Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Resolutions Revisited


Every year since we started Irongirl and Ultrarunning Boy, Amber and I have used the last blog of the year to hopefully inspire people to live healthier, richer and full lives.

In 2009, Amber decided to leave the year by encouraging me to get off my butt and start training for races.
Key Point:
  • She encouraged everyone to refer to me as "88.6" motivating me to train enough to finish Leadville 100.
In 2010, I encouraged everyone to vote for Amber as the fittest real athlete.
Key Point:
  •  You can work a full-time job and still be incredibly fit.

In 2011 I wrote about all the elements of health and wellness needed for a well-rounded lifestyle.
Key Points:
  • Prevent illness and injuries
  • Perform 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week and 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week
  • Brush and floss your teeth
  • Sleep 7-9 hours
  • Strengthen your core and joint stabilizers 3-4 days per week
  • Challenge your balance
  • Challenge your mind
In 2012 I wrote about living in the moment and the need for us to stay present in the moment.
Key Point:
  • We are always so driven by the future that we very rarely just get to appreciate the moments of our lives. So for this new year join those people that you love doing the things that you love and try to think of nothing but how much you are glad for where you are at this very moment and stop worrying about the future.
This is just too good not to share! Feeling the zen vibes in the studio tonight, getting some inspiration from Waldo!
In 2013 I went back and wrote again about healthy lifestyles adding the need for:
  • Stress relief
  • Good hygiene
  • Well-balanced diet
  • Finding things everyday that make us happy.

This year, I'm leaving it up to you. Find what works for you. Carve out time for yourself each and every day to do what you truly love. Maybe make this year's resolution to not have to make any more resolutions because you are living your life to the fittest and you have no regrets. Wouldn't that be great?

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Fun Run While Getting My Oil Changed.

After several weeks of procrastinating, I finally got my oil changed. I hate getting my oil changed because it takes just long enough to be annoying but not long enough to drop it off and go do something else. I usually end up just sitting and reading some car magazine or something. However, this past Saturday, I decided to try sneaking in a run during it. I go to the VIP on Manchester St in Concord which is a pretty horrendous area to try running with no sidewalks or shoulder. I thought that I was in for an awful run.

I was pleasantly mistaken. I took an immediate right out of the lot and down Integra Dr which is a dead end but at the end of it, it turned into a fireroad and then some pretty great double track trails. It had nice sweeping banked turns, a couple steep climbs(which you could avoid if you wanted) and a few areas where the trail tapered to fun single track. I, by no means, had time to explore the entire are. I could have followed the trails for hours but as I was only scheduled for an oil change, when I met up with the Suncook River I traced it back to the road.

It was certainly a better way to spent my time than sitting reading an automotive magazine. As I reached VIP, it occurred to me that Jeremy's bootcamp was almost directly across the street. He is always offering classes which you can drop in on so I probably could have arranged to get my workout there too. I guess I no longer have any excuse for not getting my oil changed on time.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Housekeeping Around the Holidays

Neither Amber and I have had any races recently, so not much to report on. Just a few house keeping things:)

If you haven't heard yet, Amber is a free agent! This allows her to support local companies that have helped her over the years as well as design a race schedule that makes sense for her to be competitive throughout the year and reduce risk of overuse injury. She is still definitely looking to solidify her sponsors for next year so contact her if you think you or your company would be a good match.

Her 50 Tweets Til Christmas is winding down and she's had some pretty good gems in there. If you haven't seen it yet, check out her Twitter page here.

Amber has started back up with tri swim club Saturday mornings at the Concord YMCA. If you haven't been, it really is the best way to make swimming somewhat tolerable.

Also, while Amber isn't taking on any more athletes to coach, she is doing training and fitness consultations. This is a great way to make sure you're doing all you need to meet your fitness goals.

Amber should be finalizing her race schedule in the next few weeks, and in addition to a few snowshoe races, she should have an exciting triathlon season next year including an international Ironman(since WTC eliminated several US qualifiers-including Lake Placid!- to be competitive she needs to do AT LEAST one race overseas). She or I will keep you all posted!

Oh yeah, we wish you a merry christmas, happy holidays, and/or a very happy new year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Amber Ferreira is a Free Agent!

Amber and Maverick Multisport parted ways on amicable terms at the end of the 2014 season. The Louisville, Kentucky based team and the New Hampshire-based Amber found that they had too many conflicts with staying true to their local sponsors. While Amber says it was great to be on the team and appreciates all their support in this past race season, it makes more sense for her to strike out on her own.

She will try to retain a few key sponsors that she has worked with in the past but is currently trying to engage New England based companies in developing partnership that better represent her passions and locale.

