Endurance Sports on the Web

33 Rules I Strive to Live By

No Meat Athlete - 26 December, 2013 - 14:31

Today — December 26th, 2013 — is my thirty-third birthday.

Everyone always assumes having a birthday right after Christmas is no good because you get short-changed on presents, but I’ve always loved it — having Christmas, my birthday, and New Year’s (still my favorite holiday) all in one week is pretty sweet. And writing this post is the closest I’ve ever come to working on my birthday, another plus.

I like what Leo did for his birthday post a few years ago, so here’s my version. This list of “rules,” of course, leaves out many obvious ones like “be a faithful husband,” “tell the truth,” etc. And I’m by no means perfect with the ones I’ve included here, but I’m happiest when I am doing well with them.

I hope you find one or two that might be worth adopting in your own life.

33 Rules that Set Me Free

1. “Dream no small dreams, for they have no power to move the hearts of men” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe). In other words, set big, “unreasonable” goals and let them guide you.

2. Never leave the site of a decision without taking an action.

3. Read every day. Aim for a book a week.

4. When you want to make a change, put reminders (post-it notes, calendar alerts, etc.) everywhere. So many habits fail simply because you forget to do them.

5. Read to your kids every single night before bed.

6. Say “no” often. Saying yes is easy, but effective people are great at saying no to anything that’s not a perfect fit for their vision.

7. Don’t fill the space you have with clutter. Resist the natural tendency to accumulate things until they overflow the space you have for them.

8. One cup of coffee at most each day. After that, drink green tea if you still want a little caffeine.

9. Don’t have a beer or glass of wine until you’ve accomplished everything you want to each day. Even one drink has a way of killing your motivation and willpower.

10. Aim for thirty-three (hey, good number!) items of clothes per season.

11. Make your bed each day. According to Gretchen Rubin, it’s linked to happiness.

12. Don’t put off little disciplines (like the above) until the magical day in the future when you have all the time and money you could want: if you ever reach that point, you’ll just do more of whatever it is you do now. So if you’re messy, you’ll be messier. If you don’t donate money now, you don’t donate money then. Etc.

13. Never post a blog post “just to post something.” Publish when you have something worth publishing. Unless it’s your birthday!

14.  Take responsibility for what’s in your life.

15. Don’t make excuses for anything. Especially, never ruin an apology with an excuse.

16. Before you eat something unhealthy, eat a huge salad.

17. Meditate every day, even if just for five minutes, and even if meditate means “just sit without doing anything, deliberately.”

18. Sit down to a real dinner with your family every night.

19. Plan your work day (the one to three most important items) before it starts — either that morning or, better, the night before.

20. Train for and run at least one marathon or ultra every year. This seems like a good minimal acceptable amount of movement and exercise to ensure that no matter what else is going on, you won’t let yourself get out of shape for long.

21. Spend the last five minutes (at least!) of every run thinking of all the things you have to be grateful for.

22. Find the half a dozen things that really matter to the work you do or the goal you’ve set out to achieve, and do them for as much of your work time as possible. Ruthlessly delegate, outsource, or eliminate everything else.

23. Get at least one 90-minute block (divided in two 45-minute segments separated by a five-minute break) of the above done before you check email each morning.

24. Don’t take yourself too seriously, but …

25. Don’t do the self-deprecating humor bit. It doesn’t take any skill, gets only cheap laughs, and worst of all, negatively affects you on some level.

26. Make decisions quickly. Be a satisficer, not an optimizer.

27. Drink a smoothie and a eat a salad every single day.

28. Separate work time from family time — you’re horrible at both when you try to do them simultaneously.

29. Listen to something educational or inspirational with any of your passive time (running, commuting, washing dishes) — except when you’ve deliberately set aside that time for mindfulness.

30. Get at least 90 percent of your calories from whole, vegan foods. The rest (for me) are still vegan, but not always whole.

31. As often as is reasonable, choose the path of inconvenience — I’ve found that once you get used to it, it’ll make you happier than the alternative (here I’m thinking of diet, the choice not to have cable TV, a microwave, a smartphone …). Being comfortable with discomfort is one of the most valuable skills I’ve learned in the past few years.

32. Remind yourself often how short life is, and how quickly it can disappear. But only as long as this motivates you — too much of it can do the opposite.

33. Make a leap of faith, burn the boats, go all-in. It almost never doesn’t work out, and the few times when it doesn’t, the consequences are never as bad as they seemed when you worried about them.

Oh, and lest you think I’m a grown-up because of all this, know that now I’m headed to a bar that’s also an arcade, for some local Asheville beer and Street Fighter II Champion Edition. I honestly don’t know how any self-respecting 33 year-old would choose not to do that for his birthday.

‘Wake Up’ is Almost Ready!

Finally, a reminder that I’ll have my new e-book, Wake Up: 31 Days and Actions to Take Charge of Your Life, available before the end of the year! I’m really excited about it, and I’ve got a great interview scheduled along with another amazing bonus for anyone who gets it in the first week of the year. If you’d like to find out more, you can sign up here to get details as they’re available.

Enjoy the next few days! They’re my favorites of the year for planning, goal-setting, and daring to dream big.

