The day before the Los Angeles Marathon – a different kind of visualization

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Like the old ketchup commercial or Tom Petty, the anticipation or the waiting is the hardest part. Sitting in a Los Angeles hotel room 22 hours before the start of The 2015 Los Angeles Marathon, I find myself oddly at peace, oddly introspective. This will be my 25th marathon and my tenth here in Los Angeles. I’ve had good races and lousy races. In 2013, I stepped off of an airplane on Friday night, after a 30-hour flight from India, and ran a 4:09 on Sunday morning – a good day.

 

2013 LA Marathon

Last year, I ran to mile 16 and was done, walking in the next 10 miles in 80F temperatures. I crossed the finish line in more than five and a half hours, wondering why I ever started the race knowing in advance how hot it was going to be.

2014 marathon finish facebook post

Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be worse with record temperatures expected and highs into the low 90F’s. But my mindset is slightly different. I’ve never gone into a race not to run as fast as I can on that day, but in this case, I am going to try NOT to run faster than a 4:30 marathon, because I have no interest in repeating last year’s death march and I don’t want to end up looking like this guy here.

2014  la marathon peson needing emt

So here’s my plan and my thoughts on this day before the 30th running of the Los Angeles Marathon:

1. Stay on East Coast time – this helps me to stay loose and do what I need to do, but keep my bodily functions and sleep patterns aligned to what I need to do to wake up and be out of the house by 2am PT to get to my parking spot in Santa Monica, get on the shuttle and head to the start.

2. Organize what I need and get it done – I picked up my bib yesterday; I avoid going to a marathon expo the day before the race because it is a taxing experience both physically and mentally. My bib is already attached to my race belt and as soon as I finish doing my laundry, I will have my clothes ready to go. Twenty five marathons later, I still get the yips the day before the race but knowing this is going to be more of a survival in the heat experience, I’m at peace with whatever happens tomorrow.

3. Stay relaxed – So what today is really about is just  staying off my feet, maybe doing a light 20-min shakeout run, maybe seeing a matinee movie at the local theater. Today would have been a perfect day to see McFarland, USA but I’ve already seen it, so I’ll find an alternative. My plan is to go to sleep right after it gets dark, probably around 7:30pm local time (10:30pm ET) so that I can get at least 5.5 hours of sleep before I have to wake up at 1am (4am ET). Then it’s simple, I shower, drive to the parking lot, walk to the shuttles and head to Dodger Stadium where I put on some music, lay down and wait for the marathon to begin.

 4. Accept that tomorrow is what it is – It’s going to be hot, I am not going to PR, and this is just one step in a much longer journey of what I want to accomplish this year and I ma blessed to be healthy enough to be able to be out there covering these 26.2 miles.

