Blog

Longest Run of 2020 so far

Sometimes a long run doesn’t go as planned. I thought twelve miles would be good then dropped back to ten. One wrong turn and I ran almost 14 miles! 19 degrees turned out to be the least of my worries!

Sunday was the Melrose Running Club’s 6th long run of 2020.

I’ve missed the last two runs due to conflicts with races. On February 2nd we ran the Super Sunday race and on January 26th, we ran The Great Stew Chase 15K.

My weekly miles have been pretty low so far and my longest run this year was The Great Stew Chase at 15K or 9.53 miles for me.

The full long run this Sunday was 16.2 and I decided that 12 miles would be enough for me. You really don’t want your weekly long run to by twice as long as any of your previous week’s runs.

I’ve read that the long run should be no more than six miles longer than your longest week day training run. I find that a tough rule to follow.

At shorter distances you can get away with increasing your long run to 150% of your longest weekly run.

So you could go from running 6 mile training runs to a 9 mile long run. You can definitely go from running fours to a 6 mile long run.

The key is to take the long run easier than your shorter week day runs.  Most of us would not run a half marathon at our 5K pace. The same thing applies to your weekly long run.

Longest Run of 2020

When I reviewed the 16.2 mile route I figured that I could cut it back to twelve miles easily.

At about 5.5 miles I took a right and the long run people turned left. My plan was working.

I made my way back to the water stop and had two cups of Gatorade/water and headed out. One of the long runners left the water stop just ahead of me and I followed him. I knew there was a turn coming up that I always miss.

I made the turn and Mike Sikkema caught up and passed me. I managed to keep Mike in sight long enough to see him take the right turn onto Main Street/ Rt. 28 in Stoneham.

Sunday Long Run 6, longest run of 2020This took us along the back side of Spot Pond. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I wanted to go straight and run the front side of the pond.

That was my crucial error.

I was now running by my self but knew where I was and all of the turns.

Soon after the wrong turn my watch chimed in for mile eight.

After I left the long run group I decided that ten miles was a better idea than twelve.

This route is very hilly and my quads were beginning to feel it.

When my watch hit eight miles on the back side of Spot Pond, I knew I was in trouble. There was no way to turn this run into 10 miles from this point in the run.

I had left my phone in my car and only had $5 in my pocket. There was no way to bail on this one.

A Bridge Too Far

As my watch hit nine miles I went under a Rt. 93 bridge. It was definitely a bridge too far.

My pace was still pretty good at 9:24 but I was fading fast.

The next turn was a left onto Elm Street in Medford and another hill. I then took a right onto Highland Ave at the rotary by Flynn Ice Rink. I thought there was a water stop there, but I didn’t recognize the car.

I avoid trying to open trunks of unknown cars.

It was a cold day, so it was okay.

As I continued down Highland I knew the next turn would put me on East Border Road. This is another hilly section which would dump me onto the freakin Fellsway East.

When I got to the second rise in the hill on East Border Road I decided to walk. I hit mile 11 just after cresting that hill and began to run down to the intersection.

Mile eleven came in at 10:34. At this point I wasn’t too concerned with my pace. I was more concerned with surviving to run another day.

I wasn’t cold or depleted but my left knee was beginning to act up. My body just wasn’t prepared for this many miles.

I took the left onto The Fellsway and cursed my self for not turning left at the rotary instead of right. With that turn I would have run about twelve miles and avoided these bloody hills!

I walked some of these hills and ran the down hills as best I could. While running down the last Fells hill I hit mile twelve. That was my stretch goal for the day and I knew I had at least another mile and half to go!

I ran to the intersection with West Wyoming Street and was able to cross the street quickly. Traffic was light and people let me go.

I was now on the home stretch and my knee was telling me to stop.

After mile thirteen I decided to walk. I was beyond anything I had planned and who cared anyway?

As a runner approached I waved and they didn’t even acknowledge me. I guess you don’t look like a fellow runner when you are walking.

As I neared the rail road tracks I started running and kept on until I turned the corner onto Main Street. My ankle and knee were both killing me. Than I “ran” in the last bit to the finish but didn’t have the juice to round it out to 13.75.

13.72 miles was quite enough, thank you!

Hydration and recovery

I went into Brueggers, got an ice coffee and sat with friends for about ten minutes before heading home. As I sat there I could feel both calves getting ready to cramp.

