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From Asthma to COPD: This Runner Promises to Keep Going

IMG_1944Ailments, illnesses, sicknesses…they all seem so distant, foreign, disconnected from you…until someone close to you, a friend, family member, etc., is diagnosed, assigned that title, matched with said “situation.” And from then on, that name, acronym, label is no longer someone else’s problem or sad story…it’s now yours as well.

This was never so true as when my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and then passed away two very short years later. But today, I’m referencing COPD. Sure, the commercials on TV are pretty common, the pretend definition “chronic old people’s disease” always a throught or two away, but in reality did I know what COPD actually was? No, and I am pretty sure the majority of people out there don’t either. That was until, my friend and running buddy Sam informed me via text one afternoon that he had just been diagnosed with COPD. He was telling me not to spread the word or make some official announcement, but rather because I had put out a feeler via social media asking friends if anyone knew someone with COPD, asthma, or some other related breating ailment. (You see, my other friend / Palm Beach Post reporter Steve was looking for a local person to be profiled for the next issue of Health Living Mag, distributed by the Post.)

Sam let me know that he was probably the ideal candidate for the profile – having had asthma as a kid…and now only months early being diagnosed with COPD. He wasn’t sure if he really wanted to spread the word and announce to people he had COPD…but figured it was a good thing to tell his story in the hopes of helping, informing someone else. So he put his own concerns, selfish feelings to the side and offered up his full story. Sam and I sat outside Starbucks one morning…and he told me what a diagnosis of COPD really meant, when he received it, what his plans were, and what he was scared of…

And that’s where the story becomes real. Sam’s real fear/concern in telling me (and the Post and its hundreds of thousands of readers) his story…is that by putting it in writing, out there for everyone to read and hear, was making it real. He knew he couldn’t avoid it anymore, pretend he didn’t receive this news from his doctor, etc. He’d have to accept it, strategize, plan, and go-on with his life – different or not. I think the fear is still there…Sam acknowledges he is dealing with it still…and probably will for a while. But what I told him (and will say again here) is that life can’t always be planned. Diagnoses, changes, challenges happen. And if you focus too much on them and what will happen next, you will miss out on today. So yes, plan and strategize and do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy…but be sure to live every day life to the fullest, unconcerned with what you can’t control, and focused on being happy.

We didn’t know my mom would be diagnosed with cancer and die two years later. We couldn’t plan for that…but what we can do, is make sure we are living every day to its fullest while we are here. It’s the only way to win at life, regardless of what is thrown your way (good or bad).

So with that said, please read on…Here’s the Palm Beach Post, Healthy Living Magazine cover feature story on my good friend Sam.

Healthy Living: Can this Boynton Beach Man Out Run COPD?

PB Post Healthy Living - 2 PB Post Healthy Living - 3 PB Post Healthy Living - Cover

High School Cross Country “Clue Run”

My fellow coach at Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, Florida, Dough Horn, loves to intertwine fun games and team activities within our serious and high-intensity season (which happens to last from summer through mid-November). So when he asked me to plan a “Clue Run” of sorts that would take place the week prior to the Florida State Championships and therefore act as a stress reliever for those that qualified for States (the boys varsity team) and a fun run for those who had already ended their seasons (the remaining 40 kids)…I quickly got to work strategizing! The “Clue Run” was a success for many reasons, which I will list below, and therefore I wanted to share it with others/coaches looking for a great activity to execute with their own respective teams. (Thanks for the push to post here Lacey!)


  • Doug wanted the run to total 8 miles and of course stay around the Boca Raton area (running distance from Spanish River high school, where the kids would begin the run).
  • We also decided to split the teams so that the faster kids would be required to “run with” and/or push the not-so-fast kids. Initially we were going to choose the team ourselves, but ended up having captains choose their own teams.
  • We also needed a way to prove that all of the kids were running the full distance (i.e. making their way to each of the clues)…and that’s where the selfie requirement came into play! (I borrowed that strategy from a Delray Beach “Seek In The City” event I participated in earlier in the year!)
  • There were 9 clues…and each was spaced a little less than a mile away from the prior clue. Clue locations included: local play ground, water park, cemetery entrance/bench, flags at local university, one of the team members’ houses, crossing guard, Publix produce section, and back the school.

