Can you imagine having run 123 marathons in your life? That’s just what 69-year-old John Farah’s done, but incredibly after his first marathon, he was sure he’d never do it again.

Farah outlines his story in this CNN article, where he tells of the frustration of his first marathon and gives advice on what to do to make sure your first marathon isn’t your last.

It’s all about pacing and taking occasional walking breaks, he says. Even talking to your fellow runners helps in getting your mind off of the pain.

These are things he didn’t know when he ran the first time in the Detroit Marathon. “I was young, cocky, and pretty stupid,” Farah said. Now, decades later, Farah continues to go strong and not even his 123rd marathon is likely to be his last.

 

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Aug
15
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Remembering Julia

Julia Child, who passed away in August 2004, would have been 100 years old today.

For such an accomplished chef (She did bring French cuisine to American popularity with her show Mastering the Art of French Cooking, after all…) she, by no means, took herself seriously. Not afraid to make mistakes in the kitchen, she encouraged experimentation, fun, and always quality.

Hard to say we’d be here where we are at Magic Bullet without her.

Read this touching tribute to the life of Julia Child from the LA Times.

Bon Appétit!

Well, it probably isn’t hard to guess, but the less you sleep, the worst you eat.

According to two recent studies, a loss of sleep can lead to a dysfunctional appetite. The results of MRI scans were analyzed to see how adults made food decisions after a normal night of sleep and then were compared to how decisions were made by those same people after a night of sleep deprivation. Turns out that when your body doesn’t get the right amount of sleep, changes in metabolism occur, which could potentially be the cause of unhealthy food choices.

The second study noted that after being deprived of sleep, the brain’s reward centers tend to light up more after seeing pictures of unhealthy foods compared to seeing pictures of healthy foods, explaining why after a night of little sleep, many of us replenish ourselves with Pop-Tarts and Ho-Ho’s.

This could potentially explain the link between lack of sleep and obesity; the body tries to fight back against lack of sleep by seeking out foods high in fat and sugar content.

Luckily we have our trusty Magic Bullet to help curb our temptations! Maybe a healthy smoothie, instead?

Read more about the studies in this article by Forbes.

Did you see Chinese Olympian Liu Xiang stumble on his first hurdle in the London Games earlier this week? Even if you didn’t, chances are you’ve heard about it by now.

JEWEL SAMAD/Getty Images/from SportsIllustrated.com

Liu Xiang, who won gold in the 2004 Athens’ 110 meter hurdles event (a 12.87 world-record performance), suffered an injury to his achilles tendon shortly after, rendering him unable to compete like he once did. In the 2008 Olympic games, he walked off the track after a false start by one of his competitors, dashing China’s hope for a gold. He was back now in London, with the weight of his country on his shoulders, and as soon as the gun went off, Xiang stumbled, knocking over the first hurdle and clutching his leg in agony.

Xiang struggled to get up, but finally did, hopping on his good leg off the track. But just as he was about to go into the locker room, Xiang returned to the track, hopping alongside it all the way to the finish line – stopping first to kiss the final Olympic hurdle he never got a chance to jump over.

Though China’s hopes for a gold medal in this event are once again out the window, the entire world has joined together in support of Xiang and his inspirational hurdle performance. At the end, two of his competitors ran to him, Great Britain’s Andrew Turner and Spain’s Jackson Quinonez, and put their arms around him, helping him walk off the track.

He may not have won a medal, but Xiang has won the hearts of athletes and runners everywhere.

Read more about Liu Xiang here.

Cuban marathoner (and former mailman) Félix Carbajal
Photo: Britannica.com

America’s first Olympic Games were, by far, one of the strangest the country has ever partaken in and the Olympic Marathon event was no exception. Including a Cuban in trousers, 10 Greeks who had never run a single marathon in their lives, and two barefoot tribesmen from South Africa, the marathon event was more of a sideshow than anything else.

The 1904 Games were undoubtedly tied to that year’s World Fair, which not only included athletic events of its own, but was imbued with less-than-subtle racism. American Imperialism was all the rage, but French historian and Olympic Committee founder Pierre de Coubertin disapproved, calling the racist events at the World Fair an “outrageous charade.

