Thursday, December 1, 2016

15 Minute Harried Holiday Health Hack

The holidays can be a busy, stressful time for many.  Although I generally don't recommend short cuts to health and wellness, something is better than nothing.  If you struggle to find the time to devote to your physical and emotional well-being, try this 15 minute morning routine to super-charge your day!

1.  Meditate for five minutes.  The health and wellness benefits of meditating are well known.  Even five minutes is enough to reap many of the benefits.  You will find yourself more calm, relaxed, and ready to tackle the day.

2.  Seven minute high intensity interval work outs.  This 7 minute work out combines cardio, core, upper and lower body exercise and can be done almost anywhere, anytime.  Do each exercise for 30 seconds and move straight to the next exercise without taking a break.

3.  Finally, take a few minutes to make a morning smoothie.  Packed with fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals, smoothies are the perfect to-go breakfast for the busiest individual.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

3rd Annual Little Run on the Prairie

The Harvest Moon Hustle Friday night was a huge success.  Now, it's time to get the kids involved!

Register for the 3rd annual Little Run on the Prairie, a non-competitive, 1 mile kids fun run at Prairie Hill Learning Center near Roca.  Cost is $10 and if you register by Monday, the kids will receive an awesome shirt!

Click the link below to register:

See you at the race!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Stop by and say hello at the Harvest Moon Hustle packet pickup.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Who would you invite on a long run?

I have ONE spot left to give away to the Harvest Moon Hustle on September 16.  To be entered for a chance to win the last free entry into this sold-out race, just respond to this week's reader's question.

This week's question is, "if you could go on a long run with any person in the world, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?"

Post your answer on this blog or the Nebraska Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Facebook page.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Favorite Running Books

One of my favorite things to do to make the miles go by quickly on a long run is to listen to a podcast or audiobook.  Not surprisingly, I very often find myself drawn to books about running.  Here are some of my favorites that I have read or listened to over the years.  What are your favorites?  Comment below or on our Facebook page for a chance to win another entry into the sold out Harvest Moon Hustle.

Born to Run- Christopher McDougall's modern running "classic."  This book spawned the barefoot running craze, but it was so much more.

Staying the Course: A Runner's Toughest Race- Dick Beardsley's memoir.  He was one of America's top marathoners in the 1980s.  Includes his account of his famous race against Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon.

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It- Everyone knows Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile barrier.  In this book, Neal Bascombe tells his story and that of two other, lesser known runners, who competed to be the first to break this milestone.

The Long Run- A great short story by Mishka Shubally about running away from personal demons and finding redemption.

My Life on the Run- A memoir by Bart Yasso of Runner's World fame.

The Courage to Start- By John Bingham, aka "The Penguin."  A great book about the transformative power of running for the every-man.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Speed Work in Disguise

This weekend I logged a lot of miles pushing my 3 year old daughter in a Baby Jogger.  It has been said that "hills are speed work in disguise."  I would add that pushing a Baby Jogger is also a pretty good workout for building speed and strength, and about the only "speed work out" I do anymore.

In the archives of this blog, July 2011, you can read several posts about my favorite speed workouts, including tempo runs and Yasso 800s.  

For a chance to win a coveted entry into next month's Harvest Moon Hustle, tell me about your favorite speed work out!

Monday, August 1, 2016

My First Ultra

This weekend I completed my first "ultra-marathon."  I ran a 50K in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, the Hot Hilly Hairy Ultra Solo & Relay.  It was a great ultra for a first timer.  The 50K was one of many races that day.  There were solo races ranging from 10K-85K and many teams competed in a 100 mile relay.  It was a fun, festive atmosphere.

The course was run on a cross country course at the University of Wisconsin Parkside.  The course was a fairly easy 5K, with 50K runners finishing 10 laps.  Temperatures were thankfully mild in the mid 70s.  There were two aid stations on the course, and a place where runners could place their own gear and aid.  It was a perfect set up for a solo ultra. I did not have to carry any aid.  I could drink at the aid stations and after each lap I snacked on my own food (bagel w/ peanut butter, bananas, and oranges).

I liked the set up.  I especially liked that the distance was broken down into manageable segments.  Rather that saying to myself, "I have to run 50 kilometers this morning" I only had to run 10 laps!  This kind of mental trick can be very helpful.

