Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sugar..Good or Bad for a Runner

One of my favorite things in the whole world is a big soda pop after a long day out working in the yard, or to drink with a burger and fries.  However there is one problem with this picture.... pop has a TON of sugar in it.  A 12 oz can of Dr. Pepper has 39 Grams of sugar in it. Wow... So here comes the big question that I have asked my self all through my running career.  Is sugar good or bad for a runner?
I have done quite a bit of research on this topic and find the evidence staggering towards the health effects of added sugar on the body.  In a study I found on CNN Health, they found that a group of people who consumed 46 teaspoons of added sugar a day ( 10 tsp in an average 12 oz can of coke ) both lowered their good cholesterol and raised their triglycerides. Wow, that's a double hit.  But due to my stubbornness and the love of the fizzy sugar charged pop, I cant seem to not want pop any more.
I would like to compare this to the music that we listen to in our lives.  Music off the bat doesn't seem like it could have that much of an effect on us, just like we don't thing soda pop has an effect on us.  However it damages our ability to hear the gentle promptings of the spirit. In Mosiah 3:19  we learn that the natural man is an enemy to God... Satan doesn't want us to listen to the spirit, so we have loud, angry, sexual, distracting music around us.  Lets take a better look at what we listen to in life and ask our self's if we can feel the spirit when we listen.  I promise that a greater sensitivity will come into your life and you will enjoy the companionship of the spirit more often.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Physiology of Runners 6: The Mind

As I was pondering on a few key characteristics of runners and running in general, I thought to my self.... "What is the hardest part about running for me?"  I came to the conclusion that the hardest part about running for my self was the mental aspect of the sport.
I struggled alot in high school with my mind and being able to control it during races and make it a tool instead of a hindrance.  If I didnt race as well as I wanted I would beat my self up and cause all sorts of stress on my self to simply work harder, train harder, run longer.  I just wanted to work my self to death in order to win.  My sweet loving mother made me a little book my senior year with a bunch of motivational quotes in it for me to read before races. There inside was a quote that would start to change my life as a runner forever.  The quote is by one of the worlds most famous runners of all time, Steve Prefontaine.

“Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you              traveled from where you started.”


I love this quote not only because its a great running quote, but also because it exactly what our Savior said in 3 Nephi 27:27  "...What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I AM."
He wants us to be even as he is.  But does that mean that we have to be perfect all the time?  No, He wants us to strive each and every day to reach this goal of "perfection", though knowing that we cannot do It on our own.  SO, to tie it all around Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started, meaning that the savior isnt worried about where we are in the end, but how far we have come to reach him.  I bear witness that this is Gods Kingdom on the earth and we can all return to live with him, if we will abide by this piece of doctrine. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Inspiration to All: Steve Jones

As I was looking through a few "well known" runners in history I came across the usual.  Steve Prefontaine, Roger Banister, Bernard Legat Etc.  But there was one that I have never heard of before, and that was Steve Jones, a Welsh athlete.
 In the European Championships shortly after, he once again competed in the marathon. Leading from the start and breaking away from the pack, Jones ran a brilliant race up to the 20 mile mark. At that point he was leading by over two minutes and on schedule for another world record. However, he then "hit the wall" and suffered terribly in the final six miles. He slowed to a virtual shuffle, but refused to quit as he watched other competitors catch and pass him.
He always gave the heart and courage that was needed to succeed in his races.  I found a video that really shows how much guts, heart, and courage this guy has. It's from 1983, from the 10,000 metres at the Brussels meet.  In the last 2 laps he leads by 25 metres.......


No one thought he could win this race, just like Satan tells us we can win OUR race in life and return to the presence of our Father in Heaven.  May we have the courage to stand against Satan, just like Steve had the courage to win this race.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Runners Parable Just for You

I was scanning the main page of face book the other day looking for something to keep busy with.  I came across a picture of some runners and a story attatched to it and began to read.  The story below is the story I read and really enjoyed it.  All credit of this story goes to Keith Brown.  Thanks for sharing.


