifer, my massage therapist and chiropractor. They have already begun working on my right hip (si joint). This was the cause of my recent back pain as the hip injury referred into my lower back. After my second treatment on Friday, I hope that I will feel better before I board a plane to New England.
I present two clinics next week, one in Vermont followed by a clinic in New York. Race #16, The Derby Mile, will take place in Salem, Massachusetts on August 22nd evening. I am looking forward to my coaching/speaking, training, and racing in the New England area.
After Vancouver, we traveled to Amarillo, Texas for “Paul and Mikes’ Excellent Mile” on August 2nd. Amarillo is in the northern part of Texas and sits at about 3500 feet altitude. It is the home of Cadillac Ranch, the Quarter Horse Association Headquarters, and the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon.
“Paul and Mikes’ Excellent Mile” is put on by the Lone Star Runner’s Club members, Paul Hermann and Mike Flores. Paul and Mike are running enthusiasts that began their mile race 14 years ago as an opportunity to see who can run the mile faster between the two of them. It takes place in Thompson Memorial Park on a course that goes up at the beginning, then down for the first quarter mile, the second quarter goes slightly down to flat, the third quarter goes slightly up, and then it finishes with a slight down finish with a turn to the left. It is all contained in the park and it makes for a nice mile race. I finished in 4th place winning the Masters’ Division in 4:50. So many participants and their families were so kind to come up to me and wish me well. I thanked them for coming out and showing their support.
I must especially thank Mike Flores for taking me to see Dr. Freeze two times before the race. For the first time since I began racing in May, I was suffering from an hip/back injury that occurred after I jumped off a sidewalk while running on Sunday in Vancouver. Also, I must thank my lovely partner, Sekyen, for her therapeutic massages. I was worried that I would not be able to race on Saturday, but due to their help I was able to meet my sub five goal.
Paul and Mike informed me that they will meet me for the “grand finale” at the 5th Avenue Mile in New York City. On September 21st, Paul and Mike will pack their cowboy hats and Texan flair and run down 5th Avenue.
After meeting with my web designer in Phoenix for a few days, I will be flying to Springfield, Missouri for race #15 called the Maui Mile on Saturday, August 9th.