Ben Colmen An Inspiring Story For Any Athlete

Ben Colmen is a remarkable young man who has had lots of challenges during his life.  This young man just wanted to be on a “team”.  Ben has cerebral palsy.  He could not find a team that was willing to work with his limitations.  One day he found cross-country, started to run and now has won the hearts of his competitors.  Cross country is a sport that anyone can fit into.  You don’t always have to be the fastest runner on the team and this video will prove that.


The Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast

New York Times- Tuesday December 21, 2011 by  Gretchen Reynolds

The holiday season brings many joys and, unfortunately, many countervailing dietary pitfalls. Even the fittest and most disciplined of us can succumb, indulging in more fat and calories than at any other time of the year. The health consequences, if the behavior is unchecked, can be swift and worrying. A recent study by scientists in Australia found that after only three days, an extremely high-fat, high-calorie diet can lead to increased blood sugar and insulin resistance, potentially increasing the risk for Type 2 diabetes. Waistlines also can expand at this time of year, prompting self-recrimination and unrealistic New Year’s resolutions.

But a new study published in The Journal of Physiology suggests a more reliable and far simpler response. Run or bicycle before breakfast. Exercising in the morning, before eating, the study results show, seems to significantly lessen the ill effects of holiday Bacchanalias.

Phys Ed

For the study, researchers in Belgium recruited 28 healthy, active young men and began stuffing them with a truly lousy diet, composed of 50 percent fat and 30 percent more calories, overall, than the men had been consuming. Some of the men agreed not to exercise during the experiment. The rest were assigned to one of two exercise groups. The groups’ regimens were identical and exhausting. The men worked out four times a week in the mornings, running and cycling at a strenuous intensity. Two of the sessions lasted 90 minutes, the others, an hour. All of the workouts were supervised, so the energy expenditure of the two groups was identical.

Their early morning routines, however, were not. One of the groups ate a hefty, carbohydrate-rich breakfast before exercising and continued to ingest carbohydrates, in the form of something like a sports drink, throughout their workouts. The second group worked out without eating first and drank only water during the training. They made up for their abstinence with breakfast later that morning, comparable in calories to the other group’s trencherman portions.

The experiment lasted for six weeks. At the end, the non -exercising group was, to no one’s surprise, super-sized, having packed on an average of more than six pounds. They had also developed insulin resistance — their muscles were no longer responding well to insulin and weren’t pulling sugar (or, more technically, glucose) out of the bloodstream efficiently — and they had begun storing extra fat within and between their muscle cells. Both insulin resistance and fat-marbled muscles are metabolically unhealthy conditions that can be precursors of diabetes.

The men who ate breakfast before exercising gained weight, too, although only about half as much as the control group. Like those sedentary big eaters, however, they had become more insulin-resistant and were storing a greater amount of fat in their muscles.

Only the group that exercised before breakfast gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance. They also burned the fat they were taking in more efficiently. “Our current data,” the study’s authors wrote, “indicate that exercise training in the fasted state is more effective than exercise in the carbohydrate-fed state to stimulate glucose tolerance despite a hypercaloric high-fat diet.”

Just how exercising before breakfast blunts the deleterious effects of overindulging is not completely understood, although this study points toward several intriguing explanations. For one, as has been known for some time, exercising in a fasted state (usually possible only before breakfast), coaxes the body to burn a greater percentage of fat for fuel during vigorous exercise, instead of relying primarily on carbohydrates. When you burn fat, you obviously don’t store it in your muscles. In “our study, only the fasted group demonstrated beneficial metabolic adaptations, which eventually may enhance oxidative fatty acid turnover,” said Peter Hespel, Ph.D., a professor in the Research Center for Exercise and Health at Catholic University Leuven in Belgium and senior author of the study.

At the same time, the fasting group showed increased levels of a muscle protein that “is responsible for insulin-stimulated glucose transport in muscle and thus plays a pivotal role in regulation of insulin sensitivity,” Dr Hespel said.

In other words, working out before breakfast directly combated the two most detrimental effects of eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet. It also helped the men avoid gaining weight.

There are caveats, of course. Exercising on an empty stomach is unlikely to improve your performance during that workout. Carbohydrates are easier for working muscles to access and burn for energy than fat, which is why athletes typically eat a high-carbohydrate diet. The researchers also don’t know whether the same benefits will accrue if you exercise at a more leisurely pace and for less time than in this study, although, according to Leonie Heilbronn, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia, who has extensively studied the effects of high-fat diets and wrote a commentary about the Belgian study, “I would predict low intensity is better than nothing.”