….To all Fans & Fitlinern of this side…Merry Christmas & Happy New Year….2014

coast2coastandback - 23 December, 2013 - 10:51

So another year is coming to an end all that remains are memories both good and bad. The good  memories I have obtained are of my 4 weeks training camp in Dallas with Tim and Ruth which lasted from February through the middle of March, when it was cold, but nevertheless beautiful. I am excited about 2014 and the warmer weather that Comes with it later in the year. I am also excited about PM – Internationa, whom of which has been a faithful Partner by my side for 14 years and  hopefully many more to come. In my germany solo cycling record I have traveled 1.100 km from Flensburg to Garmisch, twice through the Alps, Austria and Switzerland cycling in 24 houres about 600 km, and the first time about 20 years worth of kilometers, exactly….22.223 km….personally, everything is great but along with the good comes the bad. RAA – Austria was not successful because I exceeded the desired time. Success is still within reach, I have patience and endurance. Since I have been involved in comprtitive sports for over 28 years, I believe thatone must continue distinguishing the successful people from the unsuccessful people. In the time to come I will tell you all everything that is happening at the start of January 2014…..Until then, your Achim….

Here is a good quote from Bruce Lee…..” If you are criticed, you must do something right. Because, only who has the ball get attacked….”

Deception Pass 50km

Exploits of a Mid-Packer - 20 December, 2013 - 22:01
This year, Rainshadow Running's Deception Pass 50km fell on a Sunday, making it possible for me to run without taking time off of work. I'd been eyeing this race for a year or two now and Ryne and I were eager to check it out. We were not disappointed.
Race morning dawned cool and windy. After a few opening words from RD James Varner we were off on a little out-and-back past Cranberry Lake (where I saw a beaver!). Then it was along the coast for a fun rolling stretch of trail before a short grunt up alongside a cliff to the Deception Pass bridge. The bridge is a marvel; it is actually twin bridges that connect Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island via itty-bitty Pass Island in the middle. Deception Pass bridge to the south and Canoe Pass bridge to the north. The 180 foot drop to the eddying waters below can have a rather dizzying effect. What I found particularly neat was the bird's-eye view of the sea kelp forests 'swaying' in the tidal current. A heartening sign that our Pacific Northwest waters are healthy enough to host a sea otter population again.

Me and Ryne crossing the Deception Pass bridge.
(Photo Credit: the ever-fabulous Glenn Tachiyama)Once on the Fidalgo Island the course took us around a series of lollipops that followed the shoreline. Snaking around little bays and coves, we had a near-constant view over the water. The gray morning was broken up by a beautiful horizontal slice of sunrise and the scenery was stunning. This would be a race to run with a Go-Pro! At one point we crossed a sand spit to loop around a little island. The air was salty and fresh and the incessant lull of the waves lapping the shore set a gentle rhythm. I was feeling good and had a smile on my face. We came up around a corner and could see the bridges were just behind us. I said to Ryne, "now's the time for a photo!" and right on cue there was race photographer extraordinaire Glenn Tachiyama.

All smiles early on in the race. Deception Pass bridge (and Ryne) in the background.
Photo Credit: Glenn Tachiyama
By the time we hit the Bowman Bay aid station the second time around (at about 12km) my speedy legs had worn off and my stomach was in knots. I wasn't sick or anything, but it felt like I was carrying a brick in my stomach; a sensation I'd never had before while running. I kept on trucking, my pace slowing considerably, through the trails and back up to the cross the bridges for the second time. The last half of the course would be run on Whidbey Island. Here we would make the switch from running along the coast to running amongst the towering giants of the old-growth forest. A short stretch on the road took us to Cornet Bay and it's aid station (aid # 3, 4 & 5). By this point (24km) I was feeling pretty rough. I knew the course took an 11km loop twice through the woods and I vowed to not make a judgement call on the race until I'd at least run the loop once. Thankfully the aid station had not only friendly faces shouting encouragement, but gingerale, which I drank before Ryne and I carried on.

The two halves of the course are completely different and both are wonderful. I loved the coastal section and I loved the old-growth section. There is something so reassuring and strengthening to me about seeing massive old trees, their bark thick and gnarly protection against the elements. I will, quite literally, hug an old-growth tree and say 'thank you', feeling the pulsation of life and vigor in its earthy grasp. The sight of these old giants kept me going. The forested loop was one of beauty; a moss-blanketed singletrack trail weaving around the aforementioned giants and over rolling hills. It was fun and despite my stomach woes and inability to take in any fuel, I quite enjoyed myself. We finished the first loop, hit the aid station (more gingerale) and headed out for our second loop. This felt much better and both my pace and my mood picked up. I knew the course now; how easy the loop was and where the little hills would come up. Soon enough the second loop was done. Again, I hit up the aid station for gingerale before tucking in for the last 4km to the finish.

Wee! Feeling better 2km from the finish :)
Photo Credit: Who else? Glenn Tachiyama
Back we ran along the road out of Cornet Bay and re-entered the trails. Down alongside the cliffs and over the obstacle course of roots and rocks. And then we hit the parking lot. The finish line/park building was in sight. "Go!" shouted Ryne, urging me to sprint it in and try to break sub-6 hrs. I bolted, pumping my arms and sucking wind. I felt slightly bad, but I sprinted past another female runner and just beat her to the finish. A shade over the 6 hour mark, but I didn't care. I lay down on the pavement for about 10minutes before scouting out a couple cans of gingerale. Astonishingly, despite my slower pace and stomach-brick, I pulled off 14th female! I was pretty pleased with that, even if I had hoped for better.

This is a race course I would absolutely return to and I have a feeling this will become the anchor in our winter race calendar. The course was well marked with plenty of course marshals and well-stocked aid stations. Because of the lollipop, winding nature of the route, you were always running into or past other runners, giving the whole race and air of camraderie. Deception Pass 50km is a must!

