Summer Reading



The Tower of Books

There’s no denying it, but I LOVE to read. My bookshelf is over flowing with books. Most I’ve read, but some I have not (yet). I have a bad habit of starting a book, but when a new, more interesting book is released then I jump ship and begin the new one. So I have a huge stack of half-read books sitting on my table next to my bed just begging me to finish their half-read stories.

I’ve decided I’m growing to tackle that ever-growing book stack, mostly because I’m afraid it may tumble over on me while I’m sleeping. Somehow death by book does not sounds like a fun way to go. So without further ado here is my summer reading list…

Summer 2013 Reading List

1. The Time Between by Karen White – I actually finished this book late last night. I read the entire book within 24 hours and it was just released this past week. I discovered Karen White a couple of years ago randomly at Borders. Her book The Lost Hours caught my attention because it was about horses. Anything about horses tends to get my attention. I purchased it, read it, and fell in love with her writing style. She is a Southern writer and writes about the South. I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought that I should have been a Southern girl. There is something about Charleston, South Carolina that just appeals to me. I’ve ever been there, but hopefully I’ll make the trip there soon. White’s stories are easy to read and fun. A perfect beach read in my opinion.

2. The Color of Light by Karen White – I just picked this up this week too because I haven’t read this one by White yet. By time this blog post posts on Monday I will probably have finished this book too. Love her writing!

3. The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Dr. Philip Maffetone – I started this book this past week but got interrupted by Karen White’s new book and thus put this book on hiatus momentarily. Maffetone is an internationally recognized researcher, clinician, coach, and author in the fields of endurance training, nutrition, and biofeedback. He was six-time Ironman winner Mark Allen’s coach for a long time. I’m interested in his philosophy of training and I plan on implementing some of his theories in my own training this coming Fall.

4. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney – I’m a huge fan of podcasts, especially Vinnie Tortorich and The Fit, Fat, Fast Podcast. Both podcasts discuss living no sugar no grains (NSNG) lifestyles. The lifestyle intrigues me and I’ve been spending a lot of time recently researching the topic and will most likely making the change to my diet after Ironman Lake Placid. The Fit, Fat, Fast Podcast highly suggested this book and I look forward to diving into the research behind low-carbohydrate diets this summer.

5. Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It by Gary Taubes – This book came highly suggested by Vinnie Tortorich on his podcast. I started reading it and then got distracted by a couple of the above books. So far I have loved this book! It is easy to read, but yet contains a ton of scientific research. I’ve been suggesting this book to a couple of my clients because it is an eye-opener book.

6. Fit Soul, Fit Body by Mark Allen and Brant Secunda – I picked my signed copy of the book last year at the New England Triathlon Expo in Boston. Allen was the guest speaker. I read the first chapter and then put the book down for a while. I look forward to picking it up again this summer.

7. The Healing of America by T.R. Reid – This was actually a book that I read excerpts from for one of my public health classes. The book discussed various health care systems worldwide and what we can do here in America to make health care more affordable and better. I look forward to reading the book from cover to cover instead of specific chapters.

8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – As a science geek you’re surprised I haven’t read this yet. It’s been on my list to read for a while now. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Henrietta Lacks is the source of the laboratory cell line used in hundreds of laboratories across the global for years called HeLa cells. They are actually considered a “lab weed” now because they often contaminate other cell lines. I’ve worked with cancer cell lines before and cell culture is an amazing tool used in research today and we can thank Henrietta Lacks for it. However, she and Henrietta’s family knew nothing about her “immorality” until 20 years after her death.

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – I’m a huge fan of the classics and have been making an effort over the years to read a majority of the most popular ones. This one I picked up when I was in Montana in 2011 and just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

10. 1984 by George Orwell – Another classic. I started the book a couple of years ago and I guess got distracted again. I loved Animal Farm so I’ve decided that I need to read his other most known work.

11. Lance by John Wilcockson – I started reading this over a year ago. Got half way through it and just stopped. I’m not much of a Lance fan anymore. I wonder why? However, I still would like to finish reading the book. He definitely lived an interesting life; however, now I know how things end. Thanks Lance for giving away the ending.

12. How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins – Part of being a personal trainer and coach is knowing how to sell yourself. Some people view people who sell themselves as not being humble. Well, if you want to make a living in this industry you have to be able to market yourself and tell people how much of a badass you are. I don’t have any sales background and it doesn’t come easy to me. My boss at the gym suggested I pick up this book and read it. I probably should have read it back in January, but this summer sounds like a good time too…

13. The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith – I picked this book up during Border’s going out of business sale. I had the intentions of doing my internship for my masters in Africa, but unfortunately I couldn’t make that a reality. However, I am completely fascinated with Africa and hope to travel there soon. One of my main interests in public health is HIV/AIDS and global health. I have read about a quarter of the book, but it’s well over 700 pages long. Lots of history! It’s kind of a dry read, which is why I took a break from it. But I do love history. Hopefully, I’ll make progress in the book this summer.

