The Trick to Eating Healthy When You’re Eating Out, Beyond Common Sense

Just because eating healthy should be common sense doesn’t mean we actually abide by it. In fact, most of us probably throw our common sense out the window the second we plop down with a menu filled with spectacularly described food. Here are a few reminders for the simple ways you can keep a restaurant meal healthy.

Great tips on this site. What’s missing is what we do: consistently order single entrees at restaurants and split them amongst the two or three of us. A typical plate of fajitas at a Mexican restaurant is more than enough to feed me, J, and Z.

Race Report: 2012 White Rock ‘n’ Roll 5 Mile

Winfrey Point, taken last Saturday. Situated on White Rock Lake, it is one of the last remaining parcels of blackland prairie in North Texas. Enjoy it while it lasts!

As you can tell from the above photo, it was a gorgeous day at White Rock Lake. I was there to run the 2012 Dallas White Rock ‘n’ Roll 5 Mile race. Staged by the Dallas Running Club, it would mark the first time I’ve raced since last December’s Dallas White Rock Marathon Relay.

While I typically don’t race much during the spring (it’s mental recovery time from the previous summer/fall/winter’s training), it was a great opportunity to run alongside my friend Tom. This race would mark our third together in the past year, the beginning of a great habit. And with 1100 fellow runners (including Beth from Life is a Run), it was a comfortably-sized event.

The race started off great, as we cruised alongside the lake for 1/2 a mile. The second we turned inland, away with the cool breezes from the lake effect, replaced by stagnant and humid air. I never run well in humidity. The weather sucked the wind out of me, and between mile markers 1 and 3 I slowed down quickly. I recall feeling rather winded at mile 3, but between there and the last 1/2 mile I maintained a fairly steady pace. The last 1/2 mile represents a sprint, where I wanted to finish strong and not be too far behind Tom, who went ahead of me around that time.

Despite the humidity, I ended up getting a PR for the distance: 00:48:35 (link to official results). Of course, it was the first time I ran an official 5 mile distance, so anything would have been my PR! But, if you compare it to similar distances, it was respectable. When you factor in the lack of training, time of year, and stresses at home with young children, it was downright bad-ass in my mind. I might have been able to shave off a bit of time if I could have run better tangents. However, that’s near-impossible at White Rock Lake, with all the bi-directional traffic we encountered.

Here are my official stats and course map as recorded by Chuck (my Garmin). Click here in the event you don’t see an embedded map — or just click there anyway, because the online player of my stats is fun to check out!

Did you run the race? How did you end up faring?

Last Race of 2012

As a bookend to my first 2012 race, I can now confirm my last event for the year.

Last night, I received email confirmation for my entry into the New Year’s Double in Allen, TX. And not a moment to spare for 2012: I’ll be running the half on 12/31. Then the next morning, I’ll repeat by running another half on 1/2.

Although I’ve oft told myself I wouldn’t run another marathon again until my 40s, I’ve found a loophole. I’m very good about finding loopholes.

The Boston Athletic Assocation is A Piece of Shit — And It Still Made the Right Decision

Proto-clydesdales like myself have a hate-meh relationship with the Boston Athletic Association, which puts on the annual Boston Marathon. It’s been a contributor to a polarization within the running community, a division between elites and turbo-stragglers. The former — runners fast enough to actually qualify for Boston — think that the latter — turbo-stragglers, average people like myself who can complete a marathon but commit the sin of taking twice as long — are ruining marathons for the rest of them. Specifically for the Boston Marathon, I’ve heard several stories of the “real” runners bitching about entries being taken up by charity entrants, people who earned a spot at the start line through fundraising. And the focus that BAA does on the elites allies them against the charity runners.

Despite the above, the BAA did a good thing today by warning runners to expect extraordinary heat at Monday’s race. They deserve kudos for not only getting the word out early, but also applying this warning across all classes:

We are now making the recommendation that if you are not highly fit or if you have any underlying medical conditions (for example-cardiac disease, pulmonary disease or any of a number of medical problems), you should NOT run this race.

  • Inexperienced marathoners should not run.
  • Those who have only trained in a cooler climate and who may not be acclimated (for at least the last 10 days) to warm weather running conditions should also consider not running.

For those very fit athletes who decide to run, you should take significant precautions:

  • Run at a slower pace and maintain hydration.
  • You should frequently take breaks by walking instead of running.
  • This will not be a day to run a personal best. If you choose to run, run safely above all else. Speed can kill.

Even the fittest athletes, that take precautions can still suffer serious heat illness. Recognizing symptoms of heat illness in yourself and others is critical , this may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these, stop running immediately and if symptoms persist seek medical attention.

In three of the past four long-distance races I’ve done (half-marathon or greater), it’s been scorching hot and/or humid. And in those four races, three people died, two of which can be described as something more than weekend warriors. Such experiences are not limited just to me — I’ve heard of similar tragedies at other races such as Chicago (twice in recent memory).

In addition to the above warning, the finish line will stay open later in anticipation of runners who slowed down. Also, a deferment policy was put into place, allowing this year’s entrants to skip the 2012 race and instead run 2013 without having to re-qualify.

For me, this goes a long way towards regaining my respect for the BAA and the Boston Marathon. I hope that other races learn from this example and institutes such changes.