-Montrail Mountain Masochists
-Injini performance running toe-socks
-Asics performance running capris
-Nike longsleeve Dri-fit shirt
-Moving Comfort 'charity' sports bra
-UltrAspire Spry pack.

Deception Pass 50

Trainharder - 20 December, 2013 - 17:21

Surely this must be the last ultra of the year in the Pacific North West?  Ten days before Christmas, when all the Christmas parties are in full swing, this last ultra beckons to the hardcore athletes keen to have a shot at a last chance for a 2013 PB.  The Deception Pass 25km and 50km took place on December 14 and 15 respectively and both had record numbers of participants!  It’s amazing how trail running seems to have taken off in the last year or so, and both the 25km and the 50km sold out way before race day!  Rumour has it that the 25km saw 350 participants this year … to be confirmed, as the results haven’t been posted yet!

We lucked out with the weather this year – overcast, but no rain, and pretty mild.  Waiting for the start was a little chilly, with a cool breeze off the water, but we braved it out and listened dutifully to the pre-race talk by the Race Director.  The main message I gleaned from this was that falling off the bridge or off the cliff wasn’t encouraged, nor for that fact was pushing other runners off!  Fair enough!

As soon as the first hill hit, jackets were peeled off and we were on our way.  This ultra is an ultra of loops and lollipops!


after the first hill, the jackets and extra layers were rapidly peeled off.  Most of the course is a single trail, so it’s nice to push a little at the start to get into a little bit of a faster group, to avoid getting stuck in the wagon train.


Cold Therapy & Weight-Loss Expert Ray Cronise: The Optimal Diet, and Is Exercise Unnecessary?

No Meat Athlete - 20 December, 2013 - 14:54

From his appearance in The 4-Hour Body to an ABC Nightline interview to his TEDMED talk, Ray Cronise is making waves in the nutrition and weight-loss worlds.

Ray is the guy whose ideas led to what in many people’s eyes was the most memorable part of Tim Ferriss’ epic fitness bestseller The 4-Hour Body — that cold stress, in the form of cold showers, ice baths, and cold packs, can play a significant role in aiding rapid fat loss.

Back in 2008, when it was reported that swimmer Michael Phelps ate 12,000 calories a day, it was Ray who noticed that something was amiss. Phelps might have trained harder than anyone, but he wasn’t doing the 10 hours of continuous butterfly per day that under the traditional “calories in / calories out” model would have been necessary to avoid weight gain, when so many calories were coming in.

The missing part of the equation? That the pool was cold, and Phelps’s body had to expend an enormous amount of energy just to keep itself warm.

So Ray, a former NASA scientist who himself had put on some extra pounds over the years, used his scientific training to dive headlong into the study of nutrition and health — and in the process, lost 50 pounds.

And as it turns out, the diet Ray chooses — the one he believes is optimal for weight loss in the short term, health and longevity in the long term — is 100 percent plant-based.

Like any good scientist, Ray is skeptic; indeed, his mindset of questioning long-held assumptions and dogma is what’s primarily responsible for his history of disruptiveness wherever he turns his attention.

But (warning!) this approach means that when you listen to Ray, you’ll likely hear a few things you don’t want to hear: along with his belief that some beloved health foods aren’t so healthy, Ray has recently begun to question whether exercise is really necessary — for weight loss or even long-term health.

In this interview, Ray and I talk for well over an hour to dive deep into his understanding of nutrition and health. He’s not afraid to stand apart from the crowd, and if you listen with an open mind, I promise you’ll learn something new and foundation-shaking.

Here’s what Ray and I talk about in this episode:

  • Ray’s background of disruptiveness with NASA and Zero-G
  • The role cold stress plays in weight loss
  • How Ray got started with a plant-based diet
  • What Paleos and vegans have in common
  • Why it’s utterly ridiculous to label foods as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Should we avoid added oil and salt altogether?
  • The optimal diet for health
  • Do we really need to exercise at all?

Click the button below to listen now:

Download audio file (nmaradio20.mp3)


If you’re a fan of NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

Links from the show:


Last minute stocking fillers ..

Trainharder - 18 December, 2013 - 15:14

Tying up shoelaces is totally over-rated and a thing of the past. With Lock Laces, no need to interrupt your game, workout or race to do up your laces.  Lock Laces are designed to keep laces locked and secure, and are safer (no tripping over your untied laces), and can help you gain those few extra minutes in a race or a triathlon transition.  Available in multiple colours, the laces can be colour coded to match the rest of your sporting wardrobe – and they are water repellent and dry quickly.



On Turning Pro — One Year Later

No Meat Athlete - 18 December, 2013 - 09:17

What a year.

On January 4th, 2013, I wrote a post called On Turning Pro, about my plans to overcome debilitating anxiety by “growing up and turning pro” in just about every area of my life.

I was not in a good place, coming off the most worried and powerless six months I had ever experienced. But the new year had brought me the first glimmer of light at the end of that dark tunnel, and in this post I wrote about my plans to navigate the rest of the way out.

Here’s the last paragraph:

January 1st has passed. Another year of your life is gone. And before you know it, this one will be over too. My challenge to you — before another day goes by — is to find the place where you need to grow up and turn pro. And then do it.

I hope you’ll join me.

Fast forward 10 months from when I wrote that post …

It’s October 30th and I’m in San Francisco, sharing a stage at Samovar Tea Lounge with Jesse Jacobs, the owner and founder of Samovar, and Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits and one of my personal heroes.

