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Active Endurance Sports

February 2007


[]I was watching Sports Center on ESPN last night when a certain story caught my attention. The focus of this story was Tennessee Tech basketball Head Coach Mike Sutton who was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. GBS is a rare life-threatening disorder that affects only one in 100,000, caused by the body's immune system attacking part of the peripheral nervous system. Sutton was hospitalized in April as his condition worsened to what he described as if he had been buried alive. Coach Sutton had no use of any skeletal muscles and was only able to blink his eyes during his worst week as he struggled to survive.



With the same strong work ethic that Sutton built his career and led his team, he fought back. Eight months later, after hours of rehabilitation, the determined 49 year old graduated to a wheelchair. Since November, he has regained movement in his arms and legs and can now stand and walk with assistance. Amazingly, Sutton is back to coaching his team despite the remaining physical limitations.



As endurance athletes, we are not strangers to pain and suffering, though the difference is our conscious choice to participate in such endeavors. I am truly inspired by Mike Sutton and the way he handled such a debilitating setback. I hope this story will inspire you.



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[]Adventure racing is a unique challenge of both teamwork and individual physical and mental fortitude. Activities generally include paddling, mountain biking, trekking and orienteering. Course and race length differ throughout the season so be sure to pay attention to these parameters when registering for a race. These events are either done solo or as team. Generally, it is difficult to find enough people willing to commit and train to become part of a team, but I’ve listed some helpful ideas to help you take that next step and give adventure racing a try.



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1. Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel 24:57:24

2. Jens Voigt, CSC :21 behind

3. Jason McCartney, Discovery Channel :54

4. Bobby Julich, CSC :1:06

5. Stuart O'Grady, CSC:1:16




(Stage 7, Linden Avenue / - Melissa Eisler)







Discovery Channel team rider, Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, California emerged as the overall winner of the Tour of California yesterday at the 7th and final stage in Long Beach, CA. Leipheimer finished the 539-mile Tour with an overall time of 24:57:24.



Spinning through 10 host cities and covered roughly 600 miles from San Francisco all the way down to Redondo Beach. Cycling enthusiasts have called the inaugural Tour of California a huge success, with over 1.3 million spectators at the 7 stages, and a one-hour recap shown each night on ESPN 2.







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Got Inspiration?

Posted by Active Toby Feb 23, 2007


[]In anticipation of a longer marathon training run early tomorrow morning, I found myself in need of some extra motivation. Whenever I find myself in a struggle to regain focus on a big goal that at times seems out of my reach, I refer back to the age old acronym: S.M.A.R.T



1.    Specific: These goals are most clearly defined by the 6 “W” questions – Who, what, where, when, why. The answers to these questions will begin to bring your goals into focus.   



2.    Measurable: By establishing a system for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set, you will find increases in motivation by experiencing a sense of achievement when reaching the smaller incremental goals along the way. To prevent ambiguity and vagueness, make sure to incorporate a quantitative time frame allowing you to carry out those steps and feel successful.



3.    Attainable: Once goals are identified and the incremental goals begin to be accomplished, the larger goals that used to seem far away, begin to grow closer as you grow as a person. It's truly amazing how one begins to figure out ways to make goals become reality. Previously overlooked opportunities manifest themselves and bring you closer to the achievement of your goals, all the while, new attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial strategies develop to help you to reach them.



4.    Realistic: By truly believing that your goal can be accomplished, your goal will be realistic. This is something that you and you alone must decide. Be sure to set each goal as to represent ample growth. By following these guidelines, higher goals often prove to be easier to reach than lower goals because lower goals produce a lower level of motivational energy.



5.    Timely: Goals should be set within a time frame with a starting point, ending point, and fixed intervals along the way. This will perpetuate a sense of urgency to act as target dates approach. Goals without deadlines tend to fade in importance and fall in rank of priority where less commitment is established.



So good luck to all you weekend warriors who are on your way to S.M.A.R.T goals!



+(Photo provided by Gettyimages / Photographer Gary S Chapman) +



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Running the Sahara?

Posted by Active Toby Feb 22, 2007


[]Many of us in the endurance sports world appreciate when an athlete accomplishes something that has never been done before. For example, this past October, Kit DesLauriers became the first person to ski the Seven Summits and the first woman to ski Mt. Everest. This news rocked the industry and raised the bar to a whole new level, way to go Kit!