I had no goal time.  My only goals were to make it back to Milwaukee in time to catch my flight home, and to finish.  In the end, my finishing time was 6 hours, 36 minutes, and 15 seconds.  My finishing time put me in the top 1/2 of 50K solo runners.  It would have been faster but halfway through I had to go move my rental car so it wouldn't get towed away!  In the dark pre-race hours, I guess I parked illegally!

Competitors in the ultra distance received a hand made crown and a shirt that said, "I slayed the dragon."  The event had kind of a medieval theme.  All in all, it was fun experience.  50K is the longest I have ever run.  Next up is a 50 mile trail run in September.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Smoothie Recipe

For the last two years, I have started almost every day with a smoothie.  This was a departure from a lifetime of cereal.  With one smoothie, I pack in almost a days worth of fruit, vegetables, and super foods.  They are easy to make, digest, delicious, nutritious, and portable.  I make a large one for myself to drink at breakfast and take another one to work to sip on during the morning.

My typical smoothie includes:

1 large banana
1-2 cups frozen berries
1-2 cups frozen greens (spinach or kale)
1 ginger root (about the size of the tip of your thumb)
1 tbsp tumeric
2-3 tablespoons of chia and/or flax seeds
1 lemon or lime
2-3 table spoons of tart cherry juice

I fill to almost the top of the blender with water, and blend until smooth.  Any blender will do, but I probably couldn't live without my Vitamix!

How do you fuel your day and workouts?  Share your favorite smoothie recipe or other pre or post run fuel on my blog or the NOASM Facebook page for a chance to win a free entry to the sold out Harvest Moon Hustle!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

It Started With a 10K

Once again I am proud to sponsor the Harvest Moon Hustle 10K, one of the best races on the local running calendar.  The race is fun and festive.  It reminds me of my first 10K twenty years ago.

I was inspired to start running by Ken Hawley, my friend Jason's dad.  He started running when it was still called "jogging."  It's funny, you never hear that anymore!  Anyway, he knew that I had started running to get in shape and he suggested that I try running a road race.  I lived in Alliance, NE at the time, and there were few options.  Ken had run the Bolder Boulder 10K in Colorado many times and raved about it.  At the time, it was probably the second largest road race in the country, with ~50,000 runners.  I was regularly running 4-6 miles, so I was in decent shape, but I had never considered running a race.  I now considered myself a runner, or jogger, if you will, but a racer?  Surely not.

I considered it a great challenge and signed up for the Memorial Day race (by US Mail!).  I trained through the spring as best as I knew how.  As the race approached, I was really nervous and excited.  What would I eat before?  What if I had to go to the bathroom?  Do I stretch before?  What if I couldn't finish?  What would the other real runners think of me?

As I stood at the start and looked around, I saw very fit, obviously experienced racers, but also saw plenty of people just like me, maybe not first timers, but people just there to test themselves and take in the experience.

The Bolder Boulder starts in waves of thousands of runners.  When it was time for my wave to start, I went out, not knowing if I was running too fast or too slow.  I just...ran.  The Bolder Boulder is a real spectacle.  I saw people running the whole thing backwards.  I saw a group that was leap frogging the whole race.  And there were too many crazy costumes to count.

The race ends inside Folsom Field.  As I neared the finish, I was overcome by emotion.  I was going to finish my first 10K!  Just two years before, I was 65 lbs heavier and could not run a mile.  Now, with a little inspiration and a lot of hard work, I was not just a runner.  I was a racer.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hard to Take Your Own Medicine

I often have to tell injured athletes that they will miss an important game, meet, or tournament. Part of playing sports, I tell them, is dealing with setbacks and adversity. Fortunately for me, I have had very few of these setbacks to deal with during my running career. I have been amazingly injury free. This weekend, however, I sprained my MCL and badly bruised my medial femoral condyle in, of all things, a paddle board accident. It should heal fully in a few weeks, but I am registered for the Sandhills Marathon in Valentine, NE this Saturday. I can't roll over in bed without searing pain in my knee. It is hard to imagine that it will feel that much better by Saturday. My training  has been going really well, too. I put in 59.5 miles last week, peaking for the marathon this weekend. The race was supposed to be a long training run for my 50 mile trail race in September. Unless my knee feels a lot better soon, I will miss my first race due to injury in 20 years. I guess I will understand that much better how my patients feel and deal with disappointment.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dr. Swanson's Lifestyle Rx

Dr. Swanson’s Lifestyle Rx

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."  -Thomas Edison

I firmly believe that lifestyle is a cause of many of our medical ailments, including foot and ankle pain. Try these simple, inexpensive, low-risk lifestyle solutions.