Personally, I am looking forward to follow Amber in her 2015 race season, which looks like it will involve snowshoe championships, a 50K trail race and triathlon events of course.

Make sure to stay tuned, and contact Amber if you think you know of a company that may be a good fit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

50 Tweets Til Christmas-1st 25 days

If you aren't on Facebook or Twitter, you may not have seen that Amber is do the 50 Tweets Til Christmas Challenge where she is posting a training/wellness tip or a promotional code from one of her sponsors each day from now(or over ten days ago) until Christmas.

To catch you up to speed, here are her first 25 days of Tweeting:

Day #1: Rest to grow strong: we don’t get stronger from workouts but recovering from them! #Dowork but Rest up:)

Day #2: Winter is a great time for building strength. Focus on eccentric strengthening and look forward to PRs for 2015! @DionSnowshoes

Day #3: You don't need to ride 112 miles to be healthy, 20-30 minutes will improve your lungs, heart, legs and balance! #goride @CobbCycling

Day #4: 20-30mmHg of compression increases circulation to muscles for longer endurance #gorun #playharder @110PlayHarder

Day #5: Being 1% dehydrated can negatively impact performance. Drink up! Use code:Maverick 4 Infinit Nutrition discount @TheInfinitLoop

Day #6: knee pain while running? Don't neglect hip strength. Studies show strong hips are related to running kinematics and less knee pain.

Day #7: DAILY consumption of @beetperformer juice increases high-intensity exercise tolerance #sufferbetter use code: drinkbeets1114 for 25% off http://biottajuices.com/

Day #8: Strength gains happen when you recover. Rest days are critical for progression! #recoverbetter #goprimal @PrimalSportMud

Day #9: Sitting is the new smoking. Every 2 hrs of extra couch time increases your risk of cancer. #gorun Read more here.

Day #10: periodization is huge for making gains. #gofaster with #goodcoaching #pbmcoaching

Day #11:Combination of 2 different sugars allows you to exercise longer at a higher intensity #gofarther #gofaster @TheInfinitLoop @MavMulti

Day #12: Strengthen specific functional body movements not individual parts. Efficient mvmt = dynamic stability.

Day #13: make sure 2 strengthen your r...otator cuff for increased shoulder stability and decreased injury risk @TYRSport #swimhappy

Day #14: SEVENTY = average number of seconds riders can save in a 40kTT when they shave their legs. @GilletteVenus

Day #15: Running at faster speeds requires increased glut MAX strength Read more here

Day #16: Runners who wore compression socks were able to run 6% longer than sockless group 48 hours after a race @110PlayHarder

Day #17: Another reason to get outside, low Vitamin D levels have been linked to shorter lifespan #thesunisshining

Day #18: Tis the season 4 eating! Remember @envecomposites = lightweight leader weighing in at only 145...4 grams - Have your #Turkeyandeatittoo

Day #19: watch your seat! Lower saddle positions are less optimal to generate max power @CobbCycling @MavMulti

Day # 20: What percent of US tri Olympians call NH home? Guess correct and win free swag!

Answer: Slightly Over 10% of all US Olympians call NH home!!!!

Day #21: Flying 2 a race? Dehydration is common b/c of low cabin humidity. Make sure to bring your @TheInfinitLoop hydration and race faster!!

Day #22: Another reason to #tryatri: multi...-sport athletes have less injuries than 1 sport athletes! #Swimbikerun

Day #23: Happy #thanksgiving: consume plenty of trytophan: it increases exercise performance: Read more here.

Day #24: "man can't discover new land if he is afraid to lose sight of the shores" try something new this winter! @DionSnowshoes #snowshoe

Day #25: “The most dangerous risk of all-The risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy the freedom to do it later.” Do what you love, love what you do!

If you are not familiar with twitter, all those hashtags and at signs supposedly mean something but I typically use them haphazardly in #anywayIdamnwellpleasebecauseIdon'tquiteunderstandnordoIcanenoughtolearn.

Rather than wait for me to post her updated tweets, why not just follow her on Twitter and/or Facebook?

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis

Approximately 50 million Americans are affected by chronic pain and disability related to one form of arthritis or another. As a physical therapist I see many patients suffering from arthritis and see how misunderstood arthritis is. People often lump all types of arthritis together but the treatment, prevalence, and outcomes are very different. The two most common types are osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.

