Game-day caffeine keeps the Portland Trail Blazers running

I’m a regular user of coffee, the legal drug that is associated with athletic performance enhancement.

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According to a Fitness Genes blog post (10/03/18- Dr. Haran Sivapalan),

reports suggest that around 74% of elite athletes use caffeine either before or during an event, and the majority of these seem to be endurance athletes. There’s good reason for this. Studies of cyclists, rowers, and runners show that caffeine can significantly prolong time to exhaustion, increase average power output and improve finishing times.  Caffeine works by blocking a receptor in the brain, called the adenosine receptor. It’s this action that explains how caffeine stimulates our nervous system and keeps us awake. Blocking adenosine is also thought to improve the recruitment of muscles, reduce our perceived effort during exercise and dampen our perceptions of pain, all of which help endurance exercise.

I’ve settled into a few morning cups- usually no more than three. In the late afternoon I’ll sometimes have another cup a half-hour before I head out on a mountain bike ride or a hike.   I’ve recently discovered that I can also enjoy an occasional espresso after dinner, with no disruptive effect on my sleep.

I’m what is known as a fast processor of caffeine.  It’s clear that caffeine isn’t an equal opportunity enhancer. The extent to which individuals experience performance benefits appears to vary according to how fast you metabolize caffeine. This, in turn, depends on your genes, particularly your CYP1A2 gene.

I’m a fast metabolizer of caffeine.  My Fitness Genes analysis indicates that I have the AA genotype for CYP1A2,  which results in an ability to break down caffeine more quickly.

In 2006, Dr. El-Sohemy and his colleagues published a study in JAMA showing that slow metabolizers had a heightened risk of heart attacks if they frequently drank coffee, compared to people who were genetically classified as fast caffeine metabolizers. The scientists theorized that the drug, which can constrict blood vessels, hung around and produced longer-lasting — and in this case undesirable — cardiac effects among the slow metabolizers.

“The fast metabolizers rode nearly 7 percent faster after they had downed the larger dose of caffeine compared to the placebo. The moderate metabolizers, by contrast, performed almost exactly the same whether they had received caffeine or a placebo.”

Clicking below will introduce you to learn how a peformance-based training program that includes coffee appears to keep at least one professional sports team on the run.

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The game-day caffeine routine keeps the Portland Trail Blazers, the NBA’s most well-traveled team, running

Uncle Tom’s Adventures in 2019: Part 2

I reached two fitness goals by the last day of 2018: riding my bikes 1,000 cumulative miles and also walking (via hiking or backpacking) 1,000 miles.

I have zero interest in indoor walking/running or biking, either in a gym or at home. After decades of continuous health club memberships, I walked away from my local YMCA in late September of 2013, due to my shifting preferences and awareness of what my heart ( literally) was telling me.  I needed to be outdoors more.  That fall I had returned from third thru-hike, amassing 2,500+ miles on the Continental Divide Trail. I was fully planning a return to my gym rat status, but all it took was for a single return session for me to change my long devotion to the gym.

For 2019, I plan to amass 2019 cumulative miles via foot, either hiking or biking.

Another goal on my list is to read 40 books this year. I “shelve” books to read and books that I’ve read and monitors my reading, with the help of the Goodreads app. It tracks my progress toward reaching my total book goal. I especially like the scan function which allows me to immediately scan ( via the app) a book’s barcode which links to the exact same info that appears in Amazon (also owns the Goodreads app). If I plan to read the book, I save it to my Want To Read list. So far I have read 3 books in Jan. I pretty pleased that one of them was the 557 page The Outsider, by Stephen King. I have it 4 stars, by the way, even though none of it included scene from Maine.

I’m here in Florida this week for 6 nights of camping with my older and closest friend Edward and his wife Jane. He’s here at Fort Wilderness Campground for a few months break from running his fruit and vegetable farm in MA.

I am becoming more familiar with my Seek Outside tipi. Is warm here but it sometimes rains hard, like it did last night, from around 2 in the morning until 9 am.  The 12 foot diameter span gives me a palace of a place here, with 6’10” of headroom in the center.

We are able to find leftover firewood that we have used every night to enjoy a warming fire.

I plan to get a lot of walking in while I am down here for a week. Yesterday , I logged 7 miles.