5. Run in the moment and remember – For me, tomorrow is much more about the course than about the race. This course is a journey through my upbringing and the majority of my life. I know every mile. I know ever yard of every mile. While others may run this as a marathon course, I run this as a validation of who I am and where I came from. The race starts at Dodger Stadium where my parents used to take me as a child; it was probably my first public social experience, with my father yelling in Spanish to then rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. I will remember how I worked downtown for years, just another ambitious suit trying to prove to some unknown entity of power and acknowledgment that I was worthy of being more than a glorified fitness trainer. At mile thirteen, my race and my journey really begins. I run through Sunset Plaza, past where Los Angeles monuments like Tower Records and Licorice Pizza used to stand, turn left down San Vicente and past the now shut down West Hollywood Post Office, my address since the early 1980′s. We run past Rage and everything that made West Hollywood the most energetic and crazy community in Los Angeles, long before anyone ever called it WeHo. With a quick glance to the right up the hill to where I grew up, we turn left down Doheny and run past Ralphs which used to be Hughes Market where I got shot at chasing a thug, and spent probably a thousand nights working night crew and stocking shelves during my four years in college. I remember that across the street was Chasen’s, my mother’s favorite restaurant, where you could get strawberries the size of your fist, and where I celebrated my college graduation with she and my sister. We run through Beverly Hills and past where Jacopo’s Pizza used to be, the place I first saw someone flip and spin pizza dough. We run past Versace, Polo and the other elite fashion stores on Rodeo Drive before turning down little Santa Monica that used to have a railroad track separating it from the larger street and iconic locations like Trader Vics, also now gone. We run past the ghost of Jimmy’s before passing Beverly Hills High School, where I learned to type and head into Century City, where I cut my teeth in the Entertainment practice of PwC. We run past the condo where John and I lived, Cindy and I first met, and where my mother took her last breath. We run the stretch of Santa Monica from Beverly Glen to Sepulveda, the same stretch I used to walk for eighteen months to walk to work at Sports Club/LA because I couldn’t afford a car after mine was stolen. We turn up through the VA Hospital, and exit the west gates that lead to the almost fictional and privileged world of Brentwood, where Teslas, Audi’s and Porsches outnumber Fords and Chevy’s 10:1. It’s at this point that I know I am really home. This is where my life as a runner and a coach really began. Passing Montana, I can reflect back on those first days coaching for APLA, when we had 500 runners coming out every Saturday for our group training runs while preparing for Honolulu. I can begin to smell the ocean breeze as I steadily make my way up the San Vicente grade to 26th Street, the the place I used to park my car and run what I thought back then was a really serious 4-mile run to Ocean and back. I will run those last 3 miles all downhill, knowing that one street over between 7th and 4th are the Santa Monica Stairs where I will likely be on Monday morning. Then we turn left down Ocean, passing the landmark wall where fellow S.M.U.T’s met every week to better our running and our lives. Trying to keep it together as best we can, we’ll head down Ocean, knowing that this last mile will feel like it lasts forever, watching the palm trees swaying and the blue ocean below and off to our right until we cross under the finish line just shy of the Santa Monica Pier and a few blocks over from the 3rd Street Promenade. I have taken this journey all of my life. I have run this course a million times before, and ten times on marathon day. It is both the most exhilarating and the saddest run I will ever do. And that’s why the time doesn’t matter, the heat doesn’t matter, and the medal doesn’t matter. Because even with so many of these Los Angeles landmarks gone, the course still remains, the memories remain; and for the moment, so do I. Good luck out there.

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As if getting people to workout wasn’t hard enough, when people do, they are criticized for doing so.

Outdoor workout 1

The following article For The Hard Core: The Gonzo Grown-Up Playground Workout In 10 Moves was shared with me on facebook by a friend, knowing my enthusiasm for using the outdoor world to inspire me to engage in physical activity. I started reading the article to see how many of the exercises I already do, and would have let it end their with mild interest until I started reading the comments.

The dissenting opinions for doing this type of outdoor activities using the already available public areas included:

Public spaces do be long to the public, but the picnic tables are put there so people can picnic, the benches are put there so people can sit. Exercising on them puts wear on them and doesn’t let them last as long. There are plenty other ways to exercise outside without using these items in ways that could damage them.

1) benches are made for sitting. 2) picnic tables are made for eating. It’s one thing to exercise it’s another thing to be disrespectful of items that don’t belong to you. You jumping on either of these could break them.

I personally live in Japan. My city has a dedicated area at our parks to do basic workouts, our benches are also cement, and can’t remember if picnic tables are provided or not. I do know that here in Japan if you were doing things this person is suggesting you would get stared and frowned at, so this would never happen here. Here my opinion about not using these items for exercise is the majority opinion. You will find no Japanese doing this.

If they don’t belong to me then they don’t belong to the person who is using them improperly and they shouldn’t be abusing them if they don’t own them. When you’re jumping on the tables destroys them to the point of no use and they aren’t replace you know who’s to blame. They are put there with a purpose, that purpose is not being an ignorant selfish fool who can’t afford a $20 gym membership at planet fitness.

Thanks for making picnic food taste and smell like sweaty ass.

Outdoor workout 2

 

These comments were met, as you might expect, with a significant amount of resistance, confusion, and disdain. I would have written it off as the tirades of a troll but then I read this post from a self proclaimed authority:

As a former playground safety inspector I agree with James. The equipment is designed for children and structured for the average weights and heights of children. Additionally, wood picnic tables are subject to the influence of weather, so jumping on to wood tables designed primarily for eating is never a good idea. Wood weakens via the influence of moisture (e.g., rain, snow, dew). There are some benefits for working out in a park, but a 200 lb. man hanging off of children’s monkey bars over the long term doesn’t strike me as a good idea. Sheesh, just join a gym!

