A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mountain Crossings at Appalachian Trail

Here's a cool slide show of Mountain Crossings on Ga. Highway 19/129. Regular readers to this blog will know I'm a fan and supporter of the A.T.
If you're ever traveling between Blairsville from Dahlonega, you'll likely pass by this store. To hikers it's an oasis, the first such outfitters after leaving Springer. Owner Winton Porter recently wrote a book, "Just Passing Through," about his many sightings of the characters who literally pass through his store. (It's the only covered section of the trail). Most stay only briefly but some, so taken by the place, manage to hang around months or years at a time.
Happy hiking.

A Marathon Runner's Guide to Keeping Feet in Tip-Top Shape

The New York City Marathon, the premier event of New York runners, is one of the world's great road races. Drawing more than 85,000 applicants the race attracts world-class professional athletes, driven to cross the finish line in Central Park. Running is a great cardio workout for your body, but pounding the pavement over the course of a long run can be extremely harsh on feet. Every stride taken while running applies a force of 3-4 times your body weight across knees, ankles and feet. During a 10-mile run, feet make 15,000 strides, which means thousand of pounds of force are placed on the feet of runner’s during the New York City Marathon.
NYC podiatrist Dr. Oliver Zong is one of the premier cosmetic foot surgeons in the country. He serves as the Director of Surgery at NYC FootCare and is on the Board of Directors at Gramercy Park Surgery Center. Dr. Zong offers foot related advice and tips to runners participating in this year’s New York City Marathon, for keeping feet in tip-top shape and feeling like a champion at the finish line.
Keep Your Feet in Tip-Top Shape With 10 These Tips from Dr. Zong:

1. Stretching. Stretching primes the body for the strenuous activity. Stretch before and after running. Concentrate on the calves, hamstrings, quads and feet.

2. Shoes. Invest in a good pair of running shoes. They provide specific impact support that running demands. There is a wide variety of sneakers for every prove range at retail outlets like www.shoes.com. If feet sweat heavily during running try putting talcum powder in your shoes to keep feet dry.

3. Orthodics. If you have arch or heel pain, you may be a perfect candidate for orthodics. Visit a podiatrist to inquire about purchasing orthodics for your shoes.

4. Socks. Cotton socks absorb moisture. For a long run like a marathon, your feet may require a synthetic sock (containing acrylic), which helps alleviate moisture from your skin. Make sure that the seams of your socks are not in an area of pressure, which can lead to a lot of pain. If you cannot find a comfortable location for the seams try turning socks inside out.

5. Anti-Inflammatory Medications. Do not pop Advil or Aleve before a race to prevent aches that may arise during the race. Save this treatment for the day after the race. Taking anti-inflammatory medications will mask any pain that is felt during the race and can lead to more serious injury. Pain is a valuable feedback mechanism that you need to pay attention to during a long run.

6. Groom Toenails. Make sure your toenails are not long before a race. They should not extend past the tip of your toe and should be shaped in a straight cut. If you do not properly groom your toenails before a marathon you run the risk of developing an ingrown nail or even a fungal nail.

7. Toes. If you have a tendency to develop corns and callouses on the tips of your toes try adding padding in your sneakers underneath your toes. If your toes or toenails turn black you may have developed subungual hematoma (bleeding under the nails). This may cause nails to fall off. Keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection and seek treatment from your podiatrist.

8. Blisters. Blisters are the results of excessive friction between shoes and feet. Take preventative steps by making sure shoes fit properly and are laced up so that they are form fitting to your feet. If you are prone to blisters apply Vaseline to problem areas prior to your run or try padded “blister proof” socks like those made by Thorlo. Additionally, applying moleskin to problem areas also prevents blisters from forming.

9. Visit Your Podiatrist. Dr. Zong’s patients who run in the New York City Marathon make appointments the entire week before the race to get rid of corns, callouses, get moleskin, have their orthodics padded, and in some cases receive cortisone injections for their heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) so they can run in their dream event.