On the way I drank a BodyArmor sport drink which has electrolytes and a variety of vitamins.

After a nice hot shower I applied some arnica gel to both knees and slipped my Body Helix knee compression sleeve onto my left knee.

I recently reviewed the Body Helix compression wraps. I’ve been using the knee wrap for a few weeks as needed and it seems to help.

I don’t get a commission, but you can get 10% off any Body Helix Compression Wraps you buy with code BH10RUN.

I hope you had a good long run this weekend and one that went according to plan.

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Body Helix Compression Wraps Review

I received a complimentary Body Helix Compression Full Knee sleeve in exchange for writing this review.

Body Helix makes a full line of compression products for just about any part of the body that may experience inflammation from a sports injury or arthritis.

Applying compression for shoulder or piriformis pain can be a challenge. Body Helix has compression wraps for these areas plus thigh, calf, bicep, ankle and lower back.

As a runner, I frequently deal with inflammation in my knees. Often this inflammation is experienced as the pain most runners are familiar with.

Over my seventeen years of running, I’ve been in physical therapy several times. In addition to stretching and strengthening exercises, my PT always recommends R.I.C.E.

I’ve read many articles on sports injury and they usually recommend R.I.C.E also.

So what is R.I.C.E. ? It stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Body Helix explains how compression aids in recovery as part of R.I.C.E.

Rest, ice and elevation are fairly easy to do, but applying compression can be a challenge.

In the past I’ve used an ace bandage. But it’s easy to wrap them too tightly, and they are intended to immobilize a joint. If wrapped too thickly, ice may not be able to penetrate through to your joint.

A compression sleeve is a better option and I own another brand sleeve. It works pretty well but I can’t wear it under pants and I never run in it. It’s a good solution when I’m hanging around the house and don’t plan to do much. It does work well with ice.

When I had the opportunity to try a Body Helix full knee compression wrap, I checked them out on line and agreed to give it a try.

About Body Helix Compression

Body Helix was founded in 2008 by world-ranked senior tennis player Fred Robinson and physician, Thomas E. Parker, MD.

At the time, Fred observed that most compression gear was uncomfortable, ineffective and did not use the latest materials available.

Fred and Dr. Parker searched for a material that would stretch, rebound and stay in place. And most importantly, provide effective compression.

They developed a product that provides a uniform medical-grade compression in the range of 20-30 millimeters of mercury (or mmHg in the scientific community.) The higher the number, the more pressure we feel.

Twenty to 30 mmHg is the first range of medical grade compression and has scientific evidence documenting increased blood flow and the benefits of compression.

Body Helix has four main differentiating factors that set them apart from the competition:

FORM-FIT TECHNOLOGY

A Helix consists of comfortable, uniform medical-grade compression in the range of 20-30 millimeters of mercury (or mmHg in the scientific community.) As mentioned above, the higher the number, the more pressure we feel.

Twenty to 30 mmHg is the first range of medical grade compression.

Below I’ll discuss how the Body Helix wrap feels.

MOISTURE ACTIVATED ADHERENCE

You’ve seen the person at the gym or on the court stop to pull up their knee sleeve or adjust their thigh wrap. That won’t happen with a Helix.

Thanks to their fabric’s Moisture Activated Adherence, their sleeves utilize the heat/sweat from your body and allow the fabric to act like an adherent between your skin and the product. It won’t slip or move during activities.

The wrap didn’t slip during my 10K run.

CLOSED-CELL FABRIC SCIENCE

Other wraps soak up sweat and take forever to dry, which often leads to unpleasant odors from bacteria becoming trapped within the fabric.

Because a Helix features Closed-Cell Fabric Science technology, it won’t hold sweat or water and you’ll never have to worry about odors or health issues from trapped bacteria.

The wrap is easy to rinse and the smooth fabric makes it easy to wear under clothing.

INFINITE MOTION

Many other products will only stretch up to 50%, which often restricts joint movement while being active. Body Helix compression sleeves (created by professional athletes, by the way, so they literally feel your pain) is made of the highest quality compression material available and will stretch more than the human body.

What this means for you is simple: you won’t need to alter your mechanics of motion when you serve, swing, bend, or run. You can continue to play your game, your way, without limits.

The sleeve was easy to run in and allowed me to bend my knee comfortably while driving.

Body Helix Compression Review

I tested the Body Helix full knee compression sleeve under daily conditions and during a 5 mile race and 10K training run.