 The most common type is osteoarthritis(OA) is a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage starts to wear away and can cause inflammation and pain. Left untreated long enough and it can result in the need for total joint replacements. Note: Despite anectodal evidence to the contrary, there has been no evidence that running increasing your risk of developing osteoarthritis. In fact, a mainstay for treatment of osteoarthritis is moderate exercise. This is challenging if you're in pain since the last thing they want to do is more activity that might hurt. However, studies have shown that people who can perform even gentle exercise reduce their pain and increase their quality of life. Therefore a big part of treatment for OA getting patients to get moving beyond their perceived physical limitations.

A very different type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis(RA) which is a systemic chronic autoimmune disorder. Less prevalent, it is arguably significantly more disabling as people with RA have higher incidence of cardiovascular and internal organ impairments as well. Life expectancy with people with RA is reduced by 3-12 years. Because it is systemic, joint replacements are less effective because there are so many more joints involved. And currently there is no cure. The best management involves medication which has improved markedly over the years but still is far from perfect.

What many people don't know is that rheumatoid arthritis can start almost from birth and is current juvenile idiopathic arthritis and can be devastating for children if not recognized and treated from an early age.

So the Arthritis Foundation's goal is two-fold to promote physical activity and lifestyle modifications with people with osteoarthritis and to raise awareness for rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis for research funding and advocacy.

Still with me? Okay now is the time to help! On November 30th, the Arthritis Foundation is organizing a 5k run/walk to raise money for research as well as promote physical activity and wellness. They are looking for both participants and volunteers so if you are free and can help out, I know it will be greatly appreciated.

Here's the Details:

Looking to Participate?
Location: Rundlett Middle School, Concord, NH
Start Time: 10am
Register here.

Looking to Volunteer?
Contact  Gayle Murphy

Monday, October 27, 2014

Babies, Beer and Ghosts

What a fun weekend!

I was originally going to take a Plymouth State class but for some reason did register/totally forgot about it. What remained was a nice three day weekend where I was able to visit my goddaughter, brew some beer and pace an ultra.

The Baby
No offense but my god-daughter is the cutest. I realize that there are probably some irritate(and mis-guided) mothers out there thinking that their children are cuter, but you would be mistaken. I am sorry that a combination of seeing yourself in your child, pheromones and genetics makes you think that but, trust me, Olivia is the cutest:)

My dad and I drove down mid-day Friday to baby-sit and we spent the afternoon playing with her.

Sporting a hat that Amber got her from Kona

Olivia and her grampy

After having dinner with my parents and brother, I headed into Boston for the night stopping at several of my favorite bars from when I was at Northeastern.

Something's a brewin'
The next day I headed out to Hopsters in Newton where my good friend, Kendra, had bought me a brewing session for my birthday. If you have never heard of, or been there, and you like beer, you are missing out!

There is a book of various beers that you can brew and they actually take you through the whole brewing process, from picking the correct hops and stirring the wort. In all, it takes a little over two hours but there is enough down time where you can order yourself some food, or drink of course...
Don't be surprised if many of you will be receiving a custom beer for your Christmas present this year:)
A guide to the grains
The brewing process
The beers of Hopsters

It was certainly a fun and educational day and I didn't realize how little I knew about beer until I got there. Just the variety of hops used is amazing.

I then headed up to Nashua where I had booked a hotel so that I could be close to the aide station for the Ghost Train 100. This race would be my friend, Michael Wade's, first attempt at running 100 miles. He was running for a good cause and had definitely put in the mileage. I was to pace him for the last ten miles.

From 9am on, I had been receiving text updates from the other members of his crew. Michael had made a chart estimating his paces so that we could best plan how to pace him. The amazing thing was that he was almost exactly on if not a little ahead of his pacing. He went through miles 67.5 averaging 12 minute/miles but apparently that included a few bathroom breaks as well as planned eating breaks. I didn't want to possibly miss him so I headed over to the trail head at 2:30am. As I was shivering while waiting, I realized just how cold it was and ran back to my car to get a space blanket, hat and gloves which I shoved in my pack. 20 minutes ahead of schedule, I hear Michael come to the check point, yell Danny let's go and continued to move. Throwing down the coffee I was sipping on, I sprinted off to meet him.

You may recall that I once ran the Vermont 100 and dropped out at 88.6 miles. Michael seemed to be at that point too, really struggling to keep himself motivated and not stop. I know just how hard each of those miles are and how insurmountable that remaining distance can feel. I also knew that Michael wouldn't be someone who would quit easily. Sure enough, despite telling me that he felt light-headed, was cramping, and had a generalized apathy for running at that point, he kept on moving. We went through periods of silence and conversation, with Michael probably motivating himself far more than anything I could do. The 100 mile distance is a race you do for yourself but also for others. Michael needed that internal drive to put in all those miles of training and to get to that 90 mile mark. At that point however, he had used up all of his internal drive and wasn't doing it for himself anymore. That's where I quit at Vermont. However, Michael wasn't doing it just for himself but for Sam and everyone who had believed in him.

