what is the matter with smokers?

There seems to be something effeminate about smoking. Sometimes a cigarette is not just a cigarette.

catch me if you can

Perhaps it is time Marlboro rethinks their gay cowboy advertising campaign.

I do not like cigarette smoke and live, fortunately, in a part of the world with very little second hand smoke.

One of the worst things about travel is being force fumigated. I write from Miami which is filled with posing 50cent wannabes, smoke yourself thin beach hotties, cheese-eating surrender monkeys and other chain-smoking Europeans. There is zero consideration for the non-smoker here.

Now I sympathize with confused youth who try smoking. I understand that it is more addictive than crystal meth and heroin combined.

But I still cannot fathom why smokers do not quit.

Many have. It’s possible.

What’s the matter with smokers?

Are soft drinks making you fat?

The next time someone cites me a study where a mouse has been force fed aspertame to the point of exploding, I will quietly offer up this study.

One of every five calories in the American diet is liquid. The nation’s single biggest “food” is soda.

… sugar-sweetened drinks don’t just go hand-in-hand with obesity, but actually cause it.

Food Fight: Scientists take on soda…

Yoga is better than nothing

I have friends whose dream vacation is spiritual, doing yoga for hours every day on the beach.

yoga on the beach

Historically we in the gymnastics community have been suspicious of Yoga. If you asked me to locate a fraud, I would look first in ashrams.

I am embarrassed by my lack of knowledge mastery of the musculoskeletal system. (I have no memory syndrome.) Still, my understanding is better than 90% of Yoga teachers. Their explanations are not as science-based as I would like. Where are the chakras? Exactly?

But my Tulum beach yoga teacher Sarah swayed me. I really enjoyed her sessions.

Joe Laughlin convinced me too. Joe is a professional dancer and a former National tumbling champion. A serious athlete.

Joe retired at age 37. Then made a comeback a couple of years later. He said that by doing only Pilates (something of a Germanic evolution from Yoga) he was restored to the best shape of his life. Many serious athletes I know have embraced pilates. It works.

I now, finally concede that yoga can improve fitness and is not simply trendy posturing. Not just an excuse for sipping latte with your yoga-mat-toting friends.

Winter Olympics – Congratulations Canada!

medal ceremonyCanadian Girls Kick Ass.

Congratulations to captain Cassie Campbell and the entire Canadian Women’s Ice Hockey Team. We were cheering for you from an ocean-side sports bar in Belize. There are a lot of Canadians here in the sun.

With this kind of international success, shouldn’t we start boys playing hockey in The Great White North?

And congratulations to the entire Canadian Olympic Team for the great performances in Italy. I am looking forward to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia!

health care – will it be there when you need it?

Unlike most every other Canadian, I think the solution to the dilemma is the free market. The much-maligned American way.

Sure the USA model is expensive now — but with time free enterprise should sort that out.

This article came as bad news to me:

America’s health-care crisis | Desperate measures | Economist.com


good news – the RICH getting thinner

Now if only I could get rich …

Maybe after the Christmas pig-outs.

The WHO says “an escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity — ‘globesity’ — is taking over many parts of the world”. But that Americans & Brits stopped ballooning in 2003.

‘Britain Is Winning Fight Against Flab’ – UK News Headlines – Life Style Extra

The Brainsport Running Club

July 1995

rick_mugToday I run INTERMEDIATE!

I know, I know. It’s serious. I’ve never run INTERMEDIATE before. My friend, triathlete Mark Boyd, energetically tries to dissuade me.

“I know. I know. It’s really serious.”

There is another problem. The ADVANCED group is canceled tonight as the top runners are expected to do a 5 km. time trial, instead. However, many of the racers don’t want to do an all out 5 km. sprint in the sweltering Saskatchewan heat. It’s +29C at 6:00 pm. The top guns must stoop to run INTERMEDIATE if they want to run distance tonight.

No matter. Tonight I run with Angie Pratt (a natural if there ever was one) in INTERMEDIATE. Angie is strangely quiet when I tell her my plan.