Body Helix full knee compression sleeve, product reviewThe Body Helix compression sleeve has a smooth surface and the material does allow for a full range of motion.

l was able to wear it comfortably under a pair of jeans, drive my car and run errands.

This isn’t the greatest photo, but you can barely tell which knee has the sleeve on.

The comfort of the sleeve makes it possible to go about your day and not be stuck laying on the couch.

Road Race Testing

At the Super Sunday 5 mile race I tested the Body Helix compression sleeve. I’ve never worn anything on my knees before and wondered what it would be like.

Body Helix Compression Sleeve, Super Sunday 2020My knees are not bothering me, but I knew this would be a great test.

It was February 2nd, so I had to wear tights. I think this is a real world situation that most runners can relate to.

The sleeve easily slipped over the tights material and was firmly in place.

As you can see, it blends in well with the tights and no one even noticed.

I ran the five-mile race in 41 minutes which is about my regular pace.

During the race I forgot I even had it on. It didn’t bind or pinch and I never felt like it was slipping off. This allowed me to focus on the race and enjoy my self. What more could you ask for?

When I got home I rinsed it in the sink and it looked and smelled like brand new the next day.

Comparison Run

For my next outside run I wore the Body Helix compression sleeve and a sleeve I already own.

I’ve never worn anything on my knees while running except for the Super Sunday race. This time I didn’t wear tights.

As I headed out I wondered if both sleeves would end up causing problems. The last thing I wanted to do was mess up a nice run by stopping to pull up a compression sleeve.

On bare skin, both sleeves were more noticeable. The other brand sleeve was rougher on my skin and covered more of my leg. The Body Helix sleeve was smooth and clung to my skin like a bandage.

About three miles into my run the other sleeve felt like it was slipping off of my thigh. When I reached down I found that it had barely moved, so I left it alone and never broke stride.

Neither sleeve felt like it was hindering my run. They both felt pretty comfortable and for most of my run I didn’t really notice them.

When I finished my run I took this photo. I’m not a professional, but this is what they looked like shortly after finishing my 10K run.

The top of the other sleeve had slipped a bit as you can see.

If I was running a half or full marathon, the other sleeve could have become an issue.

I’m not sure that I’d run a marathon if I felt that I needed to use a compression sleeve.

In my opinion, compression sleeves should be used as part of the R.I.C.E. recovery protocol. And if you are dealing with knee pain you should stick to shorter runs anyway.

A look at other Body Helix compression sleeves

I have shoulder pain currently and have experienced piriformis issues in the past. One of these items would have been great to have.

The web site does say that the shoulder sleeve may not work for everyone and they suggest using it after surgery and not for general pain relief and recovery. I’d give it a try any way.

The compression on my knee felt good and it’s near impossible to apply compression to a shoulder.

I’m not sure that there is a good way to apply pressure to the piriformis or a groin pull.

Check out the Body Helix web site for all of their products. You will probably find a compression sleeve to meet your recovery needs.

You can use promo code BH10RUN to get 10% off any item.

If you try one of their products let me know how it worked for you.

Run well my Friends,

Andy

Super Sunday 2020

What a great day for the Super Sunday 2020 5 miler and 5K.

It was usually warm for February 2nd and we even had some sun! I tell people this race is always cold and some times it’s god damned cold! This year was as good as it get’s in February in Cambridge.

I’ve been running this race since 2015 and they have always had teams. It’s a great way to drive registrations and it’s a lot of fun to run with a group of friends.

Super Sunday 2020, VIP Tent RowLast year the Melrose Running Club had 31 runners. In 2020 we had 40 run the 5 miler and 9 more run the 5K. We had 11 more non-club members join our team, so we had a total of 60 people!

We got a VIP tent for the second year in a row. Special thank go to our Team Captain, Judy Dolan. Judy worked hard last year to get us a tent and this year took it to another level in getting 60 people to sign up!

Judy also brought hot coffee, pastries and chocolates. Last year she wrote a note for each runner, but with 60 runners, she just couldn’t do it this year. Can you blame her?

I think everyone had a great time and even with the “nice” weather, we enjoyed the shelter of the VIP tent.

Running the Super Sunday 2020 5 Miler

Along with 39 of my fellow MRC runners, I chose to run the 5 miler. I ran the 5K in 2015 but have enjoyed the longer race each year since.

