Posts Tagged "grinch"

History of Running and the V02 Max Test

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, people ran to get away from hungry, annoyed lions and hungry, annoyed mothers. They also ran to catch food so their mothers wouldn’t be hungry or (as) annoyed.

Then the Greeks discovered that even without lions or mothers in the immediate vicinity, people could run long distances to deliver messages. The runners sometimes died at the end, but that was ok because they invented the marathon and that’s something to be proud of.

The modern fitness movement was born when people discovered that by running you got to wear skimpy little outfits and look at other runners in skimpy little outfits. Also, you didn’t go too far so if you really had to take a cab home at the end it wasn’t too expensive.

Since running is boring (as my son would say, that is a fact not an opinion), people decided to get competitive about it. One way was by wearing cuter and more expensive outfits and shoes. Another was running 5Ks, 10Ks, and the Boston Marathon. Still another approach was to get tested and brag about test numbers at the Apres Run Adult Beverage Gathering.

Enter the VO2 max test, generally considered the Big Kahuna of fitness testing.

Official Definition
VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption as measured during incremental exercise. It is measured as “milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight.”

Basic, Easy to Understand Explanation
During exercise, an athlete needs oxygen. As the intensity of exercise goes up, athletes use more oxygen–up to a point. There is a point at which oxygen consumption plateaus even if the exercise intensity increases. This plateau is the VO2 max. The longer it takes to get there (the higher your VO2 number), the more fit you are. (More or less.)

Why don’t we all get tested?
First of all, true VO2 tests are expensive.

Secondly, it hurts. Not in the I-just-got-a-boo-boo-now-it’s-all-better way, more like please-shoot-me-now-and-remind-me-to-never-ever-do-this-again way. Somewhere around the point you get close your max, your body begins to object (and you can’t pay attention or you’ll mess up the whole test). Then your body goes from aerobic metabolism to anaerobic metabolism at which point everything goes south muscularly speaking. Muscle fatigue and failure, build up of lactic acid, feeling that your lungs are going to explode, and other (less joyful) experiences. Yum. You’ve got to really want it.

Dog sled DearKidLoveMom.comVO2 Factoids

  • The average untrained healthy male will have a VO2 max of approximately 35–40 mL. The average untrained healthy female will score a VO2 max of approximately 27–31 mL.
  • Training may double VO2 max in some individuals, and will never improve it in others. Since having a bigger heart significantly increases VO2 max, the Grinch became much more fit when his heart grew three sizes. (Never thought of the Grinch as an exercise icon, did you?)
  • Elite male runners can consume up to 85 mL, and female elite runners can consume about 77 mL. Five time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain is reported to have had a VO2 max of 88.0 at his peak, while cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie measured at 96 mL.
  • But don’t be too impressed. Siberian dogs running in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have VO2 values as high as 240 mL. Woof.
  • Studies show that sedentary people can improve their VO2 max by over 20% by running a minimum of 25 miles per week at high intensity. No thank you.

So if you should happen to encounter a VO2 max test, bring your sneakers, your big heart, and your mental toughness. You’ll need all three.

Love, Mom

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The Big Shave | 10 Facts You Probably Don’t Know About Beards

Bearded Dragon Not planning to shave even though it's December DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man. He that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.” ― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Happy December! It’s the start of a new month which means (among other things) that No Shave November is over (until next year). In honor of The Big Shave, I thought I’d share some Interesting Facts About Hair.

1. The average man’s face contains anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 whiskers. The Grinch has more. Super huge thank you to Peg and Mitch for the tickets—we had a great time last night!

2. Cave drawing from as early as 10,000 BC depict men with clean-shaven faces and men with short beards. Billboards near those caves show ads for shavers (especially around Christmas).

3. Ancient Egyptian barbers regularly shaved their clients with razors and pumice stones as a beard was considered an indication of personal neglect. It is generally still considered a sign of poor personal hygiene if you’re female. It’s sometimes a sign that you play professional sports and you’re in the playoffs.

4. Alexander the Great noticed that the bad guys (anyone he was fighting) could easily grab his soldiers’ beards and therefore insisted his troops fight with clean-shaven faces.

5. In Shakespeare’s day, men often swore by their beards (which seems odd for something that can be shaved or reshaped so easily. Just kidding–different beard, see?) It was quite fashionable then for men to dye their beards. Kind of the way teenage girls treat their hair these days although I don’t think anyone in the Bard’s day went with blue or pink.

6. Peter the Great of Russia imposed a tax on beards, which was collected at every town gate. Can you imagine how US politics these days would react to the notion of taxing hair, tattoos, or piercings? Wait—I’ll be right back when I stop laughing.

7. Human hair grows about a centimeter a month (except when you have a really bad haircut in which case it grows about a centimeter a year.) Hair grows faster during the day than at night.

8. The longest mustache on record was 10 feet. The longest beard recorded was 17.5 feet. Why they are on record and not on a DVD or Blue Ray, I couldn’t say.

9. Wet hair is much weaker than dry hair—which is why many people prefer the ‘wet shave’ methodology.

10. Pseudofolliculitisbarbae (say that 10 times fast) is the medical term for razor burn. Clogged sink is the term for thinking about the Grinch shaving.

Enjoy your newly shaven face and travel safe back to school. Finish up the semester strong, kiddo. See you in a few weeks.

Love, Mom

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What Do You Call the Day After Black Friday?

Dear Kid,

jeopardyAfter Thanksgiving and Black Friday it feels sort of sad that today doesn’t have a name. I was thinking about Grey Saturday, but it is actually gorgeous this morning so that won’t do. Then I thought maybe Recovery Saturday but that sounded depressing too. I know there is a movement to focus people on shopping local today that wants today to be called Small Business Saturday. Not sure how well that’s going to stick–time will tell. I guess I’ll wait until some savvy marketer decides the day after Black Friday should be a day devoted to purchasing veggies and calls it Succotash Saturday or something.

Whatever name we give today, November 30 is an Important Day in the history of entertainment.

In the year Not-Very-Many, Joe the Klutz fell face first into a pie giving birth to slapstick and pratfalls at the same time. Also giving his mother yet another opportunity to roll her eyes and realize she wasn’t likely to get grandchildren from Joe.

In 1886, the Folies Bergère in Paris (don’t forget to use your French accent) introduced its first revue featuring women in, well, not much. (Over the years, the costume budget kept shrinking as did the costumes.)

In 1963, Martin Walser’s Überlebensgross Herr Krott premieres in Stuttgartn (when I figure out what that means, I’ll probably forget to tell you.)

In 1971, the movie Brian’s Song premiered. Sales of Kleenex shot through the roof (serious tear jerker. I get soggy just thinking about it.).grinch

In a much more recent event, Ken Jennings lost. You might need more context. Ken Jennings was a contestant on Jeopardy! and won 74 straight games (that’s a LOT) for a haul of over $2.5 million. He was finally beaten on November 30, 2004. This is Very Important because your Auntie M appeared on Jeopardy! and had the anti-luck of playing against Ken  (she was part of his winning streak). Auntie M came in second. Yay M!

The Grinch. What are we going to see tonight?

Love, Mom

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