That said, I see their point….to a point. And my response is as follows:

Wow! My response is pretty simple, when we get to the point that Americans are filling the parks “misusing” the benches and tables by exercising with them, we will have saved $millions in publicly subsidized healthcare costs and rather than reprimanding or penalizing those from doing so, we should celebrate the reversal of a national crisis. I’m sure a few of those dollars saved can be used for the upkeep of those facilities. And I agree that people should use judgment, avoid jumping on things where people might eat, and don’t jump on anything with dog feces on your shoes, but everything else is fair game. I LOVE those doing Parkour and those who use outdoor facilities for their own health and also as a way to encourage others to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. I lived in Japan as a child and I understand how people ,might look down on these folks, but that’s the great thing about America. People look down on most anything new, until someone does it the first time, and then someone joins in, and then another and then another, etc. Eventually even Japanese join in. It just takes awhile longer. If nobody took the first step to break a rule, then there would be no innovation.

What’s yours?

 

 

We should be angry

 

Listen, if you didn’t know you’re bein’ scammed, you’re too fuckin’ dumb to keep this job. If you did know, you were in on it. Either way, you’re out. ~ Sam “Ace” Rothstein

 

We should be angry because either our President lied or he didn’t understand his healthcare plan well enough to let us know that many people would lose their current healthcare policies. We should be angry because Republicans offer no solution to the problem, instead they simply say we don’t like what is there or offer half baked proposals so they can say they’ve offered an alternative. We should be angry because the President’s comment that people will now be able to keep their healthcare is also a lie because the only groups that will decide that are the insurance companies themselves and the state insurance regulators. So why are so many breathing a sigh of relief? We should be angry because many people have already either been cancelled or they have bought plans on the exchange for a higher cost because they believe they had no alternative to protect themselves and their families, and the President’s latest comments provide no explanation on what those people are entitled to do at this point. We should be angry because there is still yet another gap in coverage for those in states that decided to not expand Medicaid and for them, there is no viable solution. We should be angry because of all of the facebook posts over the past 3 months that opined one way or the other, and yet NEVER once did I read the facts as they have transpired. And all of this information was available, to all of us. There are no surprises here. All of this is easily known and understood just by reading the act. But I bet none of those who have posted how much they either love or hate the ACA actually read it or asked the simple questions such as, “what happens to current policy holders that hold policies that do not comply with the current ACA?”. That one question was all anyone needed to ask and answer that would have told you that these people would not be able to keep their insurance. But instead we turn now to the President and indignantly exclaim: “You lied to us!” Isn’t it our responsibility to be critical thinkers? Isn’t it our responsibility to find out things for ourselves? I am not defending the President’s actions, I am disgusted by it. To quote the Casino character, Sam “Ace” Rothstein: “Listen, if you didn’t know you’re bein’ scammed, you’re too fuckin’ dumb to keep this job. If you did know, you were in on it. Either way, you’re out.” But it doesn’t change the fact that De Niro’s character took it upon himself to be observant and to find out what was going on for himself. We didn’t do even that. And now we are here pointing fingers. We should be angry. But most of all we should be angry at ourselves. There is still much more to learn before this is all over. It’s up to us to learn it. Nobody else will do this for us.

ING NYC Marathon Sunday – A medal of a different color

A number of folks have emailed me and messaged me on facebook today saying things similar to this one:

“In spite of all the posturing, promises, and politicizing, the residents of Staten Island are no better off this AM. And we still didn’t have the marathon”.

To them, I can only say that today the NYC community was laser focused on the recovery and the clean up. There were no distractions, no diversions and no celebration for some while others were wondering if they’ll make it through the next night without any heat. It wouldn’t have been that way if the marathon had gone forth.

Additionally, we wouldn’t have had the thousands of runners who volunteered their time today to deliver food, water, blankets and other items to Lower Manhattan, Red Hook, The Rockaways and Staten Island, among others. They donned their marathon shirts and backpacks filled with supplies and drove, rode or even ran out to the homes and residents that needed them. Every year, marathon Sunday in NYC is all about transforming lives and that is exactly what happened today. Are things back to normal? Absolutely not. And they won’t be for some time. There is still a severe lack of fuel, power, shelter and clothing for far too many. But even if it is better today than it was yesterday for just a few people, then it was worth it. When the smiles on the faces of people who are given simple items like toilet paper, or a few apples are equal to the smiles on the faces of the runners distributing them, you know that lives were transformed today and we don’t need someone to slip a medal over our neck to prove it.

