From The Archives – Health Myths That Won’t Seem to Go Away

I got a great response from my vacation ‘from the archives’ posts as well as the one about smoking … so I am going to pluck another one from the depths of the archives of the very first few weeks of the blog. When you read this we will be on the road at the crack of dawn for another day of college tours!

Originally published here, this looks at health myths that seem to continue plaguing us regardless of more accurate information being available.

Woody Allen Sleeper

It is funny looking back at how much of the food and health information we learned as kids and young adults in the 70s and 80s turned out to be wrong – it makes me feel like Woody Allen in Sleeper! Over the last couple of days I have seen this Lifehacker post cited in a number of places, so I figured it was worth talking about!

But before we get to their list, it is interesting looking back at one bit of health mis-information in particular: sugar as a healthy weight-loss supplement. There are great sets of ads at Buzzfeed here and here. The ones I love the most are how they try to demonstrate that eating a few spoons of refined sugar is a better choice than an apple or a grapefruit!

That seems silly now (at least I HOPE everyone recognizes it as laughable!) … but at its core it is the basis of all of the advertising based misinformation about food and weight.

OK, here is Lifehacker’s list with my comments in between:

Myth 1: Eating Fatty Food Makes You Fat

In the 70s when people started gaining weight just as ‘big sugar’ started pushing corn sugar as a great additive, they came upon a stunning realization: the same word described a component of foods as described a condition of beign overweight – FAT. That made life easy – blame fat for everything! Fat makes you fat! This idea has continued to have considerable traction as we gobble up ‘chemical soup’ Fat-Free foods.

Of course, saturated fats can cause higher cholesterol and lead to heart disease and other health issues – but natural fats and oils from plants and meats are actually beneficial.

Myth 2: Eating Carbs Makes You Fat

You know what foods are high in carbs? Oatmeal, beans, veggies and fruits. ’nuff said.

But #1 and #2 are reminders – if we eat a box of donuts and a bucket of fried chicken while sitting on the coach watching a Star Wars marathon … the results will not be good. Having a donut with fruit and yogurt for breakfast and piece of fried chicken with sweet potatoes and broccoli for dinner and keeping active … there is no issue.

These things always bring me back to one of my favorite Bloom County comics:

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Myth 3: MSG Is Bad For You

I know people who have a sensitivity to MSG, and others who don’t notice anything. I really have no clue about what triggers that reaction, but I know it isn’t universal. There seems to be some alarmist bad science on the ‘MSG is poison’ side, but ultimately I really don’t know.

My advice here is to listen to your body when it comes to food sensitivity. As an example, after Chowder-fest many years ago, my body suddenly decided ‘no more clams for you’. A few years after that we were at Nauset beach and Lisa wanted a clam roll, so I got onion rings. Of course, it didn’t take long before my body knew they were fried in the same oil. Lesson learned.

Myth 4: High-Fructose Corn Syrup Is Worse Than Sugar

With all of the press you’d think that HFCS is some sort of demon-spawn. But as the sugar lobby likes to point out, it is no worse than any other refined, processed, high fructore sugar source.

The problem isn’t that HFCS is worse than table sugar … it is that HFCS is EVERYWHERE! Salad dressing? HFCS. Ketchup? HFCS. Pasta sauce? HFCS. Want a few more? Lender’s Bagels, Souffer’s French bread pizza, Pepperidge Farm stuffing, Fig Newtons, Wheatables, Jack Daniels Marinade in a bag, and on and on.

The problem with HFCS is that it has become one of the dominant components of the American diet.

(Update: for some great thoughts on quitting sugar check out Michele’s post)

Myth 5: Gluten-Free Foods Are Healthier

This is absolutely true … if you have Celiac disease. Otherwise, not necessarily. This came up originally because in order to deal with Celiac, people had very pure, natural, essential diets – which ARE healthy. But like anything else, as soon as companies discovered where they could cut corners it became the same crap … but without wheat products.