It’s a sold-out event, with blogging superstars Corbett Barr and Scott Dinsmore in the audience. Bright lights, cameras, and lapel mics. For two hours we talk, on the topics of changes, goals, and fear. It’s the most special event of the book tour for me, because from across the country, I’ve watched so many inspiring interviews and presentations with Leo and Jesse (including my favorite, featuring Tim Ferriss), filmed in this very room. To actually be here is almost surreal.

After we wrap up, a woman named Krista Stryker comes up and introduces herself. We chat a bit about her site, 12 Minute Athlete. She’s friendly and enthusiastic, not unlike dozens of other entrepreneurs I’ve met on this tour.

Why am I telling you this?

A few days ago, I reread my On Turning Pro post for the first time. The first comment? From Krista Stryker, who I knew only as someone who had commented a few times on my blog.

How incredible it would have been — what a sense of certainty and security I would have been filled with — if I could have somehow known, as I read that first comment in my hopefully but apprehensive state, that in less than a year I’d meet Krista in person. Across the country. Having driven there on a self-financed, self-planned, self-created book tour. And after presenting on stage, with such amazing company, at a venue that had produced so much inspiration for me.

What changed?

For some people, to plan their own book tour with all of the risks involved, to commit to speaking to 40 audiences and being the focus of attention for so many nights, and to leave behind their family (including a four month-old daughter) would have been a snap.

For me, being somewhat introverted and considering my state at the beginning of the year, it was anything but.

And yet.

And yet when out on a run in June, training for my 100-miler and listening to an interview of Chris Guillebeau on The Good Life Project about his own do-it-yourself book tour, I couldn’t let the idea go … maybe, I thought, such a challenge is exactly what I need.

I’ve asked myself what the difference was between the “me” that made that decision and the one who just six months earlier was so powerless over anxiety:

  • When I heard about Chris’s book tour, would the thought “I bet I could do that too” have crossed my mind if I hadn’t spent the previous five months bombarding my mind with books, audiobooks, and inspiring podcasts like this one, thanks to my New Year’s commitment to read or listen to something like that every single day?
  • Would I have even been out on that run, if not for a commitment to run a 100-miler this year? I doubt it; not the way my training had been going, until I drew a line in the snow that January 1st and decided that this was the year I would finally make it happen.
  • And would I have had the confidence in the strength of my relationships with my wife and children to even think about leaving them alone for so long, if not for a concerted effort — beginning with a decision that January 1st – to step into my role as a husband and father instead of resenting the new demands on my time?

And the answer is of course not. Not even close.

I write this post because too many people don’t believe change is possible. We love to point out that New Year’s is an arbitrary day for goal-setting, no different than any other day of the year. And so instead of setting goals, charting a course for our future, and having faith in ourselves (faking it if we have to) just once a year — we use this skepticism as a reason to think big zero times a year.

Two thousand thirteen ended up being the busiest and most productive year of my life. I accomplished nothing less than moving to a new house; writing, editing, and releasing a published book; welcoming a daughter into the world; training for and running a 100-mile ultramarathon (along with a 12-hour race and 40 miles of a RAGNAR relay); and of course, completing an 11,000 mile, 40-date book tour across the country in my little Hyundai Elantra.

In all of that free time that was left over, I started bluegrass guitar lessons, joined a local Toastmasters group, and took trips with my family to San Diego, CA, and Ocean City, MD.

None of this is to gloat. I’m well aware that my 2013 looks like a manic, rebound response to the personal struggles I went through in 2012, and surely some of it was.

I don’t pretend to have found all the answers — in fact one of my goals for the next year is to find a balance between such extremes of activity and inactivity.

But I do know this: My goals, plans, and belief in myself this year actually worked.

When everyone else is eager to remind you, “If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans,” I beg you to give yourself more credit than that.

Oh, and that year I referred to at the end of On Turning Pro — the one that I promised would be over soon? Well, it’s just about over.

And just as surely, the next will be too, before what seems like much time has passed.

Isn’t it time you got moving?

If You’re Interested, Here’s How I Can Help You Next Year

I’m so proud to announce that I’ve almost finished a new ebook, one I’m really excited about as the first project I’ve done by myself in over two years.

It’s a 31-day program designed to help you apply the personal development concepts that have helped me so much in setting and accomplishing big goals and taking charge of my life. It’ll be out before the end of the year, so if you’d like to get updates about it, you can sign up here.

The Marcothon

Run and Become - 15 December, 2013 - 23:43
It is half way through the month of December and therefore half way through the Marcothon. As we all know, December is a busy month. The Marcothon challenges you to run every day in December for 25 minutes. Now that doesn't seem like much but trust me at this busy time of year it is tricky! It does not include other activities or classes nor can you do more one day and hope it counts for the next day. You miss a day and you are out! Marco from Scotland was a smart guy who created this challenge. I have participated in the Marcothon the last few years successfully and so far so good again this year. I have had to be creative some days this year such as running up and down our drive way for 25 minutes when the ground was covered in a couple of inches of snow and the road was too icy to run safely on. Another challenge is when the Christmas parties are after work parties. A quick change into the running gear and then back into the party outfit. Some days I bring my running gear to work to hopefully get out at lunch but that never seems to happen. Neil tries every year but usually misses a day mid week when work and the farm overtake the day and night - which happened about day 2 this year. We are half way and personally for me I am past the busiest part of the month. Whew!  Fergus checking out the Christmas Tree. We attended the Vancouver Canucks game last night vs the Boston Bruins. Great game - Vancouver won 6-2!
Fergus is helping me with the Marcothon - today Neil, Fergus and I ran for 1 hr 45 minutes on the sea wall - an out and back. Tonight we went up Grouse Mtn hoping for some snow shoeing but the snow is not quite ready for this. They were night skiing on the groomed runs but we need a little more snow for the snow shoe trails.  Good Luck to all participating in the Marcothon! We are half way there. 