Do you want to be right or do you want to do good? The Lance Armstrong saga finally comes to an end. But who really loses?

This morning the top news is that Lance Armstrong is “finished with this nonsense”, he’s finished with the constant investigation and the multi-year “unconstitutional witch hunt” that he has been the victim of from the World and United States Anti-Doping Agency. He continues to say he is innocent, but enough is enough.  He lobbied Congress, the Olympic Committee and who knows how many others to make this stop, but nobody stepped up. The result? He will be stripped from the record books, lose his 7 Tour de France Titles and be a footnote for our children and our children’s children. Thank goodness, the evil doer is finally brought to justice and the Eliott Ness hero gets his man.It’s over. Or is it?

First, why is this a surprise to anyone? Cyclists in Armstrong’s era took drugs. Period. Who are they going to pass his titles down to? With everyone else also taking performance enhancing drugs, some kid pedaling around on a newspaper route is going to be incredibly surprised when someone hands him 7 medals, because he’s probably the only cyclist who wasn’t taking drugs at that time.

And as for the villagers who can now douse the flames of their torches, you may want to reflect on exactly what you succeeded in doing. You have succeeded in proving that water is indeed wet. Seriously, who didn’t believe that he was using performance enhancing drugs? If you didn’t, you can stop clicking your heels together, too. But that’s not the point.

I could care less about titles or accolades or records. Let people have these as they are meant for those who care about tokens and to titillate a culture that still harkens back to celebrity worship. What matters is that Lance used this twisted celebrity to do actual good, or real and permanent good as Andrew Carnegie would say. Does it matter if what drove him was hubris, ego or the guilt that he had cheated and needed to give back to make amends for his actions, to do something that made up for the fact that he was being idolized and didn’t deserve it? How much good makes up for the drug use? How about these very facts that describe the impact in one year that his foundations has had:

  • More than $18.7 million invested in research grants.
  • More than $9.6 million granted towards cancer
    survivorship and testicular cancer research.
  • More than $1.7 million granted invested in the
    development of 5 comprehensive cancer survivorship
    centres across the country.
  • Nearly $1.6 million invested in survivorship education
    and outreach initiatives.
  • More than $2 million invested in 104 community
    program partner initiatives.

According to the 2011 Annual Report, since 1997, The Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised nearly $500 million to fight cancer with an exemplary suite of services and programs that has served more than 2.3 million cancer survivors. You like facts? Here’s one major fact. If Lance Armstrong hadn’t doped, he wouldn’t have been able to do any of this and millions of people have benefited because of the way he used this faux power and influence. Countless lives have been saved due to the awareness that was created by his celebrity and his foundation. Is the doping agency right? Probably yes, but we may never know for certain. Let’s say, yes they are. Congratulations, they won an argument. How many of us have met people that “have to be right” even if right hurts people in the end. This is the ridiculousness of this whole escapade. Do I celebrate Lance? As a cyclist, yes as even if he did use performance enhancing drugs, I have to appreciate how ridiculously difficult it is to win one Tour de France when everyone else around you is using whatever they can to win as well, let alone seven. Do I condone what he did? Absolutely not. But then again, I think Pete Rose should be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. My view of humanity is that we all make mistakes and do stupid things that most of us regret later in life, sometimes minutes afterwards. To me, it isn’t about making the mistake, it’s about who or what gets hurt by your action and what you do with the rest of your life to make up for it – to improve the condition of others. In Lance’s case, the main people that were hurt are other doping cyclists and if you evaluate the entire body of his work, and his contributions to society, they far outweigh any silliness of who gets a medal or a television contract or an ESPY. Yes, it’s over. Let’s hope the real and permanent good being done through his name and his foundation isn’t.

Is Lance Armstrong a hero? How do we know?

Lance Armstrong, Chelsey Sullenberger, Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, Ethel Krajchir, Tim Tebow, John Elway, Evelyn Toboco – what do these people all have in common? Is there a hero among them? Are they all heroes? Are none?

Tonight a friend of mine posted the following comment on facebook in response to the report that the United States Attorney’s Office closed their investigation into Lance Armstrong’s team developing a doping program while partially receiving government funding as a member of US Postal:

“Its about time they realize…Lance Armstrong really is that good.”