Myth 6: Everyone Needs to Poop Daily

On average everyone in our house poops daily. As individuals … it is all over the map. And that is just the way things work – Lisa’s system seems to react almost instantly whereas I can’t tell before breakfast how my system reacted to last night’s dinner …

Myth 7: Microwaving Kills the Nutrients in Food

As noted in the article, certain nutrients in broccoli are lost … but are lost no matter what. Peeling potatoes has a bigger nutritional impact than microwaving. And it doesn’t impact humans at all … so long as you are wearing your tin-foil hat! 🙂

Myth 8: You’ll Lose a Pound of Fat for Every 3,500 Calorie You Burn

There are so many variants on this thing … bottom line is that if you burn 3500 calories you lose a pound. The make-up of that pound depends on many things – and whether it is offset by those chips and beer is an entirely different issue!

Myth 9: Spot Training Helps You Burn Fat in Specific Areas

Spot-reduction is a great myth – you can WORK specific areas, such as arms or legs or abs … but if you are trying to lose loads of fat, it needs to be through global weight loss.

Spot reduction

Myth 10: The Scale Is a Good Way to Help You Manage Your Fat Loss Progress

The scale is your enemy! The old truism that you can tell what is going on through how you feel and how you fit into your favorite clothes is very much true. The scale can go up or down based on water, how much is ‘in your system’, and doesn’t discriminate between fat and muscle.

BMI is every bit as bad, if not worse! There was the case of the teen athlete who got a ‘you are overweight’ assessment sent home due to BMI. As it turned out the height used was incorrect, but in general BMI is just a way of scaling your weight to your height. I look at our family – Chris is tall and built slender, I am in the middle and Danny has very broad shoulders. We are all within an inch of each other, but would have vastly different BMIs based on weight – and none of it takes our body type into account.

So … what other myths are out there? There are tons, here are a few I’ve heard about lately:
– Colon cleanses: your body has got the situation covered. You don’t need to ‘flush your undercarriage’ – it might make you feel lighter, but it is totally unnecessary and can be dangerous according to some! A better alternative is to do your own ‘detox’ by just eating right.

– Muscle turns into fat when you don’t exercise: just like water doesn’t turn into rock, muscle doesn’t turn into fat. If you are not active your muscle tone will decrease, and if you gain weight you will build fat. But the two are unrelated.

– Eating after 8/9/10PM causes weight gain. Bottom line: nothing magical about the time, it is the content. If you have already eaten all of your calories for the day, and then go back for ice cream / pie / chips / whatever (because at 10PM is probably isn’t an apple or a few grapes), then you will probably have a caloric excess … in other words, weight gain.

– More meals is better: this comes from the theory that your body burns slow and constant and that whatever you can’t burn between breakfast and lunch becomes fat. That has been debunked as well.

Bottom line on weight loss is pretty simple: you burn calories all the time. Exercise increases that amount – and high aerobic activities like running or biking increase it exponentially. You need to increase food intake to fuel your workouts – but there is the danger of too much fuel … which then becomes weight gain.

Here is my favorite quote on health and eating, from Michael Pollan (author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma):

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Oh, and here is the full Woody Allen scene:

Behind the Scenes with txa1265 – Blog Writing Process Tour

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When a force of nature like Suz comes to you with blog idea, you have a couple of choices – go with it, or … well, I really don’t know what else!?! It is not because I PH34R her … it is because she is so enthusiastic and positive and … well, she’s The Suz!

Anyway, while I was away on vacation Susie approached me to participate in a ‘Blog Writing Process Tour’ that her friend Sara at Lake Shore Runner had invited HER to join. She asked if I was up for it, and naturally I said YES!

The basic process for this post is similar to award-type posts, but the content is quite different.
– Acknowledge the blogger/blog that invited you to the Tour.
– Answer some questions about your blogging process
– Choose 3 bloggers to plug, give a short bio of the blogs and link to their sites.

The Background & My Nominations

As I said, I was nominated by Suz and she posted her Why I Blog : Blog Writing Process Tour. You should really read her post, but if you have a comment head right to the comment box before reading her mom’s comment, because if you do you’ll get distracted and forget what you were going to say … or maybe that was just me.

As for the bloggers I have asked to join the tour:

Lauren at RunSaltRun – also known as #mamaSalt, Lauren is an amazing runner and person who is really living and learning about everything right along with us. From her crazy fully-clothed treadmill runs, to injuries and face painting with her daughter, her blog is an adventure! In her words: “I’m a working mom to one feisty toddler. I love yoga, wine, art, coffee, bad reality TV, and clothes. I’m the wife of a car salesman who works insane hours. We live in Charm City with our two very obnoxious cats and my daughter’s fish, Bubble, whom she named herself. I’m also a runner and if you had told me before last April that I would fall in love with running I probably would have laughed in your face.”