2013-12-15 Pure Satisfaction

Club Fat Ass - Photos - 15 December, 2013 - 19:43

ClubFatAss posted a photo:

2013-12-15 Pure Satisfaction

Club Fat Ass - Photos - 15 December, 2013 - 19:38

ClubFatAss posted a photo:

Scenes from the Woodside Ramble 50k (photos by Sophie)

A Trail Runners Blog - 15 December, 2013 - 12:41
(Your photographer and commenter for today, Sophie Jane!)My 7-year-old daughter Sophie took to the trails this morning with a camera in hand, while runners of the Woodside Ramble 50k by Inside Trail Racing came up the hill. She says you can all share her photos, so enjoy!

It has been fun taking a break from training for a few weeks after a DNS at The North Face 50m. I had really hoped to toe the line, but the body (and family's bodies) just weren't at 100%. I hope those who ran had a great time!

(It's super cold in the park until the sun comes to visit)
(First runners crest the climb)
(Vignette filters can hide thumbs that sneak into the photo...oops!)(Black and makes the bark stand out)(Daddy sneaks a photo of his friend and ITR teammate Chris Eide, who has huge muscles!)

You can refocus a Lytro picture by clicking on the thing you want it to focus on. Try the hairy moss! Or try holding down your mouse click and drawing a circle to change the perspective.

(Orange makes photos easier)

Daddy likes to play with the slo-mo feature on his iPhone.

(I bet these trees have been here, like, forever)
(This is what people look like when I forget to step off the trail)
(This guy said good morning! I remember)

(Oops...I took too long)
(A hat is a smart thing to wear because you can always take it off)

Check out the spider web on the moss (just click on it).

(Be sure to step off the trail when taking pictures)
(This guy took the corner so fast, he almost fell off the side. It looked fun!)
(Look close and you'll see the runner in Daddy's phone too)
(She has an awesome smile!)

(Daddy said this girl always smiles at every race, no matter what the weather or how long it is)
(This photo is fun because he is actually flying - both feet are off the ground!)
(This guy was super nice!)
(I like how this one turned out since she is smiling and still going uphill)
(We heard these guys laughing way down the trail, and just had to get a photo)
(Daddy said this is Jill Homer who does the Iditerod in Alaska on her bike...so the dogs pull a bike? I want to see that)
(Look Daddy, more clown shoes!)
(Daddy taught me to say GOOD JOB as loud as possible, which makes the runner look up and smile, and then you take your photo)
(This guy was fast! I almost missed him)
(The Skyline Trail at the top of Huddart is fun because there are so many places to see trails from across the valleys)
(She was happy to have some downhill)
(He looks so small compared to the trees!)
(The best smiles were at the top of the climb...I think they were happy for some downhill)
(Downhill is the most fun after all)

Thanks for checking out my pictures!

Christmas stocking idea for your favourite athlete

Trainharder - 15 December, 2013 - 08:30

Injury prone runners will definitely appreciate this Christmas gift.  Whether you are training for your first marathon or trail race, working out at the gym, or playing soccer, you know that nothing is more frustrating than being out of action due to a sports injury!

K-Tape is an elastic tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support.  The tape is lightweight and comfortable to wear, and can be used for various injuries including knee pain, shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain and many other injuries.  Not only does K-Tape come in multiple neon colours and looks cool, it also provides 24-hour relief for days at a time and can even be worn in water.


Only 12 shopping days to Christmas …

Trainharder - 12 December, 2013 - 20:46

Still shopping for last minute gifts?  Here’s one of a serious of great gift ideas for the athlete (s) in your life …

The long summer days are a distant memory at this stage – and what a great summer we had!  It’s tough to stay motivated in the winter, and to get out there and train in the dark and cold. A reflective vest is a great way to keep your loved one safe on the road, and ensure that cars can see him/her.  This mesh vest is adjustable and can be slipped on over any running shirt or jacket. A great gift for early runners who like to hit the road in the early mornings or the evenings.


Baja 1000 on a dirt bike

Trainharder - 11 December, 2013 - 22:20

The Baja 1000 is known the world over for challenging terrain and tough conditions.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s an off-road race across the desert that takes place on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula each November.  Various types of vehicles – ranging from dirt bikes to trucks – race on the same course.

On November 14th, 2013, Alvaro from Campbell River and his team members, Rodrigo (brother) and Federico waited excitedly at Ensenada for the start of the 1000-mile race, along with 300 other teams.  Teams compete in one of around 20 categories – Alvaro’s team was registered in the ‘450cc and under’ category.  Team size can range from 1-50 riders, but only one bike can be used, so team members race as a relay, each taking it in turns to ride part of the course.  Support teams are important in this gruelling race and Alvaro’s Dad supported the team in a truck, transporting the team and meeting up with the rider at the pit stops along the way.   The course takes the riders over rocks, silt, and sand, with little if any landmarks, so riders rely on GPS for navigation and arrows every 5 miles or so.

All went smoothly until the 220 mile mark, and Alvaro had a major wipe out.  Luckily he came off relatively unscathed, but unfortunately the bike wasn’t so lucky – the GPS and lights were broken.  Still wanting to continue and not let down his team mates, Alvaro jumped back on his bike only to get lost in the desert, and spend an hour going round in circles.  Without a GPS, navigating became very challenging.