Athenaeum Street is always a wind tunnel. This part of Kendall Square is only a few hundred yards from The Charles river. So there is always a cold breeze blowing down these side streets.

This year was as good as it had ever been. They start the 5K ten minutes after the 5 miler and my first year I had to wait in a freezing howl off of the river. Maybe that’s why I switched to the 5 miler!

There was a huge crowd and I could hear understand a word that the race director, Alain, said. Apparently he asked the crowd to step back because the crowd started pushing us back.

In 2019 we ran towards Third Street, but this year we ran towards First Street which is towards Boston. No big deal, but a bunch of runners had lined up on the front side of the starting line.

Super Sunday 2020 start and finish areaWe didn’t really hear the start either, but we strained our eyes and saw the front of the pack start to move and in just a minute or two all of us were crossing the line and starting our watches.

It was pretty crowded but even the first turn went well. I didn’t have a full head of steam yet so there wasn’t much slowing needed to negotiate the corner.

Then we turned onto Binney Street which must be six lanes across. A wider road than much of the Boston Marathon route.

It was great to look around and see purple MRC shirts of all varieties. Last year the club bought 100 winter hats and I could see them all over the place.

I always love running through the intersection of Binney and Third Street. Each night I drive through this intersection and during the race I get through the intersection faster than driving!

Third Street in Cambridge is a total mess. This part of Cambridge has been under construction for at least the past ten years. If the city is waiting to fix the roads, it could be ten more years.

Super Sunday 2020 5 mile course mapThis road beats the shit out of my car and as a runner you need to watch where your feet land. I’ve replaced my shocks, I can’t replace an ankle.

From Third we took a right onto Broadway for our long slog out to The Harvard Art Museum where we took a sharp right onto Cambridge Street for the long slog back.

I’ve been on Cambridge Street many times, but I always feel disoriented when I’m running down this street.

About the Super Sunday 5 Mile Course

East Cambridge is a very flat area. The two “hills” had an elevation gain of 27 and 20 feet! The 20 footer came in the last mile of the race and I actually got to pass a few people.

Binney Street is nice and wide and Broadway and Cambridge street are pretty wide also. By the time we got to Broadway the crowd had thinned enough that the narrower road did not feel crowded.

As we ran west on Broadway the crowd continued to thin. At the first water stop, I was actually able to get a cup of water and they only had about five people manning the table. I’m not too proud to grab some water on a short course. I know I need it to run the way I do.

It was fun to run out Broadway and actually be able to look at the shops and restaurants. In a car you have to focus on cars, bikes, pedestrians and lights. It can be exhausting.

The Harvard Art Museum is quite the impressive modern building. They have an exhibit of Japanese art and I thought my youngest daughter might be interested in seeing that.

As I was admiring that building and reading the sign for the exhibit all of a sudden our turn was there!

I had been running with Marty Hergert and Pam Walcott. We kept trading places but at the turn we were close by.

We were now half way and headed toward mile three. This is where the folks who stick to 5Ks start to run our of gas. I knew that over the next two miles I’d be passing some of these people. All I had to do was maintain my pace.

Just keep pushing.

My first three miles were 8:02, 8:13 and 8:07.

I was working but everything was working. Nothing hurt and my breathing was pretty good.

I wasn’t breaking any land speed records, but I was doing pretty good for a guy running less than 25 miles a week.

As we ran along I tried to take in the scenery. Cambridge Street is in pretty good condition, so I didn’t have to pay strict attention to my feet.

I don’t recall much of this part of the race but I do recall enjoying the ability to actually see things.

As we headed down the hill at the end of Cambridge Street I was ready. I had pushed the last half mile and was ready for the final kick.

As we turned onto Athenaeum Street I could see the finish line! And there was a small crowd cheering us on.

I was with a good sized group of runners. So when we got to the finish line it was impossible to line up for the photographer.

Garmin had me at 41 minutes even. How unusual is that? My total distance was 5.08 for a pace of 8:04.

My official time was 40:47 at five miles exactly for an 8:11 pace. My 5 mile PR is 36:46 back in 2015 at the Harpoon Brewery Five Miler.

A Rockin Party

Our tent was packed. We had a huge crew and friends from other clubs kept dropping by. Like bees there was a constant flow of runners in and out of the group in search of beer. We’d go get some and head back to the tent.