Sara at LifeBetweenTheMiles – I found Sara’s blog because she commented on a blog I followed talking about the Boston area (hint: if you want my clicks, mention New England!), and found an incredible mom, wife, runner and blogger! Every day as I read her posts I am moved by her passions for family and fitness. In her words: “I am a 30-something wife and mom. I’m a Pharmaceutical Professional during the day, Group Fitness Instructor at night. I’m a die hard runner and marathoner.”

Michele at Paleo Running Momma – Michele is someone I discovered through a comment on another blog and immediately loved her stuff – she is passionate about food, family and fitness … what’s not to like?!? I was surprised that she had just started her blog, because she has a unique and strong voice and ethos. Oh, and she is super-competitive and it comes through in her writing and comments, which is normally something I would shy away from, but she is fully aware of this and also has a huge heart. In her words: “A little obsessed with running but still a whole lot of fun, I swear! ( yeah yeah eyeroll) When I’m not sporting an awesome headlamp at 5:30am you can find me in the kitchen as a short order Paleo cook for my fam of 5. Or in some corner of the house hiding from my 3 kids. All in a days work. So come on over and run, eat, and rant with me!”

Why I Blog: txa1265’s Writing Process

Here are the questions to answer:
1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?
3. Why do I write what I do?
4. How does your writing process work?

I really liked how Suz took the items out of order because of how it builds a story, so I am going to be totally unoriginal and do the same thing … but with a preface:

0. Origins: What made me think anyone would care?

My education and profession (engineering and statistics) would tell you I’m not a writer – in fact I used my AP English score to get out of writing in college … yet the fact that my AP score was good enough to satisfy my entire humanities requirement means I am pretty good at this writing thing.

This blog wasn’t my first, nor was blogging my first online writing. I started writing ‘Game Opinions’ (short reviews) on USENET back in the very early 90s. In fact, I was writing online before there was a web. But it was always reviews and forum-type discussions.

I started formal reviews for online sites about a decade later, and have done that to some extend or other ever since. But around 2005-2006 I wasn’t getting everything I needed from just writing reviews. So I started blogs on Blogger (pre-Google) and then on Microsoft’s site (whatever it was back then). And I wrote them for essentially no one. They were thoughts I wanted to share, stories, personal details put into context … and it ended up being really important to me. Again, I got under 5 views for my most ‘popular’ post, and one of them was me.

For the last 5 years I have written for a site that gave me much more latitude, but again it was someone else’s site with its own focus and purpose – which strangely enough wasn’t ‘Mike talking about random crap that interests Mike’. So after more than a year of walking the boundaries … I finally launched my own blog at the end of last September.

1. Why do I write what I do?

While I had been reading and commenting on running and healthy living blogs for a year before I started my own, I was still nervous and pretty much assumed I would have no followers because it would be like before and I’d do it so sporadically that it would never gain traction.

But here I am more than 9 months later with just over 300 posts under my belt. Why? Because I have found my voice – I care about running, and eating, and my wife, and my kids, and our pets, and my job, and games, and music, and social justice, and tech, and loads of other random stuff that somehow comes together in a cohesive whole and resonates with some people. And I also love this community, who inspires me and drives me to constantly be better.

I write about all of the things I love, what pushes my buttons, what I wonder about or get confused about. I write about stuff I know, don’t know, or wish I know – try to make it slightly humorous and somewhat thought-provoking.

2. What am I working on?

This is a tough one, because the answer is everything and nothing …

One of the big questions I get is about how I balance things – I work as a senior engineer and statistician at Corning, Inc, have been happily married for 22 years, have two sons aged 16 and 17, two dogs and two cats, a house, a car, and so on. I am also working on ‘eating clean’, run an average of 50+ miles per week outside all year long, still do some reviews and editorials for another site and blog here pretty much daily.

To know what runs through my head as I continue my blogging journey, it is worth knowing what I’m working on in all corners of my life:

– Being the best and most attentive dad/husband possible. This is a never-ending journey …

– Re-capturing my programming skills, but mostly in the context of statistical analysis. I used to be a solid hack C++ and SAS programmer but those skills have faded. I am still decent with VB, but am doing more stuff in a statistical program called R that is very powerful but requires programming to really get somewhere.