When Alvaro eventually made it to the next check point, the team decided that it was too dangerous to continue without lights or a GPS and decided to come out of the race, more determined than ever to start training and compete in 2015!

Watch Alvaro’s video from his Go-Pro.  

Product Review - Asics Lite-Show Tights

Exploits of a Mid-Packer - 11 December, 2013 - 20:13

As the Pacific Northwest has gone from unseasonably warm and mild to being in the midst of freezing temperatures, snow and freezing drizzle, I decided to invest in some proper full-length running tights.
Historically, Asics has fit me quite well so I purchased a pair of their Lite-Show tights. The great thing about these, and a big deciding factor, is that all the stitching is reflective. According to Asics, it reflects light straight back to it's source, so regardless of which direction a car may be coming from, it will see you (or at least, your tights!). Given the high incidence of collisions with runners and cars, this is really important for me, especially during the dark winter months. I went out for a run the other night and my friends said I lit up like a Christmas tree!
The sizing is in line with the rest of their products. These particular tights use Stretch-Tech fabric and sit nicely on the body. Asics use elastic grip material at the ankles, so they stay put and don't ride up. The fabric is soft and smooth, and the flatlock seams reduce chafing. The material is warm, but breathable and moisture-wicking, so it doesn't collect sweat and cause you to get chilled. I've been perfectly comfortable wearing these when the mercury drops below zero. They would also be appropriate to wear for cross-country or downhill skiing.
My one suggestion would be to have a larger, zippered pocket to stash keys or gels. There is a small pocket hidden in the waistband, but there is no zipper, which always makes me worry when storing keys or other important items. 

My ‘Eat to Live’ Challenge

No Meat Athlete - 11 December, 2013 - 12:18

Five years ago, a 10-day challenge led to my eventual decision to go vegetarian (and to start this blog).

A few years later a 30-day vegan challenge, which I completed successfully, actually taught me that I wasn’t ready to go vegan yet. But when I was ready six months later, that month-long experiment was probably to thank.

Why should we do uncomfortable challenges like these, with food or anything else? For me, the answer is clear: you might just discover something you love, when you learn that actually doing the thing is easier than worrying about how tough it surely must be.

But even if your experiment doesn’t lead you to change your life, a challenge around something so near-and-dear as food will almost certainly teach you something about yourself.

And so …

My Latest Challenge

For several years I’ve long been intrigued by the “don’t eat extracted oils” philosophy. Because if I’m honest, oil isn’t a whole food, and I’m fond of saying that I eat whole foods.

I also knew that I ate a lot of salt, woke up every day with an urge for a small, strong cup of coffee, and enjoyed a single (usually strong) beer almost every night.

I was comfortable with all of these things, citing moderation, lots of exercise, and no tendencies toward serious addiction (when it comes to ingestibles, at least).

And yet, I must not have been 100 percent comfortable with these choices … because I’ve always been fascinated to hear about people who enjoy these things, like me, but deliberately choose never to indulge in them.

So, almost two years removed from any restrictive diet challenge, I decided it was time for a new one.

Enter Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

I first came across Joel Fuhrman when I found his book Disease-Proof Your Child, which somehow led me and my wife to Super Immunity – currently the nutrition book that I recommend to anyone who will listen.

Only in this backdoor manner did I find out about Eat to Live, his #1 New York Times bestseller. When on my book tour several people told me they had followed the the Eat to Live plan and lost 20, 30, or even 60 (a woman last week in Raleigh!) pounds as a result, I was deeply curious, even though I had zero interest in losing weight.

Why? Because the point of Eat to Live isn’t weight loss. It’s health. And I found Dr. Fuhrman’s scientific approach in Super Immunity so appealing, so sensible, and so convincing that I didn’t want to just pick and choose a few elements to incorporate before slowly returning to my set point. I wanted an immersion, to understand what “eating to live” really feels like.

The ‘Eat to Live’ Plan

Fuhrman pulls no punches. With an internet full of incentives for people to tell us what we want to hear — that some hot new study shows that salt, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, saturated fat, etc. are somehow good for us — Fuhrman recommends only what his years of intense research and medical practice have taught him.

And those recommendations, predictably, aren’t quite so much fun to eat (or tweet).

The diet he believes to be the healthiest possible for achieving your ideal weight and maximizing longevity and resistance to disease, and the one I’ve been eating for the last 10 days, includes:

  • Less than 5 percent animal products*
  • No added salt (not even the unprocessed kind)
  • No added oil (not even unheated olive oil)
  • No refined sugar of any kind, and no syrups, nectars, or juices
  • Minimal alcohol
  • Minimal caffeine
  • Fewer grains (even whole), more raw vegetables, more beans, and more raw nuts than I’ve ever eaten for any length of time

*Fuhrman isn’t sure whether “no animal products” is healthier than “a tiny amount of animal products,” pointing out that the longest-lived populations have always eaten a small but non-zero amount of them (and it may be that B12 is the reason for this). Being vegan, I’m of course not eating any animal products.

The first and last bullet points are no problem. The last represents a shift, but not an unpleasant one.

The biggies, for me, are the salt and the oil. This is the first time I’ve cooked without oil for sauteing, and most definitely the first time I’ve abstained from all salt.