I finally decided to add yet another goal for 2019. It came to my attention through Alistair Humphreys, whose Microadventures book and website promote cultivating a mind that leads one to enjoy adventures that are likely right outside the back door, rather than thinking of and treating them as distant journeys, every one.

For 2019, I plan to sleep outside at least one night in every calendar month.  January ?  Check!

 

 

 

Uncle Tom’s Adventures in 2019: Part 1

Welcome to 2019!
Here’s an update on my plans and goals for the year.


I’ve reluctantly suspended commercial guided backpacking trips in 2019. I learned my lesson in 2017 when I had to cancel and refund cash money for two fully booked 5 and 10 day backpacking trips. At that time, issues with serious medical conditions involving two of my family members demanded that I stay home and address the care of my loved ones. While those issues continue to be managed in the best manner possible, there now exists a real possibility that I will not be able to be in the wilderness if and when the health of my family takes a nosedive.
Nevertheless, I have made alternate plans to get out and schedule few things that allow me to be outdoors, sleeping on the ground, hanging out around campfires, and enjoying what I can in the forest.

I consider myself blessed.
Everyday life offers me engagement in the outdoors on a daily basis, in all seasons.

A very slow, but steady mile. (photo by Auntie Mame)

I live in a sort of “park” in midcoast Maine, where several of my neighbors hold large 100+ and even 1,000+ acre undeveloped properties. Long stretches along High Street, where I live at 430 feet of elevation on the southern side of Moody Mountain, not only don’t have any buildings, there aren’t even any utility poles or wires. What’s there instead is a canopy of towering oaks and other hardwoods that tower over the narrow roadway. This past couple months I’ve observed several mature bald eagles who have remained for the winter perched on a rooftops and trees, and even watched them glide over the bare open fields are they scan for their meager, but apparently adequate sources of sustenance.

I’ve stopped caring that the deer are still feeding on my shrubs, and fruit trees. That’s all that’s left for them and the flocks of 30 plus wild turkey after they ate the remains of my vegetable garden down to the ground after harvest.
I am blessed that many of my neighbors continue to allow me to hike and mountain bike right out my door, through the fields, abandoned roads, and trails that I’ve traveled over the past forty years that I’ve lived in this hand-made house. May all this continue as long as it goes.

Heading home, sinking..

At this point, I refer the reader to this article from Self magazine: The 2 Things That Will Help Motivate You to Be More Active

The article builds on data compiled between October 1, 2017, and September 30, 2018, from all 36 million people who use Strava that was aggregated and de-identified to respect athlete privacy.
Two factors lead to increased activity and help athletes stay active longer: goal setting and working out with someone.
My increasing engagement in walking and biking outdoors has been greatly enhance by both these practices.

I plan to continue writing about my 2019 plans in subsequent posts.

For 2019,  please consider joining the 919 other people who are subscribed to future pots from this blog.

Disclaimer: I paid for my Strava Summit ( formerly Premium) yearly membership

Hearing Loss Threatens Mind, Life and Limb

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Ever wondered if  family and friends who are concerned that you might be experiencing hearing loss might be right? Poor hearing is not just an annoying inconvenience.

“Two huge new studies have demonstrated a clear association between untreated hearing loss and an increased risk of dementia, depression, falls and even cardiovascular diseases.”

Read on via Hearing Loss Threatens Mind, Life and Limb – The New York Times

FYI:  I will continue to get mine checked yearly.

Record Breaking Antarctic Slog

“In an effort that could go down as one of the great feats in polar history, the American Colin O’Brady, 33, covered the final 77.54 miles of his 921-mile journey across Antarctica in one last 32-hour burst during which, without sleeping a wink, he became the first person ever to traverse Antarctica from coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided by wind.”- NY Times

Story here

 

 

My Top Ten Books – 2018

I’m a goal oriented person who hoped to read 35 books this year.  I’m thrilled to report that I have ended up reading 45 books, with time for at least one more in 2018. I use Goodreads to track books that I want to read, books that I’ve read, and to see what my friends are reading.  Consider using the Goodreads app to improve your own enjoyment of and engagement in reading books.