It's always darkest right before dawn
Michael mentioned this just as the darkness started to more closely envelop us and also as the temperature dropped another few degrees. Luckily I had those gloves and hat which Michael wore for the next hour or so. And just like the temperature and light, Michael's mood which once appeared to be darkening now started to brighten. In fact, by the time we had reached mile 95 we were running at a steady clip again. We actually ran the last 5 miles over 6 minutes faster than the previous five!

Despite reaching his nadir in the race at mile 90, Michael was able to pull through, run strong for his last five miles and finish within 13 minutes of his predicted race time: 22:13.

Yes you are reading that correctly:  22 hours and 13 minutes! That is a very long time to be running but also a very fast 100 mile time. I know he has said that he is one and done but with the awesome first 85 miles he put together, I can see a sub 20 hour 100 miler in his future:) Just saying.

After congratulating Michael and sending him off by his children and loving wife, I headed home where I proceeded to sleep away the majority of my Sunday. It was probably the weekend catching up to me but it was actually a great leisurely way to end a fun weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Amber Finishes 21st at Kona!

This blog will start where the last one ended: with cliff jumping. This time Amber was convincing her father that it was a good idea to jump into the ocean from a cliff. After only a fair amount of cajoling, she did convince him.
Amber's father and Amber getting ready to jump
Kona: The finish First
                                                   21st at the World Championships!!!! Such a wonderfully painful sufferfest. Loved every moment!
This time, Amber had already completed Kona finishing in a time of 9:45 which was good enough for 21st female. While not terribly excited about her finishing rank, the race did give her confidence that she could contend with the best triathletes in the world. And the fact that she was able to do a  4+ mile hike with 1,500 foot elevation gain the very next day tells me it was the conditions more than her fitness that prevented a higher finish.

A hike? The day after Kona? Yep. That's Amber for you. We hiked to the Captain Cook Monument which you can only access by boat or hiking. Last time we were there we kayaked across the bay but this time, joined by her parents, we hiked down to it. We spent the afternoon snorkeling around and then had to hike the 1,500 feet back up to our car. I definitely prefer hiking in the opposite direction where you get the hard stuff out of the way first. The next day Amber and I went stand-up paddle boarding.

Look at all the nice pictures of Amber and I stand-up paddle boarding:

Oh don't see any? Well that could be because I lost my underwater camera after my 32nd time falling off my paddleboard. Meanwhile, Amber two days out from an Ironman, was paddling around without issue. I would like to say that there was something wrong with the board but I think it was the operator that was the issue. Anyway, here are a few pictures from our hike instead.
View from Captain Cook Monument

The hike down

The cliff we hiked down is in the background
 Luckily before we hiked, Amber stopped, for the 13th time, at Lava Java where she restocked her depleted carbohydrate stores with a little cinnamon bun.
That's the size of my head. Or half the size of yours Danny.
 Oh yeah, why were her carb stores depleted? The Ironman!
So it ended with the marathon which she did in 3:21 which was a bit off her race pace but considering the heat and humidity was still pretty amazing. Every time I saw her she looked strong.
 Miki Moto's photo.
Amber on Ali'i Drive
 The first time I saw her on the run, she actually turned to me and started talking to me. I had to yell at her to just keeping running. After the race I found out she was telling me how windy the bike course was and how she almost got knocked over on several occasions.
Still Smiling
 Before she got on the run, she had a little 112 mile bike ride to do which I was lucky enough to see her at one point, the hot corner, several times. Each time she looked strong and riding confidently.
After we were able to catch Amber a few times in the first few miles of her bike, we sent her off on the Queen K.
Amber coming up Palani

 What we missed from the times we saw her were the miles in Hawi where the wind was the worst it had been in the last 20 years. Being on the slighter side, Amber had a considerably harder time keeping the rubber side down than her bigger, yet still fair, competitors. Due to the wind and the oppressive heat she finished a few minutes off her goal race pace but still came onto the run in 22nd place.
Amber getting out of the swim on the bike.
 The real question is what would have happened if Amber was able to get in with the pack of women just ahead of her in the swim. Despite a strong swim, she didn't come out of the water where she should have which made riding more challenging. I think, had she come out a minute or two earlier, her whole day would have turned out definitely.
Amber putting on her TYR Torque speedsuit

View of the swim start
 That's the beauty of racing, there are always areas in which you can improve and make yourself more competitive. For Amber, she had a solid day but not a spectacular one and I know that if the elements all come together, she could get a better result next year for sure.
Amber at Lava Java before the race
Again, thanks again to all of Amber's supporters out there who helped get her to Kona early to acclimate. Having only been out there for a few days, I was dying in the heat but she seemed to handle it fairly well. The plan is to get her back out there again next year and this time as a contender. Stay tuned.

