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    Entries in exercise (3)


    Walking for Water in the Rain

    Despite the cold, rainy and windy weather, there was a good turnout for the Walk for Water in downtown Portland yesterday. The official figures are not in yet, but from my estimation, approximately 800 people gathered at the covered plaza at the World Trade Center to take part. We were there to raise money to build a well in a village in either Kenya or Malawi.

    Walkers enjoyed free coffee from Portland Roasting and some snacks provided by local businesses. Five members of Boka Marimba, a marimba and percussion group, enthusiastically entertained the crowd with their energetic music.

    Boka Marimba

    Several non-profit groups also set up informational booths to let people know what they were up to and to sign up new members. Upon seeing the booth for PHLUSH, an organization that campaigns for the construction of more public toilets in Portland, Bill Mikesell, who was photographing the event, quipped that “in Portland, even the public toilets have an advocacy group.”

    Of course they do. . . is that weird?

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    Recapping the No-Bonk Week

    Christmas has come and gone, and so has the no-bonk week. I would like to thank all of you who participated with me (there were many of you who did so in secret, right? ha ha) and let you know how it went. It was a valuable experiment and I learned a few things. Here is a quick recap and some thoughts:

    1. Every day (except for Christmas Day, when I slept in until 7:30), I was out the door by 6:10am, staying outside for at least half an hour, running and/or doing other exercises at a nearby park (you might not have known that playground equipment can take the place of a Universal gym). My first thought at 5:30am on the first morning was “What was I thinking? Why didn’t I say 8 or 9 instead?” The days were cold, dark and generally not very welcoming. Fortunately, it only rained on the first day (that rain was as invigorating as sticking your wet finger in a light socket, by the way). The rest of the days were just cold, and each time I ran past the Mount Scott Community Center, I would enviously look over at the people running on treadmills inside the warm, dry building.
    2. My stated goal of the project—to survive the alumni game—was accomplished. The alumni team (with 19 players) won the game by seven points without anyone getting injured (soreness doesn’t count), although we would have won by more had your writer not missed some easy lay-ups and a couple free throws. I am over that now (sort of). Let’s just say it’s a good thing we won, or I would have had to spend all of 2011 figuring out how to prepare for next year’s game.

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    Join Me for a No-Bonk Week

    The New York Times had an article this week that talked about the benefits of exercising before breakfast. According to a study published by researchers in Belgium, exercising in a “fasted state” causes the body to burn more fat than it would if a person ate breakfast before working out. In some circles (especially biking and triathlon circles), this type of exercise is called “bonk training”. The goal is to lose weight and to accustom the muscles to get energy from fats stored in the body instead of always relying on carbohydrates. The author of the Times article implies that it might be possible to counter the effects of a high-calorie holiday diet by doing this type of training. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure I would recommend it. There seems to be a lot of dangers associated with it if you overdo it.

    Why am I writing about this? I’m not really worried about overeating during the holidays. The real reason is that my brother talked me into playing in an alumni basketball game on December 27th and I need to get into better shape before the game. I exercise fairly regularly, but want to increase my training this week so that I won’t embarrass myself.

    What I plan to do is to go running first thing every day this week. Anyone want to train with me at 6am? Not literally with me, although you are welcome to come to Woodstock at oh-dark-thirty every day if you want. We can motivate each other. I’m not planning to exercise without eating anything (no bonking), but I could use some accountability. I hate to get up early, and it will help if you join me.

    Here are the rules. You can train wherever you are, and it has to be for at least 30 minutes. The exercise should have lots of  motion. Stretching for 30 minutes doesn’t count—30 minutes of Zumba in your living room does. Sweat is good. We start at 6am PST (if there’s someone who has to get to work and needs to exercise earlier, let me know and I’ll match your time). Sign up below in the comment section and let me know how it goes (post your results or email me at I’ll give you a recap of how it went next week. Let’s get after it!