Rules: We gathered the kids after school, named two team captains who went ahead and took turns choosing team members, and then listed the rules. (Earlier in the day, I had driven/run around Boca Raton placing our clues in their “homes” and hoping no one would move anything before our runners had the chance to find them! While most clues were hidden, I did put balloons in certain places where I felt the clues would be tough to find. Remember, the goal was not to get the kids lost but rather for them to run the full 8-mile distance and have a lot of fun!)

Following are the rules shared with the kids:

1. All runners must reach each location. And to prove it, they would have to take a picture of the “team” a the clue location and immediately text it to me.

2. No stealing or moving clues meant for the other team. (Each location had two clues – one for the green team, and one for the blue team – which looking back was a mistake! If I could do it again, we would have had one team go in the reverse direction…to allow for a real race!)

3. No jaywalking! This was critical as the Clue Run is lots of fun…but as we always tell our runners, safety is the priority and cars don’t stop!

4. Be professional! Some of our clues were in private locations (Publix, a park, etc.) and it is important that the kids understand that and act appropriately. On that note, dressing appropriately (wearing shirts) was important as well.

And with that, we sent them off with their first clue…

Lessons Learned

  • A few injured runners were on-site to help out. We wanted them to feel included, and I wanted pictures of the excitement…so we provided them clue locations in advance and they were asked to take pictures. As a result, we had awesome pictures…but having them out there with cars led to a few kids on the team bailing out early and/or being lazy and jumping in the cars. Not the intention…and lesson learned for next time!
  • As I said earlier, two teams going to the exact same location lead to the ultimate merger of the two teams…by the time the kids finished, there was a complete merger of the two teams…luckily the winning prize (a sheet of Rice Krispy Treats) was able to be shared! But next time, we’ll have one team go in a different direction!
  • Try and keep the number of clues below 8! By the time the kids got to number 7…they were bored and distracted.

Questions? Comment here and I’ll share more detail as needed!

SloBody Opens In Delray Beach; Offers FREE Classes During Soft Opening Week



Grand Opening of This Unique Workout Generates Excitement

Fitness enthusiasts of Delray Beach can look forward to SloBody’s Soft Opening week (including complimentary classes) from Saturday, June 1 to Saturday, June 8, 2013 and Grand Opening in Delray Beach, Florida on Tuesday, June 11 at 5:00pm. SloBody – conditioning infused yoga™ – is a trademarked workout method that Strengthens, Lengthens, and Opens the Body. Located at 209 NE 5th Terrace in Delray Beach, the first Florida SloBody location will bring a focus to the client’s individual needs through consistent personal attention and correction.

Complimentary one-hour SloBody classes will be offered on the following dates/times:

  • Saturday, June 1 at 10:00am
  • Monday, June 3 at 9:30am and 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, June 5 at 9:30am and 6:00pm
  • Friday, June 7 at 6:30am
  • Saturday, June 8 at 10:00am

The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony will be held Tuesday, June 11 from 5:00 to 6:30pm and will include a tour of the facility, a meet-and-greet with founders Kirk Slobody and Janine Tiede, a brief SloBody class, and refreshments and food provided by Delray Beach establishment Fit Food Express.

Former NCAA Division I athletes and masters at breaking movement down, Kirk Slobody and Janine Tiede, created SloBody. By stripping Yoga to the essence of what makes it great exercise and blending it with old school conditioning (squats, lunges, core work, push-ups) they created a unique workout that builds: strength, awareness, balance, flexibility, and mobility.

