Sunday, October 4, 2015

Little Run on the Prairie

Great turnout for the 1 mile kids fun run yesterday at Prairie Hill Learning Center!  Thanks to our many sponsors!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Little Run on the Prairie

I am proud to announce that I will be sponsoring the 2nd Annual "Little Run on the Prairie," a 1 mile kids fun run on Saturday, October 3.  The race begins at 10:30AM and is held at Prairie Hill Learning Center, just off of HW 77 near Roca.  Registration is just $10 and includes a t-shirt.  After that, stay for the Children's Country Fair, where there will be lots of food, games, and fun.

Register here:

Special thanks to the many other sponsors!!
Snyder Physical Therapy
Union Bank & Trust
Lincoln Surgical Hospital
Nebraska Surgery Center
Nelnet Foundation
Red Dirt Running Co.
Doctors of Children
Dr. Lawson at Lincoln Orthopaedic Center
Healthy Start Chiropractic
Wholehearted Health Care
Rehm, Bennett & Moore

Friday, September 4, 2015

For Running, Lincoln > Omaha

I have lived in Lincoln since 2008.  Prior to that, I lived in Omaha for 15 years.  To be honest, there are many things I still miss about Omaha.  However, when it comes to running, Lincoln has Omaha beat, and it's not even close.

The trail system in Lincoln is one of the finest I have seen anywhere and it is even plowed in the winter!  In Omaha, I could never run on the major trail, the Keystone Trail, until it thawed in the spring.  I distinctly remember one long winter run in Omaha when, after just a few miles running in the snow, my toes began to go numb.  I thought to myself that there was at least a chance that I might need my toes amputated after I finished my 16 miler!  No such problems in the Capitol City.

We also have three great specialty shoe stores: The Lincoln Running Company, Red Dirt, and Footloose & Fancy.  I've bought shoes and gear at each.  No matter where you go, you'll find friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Finally, we have a great lineup of local races put on by the Lincoln Track Club and BRIN (your's truly is a proud sponsor!).  The highlight of the year is, of course, the Lincoln Marathon and 1/2 Marathon.  This is a very popular, well organized, well executed, and highly acclaimed race embraced by the entire city.  Omaha just can't seem to get it's race right.  Organizers are being forced to change the course because it wasn't approved in time.  This is just the latest in a long line of stumbles and missteps that have plagued Omaha's distance events over the years.  Meanwhile, Lincoln just gets better and better.

Monday, August 31, 2015

One Year. One Goal. One Hundred Miles. Leadville 2016.

Last weekend was the Leadville 100, a one hundred mile ultra-marathon in Leadville, Colorado. More than 600 runners began, and a little over 300 finished in under the 30 hour limit.   Next year I plan to be one of them.

I have been fascinated by the race for years.  I thought that I would be one of the 600 entrants last week, but the timing just wasn't right.  My last marathon was the Las Vegas Marathon last November.  It was my 23rd marathon in less than 3 years.  I, and my family, too, needed a break.

However, I have not been able to shake the Leadville bug.  The time off has really allowed me to consider why I want to do it so badly.   Running, and running a long distance, brings me inner peace and calm, and makes me happy.  But why must it be 100 miles?  Even I know that seems crazy.

The real reason to do something as ambitious as this, isn't so much to achieve the goal, but to become the type of person who could achieve the goal.  I know that in order to be one of the 300 or so finishers at Leadville, I will have to become the best version of myself that I have ever been.  Absolutely determined, disciplined, and focused.

One year.  One goal.  One hundred miles.  Leadville 2016!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Walnut Wednesdays

When I was little, my grandmother used to bake all kinds of treats.  However, I was always dismayed that she added walnuts to practically everything she baked.  Banana bread, fudge, you name it, she added walnuts to it.  I would pick the nuts out of whatever I was eating.  Like so many things, it turns out that grandmother really knew best.

Nuts are generally regarded as a good source of healthy fats.  It turns out that walnuts, in particular, really pack quite a nutritional punch.  Among other things, they are an excellent source of fiber,  unsaturated (healthy) fats, omega fatty acids, vitamins (B vitamins, folate, and thiamin) and minerals (manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium).

It is known that walnuts can help lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol and can help increase HDL or "good" cholesterol.  The beneficial effects of walnuts extend beyond simply improving one's lipid profile.  A weekly serving of walnuts can help improve arterial function.  This may explain why a weekly serving of walnuts may lower one's chance of death from cardiovascular event by as much as 50%!

I never did develop a real love for the taste of walnuts (sorry, Grandma), but the benefits of eating walnuts have convinced me to eat one serving per week.  Let's call it "Walnut Wednesday."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cornhusker State Games Triathlon

This past weekend I competed in my first ever triathlon, the Cornhusker State Games Triathlon.  Overall, the event was fun and successful.

