Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Huffing and Puffing: Episode 6: Running & Leiping

As published at News957.com:


Now I can drink chocolate milk without guilt. Of course, it all comes down to moderation and wise choices. At least that's what registered dietitian Anna Leiper told us this week in her lecture to the Lung Association of Nova Scotia's Learn To Run For Smokers program.
It's week five, and already some of the team has disappeared. The team photo from the first week shows more people than we've seen since. Those who are still coming are brave, dedicated individuals. I'm proud to be one of them.
That doesn't mean I'm eager to get out of the car when arrive at The Tower at SMU on a windy, rainy morning that has the raindrops flying sideways. I'd rather sit in my car. You can imagine my joy when I find out that Jayne Norrie has arranged for us to exercise indoors at the Tower's gym. JOY!
Instead of sloshing around outside, we find places on modern treadmills. I've done treadmill running before, and I honestly like it a lot more than running on pavement, sidewalks or the gravelly paths of Point Pleasant Park. Even on an incline, which we're told to adjust to 2 degrees, it's so much easier on my knees and shins.
Ah, my shins. My shins continued to bother me this week. My shin muscles, as described last week, have been cramping up and preventing me from comfortably lifting my feet. The pain also extends to my knees. It's definitely time to get new shoes. I got a great email this week from a former Canada Games silver medalist, recommending that I try a slant board to work on my ankles, which he says will relieve my shin problems. I really need to get on that.
Anyway, back to the treadmill. This week's goal is 30 minutes of steady exercise. No problem, I figure. Nine minutes in, I clumsily hit the 'Stop' button, forcing me to do math for the remaining 21 minutes. Nobody told me there'd be math. I manage to finish out the half-hour, but can't sustain the three minutes running/one minute walking that was recommended. I still do much better than I would've on the road. Plus, with the heat of the SMU cardio room, I'm sweating like crazy.
The sweat keeps pouring off me as registered dietitian Anna Leiper begins her engaging and interactive presentation about nutrition. Anna's been a frequent guest on News95.7 over the years. I think she's even brought muffins to the newsroom. Here I am, a living, breathing example of why you need to rehydrate and re-energize after running: my sodium and water are coming to the surface, even as I sit.
Our special guest food expert goes over a simple, memorable mnemonic: RUN. R, U, N.
R is for recovery, or refueling. Extended exercise depletes the body of carbohydrates, water and sodium. Muscles that've been microscopically torn through hard work need protein to rebuild. Anna tells us chocolate milk is an ideal recovery beverage, as it contains all those elements. For best results, she recommends consuming it within about 20-30 minutes after extended exercise.
U is for urine. Seriously. If you're dehydrated or under-hydrated, your urine will look more like apple juice than, say, Sprite. So, noting the colour of your urine can be a tip-off to the state of your hydration. Given the choice, it's better to have more water in you than less.
N is for nutrition. Canada's Food Guide lays out what we humans should be eating to get the nutrition we need to get through life in a healthy way. The portion sizes might surprise you, though. Seriously, do you know what a "portion" of meat is? Nuts? Cereal? Look at a food package some time. You may think, oh, gosh, it's only 120 calories per portion. Now look at how much a "portion" is. Learning about portion size management could totally shake up your world if you take it to heart.
Looking at my weight loss graph, I obviously haven't taken it to heart, but at least I'm aware of what I'm ignoring. The Learn To Run program is not intended to be a weight loss program, but I hoped to lose a few pounds along the way. I'll put a link to my weight tracking below.
Now, as I've been talking, blogging and vlogging about this program in recent weeks, it's mostly been about the exercise and not much about the smoking. Both my dad and my wife brought this to my attention this week, suggesting this would be a great time to address the smoking. Frankly, that had been on my mind, too. I know the Learn To Run For Smokers program is not specifically intended to get smokers to quit, but I've been open to the possibility.
So, I've set two goals for the next week: first, I want to see if I can do next Saturday's run without having a cigarette first. Usually I have two: one when I get up, and one at the meeting. Second, I want to try getting through an entire day, wake-up to bedtime, without a cigarette. I can't remember the last time I did that.
The Lung Association's 5k Lung Run is coming up soon, so if you'd like to sponsor me or any of the other Bad Ashes team members, please follow the link below.
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