Twice the race brought us three Za pizzas. They were nice and hot and really hit the spot. I missed the first delivery, but managed to get two delicious, hot slices on the second round.

I was riding with someone else, so I was on a mission to enjoy my self. And that is what I did.

The band was so good, I thought they were playing an Aerosmith tape over the PA. Even when I stopped to listen closely, they still were spot on.

Melrose Running Club at 2020 Super Sunday Race

With such a large crew there were people I hadn’t seen in a while and many new club members. It was really a great time.

When we went to leave the parking garage, we found out that it was free! We had no idea and it felt like such a bonus on top of a great race and great time.

If you’ve never run this race, I encourage you to try it next year. It’s well organized, the swag, food, band and beer are all great.

2020 Results

2020 Photos

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Great Stew Chase 15K 2020

It’s amazing to think that The Great Stew Chase 15K has been around for 46 years!

Several times over the years the race has changed a bit. Their web site doesn’t gave a lot of details, but in 2002 they started using the current Lynn/Peabody course and in 2010 they started using the current turn around spot.

Twice the race was postponed due to weather. It is a January race in Massachusetts, so you have to expect that once in a while.

When the race was postponed, participation dropped off substantially.

In the late 90’s into the 2000s the race drew between 200 and 300 runners with a high of 376 runners in 1998.

Since 2010 the Great Stew Chase has had more than 300 runners only once, in 2014. In 2018 and 2019 the race drew less than 200 runners.

I don’t have official numbers for 2020 yet, but I believe that the count was around 150 runners.

I can make a few educated guesses as to why participation is declining.

First, it is a 15K. This is an unusual distance, half-way between a 10K and Half Marathon. It’s too long for people who enjoy running 5Ks and are reluctant to make the leap to 15K.

It’s also too short for people who are training for Boston. At this stage in most training plans, runners need around 15 miles on a Sunday.

Second, the race takes place in January in Massachusetts. It’s not unusual to have ice and snow on the ground and cold winter air blowing in your face.

Third, this race is known for it’s hills. They are not really that bad, but it seems that’s what people hear and remember about the race. The total elevation gain for this race is about 250 feet with the greatest gain of 86 feet in mile 5.

This is the mile we make the turn around and people are starting to feel the race.

Who runs The Great Stew Chase 15K?

2020 marks my 4th running of this north shore race. From my experience, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of who runs this race.

When I first showed up in 2017 I was surprised to see tables full of local running clubs. Each club had a table or two. There were a few unaffiliated runners, but 75% wore club colors.

I’ve come to understand that this is a club oriented event which is fairly unusual. Many races now encourage building teams to get perks like a pop-up tent, but I don’t think Stew’s does this officially.

There are no awards for the largest team or any recognition at all for team size.

Maybe because this is an unusual distance it takes a club to encourage runners to come out? Maybe it’s been a club race for years?

All I can tell you is that there are about six or seven clubs who bring most of the runners to this race.

There are a lot of young hot shots who run this race and do well. There are also lots of older runners who do very well and would be competitive in lower age brackets.

Besides belonging to a club, I think many runners who show up are real runners.

By that I mean people who train in any weather and may have run in high school or college. This is what they do. Some people golf, these people run in any conditions and love it.

This hard core group of runners looks for the challenging races and runs races all twelve months of the year.

When I look around the table at the Melrose Running Club crew, that is what I see. Some of us ran while in school, but most of us came to running later in life and this is what we do.

Less than 10% of our club runs this race, so it is pretty much the hard core runners who show up.

Enthusiasm for running has ebbed over the past five years. There was a surge after the Boston Marathon bombing, but that surge has crested.

Participation in many races has declined and some races have faded away.

While many casual runners now stay home, the hard core runners still turn out in all conditions for races like The Great Stew Chase 15K.

So I believe it is the core of the running community that continues to come out and support races in January that might have an unusual distance.

Melrose Running Club at Great Stew Chase 15K

Great Stew Chase 15K 2020, Melrose Running ClubWe had twenty runners this year. This is our lowest turn out over the past four years, but it was mostly our hard core runners. People with grit and goals.

The people who ran this year had a good time even if the course kicked their asses. We’re funny that way.

Lynda Field and Mike Sikkema both won their age group and Marianne Chmielewski placed second in her age group.

Many others placed in the top five of their age group.

Paul Locke, Marty Hergert, Regina Curran and Linda Giesecke all set new PRs for the 15K.