10. Finish Line. When the race is complete Dr. Zong says practice RICE:
Rest your feet.
Ice helps keep inflammation and swelling down.
Compression with ACE wraps will also reduce swelling.
Elevation will help your feet rest up for the next big run.

About Dr. Oliver Zong: Zong is a podiatrist in Manhattan. One of the premier cosmetic foot surgeons in the country, he serves as the Director of Surgery at NYC Foot Care and is on the Board of Directors at Gramercy Park Surgery Center. Besides traditional and cosmetic foot surgery, Dr. Zong is also an accomplished cryosurgeon and co-founder of the Podiatric Cryosurgery Center of New York. He is an attending physician at New York Hospital Downtown, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, Cabrini Medical Center and Gramercy Park Surgery Center. See more at NYFootcare.com

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Singing in the rain: Cycling in the rain

I'll never head out while it's raining, but there's not much you can do if you get caught in it as happened today.
Started out humid (not unusual) and cloudy. Though the forecast called for 40 percent through the afternoon, I decided to chance it. At my usual halfway point (about 12 miles), I took a water and phone break. There were some ominous clouds off to the east, but I was going more north. Still thought I might escape. Within the second mile headed home, I was soaked and still had about 10 more to go. The wind was up, too. Stopped at a shelter and waited a bit while it slacked off. Talked to some guys out on a maintenance job. When I got about another mile down the road, I took a second break and chatted with another rider seeking shelter. He'd been about 5 miles and planned on 30 but was feeling discouraged, naturally. He immediately offered me an Advil. I was feeling fine, though soaked. He had this white shirt on and I asked if it was cotton, because it looked like it. "No," he said, "I learned that lesson a long time ago."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

Saw this today with my mom and was quite pleased that it mirrored the book very well.
The acting was outstanding. I was already a Julia Roberts fan, but liked them all, especially the medicine man in Bali.
The second video is an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author.

Enjoy. And remember to eat, pray and love.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The weekend brunch: Gospel with your eggs?

Here's a cute idea for brunch. You never know what might come with your eggs in one of many of New York's brunch restaurants.
Sometimes I just want to eat eggs and bacon.
Which brings me to another topic: Loud restaurants. We seem to have our share here, even among the high-end places. Lots of brick and hardwood. Drives me nuts. Someone told me the other day people drink more when it's loud. (You gotta love a good conspiracy theory: Pack in the patrons! Sell more alcohol!)
Yet here's a good Columbus place that's consistently tasty and quiet.
God, I'm getting old.

Sawtooth Mountains: James Q. Martin

Climber and photographer James Q. Martin chronicles a series of climbs in this glorious Climbing Magazine piece.
Imagine the rewards en route and also in completion. Imagine the muscles that have to work in near-perfect concert. Legs and arms are obvious, but also abs.
The sport--the art--of rock climbing has long fascinated me, in part because I'm afraid heights and it would test me. I've never done it except in the confines, and safety, of a climbing wall.
What about you? Any experts out there? Any day dreamers, like me?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tiger Woods: Playing defense

Their divorce made official two days ago, Elin Woods of Elin Woods-Tiger Woods fame was on the Today Show this morning sharing her side. It was well-timed in advance of a People story about her. Then Tiger Woods was asked about it at The Barclays in New Jersey, where he's trying to jumpstart his career. Again.
Steve Elling of CBS has this commentary.
As soon as I say, "give it a rest, people" (and People), I also have to admit it's like craning your neck when you pass a car crash. You know there's pain and carnage, but isn't it cool? And isn't it cool it isn't me? Or you?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Recycled homes: Two boats, or an airplane?

Check out these examples of using recycled parts to turn into homes.
We can file this under environmental health.
With the economy still depressed, it might make sense to find, oh, a spare airplane to convert.
Then there's this house in Atlanta, which is on the market. No comment necessary.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Marital health: Ladies, keep the pay down

Here's another reason your man may stray: If you make more money than he does.
Read it all here.
No danger in this house (of my salary catching up anytime soon).
It's also possible that if a guy were that insecure about his salary vs. yours, he wouldn't be with you in the first place. Once was friends with a guy who said he couldn't marry a woman who made more than he did. Though shocking, at least he was honest about it.

