7 Days of Camping, Running, and Raw Food at the Woodstock Fruit Festival

WFF 2013 9017 1024x320It was a few years ago when I first heard about the Woodstock Fruit Festival, a week-long event (back then) put on by ultrarunner and Fruitarian Michael Arnstein.

Camping, swimming, running, hiking, games, bonfires, demos and talks — the most notable of which, for me, have been Mike’s ultrarunning talks that I watched on YouTube. Part 1 and part 2 were instrumental in my preparation for my 100-miler last summer.

And of course, for seven full days, all the raw fruits and vegetables you could possibly want … but no cooked food.

That’s where I got stuck. I worried I wouldn’t fit in — that because I eat a lot of cooked food, I’d be the odd man out, and spend all week defending my choices, even as a vegan.

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Ray Cronise and the New ‘Food Triangle’

Podcast Radio2Ray Cronise, whom you’ll know from a previous podcast episode and from Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Body (where Ray is the cold-stress fat-loss guy), is back — our first repeat guest on NMA Radio.

Why have Ray on again? Because in continuing his history of disruption — first in the aerospace industry and now in the field of nutrition — Ray has just published an academic paper that he and his co-authors believe lays the foundation for a revolution in nutrition science.

The paper is titled The Metabolic Winter Hypothesis, and you should download it here before you listen to the podcast.

It’s six pages long, and not difficult reading … but even if you don’t have time to read it all right now, at least take a look at the Food Triangle — a simple visual representation of Ray and his co-authors’ new approach to nutrition.

Among lots of implications for addressing the obesity epidemic, the food triangle explains how two diets so seemingly opposite as plant-based and Paleo have achieved such success at the same time.

If you’re ready to think differently about the way you eat, download the paper and give this episode a focused listen.

Here’s what we talk about:

  • The primary cause of obesity and chronic illness in our society
  • The impact of over-nourishment and the danger of nutrition in excess
  • Restricting calories to create longevity
  • Rethinking how we organize food
  • Why the plant-based diet isn’t the only way to lose weight … but can be one of the best
  • Why protein is not included in Ray’s new food triangle

Click the button below to listen now:

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The Surprising Results of My Tart Cherry Juice Challenge

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with tart cherries as a workout recovery aid, as part of 7-Day Tart Cherry Juice Challenge and series of posts sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute. Well, the results are in.

When I wrote “surprising” in the title, I meant it. But not for the reason you might expect (which, come to think of it, is what surprise means).

In case you missed the introductory post, here’s how my experiment set up:

  1. Run every day for a week, including several hard running workouts.
  2. Drink one tablespoon of tart cherry concentrate twice a day — once in the morning and once immediately post-run. (This is half the amount I wrote in the first post, where a reader pointed out my mistake and I corrected it before I began the challenge.)

It’s important to note that this running was supposed to represent a challenging week. While I’ve been running a fair amount this summer, my typical week prior to this experiment has been pretty relaxed … about four runs, 30 to 40 minutes each, and all at easy pace.

The point of my experiment, of course, was to put myself through a training week that would normally create a lot of soreness and fatigue. In this way, I’d be able to tell whether or not the tart cherries lived up to claim that they aid in recovery.

Everything went to plan, with one exception: I traded a planned long run on the last day for a second interval workout. This had nothing to do with how my body felt, and everything to do with a renewed interest in speedwork (and a renewed boredom with slow runs) that my return to interval training brought on.

So did the cherries help?

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When Did We Start Settling for Boring?

For the past four years, every single one of my runs has been the boring kind.

Who knows how many thousands of miles I’ve endured … and I just realized this.

How did this happen?

Like this: back when I was training to qualify for Boston, I discovered Core Performance Endurance. The program called for two kinds of workouts — intervals and hills — with easy days surrounding each.

To a fairly new runner like myself, the workouts were hard. Sometimes really hard.

But tough as those workout days were, they were better than the easy days. Because on easy days, you had to keep your heart rate below 70 percent of max, and that meant walking up hills. And it meant slowing down when the heart monitor beeped at you every time you started to get a little runner’s high and speed up … say, when a good song came on.