So, unpleasant as the prospect may be, set your alarm after the next Christmas party to wake you early enough that you can run before sitting down to breakfast. “I would recommend this,” Dr. Heilbronn concluded, “as a way of combating Christmas” and those insidiously delectable cookies.

Running in the cold or on a treadmill?

I have been a runner for 28 years.  Over  those 28 years I have run three marathons and tons of  5k  and  10k races.    My husband also has run for 34 years training for marathons, 5k, 10k and duathalons (run, bike, run races).  Living in Pennsylvania the winters get cold.  Several years ago we spent a few weeks looking for a treadmill that we could both use.  Since my husband was nationally ranked in the 20k at the time we had to find a treadmill that would be fast enough for his training runs.  We finally found one.  We set up a t.v.  near it to help break up the monotony of training on a treadmill.  At first it was nice to run in the warmth of our house.  .  However we both  personally enjoy running outside more.  After a few miles personally I start watching the red light that tracks you running around a 1/4 miles track.  The treadmill is now in the basement and used for the extremely cold days.  More often we use it when both of us have to run and are crunched for time.  This way one of us can run outside while the other one runs inside with our children playing in the room.  I like the fact that I can run inside if I want but I personally prefer to run outside.  My longest run on a treadmill is only 7 miles but my longest run outdoors is 30 miles.  Grant it the 30 miler was run on a warmer day (in the beginning of February so it is not really warm yet).  Outside you get to see more than a wall or a video.  I have several friends that have no problem running long runs on the treadmill but I personally don’t know how they do it.  All i need is my gor-tex jacket, warm pants, gloves and a hat and I am good to go.  Once we ran a marathon in January in Chambersburg,  Pa. at the start the race director told all the runners if anyone wants a 100% refund he would give it to us.  My guess is that he didn’t want to be out side in the conditions- 5 degrees at the race start (wind chill factor was well below 0).  But maybe all the runners trained outside so it was not scaring them away.  Does any one have any good ideas other than watching t.v. to make running on the treadmill more tolerable?  This way mine wont collect so much dust.  They good thing is my kids ages 9 and 7 have taken an interest in running and will often ask to run on it.  At least it is getting used some.

Running in the cold weather

Well winter has finally arrived. Today the temperature was in the 20’s with a strong wind making it feel even colder. Most hard core runners will brave the cold rather than run on a treadmill because of the boredom of being in same spot for what seems like forever.

Mild hypothermia (below normal body temperature) can occur within minutes of exposure to frigid conditions, even while exercising. You can help offset this by following a few simple rules.

You need to stay warm and dry and limit direct environmental exposure to your skin. Dress in multiple layers of thin, wicking materials (shirts and pants) with an outer shell that will serve to trap the heat inside. The colder it is, the more layers you need. Wear light gloves, if it is extremely cold wear a outer layer of mittens over your gloves. In the more extreme cold weather you may need to cover your entire head (i.e. with a balaclava). You could also uses Petroleum jelly on the parts of the face that is left uncovered.

The symptoms of hypothermia include feeling a sense of disorientation, lack of coordination, garbled speech, no shivering, weak pulse and a drop in blood pressure. After any run in the cold, once you are inside, put on dry cloths and eat something warm.

TIMEX Ironman Global Trainer with GPS Technology with Heart Rate Monitor- Product Review

Dave Erickson is a TV anchor and two time Ironman Triathlete. Below is his review of the new Timex Global Trainer with GPS technology.

It’s December and my triathlon season wrapped up in mid-September and I’m feeling fairly good about how things went. I earned my first ever podium spot at a Sprint triathlon in Rathdrum, Idaho in June. That was pretty exciting for me.

This season consisted of 3 Sprints, 3 Olympics and two 70.3’s which included my first ever Ironman Boise 70.3, in June. It was soon after that race that I picked up a new training device, the TIMEX Ironman Global Trainer with GPS technology with Heart Rate Monitor. It went Global in September.

This is the first GPS device to go head to head with the Garmin line of sports watches and for my money TIMEX is far and above the better value. I’ll tell you why in a moment.

My previous watch was a Garmin 310xt, a solid watch but a bit more spendy. Over the years I’ve had a number of different sport watches, some name brands, some generic, then as I got more series, I started using HRM watches, Polar, Garmins and most recently, TIMEX.

Here’s what I like with this Global Trainer. It was designed with the multisport athlete in mind and with a 15 hour rechargable battery life even an Ironman athlete can utilize all of it’s great features without the worry of it dieing or going blank mid-way through your race.