– Re-developing all of my core music skills: guitar, bass and keyboard playing, composition & theory, and studio production. Since the kids were little I have mostly ‘noodled’. I got my studio back together and have been working on regaining my chops. It is awesome.

– Becoming a better / stronger / faster runner. But without ever losing the absolute joy I have felt every step since returning from our NYC vacation.

– Learning more about food and fuel and how it all works for me and my family!

– Balancing it all along with my blogging and sharing with this incredible community.

So you see I am focused on all of my core ‘loves’.

When I first read the question it stressed me out a bit, as if I was supposed to be working towards some larger purpose for this blog … when the truth is that by working on everything that matters to me, and balancing the interface between all of them, I remain true to myself and all of my core values and produce content that reflects what matters most to me. So that level of purity and balance … THAT is what I’m working on!

3. How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?

I’m a middle aged dude in a mostly younger female corner of the blogosphere, which gives me a unique perspective. Seriously, if you look at the commenters at Suz’s post, you’ll notice something … most of them are also bloggers, and they are nearly monolithically female. That all sounds odd, but it is true – there are fewer than a dozen male bloggers I read doing some variation of running / healthy living stuff.

I have had people say that I am a ‘male feminist’, have a ‘social justice’ mindset, and am not afraid to speak my mind and put myself out there fully. I consider all of those things high praise and say they are definitely aspirations.

I believe I am fairly unique in talking about food and diet without really having a recipe focus, talking about running every day without being too detailed about plans or summaries, and always putting a focus on my family and on the proper and respectful treatment of all people everywhere.

4. How does your writing process work?

Writing process? What the heck is THAT?!? Seriously, my ability to say ‘I am writing THIS’ is incredibly limited. Take today for example – I was supposed to finish this post, but saw a link in an email that started me on an entirely different post. Then I saw something else that I added to a draft, and so on.

Really that is more scattered-sounding than I actually am. The problem isn’t lack of ideas or attention, but engagement – my process is to find an idea, either using a rote item like a ‘Five Things Friday’ or just something that occurs to me, and then get my head focused on it and let the words flow.

For example, I saw a few posts and comments about ‘clean eating’ where I found the way it was used was not very constructive. Then I was out for my run, and the post wrote itself. Oh yeah, maybe THAT is my process! I have thoughts, then they take shape on my runs. It also happened with yesterday’s post, but that innitial idea changed drastically as I read more stuff during the day.

While I was on vacation I had three posts scheduled … and they were scheduled more than a week in advance. That is the FIRST time I havedone something like this. Generally I write the day before something posts.

One change since my brief hiatus? I would rather not post than just cobble something together to have something fresh that day!

And that’s it! Thanks to Suz for the opportunity and invite and to all of you for being so amazing as bloggers, readers and friends! As many of us say so often, it really does mean SO much!

Please check out Suz’s post … and look for the posts coming from Lauren, Sara and Michele! And Thanks again for all of the great comments this week!

Sunday Vacation Day, Award-Worthy and Weekly Summary!

Happy Sunday! Well, actually by the time you read this I will already be on vacation! WooHoo! I will say in advance that my intent is to be ‘mostly unplugged’ all week … so I apologize in advance if I don’t reply to comments, read blogs, or answer emails in a timely fashion. But for me, these unplugged times are really important since I tend to be an ‘always online’ person.

In my absence I haven’t set up any guests to post … instead I have pulled out three of my earliest posts – ones that seem to really resonate even now. I reworked them all a bit and reposted – hopefully you will enjoy!

Award-Worthy

When I did my Very Inspiring Blogger award post I sorta cheesed on nominating others … and it has bugged me since. I mean, it was one thing earlier this year when I had two in a row and had nominated all my faves in the first one … or even when I did the mega-awards post more recently. This time? I just didn’t make an effort – and worse yet, I realized that there are a bunch of new awesome blogs I am reading that deserve attention!

So here is what I am doing – I am just going to list 25 30 great blogs I read regularly, including old faves as well as new discoveries. If they would like to do a ‘Very Inspiring’ post (which is really mostly about listing a bunch of things about yourself) – great. But either way I encourage everyone to check them out!

