Friday, November 26, 2010

Atlanta Runners: Don’t Miss Out on These Holiday Races

Had your fill of Thanksgiving leftovers? Take a break from holiday shopping, eating and parties to hit the road with Atlanta runners. The following races promise a festive atmosphere to get you in the spirit.

Santa’s Safety Run 5K – December 5
Safety is key benefit with this race – proceeds support Inman Park Public Safety. With a great running neighborhood like Inman Park and a start time of 10:30 a.m., what’s not to like about this race? Strollers and dogs are welcome too! Early registration closed today, but you can still sign-up at or on race day at the event.

Jingle Jog 5K & Elf Run Tot Trot – December 11
The event’s web site promises a festive race – complete with jingle bells for runners’ shoes, food, holiday music and a Santa’s playground complete with pony rides. The Costco parking lot on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road serves as the start and finish line. It you plan to run, please bring a toy - the Salvation Army will be on hand to collect toy donations for its Christmas toy drive. The 5K starts at 8 a.m. and the tot trot kicks-off at 9 a.m.

Virginia-Highland Christmas 5K – December 18
While not the easiest neighborhood to park in, it sure is a great place to run. This annual event is limited to 1,000 runners and organizers expect it to fill-up early. The first 500 registrants get Santa Hats to wear during the race. Runners will line up near Fire Station #19 to start the race. Sign-up available at Phidippides or at

ATC Resolution Run 5K & 10K – January 1
For those runners (me included) who indulge a bit too much during the holidays, this race promises to get you on the right track. Fortunately, the race start is at noon – allowing runners a little extra sleep on New Year’s Day. Keep in mind that the 5K and 10K races do not allow strollers – if you want to bring the family, consider the 1-mile fun run and the 50-meter tot trot.

This week’s route is from the Virginia-Highland Christmas 5K. Enjoy!

• West on Los Angeles, Pass Crestridge Drive
• Turn Left on Elkmont Drive
• Turn Right on Park Drive
• Turn Right on Orme Circle
• Turn Right on Elkmont (Orme Circle merges to Elkmont)
• Turn Left on Brookridge Drive
• Turn Left on Amsterdam Ave – Amsterdam merges into Courtenay
• Turn Right on San Antonio Ave
• Turn Left on Amsterdam Ave
• Turn Left on Kings Court
• Bear Right on San Antonio – follow to Courtenay Ave
• Turn Right on Courtenay Ave
• Turn Left on Greenland Ave – stay right on Greenland – merges to Hillpine
• Turn Right on Wayne Ave
• Turn Left on Courtenay Ave
• Turn Left on North Highland Ave and proceed 90 yards to North Morningside Dr
• Turn Left on North Morningside Drive
• Go 1/10th mile and turn Right into Morningside Presbyterian Church lot to the Finish Area

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Runners Stay Healthy - Tips to Prevent the Cold

The other morning, I woke up to a story on NPR about why some people struggle to fight off the cold. Ron Turner, a cold researcher at the University of Virginia said that 30% of people in a household will develop the cold or another infection. Well, at my house I am that 30%. Being sick interferes with all types of activities we take for granted … especially running.

So, what advice did the experts have to offer for staying healthy?

20 Minutes of Exercise 5 or More Days a Week
Studies on the link between exercise and illness found that those who exercised for 20 minutes 5 or more days a week experienced fewer sick days than people who exercised less often. While researchers aren’t certain how exactly exercise helps fend off the cold, they believe aerobic activity energizes immune cells to fight off infection.

Eight Is the Magic Number
What about sleep? Well, if you happen to get less than 7 hours of sleep a night you’re almost 3 times more likely to get sick compared to people who get at least 8 hours of sleep.

Don’t Let Stress Triggers Trip You Up
Not surprisingly, long durations of stress have an overall impact on our body’s ability to fight off infection. Essentially, stress wears the body down. As a working parent, it can be hard to avoid the daily challenges of life – but like a lot of runners, a good 4 to 5 miler helps keep me mentally balanced.

What About Food?
While the NPR story didn’t mention the role of food, the latest issue of Runner’s World offers tips on foods that power your immune system. Not surprisingly, chicken soup and citrus were on the list. Here are a few other foods that were praised for their benefits:

· Yogurt – probiotic lactobacillus which is found in yogurt seems to help reduce the severity of respiratory illness
· Slow-cooked beef stews – the iron from the meat is a great trigger for producing red blood cells
· Baked potatoes – white potatoes offer a good dose of vitamin C while sweet potatoes provide vitamin A – both of which boost your immune system
· Onions and garlic – both contain antimicrobial properties, which may help protect your body from illness

This week’s route is courtesy of the Undy 5000 5K. Over the weekend, runners hit the streets of Decatur -- some in their undies -- to build awareness for colon cancer as part of this nationwide racing event. Enjoy!