Up Next: Amber will be taking a much needed week or two off before getting ready for the winter race season which includes a winter triathlon and the World Snowshoe Championships. Who knows? She was talking about entering a Spartan Race the other day.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Amber is ready to rock!

This blog post is going to be pretty brief because we are trying to maximize our time left in Kona. Amber took me for a short 20 minute run today trying her best to capitalize on my life insurance policy apparently. Seriously though. I nearly drowned in my own sweat while she was giggling and having a grand old time on what(in her words, was a shake-out run), Yikes! Not that I'm in the best shape but I think a big part of it was her time spent out here acclimating. So thank you everyone who supported her and allowed her to get out here early. 
She is looking super fit and probably has gotten her fill of sea turtles(we saw five yesterday while snorkling) as well as cliff jumping(the video below doesn't do the 20 foot cliff justice) so should be ready to rock. 
The race starts at 6:30am HI time which is 12:30pm EST so feel free to go for a nice long run, bike or swim before getting back to send her your vibes from noon until 9:45 ish:) 
Anyone have a better prediction?
View from our condo

Amber cliff jumping

do it again? 

Amber jamming out to Taylor Swift

The cliff

Amber reconnoitering the cliff jump

Monday, September 29, 2014

Update on Amber-Training in Kona

Amber Ferreira-Pro Triathlete's photo.
How did they know Amber was coming?

Awww. Vacation in Kona. A tropical paradise. Amber is probably just lounging on the beach sipping adult beverages with fancy straws. OR she is training her butt off!

Since she's been there she already has ridden over 100 miles, run nearly a half marathon and swam several miles. Granted she's in a tropical paradise but she probably feels more like a hot tamale(and probably resembles one) than a tourist.

Here are some pictures that she has been able to take while training:
The reward after a sticky sweaty humid 12 mile run through the natural energy lab. Holy hot tamale (and now I resemble a tamale) :)

Amber Ferreira-Pro Triathlete's photo.
Amber Ferreira-Pro Triathlete's photo.

I know it's still a couple weeks away, but I don't think it hurts sends your positive vibes to her early:)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kona-Then and Now

In 2010, Amber competed at Kona as an age-grouper, having qualified at Ironman Lake Placid. She will be racing again at Kona in a couple weeks as a professional having had to race four Ironman races in a ten month time span(with the last two in a 3 WEEK time span!). So Kona will be her fifth Ironman in 11 months! Pretty crazy. What's more crazy is just how far Amber has come since the last time she raced Kona.

In 2010:
  • Amber was still getting off of her bike at railroad crossings. Yes DURING races.
  • Amber doesn't slow down for anything! She inadvertently ran over a opossum the other day and almost got clotheslined by a moose while descending Mount Kearsarge.
In 2010:
  • Amber ran a 3:03:51 open marathon at the super fast Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans. Her second fastest time that year was a 3:14:27 at Marine Corps marathon. That's an average of a 3:09 average.
  • Amber ran a 3:09 at IM Florida and a 3:08 at IM Lake Placid! That's a 3:08:xx average OFF THE BIKE!
In 2010:
  • Amber's best Ironman was Lake Placid with a time of 10:11

  • Amber's best 2014 Ironman was Texas with a time of 9:11
In 2010:
  • Amber won the US Snowshoe Championships.

  • Amber won the US Snowshoe Championships.
In 2010:
  • Amber flew out the same week as the race and did not have much time to acclimate to the heat and humidity of Kona.

  • Thanks to her friends and supporters, Amber is going to be able to get out there a couple weeks early so she can train in the heat and let her body adjust to the 40-50 degree temperature difference from the cool weather we have in NH. Hopefully she can teach her central governor a new norm.

In 2010:
  • Amber always smiled during the entire race.

  • Amber still smiles during the entire race.
In 2010:
  • Amber had, how you say, baby fat.
  • Amber does not have fat of any variety-no less baby. In fact, the only baby around here will be me when she sees I posted that 2010 picture;)

The amazing thing is that she did not do any miraculous workout or take any performance enhancing drug to improve as she got older. Instead what she did was work. Day in and day out she put in hard efforts with consistency and drive. She just keeps getting better and better. And so can you! That's the beauty of endurance sports. Consistency and effort will allow you to get stronger, faster and fitter. It just takes time. As I mentioned, it wasn't one workout or even one mesocycle of workouts that got her here. It took her four years, but she's healthier and stronger because of it. And only getting better.