My response was that we shouldn’t equate a dropped investigation with a finding of innocence. This then turned into a discussion about how Lance is a hero to which I took a pause.

The list of people above are all people that I believe have influenced people’s lives, aside from Lance, I’ve listed a few other athletes such as Tim Tebow who uses his celebrity to pursue his faith in his religion and for his missionary activities. Is Tebow a hero?  Another commenter on facebook posted that a hero is someone who walks the walk not someone who talks the talk. By that criteria Tebow would certainly measure up until you listen to those who believe he is anything but a hero. He is determined for sure, but do missionary activities help those for whom they are intended or are they similar to the crusades of old, imputing a belief system onto societies that have no wish or need to have this done to them?

Captain Sullenberger walked the talk by saving the lives of those on Flight 1549 when he safely landed the distressed plane in the Hudson River. Is he a hero or was he simply executing his duties as a pilot and doing everything he could to do that? What if he failed? What if a wave had caught an edge of the wing and the plane hadn’t landed safely, would that make the Captain any less of a hero? Does this mean that heroism must be decided by the outcome?

If outcome is now a criteria then what about Todd Beamer and Jeremy Glick? You remember these two men who lost their lives on Flight 93 presumably as they fought to take over the airplane from terrorists on 9/11. Their famous words of “Let’s Roll” became synonymous with heroism, but in the end, they died as did all of the other passengers on that flight. Does the fact that they weren’t successful make them any less heroic?

John Elway, another celebrity athlete who’s fourth quarter comebacks are legendary, is often described as being a hero and his efforts heroic. Like Captain Sullenberger, he was using his ability and executing his job to the best of his ability. He won football games. He did it in dramatic fashion. Does this make Elway a hero? What do we really means when we say, “He was the hero of the game?”

And then I throw out two other names who you may not be as familiar with: Ethel Krajchir was my mother, a woman who grew up on the South side of Chicago, and was a self made professional, working as a bookkeeper and accountant by day and raising my sister and me into what I hope are productive members of society. She did this all through a failed marriage and while fighting Leukemia and Lymphoma until the day she finally succumbed to this disease. Like many mothers, she sacrificed her life, her dreams and her passions so that me and my sister could grow up to have a chance at ours. Is she a hero or is she just a responsible and caring mother, doing what mothers do? Does the fact that she did this at a weight of less than 80 pounds while her body was ravaged from the inside out make her efforts any more heroic?

And then lastly there is Evelyn Toboco, who is the mother of one of my oldest friends, and who was one of our school principals while growing up. Mrs. Toboco, as we referred to her, for more than 37 years led a cadre of other fantastic teachers at The Buckley School who chose to go into a profession not to make money but to mold young minds and to give young people the tools and experiences to use their God-given talent to their best ability – again, so we could pursue our dreams and have a full and productive life. Was Mrs. Toboco a hero? Were the teachers that sacrificed their lives for ours heroes? And is sacrifice actually the common criteria? What about teachers that don’t feel that they sacrificed anything by choosing to be a teacher? Are they still heroes?

If sacrifice is the common criteria then we circle back around to Lance Armstrong. If he hasn’t sacrificed for the benefit of others, then is he a hero? Yes he sacrificed as a cancer survivor, but it’s hard to say that he is sacrificing his life in his efforts to eradicate the world of cancer. He has the means, he has the time and if you follow his tweets, you’ll see that he seems to have a fairly full and blessed life. I’m not pointing this out to take anything away from what he has given back to society – which is undeniable, but it’s hard for me to state that he is sacrificing anything by doing it. It only seems to enhance his celebrity and his own personal opportunities.

So there we have it, and personally I’m left with even more questions than answers. Is a hero someone who simply does something for someone else? Is a hero someone who does something for someone else so that they can accomplish a dream? Or is that just being a good and productive member of society? What’s the difference between a hero and a caring friend or responsible parent? What’s the difference between a hero and a role model, or a celebrity, or an athlete? Why is it that we so easily apply the term to celebrities and athletes who do things simply because they have the financial means to have their accomplishments publicized while simpler people who sacrifice their lives for the benefit of others seem to go unnoticed and unacknowledged? If you compared the teacher who had the greatest impact on your life or the life of your child against a Lance Armstrong who has indisputably used his celebrity and accomplishments to do so much in the fight against cancer, who would you say is the hero? Maybe they fall into a spectrum.