I’ve used the Global Trainer now in all three disciplines during training as well as full races and I love it! It works great in the water in part because the large display face makes it easy to read. It’s water resistant to 50 meters which is more than enough but like the Garmin it does lose it’s GPS below the surface; in the pool and in open water. It’s still works fine underwater, keeping track of my overall time, number of laps (up to a thousand if your that ambitious), split times, everything TIMEX watches already do, it’s the same system. And when I’m done I can review my workout. It takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a full charge. It comes with a USB port adapter for the wall too.

Here’s one of the features that is exclusive to TIMEX and the Global Trainer, after your workout you can download your performance to the TIMEX Ironman Online Training log software which is powered by Training Peaks. My favorite mode on this watch is the MULTISPORT. This is perfect for the triathlete. Not only does it have a screen for and calculate your swim, bike and run time, it’s also set up to track your T1 and T2 times, just by pushing one button. It takes the guess work out of racing so you can focus on the task at hand.

I’ve had this watch going on 6 months now and it’s the only watch I use when training; its an “all-in-one” training device. It’s worth every dollar I spent.

Once you use it, I’m positive you’ll be happy with your investment.

What To Do With Race Medal?

When you start running races one thinks it would be nice to win a medal.    After you’ve run a few races, and won a few medals you will be asking yourself what do I do with the medals now?  Our household has two adults that have competed in 10-20 races a year or over 24 years, and two children that have run a few races themselves.  So you can imagine the amount of medals we have in our house. Rather than stuff it in a drawer here are a few ideas.

Medal Hangers

Hang it up. If you have a collection of medals, show them off on one of these cool MedalART Wall Hangers. These metal, hand-sculpted hangers come in six different designs and can hold up to 24 medals. It’s a perfect running gift for a runner on your list (or for your own wish list).  Check out MedalArt’s website at

Create a shadow box display. If you don’t want to pay a lot of money to get your medal,   race photo and bib, professionally mounted and framed, try doing it yourself. Just buy an inexpensive shadow box at a local craft store,  fill it with your race memorabilia, hang it on your wall and you’ll have a nice-looking reminder of your achievement.  The shadow boxes some in a variety of sizes and are made out of wood.

Pin them on cork board (about 4 feet x 3 feet found in Walmart/Target stores).    This is perfect for children to hang in their rooms.  My daughters are 9 and 7 years old.  They started running 1 mile fun runs at the age of 3 and both have run a few 5K races after they turned 7 years old. They enjoy hanging the medals up and every once in a while they rearranging  them, using push pins makes this fun and easy.

Donate it.  Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization that collects marathon, half-marathon, and triathlon medals from runners around the world and distributes them to children and adults who have demonstrated courage by dealing with disease, handicaps or any similar challenge. The Indianapolis-based organization has a nationwide network of doctors and others who award the medals to deserving, courageous people who are running their own race. Check out Medals4Mettle’s website if you’re interested in donating a medal.

Achillies Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is the band of tissues connecting the muscle in the back of your leg (gastrocnemius-soleus) to your heel bone.  Achilles tendinitis is an injury that occurs when your Achilles tendon  becomes inflamed or irritated.

The signs and symptoms of Achilles tendinitis often develop gradually.   You’ll feel pain and stiffness in your Achilles, especially when you first get out of bed.   The pain lessens as you warm up, and may even disappear as you continue running.   Once you stop, the pain returns and may feel even worse.   You may also notice a crackling or creaking sound when you touch or move your Achilles tendon.

When you place a large amount of stress on your Achilles tendon too quickly, it can become inflamed from tiny tears that occur during the activity.   Achilles tendinitis is often a result of over-training or doing too much too soon.   Excessive hill running can contribute to it. Flattening of the arch of your foot can place you at increased risk of developing Achilles tendinitis because of the extra stress placed on your Achilles tendon when walking or running.

If you’re just getting started with your training, be sure to stretch before and after running, and start slowly, increasing your mileage by no more than 10% per week. Strengthen your calf muscles with exercises such as toe raises also low-impact cross-training activities, such as cycling and swimming, into your training.

Use the R.I.C.E method of treatment when you first notice the pain.
R= Rest
I= Ice
C= Compression
E= Elevation
Rest is a key part of treating tendinitis, prolonged inactivity can cause stiffness in your joints. Move the injured ankle through its full range of motion and perform gentle Achilles tendon stretches to maintain joint flexibility.
If self-care doesn’t work, it’s important to get the injury treated because if the tendon continues to sustain small tears through movement, it can rupture under excessive stress. A ruptured Achilles tendon usually occurs when inflammation has been chronic. One often needs surgery if the tendon ruptures and is very painful.  Your doctor may suggest a temporary foot insert that elevates your heel and may relieve strain on the tendon.   Physical therapy may also help allow the tendon to heal and repair itself over a period of weeks.