Watch her compete in the Ironman World Championships on October 11th.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Injured? PT may help but avoid these things

The Choosing Wisely Campaign was started several years ago by the American Board of Internal Medicine as a way to help consumers make decisions about medical care by providing information related to medical tests and measures that tended to be done frequently, but were not shown to add value or improve outcomes. Recently the American Physical Therapy Association contributed their top 5 list of procedures that patients and therapists should question.
5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question( in addition to not requesting low back x-rays for low back pain) are:

  1.  Don’t employ passive physical agents except when necessary to facilitate participation in an active treatment program(see number 1 below)
  2.  Don’t prescribe under-dosed strength training programs for older adults. Instead, match the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise to the individual’s abilities and goals. This means older adults are not frail! They still can develop strength and flexibility as long as they are prescribed challenging(and appropriate) enough exericses!
  3. Don’t recommend bed rest following diagnosis of acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) after the initiation of anti-coagulation therapy unless significant medical concerns are present.
  4. Don’t use continuous passive motion machines for the postoperative management of patients following uncomplicated total knee replacement. We would rather have you out
  5. Don’t use whirlpool for wound management.
I'd also like to add 5 Things that You Should Expect from Therapy:
  1. Be an active participant. Many interventions performed in the clinic are designed to be complemented by a home exericse program. If you don't do it, the likelihood of success is reduced.
  2. Expect a discussion about your aerobic exercise and stress levels, eating and sleeping habits and overall health. Physical therapy works best when you are addressing all of the elements of health.
  3. Don't quit when the pain goes away. With injuries ranging from ankle sprains to low back pain, the recurrence rates are very high which has been attributed to continued physical impairments that were not resolved even when the pain went away. Your therapist will give you a home exercise program that you should continue until it becomes easy.
  4. Therapists may utilize manual techniques, such as massage, joint mobilizations or dry needling to help assist in improving your motion and mobility. They are not massage therapists, chiropractors or acupuncturists. That means that you should expect to only receive one of these interventions.It's utilizing them in conjunction that is most effective.
  5. Therapy cannot fix stupid. Okay so this last one is said tongue in cheek but seriously. If you continue to injure and re-injure yourself doing the same thing why do you think therapy is going to fix you. We may be able to modify how you're doing it but a lot of times, it's nature saying that you need to pick up a new hobby(my thoughts on the feasibility of endurance athletics).
One last thing to expect:
Amber giving it her all in Kona on October 11th. Stay tuned!

You can still show your support for her by going to her Go Fund Me site.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Free Help (or Danny's attempt to give back locally)

"We seem to be living in the age of anesthesia, and it's no wonder. Confronted with knowledge of dozens of apparently random disasters each day, what can a human heart do but slam its doors? No mortal can grieve that much. We didn't evolve to cope with tragedy on a global scale. Our defense is to pretend there's no thread that connects us, and that those lives are somehow not precious and real like our own. It's a practical strategy, to some ends, but the loss of empathy is also the loss of humanity, and that's no small tradeoff." -Barbara Kingsolver

It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own little lives to not take the time to step back and open our minds and hearts to all of those people suffering around us. Work, family, and training can seem all-consuming. It usually takes a loss close to home to jar us from our complacency and open our eyes, albeit usually just momentarily. No one knows what another person is going through and it is on each of us to approach individuals without judgment or preconditions. Even smiling, apparently happy faces like Amber may hide insecurities and sadness. Every day someone is suffering a loss whether it be that of a loved one, financial loss or quality of life. Can we solve everyone’s woes? Of course not. But can we approach our days as opportunities to make little changes in others’ lives in the hopes that it helps get them through whatever they’re going through? Of course.

For several years now, I have been going back and forth with whether apply for Peace Corps. I have stayed in my same job contemplating the pros and cons of this 24+ month commitment. All the while, I could have been helping close to home and yet was just sitting on my butt instead. There is no geographical boundary on sorrow, nor do I have to travel to some far-flung locale to help and I know there is likely more than enough suffering in New Hampshire to go around. Buddhist’s have a theory on suffering called samsara. It’s the idea that suffering doesn’t come from pain or loss itself but from our ill-fated attempts to avoid pain and loss. Once able to accept and be at peace with change we won’t suffer anymore because we realize that nothing is permanent and we will stop striving to hold on to things that will eventually fall apart. It is nice, though, to have someone there to help cushion that fall.