What I do know is that there are people who have touched my life positively in many different ways, be they heroes, friends, teachers, parents or even strangers. Whether it’s generosity, self sacrifice, a successful outcome or intent that determines a hero, I can’t say. I’m hoping you can.

The 2012 “10 in 10 Challenge” – Week 0: Getting Started

What if I lost weight and got healthy? What if I stopped making excuses and started making progress? ~ Charles Barkley

First let me be the thousandth person to wish you a very Happy New Year; more importantly, let me wish you a Healthy New Year. And this year, I’ve committed myself to helping any of my friends who want to “lose weight/get healthy and stop making excuses/start making progress” to do so.

Thanks to our friend Nigel, I’ll be helping to support all of our friends in this year’s 10 in 10 Challenge. I participated in this last year and lost a lot more than ten pounds in the first ten weeks of 2011, so I know this is very possible to do.

The key to the success of the folks who participate in this challenge is in its community support. We’re all in this together and through Facebook and Twitter we can support others and in doing so support ourselves.

The 10 in 10 Challenge begins on January 9th, that’s when we’ll all do our first weigh-in, and that means that you can use this week to set yourself up for success beginning from day #1.

Each day this week, I’ll post a quick entry giving you something simple that you can do to start off 2012 and the 10 in 10 Challenge on the right foot.

What do I do today?

Today you only have to do two things, you have to commit to your goal of losing a few pounds and starting off the year by getting healthy, and you have to register for the Challenge. Don’t worry, it’s free, we don’t collect e-mails, there’s nothing nefarious about any of this – just a group of everyday people wanting to improve their lives by starting the year off adopting good habits while they have other friends there to support them doing it.

How do I register?

We use two free primary tools to administer the 10 in 10 Challenge:

Facebook:

Go to https://www.facebook.com/10in10Challenge and “Like” this page. Read through the info page and through the Notes page. When you complete your weigh-ins, post your progress to the wall on this page on facebook so we can all celebrate your progress however small or large that might be! (Trust me, I had a few weeks last year when I gained, but still came out far ahead of my goal.)

Buckeye Outdoors:

Go to http://buckeyeoutdoors.com and create an account. It’s super quick and easy.

Go to http://buckeyeoutdoors.com/training/challenges and join the “10in10 2012″ Challenge

This is where we will record our actual weight loss. The Challenge is set up to begin on January 9th and last 10 weeks.

We’ll show you how to enter your weight in a separate post or you can check out the facebook page to see where we’ve already described how to do this.)

Lastly, if you are a Twitter user, go to https://twitter.com/10_in_10 and “follow” 10_in_10 to keep up to date and engage in the banter there.

You won’t lose 10 pounds or become a healthier person just by registering, but you will have taken the first steps to making this commitment real. I promise you that if you do commit to this, and see it through, the benefits will last long after the ten weeks are over. The little secret is that while the first ten weeks will help you to lose a few extra holiday pounds, by doing so you will adopt better habits and behaviors that will give you more energy, better health and make you feel a whole lot better about what you can accomplish in 2012.

Say hi when yo get onto Buckeye or Twitter, will ya? You can find me as @CoachAdam on the latter. Happy New Year!

Neti pots and pools – beware of brain eating amoebas…even during winter


 

If you ask a triathlete what their greatest risk is or what they fear the most, new athletes might answer drowning, while more experienced competitors might answer not being able to compete; and when pressed further as to what might cause that, they may point toward a fractured collar bone or another similar injury from a  bike accident. Few would answer death by brain eating amoeba although three people died last year from swimming in water inhabited by Naegleria fowleri, a “brain-eating” waterborne amoebic meningoencephalitis, which causes headache, stiffness, fever and nausea before leading to almost-certain death.

Many more got sick from ingesting or inspiring non lethal but severely painful bugs that can be found in pools, lakes and rivers. This has become such an important issue that the CDC ran a video contest to raise awareness of how to avoid these issues. Here is the winning submission:

But why as we enter the winter month of December are we talking about waterborne risks commonly found in warm waters. For two reasons, fist because triatletes move inside into pools during the winter months that are shared with youth swimmers that probably haven’t heard of these risks and even if they have, they don’t much care. Adults also assume that chlorine kills all of the urine and fecal borne bugs introduced by little swimmers wearing floaties. It doesn’t.