I started swimming in March and until very recently, I wasn't sure I could do the swim part of the race.  I was taking a "Master's" swim class and one day the coach asked if I had time to do a private lesson some day, because she was concerned that I would drown in open water!  Although I am not a strong swimmer at all, after ~8 weeks of swimming 3 days/week, I did become comfortable enough in the water that I was sure I could do the 500 yard swim the Tri required.  I did a couple of short open water lake swims the week before to acclimate to that setting and get over the "ick" factor of lake swimming.

The morning of the race came and my wife and I loaded our bikes and headed to Holmes Lake, where the race was held.  We were both nervous and excited.  My wife swam in high school and is a strong, efficient swimmer, but she had never done anything like this.  I donned my wetsuit, goggles, and swim cap and started in the 3rd wave.  I purposely positioned myself towards the back.  Thankfully, it was not crowded at all.  I started an easy free-style stroke, but soon my swim cap and goggles felt like they were falling off.  The water was pretty choppy and about 25 yards in I swallowed a big mouthful of lake water.  I never really recovered fully from this and settled into an easy stroke.  I have learned to do a decent back stroke to recover and settle myself down, and I relied heavily on this to complete the 500 yard distance.  I was satisfied that I didn't require assistance and never had to stop.  I was not the last one out of the water, but was pretty close.  My wife, who had easily finished in the top half of the women's wave, was waiting and cheering in the transition area.

I took a few minutes to get out of my wetsuit and get ready for the bike.  We left the transition area and embarked on a 20K ride, 3 times around the streets of Holmes Lake.  The highlight was seeing our kids on the side of the road, holding up their signs and cheering us on.  The 3 laps took us about 45 minutes and then we returned to the transition area to get ready for the run.  It was now getting pretty hot, and even though the swim and bike weren't long, the feeling of starting to run after swimming and biking is one that I haven't yet gotten used to.  We settled into an easy jog and completed the 5K course in under 30 minutes.  Our kids were waiting for us near the finish and because there were so few finishers this late in the race, I felt comfortable taking them for a jog across the finish line with us.  The race officials, while not super pleased I am sure, didn't say anything.

We celebrated our accomplishment at the finish line with snacks and chocolate milk.  Our finish time of ~1:40 was well in the back of the pack, but for a couple of first time triathletes, we were both pleased.  I was happy to prove my Master's coach wrong.  I didn't drown!

I actually came to really enjoy the cross training aspect of this.  For far too long, I have just run, to the exclusion of other activities.  This was a nice change of pace, although I have to admit, as I crawled out of the water, I found myself thinking, "I bet an Ultra-Marathon would be easier than this....."  Well, probably not.

CSG Pictures

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Iron Cowboy Did It!

James Lawrence earned the nickname the "Iron Cowboy" for wearing a cowboy hat during triathlons so his wife and kids could easily spot him.  He already had several records under his belt when he began what, in my opinion, is probably one of the greatest feats of human endurance.  This summer Lawrence set out to do a full ironman distance triathlon in every state in 50 days.  50 iron man triathlons.  50 states.  50 days.  Almost unimaginable.  Well, the Iron Cowboy did it, finishing his 50th race this last weekend in Utah.  I suppose it is only a matter of time until somebody does something more impressive but, for now, Lawrence belongs on the Mount Rushmore of ultra-endurance athletes.  With his wife and kids along for the entire journey, Lawrence raised money and awareness for combatting childhood obesity, a growing epidemic in the US and other developed countries.  Read more about his amazing story below.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Seeing double at swim class

Today, I really didn't feel like swimming at 5:30 AM. I'm glad I did.  If you look closely, you can see the second rainbow above the first.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Available Without a Prescription

Available Without a Prescription

Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, arthritis, depression.   These are but a handful of the diseases I see every day in my clinic.  I am an orthopaedic surgeon—a highly sub-specialized one who mostly treats conditions of the foot and ankle—but when I go in to see a new patient I review the patient’s entire medical history.  It amazes me how many medical diagnoses people carry and the amount of prescription medications that they take for them.  We live in the richest nation on Earth, with the most advanced medical technology available to us, but we seem to be getting sicker and sicker.  I am a firm believer that many, if not most of the diseases I see can be managed, cured, or best of all, prevented.  Not with expensive medication.  Not with therapy.  Not even with surgery.  What is this “miracle medical intervention?”  As it turns out, it is not a miracle at all.  It is lifestyle.  Principally, diet and exercise, but stress management, meditation and sleep, are probably just as important.

Let’s start with exercise.   I ask all of my patients what they do for a living.  Most answer that they sit at a desk all day.  It has been said that “sitting is the new smoking.”  It is a fact.  Our sedentary lifestyle is slowly killing us.  Humans are not meant to sit at a computer desk all day.  From an evolutionary perspective, we have evolved as hunters and gatherers.  Thus, our sedentary lives are at odds with what our bodies are engineered to do.  It should come as no surprise then that our bodies are failing.  It is imperative that we become more active.  Most of us should strive for at least 30-60 minutes of exercise each day.  This doesn’t have to be going to the gym and being weirded out by the sweaty guy with the tank top.  Find something that you enjoy and JUST DO IT.  Walk, run, bike, garden, vacuum the house, anything!  As long as you are not sitting on the couch, it is probably exercise.  Motion is life, and life is motion.