Fuhrman is slightly less rigid with alcohol and caffeine. He says that while consuming none at all is best, a small amount (one glass of wine a day, one cup of coffee per day) is probably alright. I’ve not yet chosen to limit the coffee beyond my usual 10 ounces in the morning, but for this challenge I decided to limit alcohol to two drinks per week total — a big change from one drink per day that has basically become an after-dinner ritual for me.

Finally, I’ve made a few small modifications to the plan because I’m worried about losing weight. I’m eating more than Dr. Fuhrman suggests for most people — I eat snacks between meals (fruit and raw nuts, mainly) and more fats (in the form of avocados and nuts) than the standard plan allows for.

The First 10 Days

Eat to Live is supposed to be a six-week long strict plan, followed by a slightly more lax version that allows up to 10 percent of your calories to be exceptions to the above (even animal products, if you’re so inclined). But because of holiday plans, as well as my concern over losing weight when I’m already thin and — let’s be honest — my fear of how tough this diet would be, I’ve decided to do just three strict weeks. Like with any other challenge, when that time is up, I’ll reevaluate and decide where to go from there.

Here’s what I’ve observed so far on the Eat to Live plan:

1. Not consuming oil is really quite easy. For salads (which we eat all the time on this plan, often as meals and usually with beans), we make nut-based dressings which are pretty good. And who knew that water-sauteing actually worked? I’ve always had a hangup about cooking with anything but oil, but now that I try it, water works just fine. Keep in mind: this isn’t gourmet food; just practical, healthy food that gets the job done.

2. Not adding any salt is really tough. In fact, not being able to add salt just about ruins the experience of eating for me. Nothing tastes like anything, and Mrs. Dash is a poor substitute. I find myself getting depressed around 3:00 pm when I think about dinner and remember that it will taste like air (until my taste buds adjust, I hope). But that’s what’s great about challenges like this — I’m reminded of an emotional attachment to food that I always want to deny, and made aware of just how accustomed I’ve gotten to salting my food, when for most of human history we have not added any salt to food. (Fuhrman points out that a day’s worth of food naturally contains 600-800 mg of sodium, by comparison to which the U.S. daily recommended intake of 3500 mg seems absurdly high.)

3. Skipping the nightly beer is tough, and I think about and crave the flavor and aroma of hops each night (I usually drink hop-bomb IPA’s). But this hasn’t been nearly as difficult as the salt.

4. Fortunately, I haven’t lost any weight and I don’t feel any less energy from not having oil in my diet. I’ve been running but not intensely, so it’s hard to tell if there’s been any impact there — I’d be excited to see how such a high-nutrient but lower-calorie diet works for sports.

5. Ultra-healthy cooking is extremely simple. While there are some more involved recipes, my favorite Fuhrman-approved dishes are the ones where we water-saute or steam a bunch of vegetables, throw in some beans (homemade with no added salt), and top with a quick nut-based, raw sauce or dressing. Easy and quick, with minimal cleanup.

6. Frozen fruit makes a great dessert! Blend it with some dates, unsweetened almond milk, and sometimes cacao powder, and it’s a really nice treat to look forward to that helps me get through saltless dinners. I’d be fine if I never ate vegan ice cream with added sugar again.

7. My normal diet is not nearly as healthy as I thought. Even without being 100 percent convinced that a moderate amount of oil and salt are unhealthy, eating so strictly has made me realize just how often I make unhealthy exceptions in my usual diet. The times I get a Naked smoothie or juice from the coffee shop, the times I drink two cups of coffee or two or three beers, the times I add salt to my food before I even taste it, the times I go all day with only one or two pieces of fruit, the days I skip the salad … when you put them all together, they add up to a lot of slips, even within a single week.

I’ve learned a lot in 10 days. Right now, I’m still in hell-no-I-could-never-eat-this-way-forever mode … which, of course, is why it’s called a challenge. But I’ve got another two weeks or so until it’s time to decide what to take and what to leave from this experience, and who knows how I’ll change in that time. And that — how I’ll change — is exactly the point. I’ll let you know.

Two Fun PS’s

1. Huge congrats to Leo Babauta and Scott Dinsmore on finishing their first 50-miler last weekend in San Francisco! Read what Leo learned from the experience.

2. My sister Christine (who used to write Sweet-Tooth Friday dessert posts for No Meat Athlete) started a blog — about a novel approach to writing a novel. (Thank goodness she didn’t make that her tagline.) Totally unrelated to plant-based fitness, but hey, she’s my sister. If you have any interest in writing a novel, it would mean a lot to me if you’d check out her blog. Maybe a good 2014 goal for somebody?

Hope you have a great one. Any Eat to Live veterans out there? I’d love to hear how it went for you, and what elements you’ve hung on to.

Qualifying for Boston at the Seattle marathon – Sheryl Preston

Trainharder - 4 December, 2013 - 21:04

Sheryl, ex national rowing team, now coaches full-time at UBC.  She recently discovered the joys of jumping through mud puddles on our North Shore mountains when she took up trail running.  Having completed a few ultras, she decided to sign up at the last minute for the Seattle Marathon to see if she could beat 3:40 and thus tick Boston off her bucket list!  Here’s an excerpt from her blog and a link to read the rest of this article and check other great race reports ..