The second reason I bring this up is because winter brings winter colds and with more and more people resisting the use of antibiotics as a quick foolproof solution, many are turning to the use of nasal irrigators, some over the counter, others through the time tested use of nasal irrigates or nasal douches like the Neti pot. A Neti pot is used to pour warm saline water into one nostril drawing out any infection and contaminants as they are swept out the other nostril and into a sink. In most cases, this is a very safe and simple procedure, but just as noted above, there have been cases, where people have gotten and died from meningoencephalitis while using a Neti Pot.

To protect yourself during swimming, you can close off passages of entry including using goggles, not swallowing pool water, and by using ear and nose plugs. To do the same while obtaining the health benefits of using a nasal irrigator such as a Neti pot, use only distilled water, keep your pot clean and only use it for short periods of time. It doesn’t take any more effort and you can virtually eliminate all of the associated and completely preventable risks.

There are other pros and cons of using nasal irrigation as a course of action, many of which are identified in this WebMD article. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/neti-pot-nasal-irrigation-pros-and-cons

Hopefully, you’ll pass through this winter getting in great swim workouts and without getting ill; but if you should, remember these few simple tips.

 

Finally something to share

This is my mea culpa for not having posted anything to this blog in ages. Truth is that I have posted on my blog only when I have thought I had something valuable for others to read. When I’ve simply wanted to vent, I found Twitter or facebook to be convenient receptacles for my raving and sometimes mindless rants. So if you’ve done your math, you get to the inevitable point that for months, I haven’t felt like I have had anything valuable to share. Until now.

About a week ago, I woke up in the middle of the night in a Los Angeles hotel feeling like someone was stabbing me in the back and my right arm was on fire. I wish I could tell you exactly what’s going on but I can’t yet and more than a week later I’m still trying to figure it all out.

What I can share is that now that the pain is no longer intolerable, I can actually type full sentences on a keyboard and figured that my experience here is something that someone else might find useful in case they find themselves in a similar situation. I openly confess that I have no idea how this is going to end, but I can promise that I’ll be sure to share what I learn and what works and what doesn’t work for me in the hope that someone else might benefit.

More to follow…

The Thalians 55th Gala at The Playboy Mansion Raised $1 Million and Entertained All

It’s always the plan but not always the result that supporting a great cause actually is combined with a great event. Saturday night’s Thalians Gala at The Playboy Mansion delivered on both raising appx. $1 Million for The Thalians and Operation Mend by having the right location, the right cause, the right atmosphere, the right honoree (Hugh Hefner as Mr. Wonderful) and the right entertainment program. The night was balanced with just the right amount of fund raising combined with entertainment that included performances by comedians Felipe Esparza, Jeffrey Ross and Rich Little, and a ridiculous, “Please let Them Play All Night” performances by energetic and contagious musicians and singers Joy Enriquez, Christopher and Kyle Massey, Billy Morrison, Matt Sorum, Donovan Leitch, Mark McGrath, Steve Stevens, Franky Perez, Grant Fitzpatrick and a sensational closing number by Taylor Dane and Camp Freddy. The only thing that stopped the event was The Playboy Mansion turning the power off – Hef does need his beauty rest after all.

Most importantly, as an upbeat and humorous US Marine Corporal Aaron Mankin – who has undergone more than 60 operations to repair his face and body from burns incurred when an IED exploded in his vehicle killing 7 of his troops – stated, it allowed a bunch of US Marines to come to spend a few hours at an open bar, and gave us all a sobering reminder of the sacrifices that our service men and women make each and every day to protect our freedoms. The only thing that would have made it better is if President Obama’s message about the demise of Osama bin Laden had been received that evening in front of all of those that had invested so much to make that happen.

Now that would have been a once in a lifetime experience.You owe it to yourself to learn about this great organization and this great cause by watching this short video on Operation Mend

As it was, it was a tremendous evening put on by a great team led by event chairs Bob and Kira Lorsch and Thalians Board Chair and Force of Nature, Ruta Lee.

Here’s a little snippet of the event through our eyes from start to finish. It even includes your own private tour through The Playboy Mansion.

The evening ended as perfectly as it started, at The Rainbow Bar and Grill with good friends and family, midget wrestlers, a cat wearing magician and an amazing pizza. Just another Saturday night in La La Land.

 

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