Category Archives: Information is a Public Good

Bringing Sexy Back

First short sleeve day of the spring M-Ko and K-go

Kgo and Ko Celebrate the Sun

This weekend’s 60-degree weather brought the first short-sleeved run of 2013! I wanted to feel every ounce of sun possible, so I left the hat and sunglasses at home.  Rocking the bare arms felt soooo right.

SkateBoarding

But it can be so wrong.

It’s spring now. And before we know it, it’ll be summer. The sun will shine brighter, the mercury will rise, and the layers will come off.

Kara Goucher Rocking the Sports Bra

Abs for days (Olympian Kara Goucher)

not all sexy

Well, not everyone can be as sexy as a shirtless Kara Goucher

Running and cycling are about to get sexy again. Very sexy.

But before they do, and before you do, please watch this video. It could save your life. Or your training partner’s life. Or your child’s life.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is its leading cause. It’s NOT the kind that can be simply “cut out.” It’s the kind that spreads to your liver and your lungs. It’s the kind that takes lives. Young lives.

But there is a lot that you can do to prevent melanoma.

Below, find a list of tips for melanoma prevention, modified for the endurance athlete.

  • Avoid midday sun. The doctors recommend avoiding midday sun. Whenever possible, get in your long ride or run on the early side to avoid exposure when the sun’s rays are strongest (10am-4pm), even when the sky is cloudy. (Clouds offer little protection from damaging rays.) For those training for ultra-marathons or IRONMAN-distance events, rides/runs/bricks will inevitably spill into that sun window. Simply minimize the spillage by starting as early as possible.
Sunset Run

Luckily, sunrise/sunset runs in VA and CA happen outside of the 10am-4pm window. Great running/riding scenery.

  • Choose shade.  For those really long rides that spill heavily into or entirely span that 10am-4pm midday sun window, choose shady routes whenever possible. 
Kevin and Kgo Laughing SmartWool

We can’t all run under the Redwoods, but search locally for a Redwood substitute

  • Wear protective gear. Clothes don’t wash off like sunscreen. Look for gear that provides an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 40-50+. As sexy as a tank top or sportbra may be, opt for the running shirt or cycling jersey that covers your shoulders in that 10am-4pm window. Choose sleeves such as the Zoot Ultra Icefill Arm Coolers and, in addition to blocking UV rays, you’ll cool off with Zoot’s moisture-activated technology. Sunglasses are also an essential part of protective gear. Melanoma can develop on the eye as well.
Andy Lipscomb at Kona Arm Sleeves

All-American Andy Lipscomb protecting those guns with arm sleeves in the Kona sun

  • Apply Legit Sunblock. Sunscreen should be used in addition to, and not instead of the tips above. And it should be applied year-round. Use a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. (I’d go for 50+.) Apply it generously, and reapply throughout periods of heavy perspiration.  (If you sweat like I do, reapply it every hour.) Use a generous amount; this is not the place to trim triathlon expenses. Big white sunblock streaks are sexyOwn it. 
Andy Lipscomb Sunburn

Can you guess which of the anti-melanoma rules this stud violated?

  • Avoid tanning beds. Obvio. Even if you want to look sexy in a strapless dress. Melanoma is not sexy. Pick a different dress.
Bike Sting Ray

Shoulders covered…still sexy

  • Become familiar with your skin so you’ll notice changes. Yep, I am recommending that you look at yourself naked in the mirror. Frequently. If you have a naked partner, work a skin examination into your alone time. Become familiar with what your skin (or your partner’s skin) normally looks like. This way, you are more likely to notice any skin changes. Examine your face, neck, ears, scalp, chest, trunk and the tops and undersides of your arms and hands. Examine both the front and back of your legs and your feet, including the soles and the spaces between your toes. Also check your genital area and between your buttocks. (There are a small number of melanoma cases that are not caused by UV exposure.) If you notice any moles that are asymmetrical or evolving or ones with notched or scalloped borders, show your doctor.
Life is Brutal

Catch Melanoma Early

Knowing the warning signs of skin cancer can help ensure that cancerous changes are detected and treated before the cancer has spread. Melanoma can be treated successfully if it is detected early.

Please protect yourself and please share this with your training partners.

Stay sexy.

Your Skin is Rooting For You

Information is a Public Good #4: Bike Tattoos

You ever think about naming this old boat? It’s bad luck to have a boat without a name.

And with five blue letters to form the word JENNY, Forrest reversed his shrimping vessel’s bad luck.