20 things that can ruin your smile

Some of these are pretty obvious: Tobacco (all kinds),
But pregnancy and puberty?
I come from a family of dentists so I'm fairly aware of good dental care. My dad's dad had his own practice, and two of his three sons eventually joined it. (My dad, an English major, jokes that he was the "black tooth of the family.") Both my uncles produced a total of three dentists between them.
Get your check-ups. Brush. Floss.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pearl Izumi: Women's cycling shoes

Long in the market for a new pair of cycling shoes, I just bought some from this company.
In a word, awesome.
Wore them for the first time on a ride last night with a friend. Like the new bike, they're a vast improvement from what I did have. My old shoes were about eight years old. They had shrunk considerably through the years, but I didn't realize how much until I had the new ones. Also I had the old pair in my car for a couple of days, shuttling between two shops to get shoes and old clips on the new pair. STINKY.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mental illness: Carnegie

This is such an interesting piece about the Andrew Carnegie family.
One of America's most famous families, the Carnegies have homes on the coast of Georgia (Cumberland Island, which is largely protected), and two off Maine. They OWN these islands.
As idyllic as this may sound, their lives have not been completely charming. Mental illness has touched more than a few of them--in such severity that hospitalization was required here.
I'm glad Millicent Monk, a descendant of Thomas Carnegie (Andrew's brother) has written about it. Her memoir is aptly named "Songs of Three Islands." It's causing pain to Monk's daughter, who plans to tell her own version; they are estranged. But this hidden disease doesn't need to stay hidden.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guy Fieri

At the outset, I have to say: I pretty much despise our celebrity culture; I read People magazine only when it's the only one available in the doctor's office; and I don't watch much TV.
That said, here's a recent profile of Guy Fieri, superstar.
When we do watch TV, it's his hit show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Early on, some eateries declined to be featured because they didn't want to be placed in one of those categories. (I'll bet they're returning calls now.)
I like Fieri. Not so much that I would throw underwear at him, as one woman did on a set. But I like his easy, humorous style with chefs and restaurant owners. Have always wondered, though: If upon sampling a concoction he didn't like, would he say so? That's the rub: You're at someone's restaurant and therefore a guest, so it's hard to slam their food.
PS. Fieri is to star in an upcoming Aflac commercial--something of interest to us locally with the insurance company based here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Fresh Market

Columbus has been graced with this store.
Our primary grocery chain is Publix. We also have Winn Dixie and Piggly Wiggly.
The Fresh Market opened last week, and friends from work reported that it was crowded from the get-go, as it was today when I finally went.
When I lived in another city, there was a Fresh Market but I don't remember it being this big--or this well-stocked.
It's a blessing and a curse, you know. What you pay in higher price generally means you're getting a higher-quality product.
What I also like: Ready-made foods/meals for which you can control the amount. At our house, we seem to waste a lot of food because things seem to come in such huge quantities.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Test your fitness level

This is from Men's Health magazine.
The comments below the story are pretty hilarious, such as: Come up with something for men over 40! I do like how they offer tips to move you toward those benchmarks. Better to reach for the stars and fall short than never try at all. IMO.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dr. Oz: Hoarding

Dr. Oz isn't hoarding (that I know of) but his Web site has this feature on hoarding and how mental imbalance or illness can be behind it.
It's a matter of degree, of course. Our house is cluttered in places; but we don't have to walk around mountains of material to get out the door. I have no problem throwing out most things. But I do know we could get rid of a lot more junk--like long-outdated calendars.
What do you hoard?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Golden Retrievers: An office visit