It was mind-numbing. Even worse, as you advanced through the program the length of time you had to endure this interminable boredom increased. From 30 to 40 to 50 minutes.

But the program worked. I qualified for Boston a year later, and I started running ultras for a change of pace.

And slowly, without my noticing, all of my runs became the boring runs.

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Can Tart Cherries Make You a Better Runner? A 7-Day Challenge to Find Out

If you’re a runner, you know there’s no shortage of new supplements and other products that claim to promote faster recovery for us. And mostly, as runners, we’ve learned to ignore them.

Usually, we just don’t believe it. Speed of recovery is hard to measure, subjectively, and even when the objective evidence is there, the miracle product du jour isn’t often something most of us would want to put in our bodies.

But tart cherry juice may just be an exception: (a) it’s natural; and (b) it seems like it might actually promote recovery. There’s a decent amount of science to say so, and the fact that it’s stuck around a while — I think I first heard of it in 2010 — certainly bodes well.

But what’s most intriguing to me about tart cherries is that they’re not just for recovery: they also have anti-inflammatory properties and have been demonstrated to reduce muscle pain during an event. Which makes them extremely well-suited for ultrarunning, where pain more than anything else eventually becomes the limiting factor … if they deliver.

Next week, that’s what I’ll be testing.

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On the Subject of World Domination (and a Super Summer Sale)

NMA cover finalOkay, so by domination I mean making a tiny, tiny dent in the universe (for now, that is … muhahaha). But let me have my fun.

Last Friday, the German version of No Meat Athlete was published. My extensive knowledge of German tells me the title should surely be Nein Meat Athlete, but alas, that is completely wrong. And only one-third German.

This is a big deal — apparently Germany is a hotbed for veganism in Europe, the last such place I would have imagined. The stereotype of sausage, bratwurst, hamburgers, weiners and schnitzel is just that, a stereotype. Part of the heritage, maybe, but not the modern everyday. (I’ve never been to Germany; this is just what I’m told.)

So it’s awesome to be a part of that movement. Even more awesome to know that there’s the potential, these days, to start something silly on your laptop that ends up across the sea.

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How to Finally Enjoy Running: The Non-Runner’s Ultimate Guide

Enjoy Running v4

Runner or non-runner, whichever you call yourself, I’ve been there. And I think I’ve finally figured out that whole label thing.

When running is fun — when, even when it’s hard, it comes easy — that’s when you feel like a runner.

But most of the time, for most of us, it doesn’t flow like that. It’s a chore, a discipline. A struggle that’s worth it, but a struggle nonetheless. Those times, we don’t feel like runners.

If you’re the former — a runner, all the time — you don’t need this post. Go run because running is fun for you, for its own sake, no other reason necessary. And know that the rest of us envy you, and wish it could be that way for us.

But if you’re not always that runner, today you’re in the right place. I’ve been on both the winning and the losing side of the daily battle to get the miles in. And when it’s working — when it’s actually and truly fun to run (words I never thought I’d say) — here’s what makes it so.

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How I Fell Back in Love with Running

bartyasso

Bart Yasso, “The Mayor of Running,” reminding us why we love running.

This weekend that I was to become a runner again started off with me feeling like a fraud.

Thursday afternoon, I arrived in Boston. Two hours later, Jason Fitzgerald and I walked into West End Johnnie’s restaurant, where we were to meet the rest of the invited bloggers and some of the Runner’s World staff, the kickoff to our weekend at the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon and Festival.

We each got goodie bags from Runner’s World. In the bags, among other things: an early copy of the July issue of the magazine, which I’d been eagerly awaiting. Fully prepared for disappointment, just in case the article I was to be featured in got cut at the last minute, I flipped to page 37 and found something unexpected.

The article was there. Focusing on what the elites drink while they run. Scott Jurek. Shalane Flanagan. Dean Karnazes. Kara Goucher.

Me. 

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