Ten books stood out for me in 2018:

Ten Million Steps by M.J. Eberhart  – M. J. Eberhart, aka  Nimblewill Nomad, was a 60-year-old newly retired doctor in January 1998 when he set off on a foot journey that carried him 4,400 miles (twice the length of the Appalachian Trail) from the Florida Keys to the far north of Quebec.  It is also the first known public report of hiking the International Appalachian Trail, an extension of the AT  from Baxter State Park through northern Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec. 

On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moore– Moore is a young man who is already a a huge writer that has won multiple awards for his nonfiction work. As a hiker, I found the whole book interesting, but the Prologue and Epilogue holds the best writing about long distance hiking and “hiker-trash” philosophy that this hiker has ever read.

Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age– “Through fascinating profiles and first-person anecdotes, Bercovici illuminates the science and strategies extending the careers of elite older athletes, uncovers the latest advances in fields from nutrition to brain science to virtual reality, and offers empowering insights about how the rest of us can find peak performance at any age.”- from Goodreads

This Land Is Our Land- Ken Ilgunas– “Inspired by the United States’ history of roaming, and taking guidance from present-day Europe, Ilgunas calls into question our entrenched understanding of private property and provocatively proposes something unheard of: opening up American private property for public recreation. He imagines a future in which folks everywhere will have the right to walk safely, explore freely, and roam boldly–from California to the New York island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters.” – From Goodreads

Gut: The Inside Story- Julia Enders : I’ve read a half dozen or so books about the connection between gut health/diversity and functional performance and this one is fun, brief, easy to understand, and well focused.

The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome Is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life- Rodney Dietert

“How would you react if you learnt that the microbes in, on and around your body could be the key to your physical and mental well-being? This is the enthusiastic claim made here. And it’s certainly a thought-provoking assertion. The metaphor of the “superorganism” represents the claim that human being cannot be understood in isolation of the bacterial and archaean colonies that live inside it and help it survive and strive.” -Otto Lehto

The Overstory- Richard Powers – This is the only fiction book on my list.   “From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us.” – Goodreads

Reading the Forested Landscape- Tom Wessels This book is a re-read for me.  Given my almost daily forays out into the various ecological locations depicted graphically and verbally in this book, I refer to it multiple times most days.  It is essential reading for exploring the edges of abandoned forests and the overgrown fields and swamps in coastal Maine, where I live.

The Man Who Walked Backward- Ben Montgomery I’ve started to listen to audio books while driving.  There’s plenty to choose from at my local library.  Here’s the first I tried out and I loved it.  I chose it after reading Montgomery’s Grandma Gatewood’s Walk,  the best book I read four years ago.  I wasn’t the only one who thought it exceptionally strong.  Montgomery won the 2014 National Outdoor Book Awards for History/Biography for his story of the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times.  I reviewed the book here.

The Man Who Walked Backward: An American Dreamer's Search for Meaning in the Great Depression
“In The Man Who Walked Backward, Pulitzer Prize finalist Ben Montgomery charts Plennie Wingo’s backwards trek across the America that gave rise to Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, and the New Deal. With the Dust Bowl and Great Depression as a backdrop, Montgomery follows Plennie across the Atlantic through Germany, Turkey, and beyond, and details the daring physical feats, grueling hardships, comical misadventures, and hostile foreign police he encountered along the way. A remarkable and quirky slice of Americana, The Man Who Walked Backward paints a rich and vibrant portrait of a jaw-dropping period of history.”- Goodreads

The Book of the Hut -John Silverio  Another book that I have re-read.  I wrote a review of it here.  Jack’s book inspired me to build a 14 foot  diameter octagon at my Maine camp on Hobbs Pond.   I plan to head over to the hut today and light the wood stove for the first time.  There will be a ” grand opening” of the little building sometime this spring. Let me know if you’d like to visit !

Please be aware of the current 30% off sale of my own new book – In the Path of Young Bulls.  When ordered though this website, from now until Jan.1, 2019 the book is only $19.99 plus shipping.  Happy Holidays!

Buy In the Path of Young Bulls

 

My New Book is 30% Off Until New Year’s

When you order through the link on this page my new book , In the Path of Young Bulls,  is 30% off  now until Jan. 1, 2019.   Happy Holidays from Uncle Tom’s Guided Adventures.  Copies will be signed, and there is a chance for you to request an inscription as part of the ordering process.

I hope that you will enjoy the book, which is into its second printing already!  Thanks to all my supporters over the past several years !

Buy In the Path of Young Bulls