There is a sign at Good Life Fitness that says, “you will never out-train a bad diet.”  It is totally true, and I am living proof of this.  I have completed 53 marathons, including 4 double marathons with back-to-back Saturday-Sunday marathons.  I qualified for the Boston Marathon and ran it in 2002.  However, despite these accomplishments, I have seen my own waistline expand a little bit each year, and have seen my cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure rise a little bit each year, too.  How can that be, when I am so very active?  The answer is diet.  I am from western Nebraska, raised on steak and eggs.  Sadly, I was probably also raised on margarine and other sources of partially hydrogenated oils.   Over the years, I have become a healthier eater overall, probably, but the stress and hours of my job mean that more often than I should, I reach for a bag of chips and can of soda.  Like our sedentary lifestyles, our processed food culture is killing us, too.   Again, our bodies evolved as hunters and gatherers.  We crave sugar and fat because our bodies know that these mean calories, and calories mean energy and sustenance.  Sadly, nearly everything we buy pre-packaged at the store or get in the fast food drive through is laden with salt, sugar, and fat.  Perhaps in another thousand years, our bodies will evolve and thrive on the Western Diet, but right now, this diet is killing us.  But it’s not too late.  I am not vegan (at least not yet), but for 6 weeks this spring, as a sort of experiment of one, I adopted a plant-based, mostly whole foods “diet.”  In that very short period of time, my total cholesterol dropped more than 30 points and my blood pressure and blood glucose, once borderline, are once again normal.  I am not saying you have to be vegan or vegetarian to be healthy.  Michael Pollan said it best.  “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”

We live in a very fast paced, competitive world.  Most of us are chronically stressed out and deprived of sleep.  Jobs, kids, money, the latest crisis on the news (Ebola, ISIS, etc.) raise our collective level of stress.  This, in turn, causes the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, to be increased.  This causes physiologic changes in our body that contribute greatly to the diseases I mentioned in my introduction.  I have been meditating here and there for several months, and have found it to be a very powerful tool for dealing with stress.  It helps me to be more mindful in my everyday life.  My wife can probably tell you exactly the days I have and haven’t meditated over the last few months!  When I do it, I am a more relaxed, authentic version of myself.

Finally, sleep.  Most of us simply don’t get enough.  It’s funny how we spend the first 20 or so years of our lives doing anything to avoid sleep (as parents of 3 small kids this is particularly true in our house!) and the rest of our life wishing we could somehow get more sleep.  We will spend outrageous sums of money on mattresses and even tech devices to help us sleep better.  How little sleep one gets is sometimes seen as a badge of honor among many professionals.  There are individual differences in how much sleep we need, but in general, a lack of sleep over time has been linked to lower life expectancy.  When we are even mildly sleep deprived, we are the worst versions of ourselves, having short tempers and making poor decisions, like reaching for the caffeinated beverages and fast, unhealthy food.  Any wellness program is incomplete without a lot of focus on getting a good, restful night sleep.  Eliminate the TV from your bedroom, late night meals, alcohol and caffeine, and you will wake up feeling better than you have in a long time.

As a society, we are starved for health.  We spend money on gym memberships, the latest fad diet, and trips to the doctor, all in search of well being.  I am by no means a hippy, new age witch doctor.  I am a product of western medicine and I know first hand the difference that can be made in people’s lives with a traditional approach to medicine, and this often necessitates pharmaceuticals and even surgery.  However, I have become more and more convinced that the solution to many of our problems isn’t the physician’s prescription pad or the surgeon’s knife, but lifestyle modifications that are available without a prescription or even an appointment.  Eat your fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, meditate, and get enough sleep.  Doctor’s orders!

Suggested reading list:
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier
Running With the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal
Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
In Defense of Food & The Omnivores Dilemma, both by Michael Pollan

Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 State Farm Run

Just a reminder that the 2015 State Farm Run is next Saturday.  The race kicks off the 2015 Lincoln Track Club race schedule.  Great way to gauge your training for the Lincoln Marathon and 1/2 Marathon.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cut & Run........& Bike...........& Swim

I've felt a little lost since finishing the 50 state marathon journey in Las Vegas last fall.  I am someone who is much more disciplined when I have a goal, and without a calendar of marathons to look forward to, my training has lacked focus.  I've always been fascinated by triathlons.  So I decided that this would be the year!  I have signed up for the triathlon at the Cornhusker State Games this summer. Of course, I had to pick the year when the CSG hosts the State Games of America, of which NOASM is a sponsor.  Nebraska athletes are exempt from qualifying.  Good thing, too, because I am a very poor swimmer and not much better on the bike.  I'm nervous, but excited to try something new.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Proud Dad

Since I ran my 50th state in November, I haven't run much and have posted even less, but there is one thing I wanted to share.  My son, Linus, recently turned 5.  Since he was born, I have run 32 marathons, and he has actually been to 9 of them.  When asked on his birthday what he wants to be when he grows up, he said, without hesitation, "I want to be a runner."  2028 Olympics, here we come!!!