Friday, May 22, 2009

What I'll Be Doing On Memorial Day

With Update Below...

Every year for the past two years, I've ran the BolderBoulder on Memorial Day with about 50,000 of my best friends. This year is no different, except that based on my qualifying time of 49:23 last year, I'll be starting in the eighth wave of the race -- in the CA heat starting at 7:07 a.m.

My goal this year is to finish in under 49 minutes -- less than my age -- because, other than recognizing the top finishers in each division, the only other awards given out to citizen racers are to those who can run the course faster in minutes than their age.

The past two years, as I approached Folsom Field and the finish line, I've thought of my grandma and gotten a bit emotional. 10 fast-paced kilometers will do that to a person. In 2007, they had bagpipes playing at the final turns into Folsom, which always reminded me of my grandma, and I nearly lost it. Last year, no bagpipes, but I still thought of her.

Now here's a wonderful video of the course, narrated by Frank Shorter, and when he got to that same point in the course, yup, I kinda welled up again.

Anyway, here's what I'll be doing on Memorial Day.

Frank Shorter narrates the Bolder Boulder Course from Ryan Van Duzer on Vimeo.

And another video made by Ryan Van Duzer, who seems to be at every fun athletic event in Colorado...

I beat my personal best time by 30 seconds AND MY AGE by 6 seconds! In the final mile a father was encouraging and coaching his young son and I took his words to heart -- "finish strong", "leave it all out here by the time we reach the finish line", and "push, don't let up, we're almost there." I finished with 6 seconds to spare, and wouldn't have done it without that dad. I couldn't find him afterward to thank him, though I did grab a bit of his jersey trying to get an assist as he passed me as we entered Folsom Field, saying, "I hope you don't mind." He smiled... and then took off.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Notice the Excessive Disclaimers at the End of Each Show?

Confession time...

We watch and enjoy The Biggest Loser. If you don't and just don't care, you should stop reading now.

Still here? Okay, we continue.

We dislike but tolerate all the product endorsements built into every episode. We really dislike all the time-wasting narrated regurgitations by the contestants telling us what we already saw and understood. But then maybe the average viewer's IQ demands narrated regurgitation? We don't know.

Anyway, here's a link to a critical review of The Biggest Loser written by an author and "Board Certified Specialist in Sports Diuretics", which when combined with all the credential letters following her name means that she must know a thing or two about diet, nutrition, and physiology.

Well, that's not going to stop me from saying a few choice criticisms of my own.

The writer exaggerates, at least on the diet portion of her article. TBL encourages eating lean but appropriately. That's definitely one thing they do and she's unfairly critical of the show in that aspect. Also, her discussion of diets as a poor way to lose weight is way too simple-minded and a destructive message because NOTHING ELSE WORKS WITH THE OBESE!

And then she says that cutting 100 calories a day from daily consumption is a more sustainable way (although she doesn't use that word) of losing weight and then keeping it off. However, this is hideously naive, as anyone who knows about basic physiology knows that if you do that and lose three pounds over three months (yes, that's all a 100-calorie deficit would yield), gradually your body's daily caloric demands would decrease a small amount so the deficit between what your body wants daily and what you consume would close up. Meaning that your body would no longer need that 100 calories a day and plateau at your new "three-pounds-lighter" weight... if you're lucky to even get THAT!

Five years ago, I lost 45 pounds over three months on a very harsh and strict macrobiotic diet. There's a reason I lost 20 pounds the first month, then 15 pounds the next month, and only 10 pounds the last month -- diminishing returns based on that narrowing caloric deficit.

TBL is all about changing lives in a substantial way for obese people, which are now 32.7% of Americans. It's not about lowering body fat percentage of already-svelte gym rats from 8% to 7%. The BIG message of TBL is "Lose the Weight Using Harsh and Mercenary Methods, if that's what it takes, because Your Life Will Change in Profound, Wonderful, and Life-Sustaining Ways."

I agree that losing 14 pounds a week is grossly unrealistic for nearly everyone on the planet. But anyone who has lost a lot knows that it has to be a war where calorie count is a full-time job. It's not about denying yourself 100 measly calories of goldfish crackers a day. It's about making and committing to significant life-style changes, including exercise, that can't be made just by cutting a few calories.

My Name is Daichi

As my wife said, "Amazing what one can do when one has no other obligations or hobbies in ones life."