I am not simply talking about weight loss, although that is important, too. If you are over your ideal body mass index (BMI), weight loss can be very beneficial. With certain activities, your foot & ankle is subject to many times your body weight. Thus, even a minor change in your weight can profoundly affect the stresses placed on your foot and ankle. Regardless of your weight, my research has convinced me that a whole foods, plant based diet is the way to achieve optimum health and may help cure many bodily aches and pains, without the need for drugs or surgery. There are many stories of amazing transformations that have occurred when patients adopt a whole-foods, plant based diet. The best advice I ever heard is from author Michael Pollan, who wrote, “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”


It has been said that, “sitting is the new smoking.” While this may be a slight exaggeration, too many of us live sedentary lives and do not get enough exercise. To improve your health, I recommend at least 30 minutes of low impact aerobic activity daily. If that is too much, start with 5 minutes. This can be something as simple as going for a walk, raking leaves, shoveling snow, or working in your garden. Other activities might include swimming or biking. For most people, some sort of strength or resistance training is helpful, too. If you have a heart condition, please check with your primary care doctor or cardiologist before beginning an exercise program!


We are learning a lot about the negative effects of stress on the body. Meditation is one of the best ways to prevent or manage stress. Modern neuroscience is just now catching up with this centuries old tradition. There are many scientifically proven benefits to meditation, and I can personally vouch for it’s effectiveness. I recommend starting with a simple breathing meditation. Start with just 5 minutes a day and stick with it! If possible, work up to 10-20 minutes daily.


Books: The Omnivores Dilemma
            In Defense of Food
            The China Study
            Engine 2 Diet
            How Not to Die


Documentary: Forks Over Knives

Podcast: The Rich Roll Podcast

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Things I've Noticed on Trail Runs

I've spent most of the spring getting ready for a Trail Ultra-Marathon this fall.  Along the way I've discovered some great trails around Lincoln that I never knew existed.  I can't believe it took me 7 years to run in Wilderness Park!  I've also sought out local and regional trail races in order to specifically train for the challenge I'll face in the fall.  Two weeks ago, I ran the Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail 12 K at Platte River State Park and today I ran a trail 1/2 marathon outside Lawrence, KS as part of the "Free State Trail Runs."  The Ni-Bthaska-Ke run was the hardest race I've ever run and the one today wasn't much easier.  Along the way, I've noticed a few things about trail running, which is distinctly different from road running.

The chance of breaking a bone trail running is pretty good.
There is a little more B.O. on a trail run.
People talk about new bands that remind them of the Grateful Dead.
The aid stations are awesome.
There is nearly always good beer and music I recognize at the finish.
Most runners have tattoos.
Nobody runs in lululemon.
Finish times mean very little.
Listening to music is frowned upon if not frankly against the rules.
Nobody talks about Boston.
Trail running is a lot more fun.

I'll have more on my trail running adventures in the coming weeks and months!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Balance & Time Management

I was recently asked to draft an essay for a half-marathon training group, addressing issues of balance and time management.  I know many others who are training for spring races.  As the miles add up, we can find ourselves stretched thin at home and work.  In this essay, I share some tips and tricks I learned while I was in the midst of my heavy training.

Here it is:

One of the questions I often get is, “how do you have time to train for marathons, work as a surgeon, and spend time with your family?”    The answer is time management and balance.  I would like to share with you what I have learned along the way, and give you some tips and tricks for how to tackle the training necessary for a full or half marathon, and stay balanced in your life, not neglecting your other responsibilities at home and work.

I had completed three marathons already by the time I met my wife, so she knew that I was a runner.  However, until you live with one, it is difficult to understand what that means.  Full marathons generally require at least one long run of 20 miles and several long runs of 12-20 miles in the weeks or months before that.  Not to mention the weekday runs, too!  The mileage for a half is obviously less, but the principles are the same.  You might be gone for 2, 3, or 4 hours on your long run, but it isn’t just the time on the actual run that counts.  The night before a long run you generally are going to want to go to bed early and eat a certain way.  After the run, you are going to be tired and sore and not feel like doing a whole lot.  Pretty soon, the long run can dominate an entire weekend.  If you aren’t careful, this can result in resentment from your spouse or significant other if he or she is not on board.  To this day, my wife is mad that when I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon, we never went and looked at the Great Salt Lake.  I was too tired!!  We joke about it now, but she was really disappointed!

I’ve compiled a few suggestions on how to manage your time and balance the demands of training with family and work responsibilities.