Despite the “naked yoga” description, clients are told to keep their clothes on as yoga is the one being undressed! At SloBody, there is no chanting, no incense, no gurus and no embellishments. Instead, there is just yoga postures and conditioning.

“The traditional vibe of Guru…didn’t jive with my personality. I didn’t want to smell the incense, hear the chanting, or deal with dogma that was a distraction to my goals. For me it was a natural progression to blend yoga postures and breath awareness into a more athletic conditioning structure,” explains Kirk, owner and co-founder of SloBody.

After thirteen years of proven results in Seattle, Washington, SloBody– conditioning infused yoga™ comes to South Florida to build athletes at any age – and starting at any conditioning level. Kirk and Janine take the beginners through the awkward stages of starting an exercise routine to reaping the rewards of fitness.

Online classes compliment the education. SloBody’s Online Training pages are your gateway to information that is safe, practical and efficient. Subscriptions range from free to several different levels. It includes:

  • PRO Package –  Designed for professionals and teachers
  • ESSENTIAL Package – Designed for motivated students
  • DAILY DOZEN POSTURES – Essential postures via Video, PDF, etc.
  • DESK YOGA – Quick simple exercises for home or office
  • MODIFYING YOGA POSES – Great for newbies!
  • TEACHING YOGA EFFECTIVELY – Designed for teachers

SloBody’s method could change the way South Florida thinks of fitness. It is an adaptable workout that provides physical and mental fitness for a lifetime. The skills are transferable to any sport, physical discipline, and life in general.  The method is founded in the body – body based exercises, not equipment based – which means one can do it anywhere and anytime. Even at home naked if you really wanted to– just be sure to close the curtains!

About the SloBody® Method
SloBody – conditioning infused yoga™ – is a trademarked workout method that strengthens, lengthens and opens your body to its full potential and range of motion. SloBody introduces a one of a kind strength conditioning regimen (squats, lunges, core work, push-ups) and combines them with stress-combating yoga postures and efficient breathing for a workout that builds muscle, self-awareness, balance, flexibility, and improved mobility. The SloBody teaching method, which has been utilized as a training method by corporations such as Starbucks, Bank of America, Nike, the Seattle Police SWAT Team, and the Washington Athletic Club, is highly influenced by years of experience in the fitness industry. Noticing a lack of breaking down movements and/or providing alternative options for the injured or fitness novices in other group exercise classes, the SloBody method was formed. Learn more at www.SloBody.com.

For more information about SloBody, or to schedule an interview with Kirk Slobody or Janine Tiede, please contact media representative Melissa Perlman at 561-310-9921 or Melissa@blueivycommunications.com.

Single, Fit? Boca Raton is the place for you!

Those of us that live here, in Boca Raton, have known it forever! Between the beaches, the warm weather, and the money to spend – Boca Raton affords a lifestyle and location for the single and fit that can’t be beat. Now the rest of the world knows it as well! Check out this great article by my good friend, Steve Dorfman, reporter at The Palm Beach Post.

If you live in Boca, you’ll totally agree. And if you don’t, you’ll be looking for a way to move here ASAP.

Palm Beach Post: Single, Healthy, Looking for Love?

Good news for health-conscious singles who are ready to mingle — and live in southern Palm Beach County.

In a study released earlier this month of its multimillion-member database, the matchmaking website Chemistry.com (a subsidiary of Match.com) ranked Boca Raton No. 3 in the nation for cities whose single residents pursue a fit, healthful lifestyle, and highly value similar traits in a potential mate.

According to Chemistry.com Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. Helen Fisher, “The site tallied profile information on factors such as active hobbies, commitment to exercise, alcohol-intake patterns and smoking habits. Boca Raton ranked among the top across the board.”

Doesn’t surprise me a bit.

(Although Boca Raton ranking behind some place called “Shawnee Mission, Kansas” — a sleepy little suburb of Kansas City — was not something I would’ve expected.)