1. T-Rex Runner
2. Runnah
3. Ann’s Running Commentary
4. Loving on the Run
5. The Lyons’ Share Wellness
6. The Gluten-Free Treadmill
7. She’s Going the Distance
8. SuzLyfe
9. Run Salt Run!
10. Paleo Running Momma
11. Life Between the Miles
12. Darlin’ Rae
13. Fit Fresh & Funny
14. Spiritual Creaminess
15. Carina’s Running Career
16. The Girl Who Ran Everywhere
17. Running Southern
18. Running Sunflower
19. Cowgirl Runs
20. Running Boston & Beyond
21. Carmy
22. Candies & Crunches
23. The Passion of Running
24. Running Out of Wine
25. So Very Slightly Mad
26. To a 5K and Beyond
27. Blonder side of life
28. Snack Therapy
29. Amazing in Motion
30. The Big Man’s World

Wow – I love a lot of blogs 🙂

My Running Summary

Another week without a Sunday or Saturday … and in spite of the heat and humidity I really enjoyed my runs. That said, having the cool dry breezy air of Friday was just amazing! I’ll take 365 days of THAT every year, thanks!

The funny thing was hitting my driveway and the Garmin saying 18.73 after I hit the button … and I really just didn’t care enough to make it 18.75 … oh well!

Sunday: ‘Rest’ day (Hike the gorge)
Monday: 10.25 miles, 2:32 plank
Tuesday: 11.4 miles, Abs, 2:17 plank
Wednesday: 9.75 miles, Abs, 2:39 plank
Thursday: 10.5, Abs, 2:07 plank
Friday: 18.73 miles, Abs, 2:32 plank
Saturday ‘Rest’ day (getting ready for vacation!)

This was an awesome week with a couple of late nights (Chris went to Fallout Boy/Paramour and got home after 1:30), but somehow I managed a total of just over 60 miles.

Have a great week and I look forward to catching up when I return!

Spill It Sunday – ‘Fat’ Edition and Weekly Running Recap

Running Weekend Warmup2

Happy Sunday – I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend! I know that with the weather my mood has improved – and getting out on Saturday in 40F temperatures was just amazing after this past week dipped firmly back into ‘Polar Vortex’ territory again!

Cool thing – the picture up top is all the stuff that I had to wear on Thursday that I did NOT wear on Saturday! Light tights, single layer shirt, and light gloves … that was all I needed!

Here is my weekly summary:

Sunday: Family Day! Went shopping, hung out, relaxed … it was amazing!
Monday: A ‘warm’ 20F … 7.25 miles
Tuesday: -10F … 6.75 miles
Wednesday: -2F … 6.75 miles
Thursday: -6F … 6.75 miles
Friday: 19F … 7.75 miles
Saturday 40F, did 15.5 miles

I was happy to break 50 miles this week (50.5) – once again we were dealing with considerable cold, and even the ‘warmer’ Monday and Friday felt cold to me, and my hands were cold … and I was generally annoyed even as I pushed myself those days a bit further. But once again, Saturday was awesome, and it made it all worthwhile!

This week we are predicted to get snow followed by more sub-zero cold before finally warming up to ‘normal winter’ late in the week. Hopefully it will last this time.

Blog Love

One of the best things for me about blogging is finding great new friends all over the place, people who are genuine, kind, funny and interesting. And I have found quite a few … but one of my faves has to be Megan at The Lyon’s Share. She combines fitness, health, and great enthusiasm about her marriage and running.

She threads it all together in a way that has you constantly learning even if you don’t realize it. She shares ups and downs – recently she talked about a disappointment at a marathon and an amazing trip with her husband Kevin to a friend’s wedding in Brazil.

My one ‘criticism’ – she has a definite snarky voice, but is just too nice to ever fully embrace it! Ha! 🙂

Check out The Lyon’s Share!

Obligatory Selfie

Running Weekend Warmup1

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And this week over at Arman’s site, the ‘Spill It Sunday’ is ‘Fat’ – as in the macronutrient.

1. What is your favourite fat source?

The one that I totally love but don’t get enough is avocado. They aren’t local to our area, and the ones we get imported have been hit or miss, so I don’t always grab them when shopping. Plus I am the only real fan in the house – the kids will have them in guacamole, but Lisa can’t eat them.