Tim Chitwood and his wife got two new pups last Saturday, Beau and Becky, and they visited the office today. They're Golden Retrievers.
Such calm puppies! They're eight weeks old.
I can remember when Molly, my parents' old Golden, was that age and she was EVERYWHERE.
We're thankful Beau and Becky didn't pee on the newsroom carpet but it's in pretty bad shape anyway so I guess it wouldn't matter.
All sorts of people came around to see the canines. And it's funny: The women-folk, like me, immediately started cooing over them as if they were baby children.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Exercise rest days

A helpful piece about factoring in rest days after exercise begins:
"Most athletes know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential to high-level performance, but many still over train and feel guilty when they take a day off. The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts, and continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athletes.
"Rest days are critical to sports performance for a variety of reasons. Some are physiological and some are psychological. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. For recreational athletes, building in rest days can help maintain a better balance between home, work and fitness goals. ..."
Read it all here.
Though I exercise a lot, I'd still be considered a recreational athlete. Gotta work to pay the bills, you know. But regardless of one's "level," rest is important. Yesterday, after the bike ride through the oven on Sunday, I took a rest day. I can tell it did a world of good.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How much water to drink while exercising?

"If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour."
Here's the rest from the CDC.
It's been in the 90s here, with heat index into the 100s. So here's what I did--yes, I'm crazy; let's establish that up front--I went riding from about 3-4:30 p.m. Heat of the day, blah blah blah.
I'm accustomed to exercising and I'm in and out of the office all day. But as I found out, I am not accustomed to exercising from 3-4:30 p.m. in early August.
Four bottles of water and one Gatorade.
Did OK but I realized about halfway through that I needed to be halfway through. Brutal. I rested in the shade several times. Doused my head in water in a bathroom sink.
Careful out there, Ye Fellow Residents of the Deep South.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jr. Varsity closing

The Jr. Varsity on Lindbergh Drive in Atlanta is closing.
Here's why.
I've been only a couple of times, but it has great emotional significance to me because Michael grew up going there. It was closer to his house than the downtown one. It opened when he was 10.
A shame it had to come to this.
A new site is going up in Dawsonville, off Ga. 400.

Extreme heat and exercise

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned; it has been two days since my last blog post.
Having gone on an hour walk this evening, I was interested to find this piece on the warnings of heat cramps/exhaustion/collapse. (Yes, I'm feeling fine.)
In the extreme weather we're having, with advisory warnings every day, you have to be cautious. For instance, I take two water bottles for one hour instead of the usual one.
I've not been out on the newbie bike lately, either, and it's killing me. I miss it. Love Spin class and other things from the gym, but I'll be grateful for cooler weather.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Paul Solotaroff: Confessions of a Steroid Addict

This is a powerful essay about one man's addiction to steroids.
The essay is excerpted from Paul Solotaroff's book.
Solotaroff started out innocently enough: In the '70s, while in college, a friend introduced him to shots that would help him bulk up. Sure enough they did. But then, to bulk up the shy part of himself, Solotaroff added other illegal substances like cocaine.
Ended up in the hospital once and tried lying to a doctor, who knew better.
Solotaroff is one of the lucky ones. He lived to tell about it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Michelle Duggar: An even 20?

On the Today show, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of Big Family fame said that Baby 19 is doing well; and that they'd have a 20th if it were meant to be. Josie, born prematurely in December, seems to be catching up with other infants her age. And the Duggars would be open to child No. 20 if it, well, "came to pass" (as they say).
Read the full story here.
Here's the Duggar Web site.
What do you think? Twenty too many? Just right? Go for more?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tuttle farm: Oldest farm in country

This is such a remarkable, yet sad, tale.
Members of the last generation descended from one John Tuttle of New Hampshire are putting the family farm up for sale. The farm is reportedly the oldest continuously operated family farm in America. It operated 378 years. But they couldn't keep it going in the way it needed.
"We've been here for 40 years, doing what we love to do," Lucy Tuttle, 65, who runs the 134-acre farm with brother Will, tells the Associated Press. "But we're not able to work to our full capacity any longer, unfortunately."
Read it all here.

AP Photo credit: Jim Cole