Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yoga Journal - May Digital Edition Is Free!

In honor of Earth Day, Yoga Journal is offering a free electronic version of the May issue. No paper used or natural resources consumed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Message - "The Art of Mindful Living"

Instead of composing another rambling rant, like last year's Earth Day message (, I'd like to publish this passage from the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh's amazing book, Peace Is Every Step.  He says it so much better than I can. This is the entire short chapter titled The Art of Mindful Living.

"Nature is our mother. Because we live cut off from her, we get sick. Some of us live in boxes called apartments, very high above the ground. Around us are only cement, metal, and hard things like that. Our fingers do not have a chance to touch the soil; we don’t grow lettuce anymore. Because we are so distant from our Mother Earth, we become sick. That is why we need to go out from time to time and be in nature. It is very important. We and our children should be in touch again with Mother Earth. In many cities, we cannot see trees—the color green is entirely absent from our view.

One day, I imagined a city where there was only one tree left. The tree was still beautiful, but very much alone, surrounded by buildings, in the middle of the city. Many people were getting sick, and most doctors did not know how to deal with the illness. But one very good doctor knew the causes of the sickness and gave this prescription to each patient. “Every day, take the bus to the center of the city to look at the tree. As you approach it, practice breathing in and out, and when you get there, hug the tree, breathing in and out for fifteen minutes, while you look at the tree, so green, and smell its bark, so fragrant. If you do that, in a few weeks, you will feel much better.”

The people began to feel better, but very soon there were so many people rushing to the tree that they stood in line for miles and miles. You know that people of our time do not have much patience, so standing three or four hours to wait to hug the tree was too much and they rebelled. They organized demonstrations in order to make a new law that each person could only hug the tree for five minutes, but of course that reduced the time for healing. And soon, the time was reduced to one minute, and the chance to be healed by our mother was lost. We could be in that situation very soon if we are not mindful. We must practice awareness of each thing we do if we want to save our Mother Earth, and ourselves and our children as well. For example, when we look into our garbage, we can see lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and flowers. When we throw a banana peel into the garbage, we are aware that it is a banana peel that we are throwing out and that it will be transformed into a flower or a vegetable very soon. That is exactly the practice of meditation.

When we throw a plastic bag into the garbage, we know that it is different than a banana peel. It will take a long time to become a flower… That awareness alone helps us protect the Earth, make peace, and take care of life in the present moment and in the future. This is an act of peace, a basic kind of peace action.

When we throw a plastic disposable diaper into the garbage, we know that it takes even longer for it to become a flower, four hundred years or longer. Knowing that using these kinds of diapers is not in the direction of peace, we look for other ways to take care of our baby. Practicing breathing and contemplating our body, feelings, mind, and objects of mind, we practice peace in the present moment. This is living mindfully.

Nuclear waste is the worst kind of garbage.  It takes about 250,000 years to become flowers.  Forty of the fifty of the United States is already polluted by nuclear waste.  We are making the Earth an impossible place to live for ourselves and for many generations of children.  If we live in our present moment mindfully, we will know what to do and what not to do, and we will try to do things in the direction of peace."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eat Local - Make Every Day Earth Day!

The Thanks to Meatless Monday for passing on this information!

The Eat Well Guide released this cool widget to help people eat local on Earth Day and everyday thereafter throughout the year. Eat Well Guide is a free online directory for anyone in search of fresh, locally grown and sustainably produced food in the United States and Canada. Include the food-finder widget (get the code below) on your website and/or blog, to provide your visitors with valuable sustainable food recommendations. Just type a zip code into the widget to find nearby sustainable restaurants, stores, farms and other producers from a growing list of over 23,000 vendors. Supporting sustainable agriculture is a delicious way to show your commitment to the earth 365 days a year.

Follow this link to copy the code for this or two other widget designs for your blog!

Training Tip of the Week

"Many elite athletes warm up for 60-90 minutes before they race to make sure they are ready to run fast right from the start. For most recreational athletes, some easy jogging, walking and stretching is probably enough. Determine a warm-up that works for you during your training."

~Today's Tip of the Day from Hal Higdon's Facebook page!/halhigdon

I believe this one.  I'm light-years from being an elite athlete, either by ability or training.  However, I recently tried a gradual 15-minute warmup, going from walk, to fast walk, to slow jog, to easy run.  This worked better for me before a 5K race than my usual 5 minute easy run, and the result was a slight PR, even on a mending knee and only 2 weeks of marathon recovery . 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meatless Monday

Running Green supports Meatless Monday, an initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal of Meatless Monday is to help reduce meat consumption in order to improve public health and the health of the planet.