The Parable of the Two Runners
By Keith Lionel Brown
  There were two men running in a race. The one runner had no other goal in mind then to be the first to cross the finish line and to be declared the winner. Winning meant everything to him. As far as he was concerned, if he could not win the race, there was no real reason to run the race. The other runner had a completely different attitude. He was definitely in the race to do his best, but to him, crossing the finish line first was not necessarily his main objective for running this race. This runner was more concerned with running the race well.

And so there they both were at the starting line anticipating the start of the big race. Soon the pistol was fired and the runners were off.

The one runner's main objective was to win this race at any cost, and soon he began cutting other runners off and even caused a few of them to trip and fall. Some of the fallen runners were injured to the point where they could not finish the race. However, this did not stop this runner. He had a race to win and so he continued on his way. The other runner; however, stopped and helped those who had fallen, and ensured that they were off of the track out of harms way. After seeing to the well-being of his fellow runners he got back into the race and continued running at a steady pace.

During the course of the race there were some runners who soon began to run out of energy and instead of running, resorted to walking at a fast pace. There were others who wanted to quit believing that there was no way possible for them to finish the race, let alone win the race.

This, of course, made the one runner extremely happy, for this meant that there would be fewer people competing for the prize. The possibility of winning this race began to look even more promising to him. The other runner, noticing that some of his fellow runners were growing weary and discouraged, began to run along side of them and spoke to them and did his best to encourage them to not give up and quit, but to stay in the race. He told them that the real prize was not necessarily in winning the race, but in enduring and finishing the race that they had started. Amazingly they soon regained their strength and became more determined than ever to give it their all to finish the race.

The finishing line was soon in sight but still some distance away. The runner whose goal it was to be declared the winner was now exhausted, but with the finish line just ahead, he was determined to be the first to cross it. He was well in the lead, but there were some runners that were rapidly gaining on him. With all of the energy and strength that he could muster he ran as hard and as fast as he could hoping that no other runner would catch him and pass him and cross the finish line before him. The other runner was a little distance behind, but he too now had sight of the finish line and continued to run the race at a steady pace. A short time later the one runner had achieved his goal. He had crossed the finish line first and was thus declared the winner of the race. The crowd applauded with excitement.

Shortly thereafter, the other runner also reached the finish line. As he was about to cross the line he stopped. There was a hush over the audience as they were amazed that a runner would stop just short of crossing the finish line. The runner turned and looked behind him. He saw that some of his fellow runners were struggling to finish the race. Without hesitation he ran back to encourage the runners once again not to quit but to push forward and endure to the end.

All of the runners finally crossed the finish line with this runner being the last one to cross. For a moment there was a deep silence from the crowd. And then it happened. One by one people slowly began to stand to their feet and applaud this runner. The applause was longer and louder than it had been for the runner who won the race. This left the winner both amazed and confused. He did not understand why this runner who had crossed the finish line last was receiving so much recognition especially since he had clearly lost the race.

When all was said and done, which of these two runners was the real winner of the race?

Every time I hear a lesson in church I ask my self a few questions.  What did I personally get out of this story? And How can I apply it into my life to make me a better person? 
I learned ( the hard way ) In my own running career that its not all about winning the race, or being the fastest in the school, but rather its enjoying the wonderful blessing that our Father in Heaven has given us.  The ability to RUN.  I'm going to take a better look on the many blessings and gifts that HE has given me and be more thankful for them.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Physiology of Runners 5: Feet