A bike without a name is like a boat without a name.

So, once you decide upon a name for your bike, here are a few options for blessing your bike with its namesake.

1. The simple decal.

A company called Nucarve offers sharp but simple bike decals. These stickers are easy to affix. No special tools or skills necessary. The best part: They only cost $5 for 4 stickers. Probably why ChiTo rolls with Nucarve.

2. The fancy decal

If you are looking for a bike tattoo with multi-color options and national flags, then give Victory Circle Graphics a look. These are a little more expensive, but one of the few things in the world of triathlon for under $20.

3. Custom Painted Name

There’s no doubt this looks hot. At several hundred dollars, it’s the priciest option of the three, but the slickest. That is, until you try to re-sell your bike for an upgrade. That custom paint is not coming off and, as it turns out, there aren’t many people who want to ride a bike with your name painted on it.

If you have more ideas for bike decals, please share them in the comments section below.

A note on the Information is a Public Good series:

According to economic principles, a public good is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous. As a result, public goods create a freeloader problem. But only in the real world. In my blogosphere, freeloaders are welcomed.  All of the posts in “Information is a Public Good” are designed to be shared. Please leave a comment or email me (kendragoffredo@gmail.com) if you have ideas for future posts in the “Information is a Public Good” series.

Information is a Public Good #3: Iron Debt Crisis

The Other Greek Gods

Each day during mid-morning snack time, I consume heaping spoonfuls of Greek yogurt while digesting world news in my favorite weekly, The Economist. Over the past two years, I’ve keenly observed an inverse relationship between the quantity of Greek yogurt I consume and the stability of the Greek economy. While the European Union cannot blame the euro crisis on my affinity for yogurt, I recently learned that yogurt is partially to blame for my iron deficiency crisis.

Unchecked and untreated, mild iron deficiency can slip into anemia, a condition in which the body runs low on red blood cells, the magic cells that provide oxygen to body tissues. Anemia is the ultimate energy-zapper. Because triathletes and distance runners are accustomed to feeling exhausted, we have difficulty distinguishing between fatigue as a normal part of a build cycle and fatigue as a symptom of anemia.

I learned at my annual physical that my levels of iron are lower than optimal. And though I like a good challenge, biking the hilliest Ironman in the United States would have been difficult enough without throwing iron deficiency into the the mix. So, to stave off full-blown anemia, I immediately incorporated an iron supplement into my morning Greek yogurt-world news ritual.

Calcium and Greek Protesters Have a Thing or Two in Common. Photo Credit: Panagiotis Tzamaros/Getty Images

Months later, follow-up tests revealed the futility of my supplementation efforts. Turns out that calcium, a key ingredient in my Greek yogurt, works to block iron absorption like violent Greek protesters blocking a passage of national austerity measures. As a result, my micro-nutrient specialist suggested avoiding calcium-rich foods like milk and yogurt two hours before and after  iron supplementation. While calcium inhibits my body’s ability to absorb iron from non-meat sources, Vitamin C actually enhances it. Go C!

BFFs

For others who battle iron deficiency, it may be helpful to examine which other micro-nutrients (e.g., calcium, vitamin C) you are consuming in that window of iron supplementation. For example, I’ve taken to consuming my iron supplement with my afternoon snack instead. Iron goes well with hummus and bell pepper.

Bell peppers have more Vitamin C than oranges, making them prime iron-absorption aids. Plus, oranges have calcium. (Review: Calcium inhibits iron absorption.)

Short of consuming mass quantities of chicken liver, what other helpful tips do you have for the iron deficient?

More Iron than Crowie

A note on the Information is a Public Good series:

According to economic principles, a public good is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous. As a result, public goods create a freeloader problem. But only in the real world. In my blogosphere, freeloaders are welcomed.  All of the posts in “Information is a Public Good” are designed to be shared. Please leave a comment or email me (kendragoffredo@gmail.com) if you have ideas for future posts in the “Information is a Public Good” series.

Check out other posts in this series:

#1: Biker’s Insurance

#2: In Defense of Off-Season Weight Gain

#5: Bringing Sexy Back

Information is a Public Good #2: In Defense of Off-Season Weight Gain

Jeff leads a winter weight gain support group

My character-of-a-friend, Jeff Callis, recently declared his fitness goals to his personal trainer:

My “fitness goals” are really not that complicated. My stomach jiggles when I brush my teeth. I would like it to stop.

