Sunday, May 23, 2010

Amazing! Man Loses Half His Body Weight By Running

It sounds like a headline from the National Inquirer or the Guinness Book of World Records. But it’s a true account of Jeff Le’s amazing feat. I came across Jeff’s story in this month’s issue of Runner’s World. Two years ago, Jeff weighed 290 pounds and exercise wasn’t a priority. But a serious illness triggered a new perspective on life. Jeff joined a gym and stepped on a treadmill for the first time. It wasn’t the most positive start – after five minutes he vomited.

But he returned the next day and two months later Jeff had started running 10-K races and was down 45 pounds. Jeff was hooked. He started running half-marathons as he pursued his goal to race the Marine Corps Marathon. By race day, Jeff had lost 130 pounds – within less than a year. He finished his first marathon in 3:42. A year later, he qualified for the Boston Marathon with a finish time of 3:10 at the California International Marathon.

While Jeff started running to improve his fitness, he became addicted to the feeling of freedom he experienced. Like Jeff, I run to stay fit but at times it’s the mental benefits that make running essential. Running helps me unwind from a stressful day. And morning runs provide both a physical and mental energy boost to start my day. To borrow from the well-know milk ad, running does the body (and the mind) good.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More than Just a Race: Save Our Skin 5K

There are hundreds of races dedicated to breast cancer awareness, yet skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. In fact, it accounts for more than 50% of all cancers combined.

Spring and summer brings more exposure to the sun’s rays for runners. It’s easy for runners to forget the sunscreen when they head out the door. Yet unlike a lot of other cancers, skin cancer is highly preventable. Simple steps like sunscreen, hats, and avoiding long-term exposure to sun can make a big difference.

The 4th annual Save Our Skin 5K takes place at Perimeter Place in Dunwoody on Saturday, May 29th. One of the unique benefits to this race is the complimentary spot skin checks from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. In the past, doctors have found participants with melanoma and pre-cancerous cells.

You can register online or at several local running stores, including Big Peach Running, Fleet Feet, Phidippides and West Stride. The race course is available at the event site.

Stay safe and smart - protect your skin.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The North Face Endurance Challenge Comes to Atlanta

I’ve always admired trail runners. The ability to navigate rocks, tree roots and foliage while racing along a ground path is quite a skill. You see, I’m not exactly coordinated. There have been more than a few occasions where I’ve tripped on sidewalks.

Last month, The North Face announced that it is extending its well-know Endurance Challenge to Atlanta. And I say it’s about time. Not only is Atlanta a city with lots of runners but it’s also in close proximity to a variety of trails. The metro area will play host to the Southeast Regional event on October 16 and 17. The competition will take place at F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, which is 20 miles east of Atlanta. Correction: the park is actually located 80 miles southwest of Atlanta.

The North Face Challenge offers competitions for every runner – from the grueling Gore-Tex 50-mile competition to a 5K race and Kid’s Run. The event site promises it will be the “toughest test of off-road endurance.” Registration is now available online and discounts are offered to couples and families. The field is limited to a small number of runners for each race. Regional winners for the Gore-Tex 50-mile race compete in the championship, which takes place in San Francisco. The top male and female finishers win $10,000 each.

If you’re a serious trail runner or just someone who aspires to race alongside mountain scenery, don’t let this event pass you by.