Everything in the world is made of parts, and emotion is no different. The most painful, powerful aspect of negative emotions is that they seem complete and whole. A thought builds into a crescendo called emotion, which we then embody. The tight ball of hatred, desire, or jealousy feels so solid that we actually feel it in our body as a lump in our throat, a rising wave of heat, an aching heart. When we’re caught up in negativity, it’s hard to imagine penetrating it, cracking its shell… We [don’t need to] invest so much energy in this feeling that we’ve created with our own mind. The bottom line is that everything comes together and everything falls apart.” – Sakyong Mipham

Knowing that things will fall apart for everyone, I’ve decided to soften the blow locally rather than travel abroad to help out. What I’m planning on doing is offering up my services:  whether it be to help someone move, edit their resume to apply for a job, or pace someone running for a good cause. I realize that there are some skill sets that I cannot offer but I think the majority of help comes from acknowledging that you’re not alone and someone is there for you. To get out of your own head where you create stories that then feed into negative emotions. Here today gone tomorrow. I can’t think of a better reason to get out there and help others and enjoy each and every day-no matter what it has in store.

Have you ever been working out on a loud treadmill or in a crowded restaurant and all of a sudden amidst the din you catch a few words of your favorite song? Despite the apparent lack of music only moments before you are now able to clearly hear the rest of the song. It’s the same thing with helping other people. You may not be able to hear the cries for help all the time but if you perk your ears up and listen you will soon hear it. I have my ears perked up and the door open and will await your calls for help. J

Up Next: Amber leaves for Kona shortly(thank you everyone who helped support her getting there. You can still do so at her Go Fund Me site). I'll be around to cheer people on at the New England Half Marathon before heading out to cheer her on. Once I return, contact me with any requests. Seriously.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A day to Remember and Honor Chad Denning


As many of you may already have heard, the outdoor sport world suffered a huge loss with the passing of Chad Denning this past weekend. Team AMP, the team he organized to promote health and wellness, is organizing a trail race and picnic  on Saturday, September 20, to remember and honor him. All are invited to attend one or both of the events.
This is from the Team AMP newsletter:
At 9:00 a.m. in Lebanon, N.H., the Lost a Lot Trail Race—which was created and organized by Chad—will proceed as planned. The seven-mile course is not easy, but it is fun. As anyone who knew Chad can tell you, he loved competition, but his primary goal was always to get as many people as possible outside just having a good time. In that tradition, all ages, abilities, and paces are encouraged to participate.
At about noon, following the race and awards, there will be a picnic at the Oak Hill recreation area in Hanover, N.H., about five miles from the finish of the race. We will have directions available at the race for anyone who needs them. We will also post additional details and directions on the event site on the Team AMP Facebook page. At Oak Hill, there will be a family-friendly fun run (about 2.5 miles) and a community picnic. Please bring a picnic lunch for yourself and a dessert to share potluck style. Don't worry if you can't bake: peanut M&Ms (or "power pellets," as Chad always called them) are perfectly acceptable. As we picnic, we will share memories of Chad and celebrate his remarkable life. All are welcome to attend the picnic (including leashed dogs) regardless of whether they participate in the race.
We encourage you to share your favorite photos of Chad on the Team AMP Facebook page or to email them to lars@ameridane.org by Friday, September 19. We will print as many as possible and display them at the picnic. We also encourage you to write and print recollections of Chad. We will have an area available at the picnic to display those recollections.
Finally, a fund has been set up to collect donations to Chad's family. Donations will be accepted at both the race and the picnic, or you can mail donations to:
The Chad Denning Family Fund
Ledyard Bank
67 Main Street
West Lebanon, NH 03784
Checks should be made payable to Becky Denning.
Chad Denning was truly an inspiration. We will never forget his kindness, his spirit, and his smile. We hope you will join us to celebrate his life. It was far too short, but it was so full of adventures of every kind.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Flat! A Blessing in Disguise

Amber went up to the Great White North again this weekend, this time to compete in the 70.3 World Championships. Yes, that is a half ironman three weeks after an Ironman which was three weeks after another Ironman. Yes, her foot was still a little sore and her spring may not have been fully back in her step. Yes, she is planning on doing the Ironman Worlds Championships in Kona in a month. No, none of this was going to stop her from racing.

Luckily, a flat tire fairly early in the bike stopped her instead. Another day she may have gotten back on the bike(see Ironman St. George where she sat on the sidelines for 45 minutes before going back to finish the race), but this day she made a smart decision and took it as a side to rest and recover. And cheer on all of her friends and supporters. From what she tells me the atmosphere was amazing up there and she was really glad that she could be up there to support all those people that support her.