Your probably wondering the same thing that I was wondering when the impression came to write a blog about feet.  What in the world do stinky, dirty  feet and running have to do with the gospel?  Bear with me for a few paragraphs and you shall find out.
Every day we get up, put on our shorts, a t-shirt, socks, and shoes, then head out the door for a morning run.  We use our feet daily! In fact did you know that the average person walks over 10,000 steps a day!  That adds up to about 115,000 miles in a life time. ( for runners its more, because were cooler than the average person ;) ) Another cool fact is that the foot actually makes up about 25% of the human bodys bones.  So we can all agree that feet are a really important part of our body, especiall us runners.  There is a quote and I cannot find the source, but it says something along the lines of "Follow  your feet, they will lead you where you want to go."  I would like to compare our feet to the spirit and this quote.
Every week in high school we had a Vo2 max work out day.  That usually consisted of us running 800-1000 meter repeats.  We ran these repeats around our high schools football field, practice field, and baseball feild.  The grass wasnt very well kept, and there were many pot holes that were some what hard to avoid.  Over time of understanding the fundamentals of running, just like learning how to listen and follow the spirit, I didnt have to look down and worry where my feet were.  I trusted in my feet to land in the right places so I didnt roll my ankle.  That took lots of time and practice to get my feet to do that.  As we continue to be worthy of the spirit and follow its promptings ( practice ) we will become literate in the language of the spirit and have that gift to guide us.  Just like my feet would guide me through the rough field.
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Physiology of Runners 4: Heart

Thump.......Thump.......Thump..... Well, It sounds like my heart is still beating, for now. The heart is one of the most interesting of our bodily organs. It circulates the blood oxygen mix through our bodies, which in turn helps us push out our daily runs.  The heart has many different parts that help it distribute the blood, veins, and arteries are the main ones.  These help the blood flow the the different muscles and organs that need oxygen.  I like to think of them as roots that just help the tree get bigger and stronger.
I think we can all agree on the fact that the heart is a pretty important part of running, now, just like the heart is important, a testimony of the gospel is just as important if not more.... well, at least for our spiritual journey.
So what is a testimony and how do we attain one?  Well, the dictionary says that a testimony is evidence in support of a fact or statement; proof.  How can we have evidence of God?  Well, lets look around us for a second.  Look at all the pretty trees, the beautiful mountains, the people all around us, those are little pieces of evidence that God is there.  There is a more definite way that we can know God, and that is through his spirit which touches our.... you guessed right, Heart.  In Moroni 10:5 we are taught that "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of ALL things."  That is how we gain a testimony of the gospel and grow to know God.  Testimonies keep us deeply rooted in the gospel and help us in our stony paths of life.  The best way to gain that testimony is to read the scriptures, attend church meetings, and to pray always.  I call those the primary basics.
So next time your out on your long run, think about the testimony you have of the gospel and what it means to you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Physiology of Runners 3: Muscles

MUSCLES

All of you out there who are interested in cars, you will recognize numbers like... Chevy's 350 small block, or the 440 Magnum.  These are some popular engines in classic muscle cars; and they are named "muscle" cars for a definite reason. They have got alot of MUSCLE. Well, so does our body's, especially runners.
Your muscles are composed of several types of muscle fibers.  You have probably hear the terms "slow-twitch" and "fast-twitch" fibers. As you might have guessed slow-twitch muscles are trained by doing longer runs.  These muscles give you the endurance and stamina you need.  Fast-twitch muscles are the speedy Gonzales muscles, and are trained by shorter distances at a intense rate of speed that forces your body into lactate mode. So a basic summary would be, our muscles are important when running and we need to train and condition them to perform the best for us, and we get faster and stronger.
Just like muscles we need to train our minds to understand the scriptures and the instructions that the Lord has given to us to make it back to his presence.  How do we do that........ well, as the primary song that I sang when I was a young boy, "Search, ponder, and pray are the things that I must do..."
We recently listened to a great talk by our mission president at zone conference about reading the Book of Mormon. No, feasting.... on the Book of Mormon.  He talked about a piece of Chocolate cake that was really really good.  Now, would you just scrape the top of this chocolate cake, or would you just dive right into it?  Feast!!!  I know that as we read the Book of Mormon and Bible our testimony's of the restoration of the gospel will increase and we will know that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith is his prophet in these the latter days, and that this is Gods kingdom once again established upon the earth!
Lets get out there and train our minds!!!