I don’t reside in Boca, but live close enough that I’m quite familiar with how high a priority its populace — both single and married — place on recreational sports, health and nutrition. To wit:

  • The scores of runners, cyclists and power walkers inhabiting the city’s ubiquitous residential fitness pathways every morning
  • The numerous, immaculately maintained — and perpetually crowded — golf courses and tennis centers (both private and public)
  • Gyms and health clubs of seemingly every size and ilk (including a half-dozen Cross-Fit “boxes”) permeating the primary thoroughfares, from State Road A1A west to U.S. 441.

Read the full article here.


Baby It’s Cold Outside

If you live in South Florida (where this blog is based) you have noticed the chill in the air! Well – I mean the drop to 55 degrees! And while that is nothing for those that live up north and even for me who spent four years of college in New England, it’s still something to pay attention to and respect. Keep these tips in mind especially if you travel up north where it is really cold or if the thermometer drops any more here in S. Florida. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when running/training in cold weather:

  1. Warm up. You need the warm up more when it is cold outside to avoid straining or pulling a muscle. Remember, when it is cold, muscles restrict and need to be warmed, stretched, and so on before expecting them to perform.
  2. Hydrate. A lot of us forget to drink water when it is cold outside. But it just as important compared to when it is hot and sunny. If you notice that you start getting the chills and goosebumps while out on a run – immediately find water and drink it! That means you are dehydrated.
  3. Dress for it. Some of us think we are too tough to admit it is cold and refuse to put on an extra shirt or sweater. If it is cold, where the extra shirt. You can always take it off mid-run.
  4. If it is really cold, change quickly after your run. Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running. To avoid a lingering case of the chills, change your clothes–head to toe–as soon as you can. Women need to get out of damp sports bras quickly. Put a dry hat on wet hair.
  5. Drink something warm (e.g. coffee, tea, soup, etc.) after a cold run to help warm up your core body temperature even more (and faster)!

And enjoy it! It’s so hot in South Florida that we rarely get the opportunity to enjoy running mid-day when the sun is blaring! A cold day is the perfect opportunity to soak in that sun while going for a long run. You’ll never appreciate it so much!

South Florida: Your Olympic connection may be closer than you think

With the 2012 London Olympics less than a week away, states and cities around the United States are clamoring for their very own hometown stars. And Florida is no different. So let’s get to it. Who’s who in the Olympics? Who calls Florida home? And who gives us the best chance of ‘bumping into a gold medalist? Consider this a Florida fan’s guide to the Olympics.

  • The United States Olympic Committee announced its 530-member team (of course with some last minute changes apt to happen).
  • 31 of the 530 (or 5.8%) call the Sunshine state home; many more have roots on Florida.
  • The majority of the Florida athletes are competing in sailing, followed by track and field, swimming, and tennis.
  • The most famous of the Floridans include Olympian Ryan Lochte from Daytona Beach, and Sanya Richards-Ross from Fort Lauderdale. Lochte is a six-time medalist in swimming and is favored in the 200-meter freestyle. Richards-Ross is a track star (formerly of St. Thomas Aquinas High School) and favored in the 400 meters.

To see a full list of athletes with South Floridaconnections (including the sport they will compete in; their personal South Florida connection; the country they are competing for; and exactly when you can see them compete), view my recent Examiner article here.

WPB Examiner Article: SouthFloridaRuns.com Hits 500-Member Mark

I’ve talked about my involvement with SouthFloridaRuns.com many times and how I credit the casual running group for getting me back into running over the past few years. Well apparently I’m not the only one loving the group and experience of attending runs and social gatherings! Now, there are more than 500 others!

Read up on how and why SouthFloridaRuns.com first got started, what the secret to its success is, and how you can get involved and join us for an upcoming run…by reading my most recent West Palm Beach Running & Fitness Examiner article here.

And don’t forget to share the article with friends; the group is aiming to hit 1,000 members next! Go SouthFloridaRuns.com!