Speaking of which, thank you all for the kind words and support that you've given Amber since the trolls' blog. Seeing everyone come to her defense and all the contributions she's received is really inspiring and was exactly what she needed to redirect her focus. Cannot wait to see what she has in store with a full tank of gas at Kona:)

Up Next: Build, Build, Build all the way to Kona!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Danny Interviews Michael Wade

Michael Wade was one of the first runners I was introduced to as I started running in 2007. Amber and I joined the Gate City Striders and we soon were being cajoled and corralled into entering more and more races for the team. Michael was often the one encouraging us to enter races for GCS. For the first few years of my running, he was the one I'd always try to keep in sight during races. And the heckling he is able to dish out is second to none so he is a great motivator to give it your all as you may recall from last year's Vermont City Marathon. Over the years at races, through his blog and on one epicly long hike, we have gotten to known Michael and were interested to find out the reason why he's running ultras and what he's running for. It is about time to introduce everyone to a 6'4" diamond in the rough(streets of Nashua).
Michael after an epic day of hiking
1) How did you get started running?

I started running when I was an out-of-shape 30 year old who desperately needed a change in lifestyle. “Why not start running again? I couldn’t possibly be any worse at it than when I was in High School, right?” Come to find out it takes significantly more effort to propel a 240 pound body than a 140 pound one! It was at that point that I figured I needed a goal in order to take my mind off the pain that my body was feeling. So, I decided that once I could run a mile without stopping, I’d start training to run Boston. For some reason this seemed like a logical progression to me. It’s now, 16 years, 20 marathons and a handful of ultra-marathons later.

2) Anyone who knows your blog can tell you are a lover of literature. What is your favorite running book?

“Once a Runner” – by John L. Parker. Because, deep down, Quentin Cassidy is what we want all our running heroes to be.  Part rebel, part phenom and completely & utterly unreal.

3) Favorite non-running book?

“The Agony and the Ecstasy” – By Irving Stone. A fictionalized account of the life of Michelangelo.  It chronicles his humble beginnings, the way in which he honed his craft and the inspired results.

4) Enough with the reading, people want to know about Michael the runner. What's your favorite distance?

My favorite road racing distance has always been the half marathon. Long enough that you’ve got time to get a good, steady rhythm going and short enough where you’re not needing weeks and weeks to recover. My favorite trail racing distance would be 50k. And, probably for the same reasons.

5) When we first meet you, you were a roadie through and though(maybe with the exception of the Merrimack River Trail Race). How did you go from road races to ultra marathon trail races?

I’ve been training and running on the road for over 16 years and I’ve just grown tired of the toll it takes. Both physically and mentally. Pounding the pavement day after day. Trying to shave a second or two off a 5k, or 10k, time and beating my head against the sub 3 marathon wall. I’ve always enjoyed the beauty of hiking and trail running (and I’m a natural distance junky) so the transition to trail ultras was fairly seamless. In 2012, I ran my first 50m (8:12 at Stonecat) and I haven’t looked back.

6) Everyone has "must do"races that they want to include on their bucket list. What's on yours?

Now that I’m headlong into ultras, obviously my running bucket list now includes the biggies: Western States, Vermont, Wasatch and Leadville. Of course, a trip to Chamonix for Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc would be pretty sweet as well! However, I’ll wait to book my flight until after I (hopefully) finish my first hundred this October at Ghost Train.

7) Now this isn't just a normal 100 miler either is it? You're running for a cause right. Can you tell us a little more about it?

I am running
100 Miles For Sam in memory of Sam Berns. Sam was a wonderful young man from Foxboro Massachusetts who passed away on January 10th. Sam suffered from a rare disease called Progeria – which is a fatal genetic condition characterized by an appearance of accelerated aging. Sam’s parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, founded the Progeria Research Foundation in 1999 and since that time, PRF has been the driving force behind the Progeria gene discovery and the first-ever Progeria drug treatment. I will be raising money for PRF and hopefully awareness about Progeria with every mile I run at Ghost Train.
[Editor's Note: You can donate here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/100MilesForSam/100milesforsam
Also, Michael is looking for some runners to help him in running the 100 miler. Contact him if available]

8) If you could be any superhero who would you be and why?

I’m already a superhero. I’m a dad.

9) If Amber fought a hurricane, who would win?

Well, since Amber weighs like 96 pounds soaking wet, I think she’d have her hands full with the hurricane. But, she’s fast enough that she could run, bike or swim away from it pretty easily.

10) What if the hurricane was named Amber?

Amber, obviously.

Thanks to Michael for his time and I hope everyone can help support his good cause, pace him, or at least send positive vibes his way as attempts his first 100 miler!