I was just over a minute away from setting a new PR and really thought I had it. My early miles were good and I kept pushing on each hill.

When ever I felt like letting up I kept telling my self that this is the hill that will make the difference. If you let up here you will miss your PR by seconds.

My watch showed my average pace at 8:29 which would beat my PR of 8:33. But I ran 9.53 miles on a 9.3 mile course, and that made all the difference. Oh well.

Overall it was a great day. We had great weather, a challenging course and great people to hang out with.

What’s not to love?

Run well my Friends!

Andy

My Three Favorite Inflammation Remedies

My Three Favorite Inflammation Remedies are delicious and there are many more that you can incorporate into your diet. Read my blog to learn why I transitioned from pills to food.

In my recent post 2019 Running Review I mentioned that I transitioned from Ibuprofen to natural inflammation remedies.

This comment generated a lot of interest and questions.

Most of what I know is from journal and news articles and anecdotal stories from friends.

I decided to write this post to answer some of the questions and take an overview of some articles on the subject.

Natural Remedy Skepticism

In The West we have long been accustomed to doctors doing procedures and prescribing medications. There seems to be a drug or procedure for everything.

Watching TV, I am often surprised to learn about new drugs for conditions I have never heard of.

Most of us have cabinets full of drugs we use without much thought. If they are available without a prescription, they have to be safe, right?

In ancient times before chemistry and modern science, physicians derived remedies from the plants and minerals around them.

aspirin
courtesy – nih.gov

Hippocrates recommended chewing on willow bark to relieve pain and fever.

Willow bark contains salicin and German scientists isolated salicylic acid from willow bark in the early 1800’s.

It was expensive to extract, tasted awful and could cause bleeding. In the late 1890’s scientists at Bayer synthesised acetylsalicylic acid which Bayer went on to sell under the brand name Aspirin. 1

Peruvian bark, which contained quinine, was used to treat malaria. Today you can buy quinine over the counter. 2

While our ancestors chewed on bark or drank bitter concoctions, we now get most of our treatments through a tablet or pill. Bayer actually created the first tablets with aspirin to counter competitors.

In part, because most of our medicines come in a bottle these days the efficacy of natural remedies is questioned by many.

How can spices or teas do anything? They are just food and food is not medicine.

Many societies still rely on natural treatments

In a CNN series Chasing Life, Dr. Sanjay Gupta examined how societies around the world maintain health and treat illness.

In one episode he traveled to Kerala state in India. Thousands of years ago in this Indian state they began the practice called Ayurveda which means the science of life. 3

It was a fascinating program. While Ayurveda involves much more than just using food as medicine they did discuss the spices that go into the foods this practice utilizes.

In addition to ginger and cinnamon they used spices we associate with Indian food like cumin, turmeric, hot peppers and others. The food looked unbelievable.

It’s difficult to believe there isn’t something to a medical practice which has survived thousands of years.

Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen

I’m not a medical professional or scientist. I’m just a runner who is constantly dealing with inflammation. Between muscles, joints and tendons, I often experience pain from inflammation.

In the past I would take Ibuprofen or Tylenol to manage this pain.

I had bursitis in my left hip for years. A few years ago I visited an orthopedist due to chronic knee pain. I’ve pulled or strained various muscles in my legs over the past seventeen years.

Over the years my doctors have recommended rest and ice, sometimes compression and elevation.

None prescribed meds and my PCP and orthopedist both cautioned me about over-use of Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Acetaminophen controls pain but does not reduce inflammation. Controlling pain is good, but my pain is often caused by inflammation. Taking too much acetaminophen can damage the liver, sometimes leading to a liver transplant or death.

Doses over 3,900 milligrams or 12 325 mg pills per day can cause liver toxicity. The safest daily dose is 8 pills or 2,600 mgs. 4

Years ago I stopped taking Tylenol and started taking Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID.

NSAIDS do treat pain and inflammation, so I thought I was doing the right thing.

When treating an injury I would often take the maximum daily dose (1200 mg) for weeks.

According to the FDA: NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding, reduced kidney function, and other side effects. The chance of harmful side effects increases the more you take and the longer you take them. 5

A small study published in the July 2017 edition of Emergency Medicine Journal found that 44% of ultra-marathoners who took 400 mg of ibuprofen three to four times toward the end a seven-day, 155-mile race experienced significant reduction of kidney function. 6

The study only had 89 participants in an extreme event but it did highlight the risk of kidney damage. Taking the maximum dose over a prolonged period may have similar consequences for the rest of us.