14. GRE and Word Smart GRE – Yup, I’m studying to take the GREs again. I’m not 100% sure what my future plan entails. I just had an interview for a public health position that I would absolutely love and I’m crossing my fingers that I get the position! However, I am considering the option of going back to school if I can’t find a public health job soon. I took the GREs 5 years ago and now my scores are too old and thus have to re-take them. Yuck!

I have a feeling that I will probably find some other books to read in there somewhere (like Vinnie Tortorich’s book when that comes out!) and will probably not get to some of the above books. However, I really need to get through that stack before it becomes the leaning tower of books! Yikes!

What are you reading? Any good recommendations for summer reading?

~ Happy Training!

The Lance Effect


Lance Armstrong. 7x Tour de France winner. Cancer crusader. And, now doper.

Honestly, no one cares about my opinion on the issue, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

Lance Armstrong is a double-edged sword for the endurance world. With his Tour de France wins he helped bring the world of cycling as a sport to the forefront. But, he also gives it a very bad name. I have no doubt that he is a great athlete, with or without the use of performance enhancement drugs. He has also done a great deal for the cancer community.

I’ve always been a fan of Lance. Of course, I didn’t want to believe he cheated his way to the top. I don’t think anyone does. But, I knew that he probably did. Cycling is a dirty sport. I’m not a fan of USADA’s, WADA’s and UCI’s approach of being guilty until proven innocent. However, at this point, I think the evidence against Lance is pretty much insurmountable. I have yet to read the 202-page case against Armstrong released by USADA, but it’s on my list to do at some point. But, from what I’ve gather it’s rather convincing that he in fact did dope while on the US Postal Service Team.

I’m not going to deny that Lance has gone on to do great things, especially in the terms of cancer awareness. But, would Livestrong exist (or at least at the strength that it does) if Lance did not win 7 Tour de Frances? Livestrong does do good things for the cancer community and I don’t think people should stop donating and supporting the organization. However, I think people fail to realize that there are other equally and some probably better organizations out there that do the same thing, but are not run (or now formally run by) a celebrity. Lance is a celebrity. Yes, he had cancer, but so have millions of other people. I respect him for using his celebrity status to help other people, but just because he is a celebrity and a philanthropist doesn’t mean he is above the rules.

This past spring Lance helped Mary Eggers raise over $90,000 for Teens Living with Cancer. I very much respect his decision to join Mary in helping raise money for a cause that she is very passionate about. I don’t know Mary personally. I read her blog and I believe she is a very respectable and honorable person. She is a true hero in all that she does. I donated $25 for the Duel in Pool this past spring. Not because of Lance, but because I believe in her and the organization’s mission. Teens Living with Cancer is a fine example of local organization that might not have all the glitz and glam of Livestrong, but does amazing things for kids that truly need help and inspiration. I encourage people to look towards local organizations to support first that way you can see how the money is spent locally in your community.

I’m sure you’ve heard, but Lance’s sponsors are dropping him like flies. Of course, there is a small chance that he is truly innocent, but I don’t believe that he is innocent. I’ve lost a lot of respect for him over the past week. I honestly believe that he is a coward. He’s been dishonest for a long time and I think it’s finally come to bite him in the rear. Lance has always claimed that he has openly made himself available for testing and has never tested positive. However, recent reports from other cyclists and people who have worked for him have stated he would drop out of races or dodge officials coming to test him when he was doping. I don’t think Lance is a bad man. I think he just did bad things. Lance is human. Humans make mistakes. It’s what we do with our mistakes that really matter.

I believe that Lance needs to come clean about his use of performance enhancement drugs. He is giving cycling a bad name. I’m sure there are cyclists out there that have probably never used drugs and won, but all their wins are questioned because of cyclist like Lance that cheated. He is a coward. He needs to grow some balls and just say “You know what? I did dope. It was wrong and I’m sorry. Now, what can I do to make cycling a cleaner sport?”

Many cyclist like Lance claim they love the sport. I’m sure they do. But, if they truly love the sport so much then I think they need to admit their faults and then ask what they can do to help make the sport cleaner and better for all the new up-and-coming stars that may fall to the pressure of using drugs.

It will be interesting to see what unfolds in the coming weeks. I honestly don’t think Lance will ever admit to doping. For his teammates that have admitted to doping in the past and accused Lance of doping also, they have already faced some of the consequences. Levi was dropped from Omega.

I think this case will open a lot of “cans of worms” in the sports world as far as using performance enhancement drugs. It has me questioning how many amateur and age group athletes have used illegal substances? How many NFL, NBA, NHL athletes have used drugs? How about college and even high school athletes? As athletes, we are constantly looking for the next best thing that will make us stronger, faster, better, but is it really worth it to cheat our ways to the top?