The Purpose of the "50-Mile Dolphin Dash"

Welcome to my blog leading up to the American Cetacean Society's 2nd Annual "50-Mile Dolphin Dash" fundraiser run on Wednesday, July 6th, Monterey, CA. I'm willing to shed 50 miles worth of blood, sweat, and (possibly) tears to raise funds to attend the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in St. Helier, Jersey (UK), where ACS will be speaking out against commercial whaling and compromises to international whale protection measures. I'm also the Executive Director of ACS, so I put my heart and "sole" where my mouth is.

Support the Dolphin Dash with a tax-deductible contribution:

Monday, April 11, 2011

50 miles? Bring it....

Saturday, April 9th: 15-miles (feel good)

Sunday, April 10th: 7-miles (feel great)

Monday, April 11th
: 22-miles (goal: feel awesome)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chia (Salvia hispanica): Awesome 70’s gag gift and... miracle running food.

This post pays homage to the humble chia seed (Salvia hispanica) and its omnipotent power as a formidable ‘super food’ that you should consider incorporating into your daily diet.

Let’s be clear – I’m no health food nut. I confess that I have a fondness for junk food. I was a vegetarian for 17 years, but have reverted back to an omnivorous diet with absolutely no guilt or regret. I eat pretty much anything.

..except when ‘training season’ starts, when the quality of the fuel going into the engine becomes immensely important. But with the demands of being pulled in 86 directions at once in today’s world, who doesn’t need a high-octane injection of ‘super-food’?

I’m hardly one to give advice about healthy living, and I’m skeptical of most so-called ‘health food crazes’ that aren’t backed up by logic, let along solid research. But one thing I can recommend – very highly – is chia. Yup... that “ch-ch-ch chia" with the cheerful jingle from the 70’s chia pet craze that to this day reigns supreme as ‘gag gift extraordinaire’.

If you doubt that the same green blanket nestling ‘chia ram’ and ‘chia guy’ is the stuff of physiologically fine tuning, consider this:

Chia seeds are the richest natural plant source of omega-3 and omego-6 fatty acids; they’re jam-packed with antioxidants (way more than cherries or blackberries), proteins, vitamins and minerals (zinc, iron, and significantly more calcium than milk), and fiber (more than most bran products). Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run, the true story of the astoundingly fit and healthy Tarahumara barefoot runners in Mexico, (who take off on 50-100-mile running jaunts as if they were evening strolls) likened the nutritional value of chia to making a 'smoothie of wild salmon, spinach and human growth hormones.'

Need more convincing? Okay, check this out. Chia seeds are hydrophilic, which means that they rapidly attract and absorb large amounts of water. In fact, chia seeds can hold 10 times their weight in water, and for endurance athletes, this is an enormous asset in terms of improving and prolonging hydration and subsequently, overall performance.

Chia was once so treasured by the Aztecs, they delivered it to their king in homage. Aztec runners used to eat chia seeds as they went into battle, and Hopis fueled themselves during their epic runs from Arizona to the Pacific Ocean (yes, you ready that correctly).

If you’re as convinced as I am that chia is indeed the ‘super-food’, try incorporating chia in your diet. The simplest way to use chia seeds is to sprinkle them directly on your foods, either whole or ground. You can grind them in a pepper mill or coffee/nut grinder. I’m committing to using them in everything from soups to salsa.

I have two favorite ways to use chia seeds. The first is for breakfast – this low-calorie, fresh, light snack is utterly jam-packed with nutrients and will keep you satisfied until lunchtime, without feeling like you’ve eaten a brick. You’ll love it!

6 ounce (1 small container or ~ ¾ C) Chobani yogurt (plain, non-fat)
¼ C. fresh pomegranate seeds
¼ C. fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp wheat germ
2 Tbsp whole chia seeds

Another chia recipe I love is Agua Fresca de chia – “chilled chia water”. When you need an immediate boost of energy – without caffeine - believe me, this will not fail you – it’s a modern version of a recipe used for eons by Mexican and Central American peoples and is fondly referred to by endurance runners as “10,000-year old, homebrewed Red Bull.”

It’s best to prepare a batch just before you’re planning to use it; the longer the chia seeds are in the water, the thicker and more gelatinous the mixture will become. Make a small batch the first few times, experimenting with the amount of chia to determine how large or small an amount of seed you prefer.

10 C. water
1/3 to ½ C. whole chía seeds
½ C. lime juice (or to taste)
1 C. sugar (try Sugar-In-The-Raw instead of the fine-milled, highly refined white sugar) (or honey to taste)

1. Pour lime juice and sugar or honey into water and stir until dissolved.
2. Add chía seeds to sugar water mixture
3. Shake or stir vigorously and serve very cold


Happy running...


Follow up references:

* Coates, Wayne. ‘All things chia’ Recipes to research:
* McDougall, Christopher. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen. 2010, Knopf Publishing (New York).
* Pirello, Christine (Huffington Post):

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2011: What a Difference a Year Makes

Another round of training for the 50 mile “Dolphin Dash.”

This year, the fundraiser run will be held in Monterey, CA on Wednesday, July 6th, and I will be departing for the 63rd Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) the following day - Thursday, July 7th.

It's been just nine months since the inaugural run in Los Angeles, but it feels like years.

The second annual event will be a real test of the 'mind over matter' principle. My running is not coming as easy anymore... nothing is, actually. Until recently, I've felt 20 years younger than my 42 (soon to be 43) years; now I feel...42 going on 43. I want my 'mojo' back - now, please!

This will be an interesting three months. I am committing to viewing this time as an "experiment of one". The days of being cavalier about my running - and fitness in general - are over. No more eating anything I like; no more rolling out of bed after a late night and bangin' out a 30-miler without preparation; no more putting running at the end of my daily 'to do' list and getting to it 'if everything else is attended to.' It's a lot more work now - this is now a total mind-body-soul endeavor, and I'm not exactly an "Eye of the Tiger" contender, but merely a creature of habit. I hope you'll join me - in my successes and inevitable failures on the road to the "Dolphin Dash".

Til then, you may be interested in reviewing the 2010 posts leading up to the event on June 17th, 2010, and video taken during the run by members of the ACS Support Team. I also have a blog to accompany the "100-Mile Run for the Wildlands" run I completed in August 2009 on the CA Central Coast in support of the California Invasive Plant Council:

Happy Running,