During several marathons I took 400 mg of ibuprofen. While that is a lower dose and a less extreme event than the study cited above, my kidneys were probably impacted.

When I learned how both classes of drugs could effect my health I made changes.

My Inflammation Remedies

As I mentioned before, I’m not a medical professional or scientist. Please consult your physician before changing your treatment.

First I switched to ibuprofen and then in 2018 I cut back on ibuprofen. Then I began to read about foods and spices that have anti-inflammatory properties.

I was surprised to learn that spices in my own kitchen were potent anti-inflammatories.

turmeric curcumin
Courtesy – Happy Happy Vegan

Both ginger and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory properties. Most studies use purified, concentrated and precise doses of these spices. In order to conduct a scientifically valid study you have to use standardized extracts and try to control all variables.

You can search the web and find thousands of studies on these and other spices. Some using purified extracts others using common spices.

One VA study looked at 247 patients with significant knee pain over a six-week study period. 7

The VA study found a statistically significant difference in the relief of knee pain between the control group and those receiving the concentrated ginger extract.

Both spices have been in common use for centuries and their medicinal properties have been known for that long also.

You can buy concentrated extracts at your local drug store, or you can eat delicious food.

A cinnamon roll each morning doesn’t have enough spice to make any difference. I think I’m pretty safe in saying that.

Inflammation Remedies that work for me

Most days I have oatmeal for breakfast. I used to add brown sugar and raisins, but cut the sugar and added ginger and cinnamon.

The raisins add enough sweetness and the spices add a lot of flavor.

I’m not a scientist, so you wont find me in the kitchen with a scale or even measuring spoons.

Cinnamon, anti inflammatory spices, Inflammation RemediesI add 3/4 cup of oatmeal and about an ounce of raisins to a Pyrex container. To that I add 2-3 shakes of cinnamon and 1-2 shakes of ginger.

My guess is that this equals about 1-2 teaspoons of each spice.

I’ve tried adding more but the flavor can be overwhelming. I also try not to eat an entire cup of oatmeal for breakfast.

If I’m dealing with an injury I have this breakfast 5-6 days a week.

Green Tea

green tea, anti inflammatory foods, Inflammation RemediesProbably 15 years ago I started drinking water at work. I wanted to reduce my coffee consumption and to stop drinking soda.

Over the years my daily water consumption has increased. To make things more interesting I started adding two bags of green tea to my water bottle.

After about five minutes the tea infuses into the water and adds some flavor.

I use two to four bags of green tea five days a week and sometimes at home also.

The health-promoting effects of green tea are mainly attributed to its polyphenol flavonoids which can represent 30% of fresh leaf dry weight.

Green tea is not fermented like black tea so the flavonoids are preserved. This gives green tea it’s healthy benefits. 8

If an average teabag contains 1.5 grams of tea or 1500 mg, then each bag contains approximately  450 mg of polyphenol flavonoids.

Two bags of tea per day should be enough to achieve the healthful benefits, according to some studies.

Studies have also confirmed that green tea helps control Type II diabetes, blood pressure and many other conditions.

Conclusion

As a runner, I train and push my body twelve months of the year. I consistently experience higher levels of inflammation than most people.

Now I only take ibuprofen for a head ache, and those are rare.

We all experience inflammation caused by the environment and stress so I think that anyone can benefit from adding these food items to their diet.

Consuming tea, ginger and cinnamon are part of my regular diet now.

If you add these items to your diet your health will benefit also.

You don’t like tea, ginger or cinnamon? Try adding or consuming more of these spices:

inflammation remedies, spices
naturalstacks.com

1. Curcumin (Turmeric)
2. Ginger
3. Spirulina
4. Cayenne pepper
5. Cinnamon
6. Cloves
7. Sage
8. Rosemary
9. Black pepper
10. Green tea 9

There are so many great options.

Eat well my Friends!

Andy

Health On Sale

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119266/

2.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_aspirin
3. https://www.cnn.com/shows/chasing-life
4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/acetaminophen-safety-be-cautious-but-not-afraid
5. https://www.fda.gov/media/112979/download
6. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-it-safe-to-take-ibuprofen-for-the-aches-and-pains-of-exercise-2017080912185
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11710709 – VA study
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/#B1
9. https://www.naturalstacks.com/blogs/news/anti-inflammatory-herbs

2020 Hangover Classic

Nothing like a 10K to get the year off to a great start!