The Marathon event was as ridiculous as the rest of the Games; a runner from California nearly died during the first mile, and “cracked stone was strewn across the roadway, creating perilous footing, and the men had to constantly dodge cross-town traffic, delivery wagons, railroad trains, trolley cars and people walking their dogs,” according to Smithsonian Magazine.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, there were only two places where men could get fresh water: a water tower at mile 6 and a water well at mile 12.

The Olympic Games have come a long way since then, and thank goodness. Not that our runners aren’t well-trained, but having to ward off wild dogs while running should be an Olympic event all its own.

Read more on the 1904 Olympic Games here.

 

Most of us remember when mega fast food chain McDonald’s introduced the Super Size. Some of us may have even spoken those two terrifying words: “Supersize it!” But most people probably don’t know the origin of monster-sizing our meals, or the first time a ‘large’ size was introduced.

A recent article outlined the origin of the food size upgrade to a bucket of movie popcorn thanks to the BBC2 series The Men Who Made Us Fat. The large sizes, chocolate bar King sizes, value meals, all can be traced back to a larger bucket size of popcorn introduced in 1967 by a man named David Wallerstein. He managed a movie theatre and was told that he had to boost sales of popcorn and soda.

Knowing that people are innately gluttonous, Wallerstein figured that while people wouldn’t buy multiple cartons of popcorn, they would opt for a higher-priced carton with more popcorn in it, and he’d be able to charge considerably more for it than the cost of that extra popcorn.

Wallerstein was right and was soon brought on to work for McDonald’s, where he introduced the same idea to the conglomerate. Others soon followed suit and the result has been outrageous numbers of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Though this alone has not caused the poor health of our nation today, it certainly plays a role. Learn more about the history of portion sizes by clicking here.

 

(AP photo/Ben Curtis)

Seventy sheep, dancing nurses, and James Bond?

It may sound like the start of a joke, but it’s actually the start of the 2012 London Olympics, the opening ceremony to be exact. Set to begin in just a few hours, officials are trying to find out every last detail they can about the ceremony before seeing it live. Among details released by the ceremony’s director Danny Boyle (of 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire fame) about the show are the inclusion of  farm animals and actual dancing nurses. The show will outline Britain’s history, throwing a special nod to 007, protagonist of the longest lasting film franchise ever. (That’s Bond, James Bond…) Sir Paul McCartney might even make a special appearance, closing the ceremony.

For now, we’re sitting at the edge of our seats waiting for it to all go down.

Read a sneak preview here and tune your televisions in tonight for the start of the games.

If running a marathon in every state is on your bucket list, then look no further. We found this neat little infographic that showcases the 50 most beautiful runs in each of the country’s states (49 actually. We’ll pretend you didn’t see Arkansas’s box). And if you can’t run all 50, then pick your favorite and start running!

Jul
19
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Wired to Run

You know that runner’s high? The high that makes you feel light, happy, and empowered after a long jog or marathon? Turns out, it’s a real thing.

Researchers at the University of Arizona are saying that ‘runner’s high’ is a real, chemical process that happens in the human body. When you exercise aerobically – basically exercise to get your heart rate up – your body actually makes cannabinoids, the same kind of chemicals found in marijuana. It may be an evolutionary payoff of sorts, a reward for the hard work your body goes through.

The scientific community is still out on this one, but researchers point out that we’ve got short toes for stability and big joints in our legs that absorb shock. Back in the day, we used to run long distances to hunt down prey. Now scientists are saying this, along with that ‘runner’s high,’ shows that human beings are wired to run.

Check out this incredible NPR story with accompanying audio. What do you think? Are you wired to run?

Running’s good for our health, sure, we know that. But did you know it’s also good for the …economy?

Well, not quite. It seems, if anything, the business of running is immune to the economy. Despite economic downturns, the number of runners continues to grow, marathons are selling out, and running shoes are flying off the shelves.

The popularity of distance running has soared in recent years, and doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon, despite unemployment, high gas prices, and other markers of economic well-being.

The sport is more accessible now than it was 20 years ago. Advances in running technologies spur the sport (think GPS-tracking, personalized footwear, even aerodynamic clothes), while the ease of running does, as well (those tech gadgets are great, but all you really need are a pair of shoes and shorts).

Read what U.S. News had to say about the ever-popular sport of running, and then put on YOUR running shoes and go out for a run.