More recently, a team of 3 ultra distance runners became the first modern runners to cross the 4,000 mile Sahara Desert. This was only made possible by running an amazing average of 2 marathons a day for 111 days!!!



American runner Charlie Engle, 44, Canadian Ray Zahab, 38, and Kevin Lin, 30, of Taiwan crossed the world’s largest desert while running through six countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and Egypt. Their ultra effort was established to raise funds for H2O Africa, the charitable organization of Running the Sahara. These runners were able to prove the impossible was possible all while raising awareness of the world-wide water and sanitation crisis that, according to UN news officials, “causes nearly 2 million child deaths every year and holds back countries’ development, especially in Africa.”



A web site was implemented to track the progress of these runners while taking pledges and donations on a per mile basis. This epic journey was captured on film and will be made into a documentary by narrator and executive producer, Matt Damon. The film is scheduled to be released late 2007.



(Photo provided by the Associated Press, Photographer Jennifer Thermes)



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Proper nutrition and diet are crucial components in the pursuit of one’s fitness goals. Even more important, is the last meal you eat before your big race. To maximize your potential, the type of food, quantity, and timing of this pre race meal must be considered.

Below is a general list of guidelines:



1.    Timing: Most races take place in the early morning. If proper food intake has been consistent leading up to the race, then muscle stored glycogen will have sufficient levels to perform, despite a feeling of hunger. Since hunger will not hinder performance and it takes roughly 4 hours to properly ingest and digest a meal, it makes more sense to sleep during this time and wait until the race begins to start consuming energy fuels.

2.    Size: If you do decide to wake up 4 hours before your race to eat, your pre-race meal should be composed of easily digested high complex carbohydrates between 200 - 400 calories. Stay clear of high fiber, simple sugar, and fat content. Stick with high starch foods like pasta, rice, plane bagels, oatmeal, banana and yogurt.

3.    Hydration: After breakfast, an athlete should drink roughly 10-12 ounces of fluid per hour leading up to 30 minutes before the race. A sport drink containing both carbohydrates and protein is arguably the best mixture to use. A small amount of your supplemental fuel roughly five to ten minutes before your race is also recommended to boost blood glycogen stores to their optimal level.

4.    Experiment: Incorporate these nutrition methods into your regular training schedule. By keeping a training journal and logging your intake which will allow you to try new combinations of foods and fuels in hopes of finding your perfect pre race meal.



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Tour of California

Posted by Active Toby Feb 19, 2007


[] The Tour of Califoria is here! Finishing in Los Angeles, the race began on Sunday with a prologue in San Francisco. The eight days of the Tour of California is one of the top race in the States, alongside April's Tour de Georgia, and possibly one of the top races to signal the beginning of the season.


Levi Leipheimer repeated his winning performance from last year, leading an American sweep Sunday in the Amgen Tour of California prologue. Leipheimer, a three-time top-10 Tour de France finisher, completed the 1.9-mile primarily uphill circuit to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in 4 minutes, 49.05 seconds at an average speed of 23.994 mph.


Leipheimer will wear the race leader's jersey in the first stage today, a 97.1-mile road race from Sausalito to Santa Rosa.



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What began as a small gathering of endurance athletes at a local San Diego hotel to award athletes and honor the first inductee into the Iron Man Hall of Fame, Dave Scott, has undoubtedly progressed into a celebration that Entertainment Tonight now refers to as "The Academy Awards of Endurance Sports". The 15th Annual Competitor Endurance Sports Awards Gala continued the tradition last week at Sea World, selling out to an audience of 600.


This past November, seven time Tour De France winner and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong, made his marathon debut at the ING New York City Marathon covered by NBC Sports. During the very same race, Ultra marathon man, Dean Karnazes completed 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days when he crossed the finish line in New York, later earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records along with the Endurance Sports Award, Male Athlete of the Year. 




As these genetic marvels continue to raise the bar, set records and inspire others across the globe, the endurance sports industry continues to build an audience. Do others share this dream that perhaps one day a "red carpet" will be rolled out to showcase our actual athletic inspirations or are we doomed as a subculture embracing blood, sweat, and tears that is merely "tolerated" but never quite understood by the popular crowd?

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