Jeff isn’t the only one. As spring marathon season approaches, most of us don’t need an objective scale or a subjective, third-party evaluation to know that winter has left behind more than worn out resolutions. I’ve heard numerous conversations this past week about the need to slim down, tone up, and return to race weight.

While Jeff responds with an increase in resistance training, others work to increase their resistance to calorie-dense desserts. (I’m working on this!) Since our last big race, we’ve forgotten that food is not designed to wake us up, help us focus, entertain us, comfort us, or address our boredom. In America, where food is more plentiful, accessible, and cheaper than therapy, we often forget that it is designed to nourish our bodies, and not pacify our minds.

Boredom Killer

After living in foreign villages where food is not abundant, accessible, or cheap, I realized that America’s relationship with food is not healthy; it is dysfunctional. Feelings of guilt have become an inextricable part of the American dining experience. Indeed, many of my training partners share in these feelings of guilt over off-season weight gain.

But my recent research shed a new light on the topic. Running and biking with extra pounds today could actually help us reach new personal records later in the season.

Nutrition and performance coach, Krista Austin, Ph.D., who has worked with one of my racing heroes Meb Keflezighi, advocates intentionally putting on 8-12 percent of one’s body weight for off-season training purposes. Off-season weight gain appears to be the oldest and most legal form of performance enhancement in endurance racing. Here’s why: Training at a heavier weight teaches the racer’s body to recruit more motor neutrons and muscle fibers to lug the extra poundage around the track. Upon losing that weight throughout the course of the season, the racer won’t need as much oxygen to carry his or her lighter frame down the road; in essence, the racer achieves a greater fuel economy.

In the off-season, Meb’s 8-pack becomes a Sixer

This isn’t an excuse for me to keep eating crappy food now that the season is upon us. Nor is it an excuse to skip practice. In fact, to achieve the training adaptations from extra weight, the racer actually has to be training. It is, however, an invitation to embrace the gain, extricate the guilt, and, upon returning to race weight, set new personal bests fighting with an expanded army of motor neurons and muscle fibers.

Army of Many

A note on the Information is a Public Good series:

According to economic principles, a public good is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous. As a result, public goods create a freeloader problem. But only in the real world. In my blogosphere, freeloaders are welcomed.  All of the posts in “Information is a Public Good” are designed to be shared. Please leave a comment or email me (kendragoffredo@gmail.com) if you have ideas for future posts in the “Information is a Public Good” series.

Check out other posts in this series, including:

#1: Biker’s Insurance

#3: Iron Debt Crisis

#5: Bringing Sexy Back

Information is a Public Good #1: Biker’s Insurance

Scratched Car, Bruised Ego, Bleeding Wallet

Distracted, I backed my MINI Cooper out of the parking garage space marked “Compact.” Though the MINI was the smallest vehicle in her row, she wasn’t compact enough to miss the enormous cement pole on her left. How a pole that size did not show up in my side view mirror was irrelevant as the crunch of my car door punched me in the stomach.

Though I recounted the details of my blunder to a variety of friends and family members, they were uniform in their response:

“I guess that’s what insurance is for.”

Regardless of how much the pole collision hurt my pride, eating the $2500 in body work would have been even more painful. So when I drove into the garage with ChiTo’s ultra light carbon frame still racked on top, and it crunched like the door of the MINI, I winced in pain. 

How I wish that damn green gecko would have offered me some bike insurance.

In looking to provide some company for my misery, a team member recounted a roof rack mishap of his own in which his family’s bike collection took out the overhead structure at the local White Castle drive-through.

Renter’s insurance, he said. No big deal.

Renter’s insurance??!! I exclaimed.

A quick call to my renter’s insurance provider, Assurant, confirmed that even idiocy was covered under my policy. I gathered a professional statement from the bike shop attesting to the danger of riding on a compromised carbon fiber frame. Without receipts, I estimated the cost to replace the frame. A month later, the insurance company sent me a check in that amount.

After transferring all of ChiTo’s parts from the old frame to the new frame,  ChiTo was reborn. The Reincarnation of ChiTo will make his Ironman debut this  May in St. George, Utah.

A note on the Information is a Public Good series:

According to economic principles, a public good is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous. As a result, public goods create a freeloader problem. But only in the real world. In my blogosphere, freeloaders are welcomed.  All of the posts in “Information is a Public Good” are designed to be shared. Please leave a comment or email me (kendragoffredo@gmail.com) if you have ideas for future posts in the “Information is a Public Good” series.

Check out other posts in this series:

#2: In Defense of Off-Season Weight Gain

#3: Iron Debt Crisis