1.  Get wise as to your why’s, and share them.  If you have a spouse or significant other and he or she is not a runner, explain why you are training.  Maybe it is get in shape, lose weight, connect with friends, deal with stress, or achieve a bucket list item.  Whatever the reason is, share with those around you.  They will better understand your motivation and are more likely to support your endeavor.  My wife has learned that when I am training, I am the best version of myself.  That spills over into every other aspect of my life at home and work.  For this reason, among others, she is extremely supportive of my hobby.  Also, when you truly understand why you are doing this, those reasons will help to keep you motivated.  For me, my goal was to run a marathon in every state.  That goal got me out the door lots of mornings I would have rather stayed in bed.

2. Make it a family affair.  Whenever possible, include your family in your training.   My wife and I planned our wedding during long training runs for the Country Music Marathon in 2004.  It may not be practical to include your family in long training runs, but try and do some of your training with them.  My wife and I often go on short jogs together now, and use this time to connect away from the distractions of home and work.  Similarly, if your children are old enough to run, ask if they want to run with you.  Even if it is only for a hundred yards, you will both enjoy it.  Finally, if you have small kids, I highly recommend a Baby Jogger.  It’s a great way to include young children in your run, and can lighten the load on your spouse.

A positive side effect of this will be the effect it has on your family.  One of the things I am most proud of is the culture of exercise that exists in my house now.  My kids think it is perfectly normal for running shoes, hats, and sweaty tech shirts to be lying around.  They love to put on headlamps and run around in the back yard, pretending that they are running marathons in the dark like dad.

3.  Sacrifice.  You will have to sacrifice. My job involves long hours away from home so the last thing I want to do is sacrifice family time in order to train. For this reason, I have become extremely efficient at training. My goal for a weekend long run is to be home by the time everyone is eating breakfast. In order to do this, I usually have to get up and be out the door by 5 AM.  I started one long run at 3:30 AM!  I love these early morning solo runs.  There is nothing more peaceful than a long run on a dark morning.  I have found, too, that the miles seem to go by a little faster when it is very dark and early in the morning (probably because I am half asleep during the first half of it).  I am usually home by 7 or 8 and don’t feel like I’ve missed much.

4. Use your time wisely.  As a surgeon, my days can be unpredictable.  I never know what might be waiting for me when I get to the hospital, and never know exactly what time I might get home.  I have made the mistake of putting off a run until evening, assuming I would have time.  Invariably something comes up that prevents me from getting the run in.  Do it first thing in the morning before the many demands of work and family pile up.  Sometimes, however, I can’t get my workout in before work, if I have an early surgery or emergency.  For this reason, I keep a pair of running shoes and workout clothes in my car and hospital locker at all times.  Even if I can only get away for 30 minutes, that is much better than missing a workout altogether.

5.  Realize that running isn’t for everyone.  I love running marathons and I love training for marathons.  My wife has actually trained for and ran a few with me.  She is a very gifted runner and has much more natural talent than I do.  At first, I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t as passionate about the sport as I was.  She could be so good!  Over time, I have, of course, realized that running long distances for many is boring and pointless.  She has other interests and doesn’t enjoy being tired and in pain.  I’ve realized that she is actually the normal one, and I am the nut.  I’m glad she has shared the experiences with me, and I enjoy our short jogs together.

6.  Say “Thank You.”  This is probably the easiest, yet most overlooked and most important key to balancing a time consuming hobby like distance running with family life.   There are so many benefits to running, but let’s be honest, training for a half marathon or greater distance is selfish.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but it is.  Recognize that others are probably making sacrifices, too, and acknowledge their contribution.  When I ran my final state in Nevada my family was there to celebrate with me.  The Las Vegas marathon is run on The Strip at night.  I finished well after 9PM.  My wife insisted that our young children be there at the finish, so she woke them up, loaded them into the stroller and Baby Bjorn, and navigated the throngs of people to get to the finish line.  With help from my brothers-in-law, they were able to get through a barricade at the finish and with three kids in tow, we ran across the finish line together.  Tears running down her face, my wife said, “it was so hard getting here!”  I knew that she didn’t just mean getting to the finish line that day.  The thousands of miles and hours before that were hard.  Not just for me, but for my whole family.  Be appreciative of the sacrifices that your family is likely making, too, and acknowledge them.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 LTC Race Schedule

Here is the link to the schedule for Lincoln Track Club races in 2016.  Happy New Year and Happy Running!