I’ve run the Hangover Classic seven times now?

It’s been much colder and much warmer, but this year was pretty good. Temps were in the 30’s and there wasn’t too much wind. The sky was clear so when we had sun and no wind it was quite nice.

This race is so flat that my Garmin didn’t register any elevation gain at all! I know there were a few rises in the road. One time I could hear the guy behind me groan as the road rose to meet our feet. It was almost funny.

2020 Hangover Classic 10K Exactly

Have you ever run an exact distance for a race?

I’ve run a few that were short, including a 5K that was 2.8 miles. I won’t mention any names but the management company has been in the game for years.

I’ve also run a few races that were long. The Bill Rodgers Jingle Bell Run was 3.4 miles and they posted it as such. They had to re-route the race due to construction in Somerville.

It’s easy to over run a marathon and I usually come in around 26.5 or so. Over 26.2 miles, that’s not too bad.

It’s never exact, but sometimes…

My distance for the Hangover Classic was exactly 6.2 miles! I’ve never run the distance exactly.

I started my watch right on the line and stopped it just a few feet after crossing.

So they measured exactly and placed the start/finish exactly where it needed to be. A perfect execution.

I can’t take too much credit for running the correct distance. There aren’t too many opportunities to get lost and few turns to take long.

Except for the first mile and the turn around at mile three, all you had to do was run strait down the road. Piece cake. Cake by the Ocean!

While the race was uneventful I did run a first, the exact race distance.

Running the Hangover Classic

I got to the race nice and early and had a chance to talk to the timing folks. We had a few laughs and then I had to let them get back to work.

The sun kept my car warm and I read a newspaper. I enjoy reading words on paper, but never seem to have the time anymore.

Since I was 100 yards from the start I waited until 11:20 to head for the start.

The Atlantic wind blew down Broadway and made me anxious to start running.

As I looked around, the crowd looked a little thin. Maybe it was my imagination, but there seemed to be more runners in previous years.

We started on time and I was in the first third of the crowd. I found it easy to navigate the few turns and quickly got up to speed.

By the time we wound through the neighborhood and hit mile one I had an 8:06 mile under my belt.

I hadn’t run in a week and was only shooting for 9 minute miles. I told myself that the first mile is the easy one and the last one can be a bitch.

As we headed out onto Route 1A I consciously tried to slow. I’d get behind someone and try to stay a few feet behind them.

But, inevitably I would end up passing. My legs were just surging and at times it felt like the wind was pushing me along.

We’re not talking blazing speed here, but my goal was nine-minute miles. Mile two came in at 8:17.

By this point in the race my legs were stretched out and I just had to decide what I wanted to do.

Around 2.4 miles the leaders started passing us on their way back to the finish. The first five were close but there was a gap between them and the next runners.

I started counting runners and the first woman was 20th at this point.

Just before mile three we took a right to loop through a neighborhood for the turn. We hit mile 3 on the loop and my mile was 8:24. Getting closer!

As we made the turn I thanked the volunteers at both corners. They must have been a little chilly.

Now we had the long slog back to the finish. Most of it was right down Route 1A and I settled in.

There were a few walkers in both directions.

I had been counting runners since the leaders passed us. I had estimated that there were at least 100 in front of me and probably 150 behind me.

As people passed me I had to do a little math.

Mile 4: 8:13, Mile 5: 8:24, Mile 6: 8:31

I didn’t really plan to kick and kind of felt I had left it all out there. This is the end of lazy season after all.

When I saw the six-mile sign on the ground I knew I had 0.2 to go and kicked it in. When I saw the three-mile sign I knew I had 0.1 to go.

As we made the turn and approached the finish I could not believe that the clock said 51:30, tick tock. I kicked in what I had left and managed an official finish of 51:28.1.

Not a blazing time, but not bad for a guy who’s spent most of the past ten days with a beer in one hand and a remote in the other!

I came in 108 out of 288 10K runners, so my estimates were pretty close. They had 10-year age brackets and I came in 24 out of 52.

FULL RESULTS

2020 is off to a good start and I’m really looking forward to a great year of running and of life!

Run well my Friends and Happy New Year!

Andy