Life is short, running makes it seem longer – Seattle Marathon 2013 For anyone who knows me quite well, when the going gets tough I go running.  That being said when the going is not tough, I still go running…I often sign up for random races especially while I am stuck in some emotional rut or faced with some sort of challenge.  I crave the therapeutic process and outcome of setting my own challenge. I have always said “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” so my coping mechanism is to temporarily make life feel even tougher (but usually in some beautiful place)….as a result, in the broad scope everything seems a bit easier in perspective. Read more

Crazy Goals, Running, and the Plant-Based Diet: A Live Recording of My Book Tour Talk

No Meat Athlete - 3 December, 2013 - 07:30

What else is there to say? The book tour is done (today is the final event), I’ve written what there is to write about the adventure, and I’m pretty well stoked for the next chapter for No Meat Athlete.

2014 holds some major changes for NMA, the biggest in the five years since I started this little blog. While there’s a lot I can’t unveil quite yet, I can tell you that one change, for me, is a big shift in what I personally do. A shift away from the roles of managing, emailing, accounting, and more emailing, and a return to the simple job of making things — blog posts, podcasts, ebooks, webinars, and a lot more that Doug, Susan, and I have in mind for the next year and beyond.

And what has brought about the desire to make that change is, of course, the experience of the past two months … meeting literally thousands of readers from all across the country, listening to their stories of change, and being inspired to focus again on the things that really matter for this blog. And for this movement.

So in this final post about the tour — and trust me, it’s been amazing but it’s with great pleasure that I move on — I’m pleased to share a live recording from our event at Bearded Brothers in Austin, Texas. You’ll hear me and co-author Matt Ruscigno give what became our standard talks, so that you can get a small taste of what the events were like, in case you couldn’t make it out to one.

Hope you enjoy it — and even better, I hope you use it.

Here’s what to expect in this episode:

  • The best parts of the book tour
  • Matt Ruscigno’s talk at Bearded Brothers in Austin, TX
  • My talk at Bearded Brothers in Austin, TX
  • The “easy” trick for becoming comfortable with what scares you
  • How Doug actually took my advice and put it into action
  • Doug’s plans for his 100-miler
  • The importance of “burning desire” when it comes to habit change

Click the button below to listen now:

Download audio file (nmaradio19.mp3)


If you’re a fan of NMA Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Thank you!

Links from the show:


The Santa Barbara Turkey Trot 4-Miler...with Sophie!

A Trail Runners Blog - 1 December, 2013 - 15:04

I had a new running partner for the annual Santa Barbara 4-Miler Turkey Trot this year...Sophie, my 7-year-old daughter! Despite having only run a mile once before, she said she was game this year. I thought I was going to burst with excitement. I have always wondered when and how one of my girls might join in for a race, and all it took was the promise of free powdered doughnuts!
(Sophie is ready to run!)We started off with a few sprinkles of rain as a record 700 runners filled Hollister Avenue to get their Trot on. The Turkey Trot is quickly becoming a national phenomenon, topping out at 800,000 participants last year (25,000 in San Jose, CA alone) and possibly crossing 1 million this year. The SB Turkey Trot was no exception, already 7-8 times bigger than my first running over a decade ago. But thanks to a nervous Sophie at my side, it felt like my first! She took the rain in stride, using it as an excuse to wear as much pink as possible.

(Sophie joins the fun! Check out those inov-8 x-talons...size 2!)Running beside Sophie was such a joy, and if I smiled any harder I was likely going to break my face. Such a thrill! We jogged along at a steady pace, enjoying the costumes around us, and took our first walk break at mile 1. A 10:30 min/mile...I was so impressed! By mile 2, she had shed nearly all of her clothes (making Daddy the sherpa) and took to the trails aside the bike path. "Trails feel faster, Daddy". Chip off the ole block, I tell ya. 
(Turkey hats rule!)(Sophie sheds a layer and takes to the trails!)(Thank you, thank you, thank you photo gods for this one - grandparents, prints are on their way!)By mile 3, Sophie was a panting mess, but pressed on, determined not to be last. She swore she would never do this again, and I told her that all runners say that at least once in every race and forget all the hard parts immediately after crossing the finish line. Once she smelled the doughnuts, she sprinted to the finish and right on through to the snack line. I think she ate three before taking a breath, and the powdered sugar soon covered her face like a culinary explosion. She dropped a handful of sweat-sticky doughnuts into my palms, and we plopped down and easily negated all the calorie burn of our 53 minute 4-miler with a blur of NOM-NOM-NOM.

(Hooray for Sophie!)(Doughnuts never tasted so good)By the time we headed to the car, Sophie was already talking about coming back next year. She busted up laughing and said "you're right, Daddy! I have already forgotten all the hard parts. That's so cool." I think she's hooked!
Papa (my Dad) said it best...I've got maybe 12 years tops before Sophie Jane leaves me in the dust. A little more than a decade before she desperately asks me to take down this post so sports journalists and would-be boyfriends stop linking to it and making jokes about powdered doughnuts (never!). I sigh knowing I likely have less than two years before holding hands with Daddy on walk breaks isn't cool anymore. As eager as I am to see how she blossoms, my heart already clutches fiercely at these fleeting moments. I guess that's what parenting is all about. 
...and we'll keep our eyes on Quinn for the kids race next year! ;-)
(A very stylish 3-year-old Quinn chills with Martha - you're next, kid!)(Toddlers take on the kids race!)Happy Thanksgiving, all!
- SD

Aug 15-17 2014: Fat Dog 100

Trainharder - 30 November, 2013 - 06:41

Registration is now open for Fat Dog 100 2014 – rated one of the most difficult ultras in the world with an elevation gain almost equivalent to the height of Everest!  Spanning three national parks, this race is also one of the most scenic!  Sign up for the full 120 miles, enter a relay team or sign up for one of the shorter distances.

Syndicate content