Forty-five minutes of 7-8 minute miles. How tough can it be?

I’m psyched. Despite my obvious obesity, lack of training, and inadequate running gear (my cross-trainers are duct-taped together), I’m certain I can make it. After all, I’d done blistering 30 minute runs for the last 3 days in series. I shot 89 at the Willows this morning, by far my best round of the year. This is my day. 🙂

We begin with a relaxed jog. Is this warm-up, or their pace? Though I know I should conserve energy, not talk, I can’t resist asking Peter (the “showboater”) what he has strapped to his chest. It is a remote heart rate monitor sending data to his wrist watch display.

“The highest I hit was 217 beats / minute at Provincials. The heart could do more but my legs were gone.”

Pete had qualified for the world Triathlon championships in New Zealand last year.

So far, so good. Steady pace but not too fast. I wanted to wear my “Pain, Sweat, Agony — Love It!” t-shirt today, but it was far too hot. Instead, I wear the lightest shorts and wife beater I own. No socks.

As we hit the river the pace increases. I drop to the last spot in the pack to acknowledge my rank in the pecking order. This hierarchy is as rigid as the castes of India. Indiscriminate of race, religion, education, or income, everyone is slotted by running ability. The group dynamics are fascinating in this other world.

Sh!t. I overhear that we’re doing two hill sprints instead of the railway bridge. Should I suggest to Don, the volunteer run leader, that I do just one?

The queue slows to a walk fighting through the tenacious bushes overgrowing the river path. This offers a chance to catch-up. I run the path, relishing the flagellation of the branches like some neo-Jesuit running martyr. Embrace the pain!

Thank God. Railway bridge.

$hit! INTERMEDIATE “surges” the railway bridge. I fall way back for the first time.

In my proper group, BEGINNER PLUS (the most incorrectly named of all the wrong-named ability groupings in this club), the lead runners circle back to pick-up stragglers. The speedsters shout encouragement to their lessors.

But everyone knows that INTERMEDIATES DON’T LOOP. If you can’t run 7 minute miles, why the Hell aren’t you in BEGINNER PLUS? The unspoken policy in INTERMEDIATE is to offer up silent embarrassment for assholes stupid enough to find themselves in my situation.

Yes! Don stops the group for water at the end of the bridge and I catch-up. This is the most he can do for me within the real rules. The better runners are understandably frustrated with this delay. They are trying to train.

Bad news. I reach a stage where I can run well for a couple of minutes, but then need to slow to recover. One guy drops back, feigning fatigue, to motivate me. It helps, but we both fall still further behind. Finally, the good Samaritan has to dash up to his friends. He tried.

At every level, every night, these runs are very competitive. No one ever admits this. Interesting. What can you expect when you put so many fitness freak over-achievers together?

Pain. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

At least I don’t have a runner’s cramp. I take solace in that I’m running about as well as I possibly can.

Unbelievably, the group stops again at the Gordie Howe Park water fountain. Damn! I hope this is not another stratagem to help me! BEGINNER PLUS never stop.

Still mystified, I run through to communicate that I don’t want to slow down the group. If there was someone running behind me, I’d abandon them. After all, this is INTERMEDIATE.

All of a sudden I’m in the lead. What? Which route? Do we return over the low level bridge? I feel like the guy who sprints the start of the Boston marathon just to get on TV before being engulfed by the real runners.

No worries. Someone will quickly catch and pass me. One guy does but he doesn’t know the route either. We take the low level bridge. Wrong. The rest of the runners race on towards the Broadway bridge, no doubt relieved by my departure.

I stick it out to the top of the hill but then quit 2 blocks early, limping back to the store. My feet are scraped, my soles bruised. I slump into a chair for about 20 minutes, drained, but kind of proud.

Rehydration, shower, and a quick coma — then it’s off to hear Charlie Sexton with Mark and super-woman Michelle. Beer. Tequila. Scotch.

I’m going to hurt tomorrow.