Hmmm … now I want some again!

2. What is your favourite nut? What is your favourite nut butter?

I love pistachios – I always keep them at my desk for an afternoon snack, which is great because they take time and both hands, so they are not as prone to ‘mindless snacking’.

For nut butter, I really have to go back to peanut butter – it is my daily source in my ‘peanut butter & butter’ toast … yes, I really do butter my toast then put peanut butter on top!

3. What fat is receives unfair flack? What fat is most overrated?

I love Coconut Oil – we bought some to try out with Lisa’s Paleo diet, and it adds great flavor to cooking and making popcorn. But some of the early studies suggested it might raise your ‘bad cholesterol’, but many more since have shown the opposite. Like everything, you shouldn’t be spooning it out of the jar, but in moderation it works to add flavor and retains benefits due to high smoke point.

In terms of over-rated, I would agree with Truffle Oil from this WSJ article. I think high quality Olive Oil is amazing, but the cost-benefit for Truffle Oil just isn’t there.

4. Link up a favourite recipe embracing fats (it can be your own or another bloggers!)

I love this no-bake chocolate peanut butter cake , and I have been planning to post about my variation version of it. Meghann adapted it from here, and I have taken the the peanut butter into a more ‘fudge’-like direction and keep with the graham crackers, but with fewer larger layers. Mine fills a loaf pan and is insane. I will post when I make it again … promise!

5. What is YOUR perception of this macronutrient?

I think that even as more and more people learn that balancing healthy fats is critical to your diet, they are still avoided like poison.

I grew up as a kid in the 70s as the sugar and corn industries teamed up and launched HFCS and also the attack by implanting ‘eating fat makes you fat’ as a mantra. Of course, given the out of control obesity that has happened just as fat consumption has plummeted … let’s call that debunked sufficiently. But when I first lost weight in the late 80s, I was eating as little fat as possible, reveling in that feeling of hunger and empty stomach … it was seriously unhealthy.

Now I call that stuff ‘chemical soup’, and realize that there are things that SHOULD have fat, like salad dressings. So my perception is that fat itself isn’t bad, it is the delivery vehicle – a nice lean cut of beef is not the problem, it is the bucket of fried chicken.

6. What benefits do FATS play in YOUR personal eating habits?

I am in the best shape of my life, I can easily go run a half marathon on a moment’s notice … and I owe SO MUCH of it to proper fueling. And I have learned so much from other bloggers about balancing macronutrients … my diet has changed considerably and now healthy fats play a large role in my diet every day.

So what about you? How was YOUR running this week? Did you have better weather this week? And how do YOU feel on the subject of fats?

Hope everyone has a great week!

Wordless Wednesday #2 – a T-Rex Shout Out in USA Today!

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OK, so I know I don’t really get this whole ‘wordless’ thing. Over at USA Today they have a feature called “14 spring races all runners should try”, and amongst them is the Wisconsin Marathon with the following text:

Wisconsin Marathon, Kenosha, Wis.: This flat-coursed race is all about enjoying unspoiled views of Lake Michigan while experiencing the cheerful atmosphere created by the camaraderie of a large group of fun-loving runners. Few race routes can compare with the Badger State’s lakefront landscapes, and when the scenic journey comes to an end runners are awarded with a Big Cheese medal and invited to a post-race party featuring live music and best of all, a free brat and beer.

The three women are wearing ‘Team T-Rex’ shirts, from the T-Rex Runner site. The person second-to-right is Danielle, the T-Rex Runner, and on the far right is her friend Amanda. The two of them are ‘Marathon Maniacs’, with a goal of running marathons in all 50 states. Danielle’s particular goal is to do it all before she turns 30.

T-Rex Runner is one of the first running blogs I hooked into nearly two years ago, based on a comment on a site recommended by one of the editors at another site I write for. It was (IIRC) the same post (which I can’t recall) that landed me at another fave – Runnah.com. Because, really, how can you NOT click on the link for a commenter called ‘T-Rex Runner’ (or Veteran Runnah for that matter).

Her blog is full of humor as well as some very personal stories about early divorce, eating disorders, injuries, frustration, and so on. Also loads of rants, funny stories, race reports more about beer and bad hotels than running, and so on. It is a cool blog, she is a great person, and it was awesome seeing her featured (though not cited) in the USA Today article.