These delicious-looking recipes are published by the Meatless Monday initiative, and may be found at

Healthy News:
Want to Sharpen Your Mind? Drop a Few Pounds

Weekly Training 11 - 17 April, 2011

(Graphic from my page at

The week started strong and ended with a whimper.  Started with a good tempo run Tuesday, and a medium/long run Wednesday.  I planned an easy paced six for Thursday, but ended up running it at almost tempo pace again.  Wednesday evening, UPS delivered the new shoes I ordered, a pair of Saucony Kinvaras.  I'm working at developing the "Chi Running" form, and wanted to try one of the "minimalist" shoe designs to help facilitate a midfoot running form.  The Kinvaras were so light and flexible that the run seemed to take less effort, so I ran a little faster than I intended Thursday.  I did slow it down a little Saturday, and intended to do a longer run Sunday.  Saturday afternoon, building a fence gate, my hand slipped and I slightly punctured my left thumbnail with a screwdriver.  I still thought I'd run the next day, but by Sunday afternoon, the wound was still slowly seeping blood through the bandage.  I decided that it wasn't wise to run and elevate my HR to 150 bpm with even a small seeping wound.  All's well though.  By Sunday evening, bleeding had stopped.  I saw my doctor Monday morning and she gave me a tetanus shot and antibiotics.

Yoga streak continued, daily practice at 232 days.

YTD: 440.6 miles running, 147.1 miles cycling, 587.7 miles total.

Week: 27.0 running miles;  Month: 72.1 running miles.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Transformation!

A sure sign of spring-- the garden's in business again.  We just observed the first few tiny green tomatoes!

We've had a mild spring, with no later-than-usual cooldowns.  We started our garden seedlings indoors in February, to have them ready for early outdoor planting.  And plenty of great compost from last season's vegetable and yard waste for the young plants to thrive on.  Organic gardening at it's best! 

It also serves as a timely reminder of the fundamental oneness of all that is, fitting perfectly with words from the great Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh:

"When we have a compost bin filled with organic material which is decomposing and smelly, we know that we can transform the waste into beautiful flowers.  At first, we may see the compost and flowers as opposite, but when we look deeply, we can see that the flowers already exist in the compost and the compost already exists in the flowers."

The unity of life.  Yesterday's compost is today's tomato.  Today's tomato is tomorrow's compost.  And so the cycle continues...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Food Rules Friday

Michael Pollan is an acclaimed author and whole food/heathy eating advocate. He is the author of the best selling "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dillemma."

Rule # 29: "Eat like an omnivore."

"Whether or not you eat any animal foods, it's a good idea to try to add some new species, and not just new foods, to your diet- that is, new kinds of plants, animals, and fungi."

I really enjoy finding new foods, especially from plants.  The message is that variety is good!  Personally, I'm a vegetarian, not a vegan.  I don't eat meat, but I eat some animal products such as cheese, yogurt, and a few eggs.  The principle applies, whether you're vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or omnivore.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Training Tip Thursday

Unless you feel really hungry, eating food before or during a workout or before a medium-distance race isn't necessary. A meal high in carbohydrates (such as pasta) the night before should get you through. Practice good nutrition while training. Forget those fad diets. A proper mix of 55 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 15 percent protein is best for fitness and for good health.

~Tip of the Day from Hal Higdon's Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quote of the Week - "Twenty-Four Brand-New Hours"

I've been reading the great Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh's amazing book, Peace is Every Step.  I'm only about halfway through, although it's fairly short and written in a very accessible style that makes for quick reading.  I'm taking my time, reading a few pages at a time, savoring them like fine wine, and trying to apply the concepts to daily life as I go.  He begins the book with these words that set the tone so well for all that follows:

"Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live.  What a precious gift!  We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy and happiness to ourselves and others.

     Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see.  The question is whether or not we are in touch with it.  We don't have to travel far away to enjoy the blue sky.  We don't have to leave our city or even our neighborhood to enjoy the eyes of a beautiful child.  Even the air we breathe can be a source of joy."   

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meatless Monday

Running Green supports Meatless Monday, an initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal of Meatless Monday is to help reduce meat consumption in order to improve public health and the health of the planet.

These delicious-looking recipes are published by the Meatless Monday initiative, and may be found at

Healthy News:
Vegetarians at Lower Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekly Training April 4 - 10, 2011

(Graphic from my page at

Getting (hopefully) back on track with my weekly running/training summary, not that it's likely to be of much interest to anyone else, but part of the purpose of this blog continues to be as a training journal.

A pretty uneventful week, no big miles, just building back gradually in this fourth recovery week after marathon.  Trying to be cautious and allow further healing of a right knee that still isn't 100% after a January injury.  With the exception of a tempo pace run Tuesday, everything else was at moderate comfortable pace.

Continuing with weights & core work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  My current favorite core routine is doing crunches lying on my back on a stability ball.  I like the ball mcuh better than either the floor or the bench.

Yoga practice continues to grow; made 225 consecutive days on April 10.  Durations are progressing also.  Early in this streak, I practiced mainly in the morning for 10 to 20 minutes, with an occasional evening practice.  Lately, I've practiced 15 to 25 minutes both morning and evening on most days, with occasional longer practice.  I'm not forcing it.  It has been a natural progression because the more I practice, the better I feel.

YTD: 413.6 miles running, 147.1 miles cycling, 560.7 miles total.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves
- slowly, evenly, without
rushing toward the future;
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life."

~zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, April 4, 2011

Catching Up

I've done a poor job lately of updating this blog.  Trying to get back on track!