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Running the OT50 – What a difference a trail makes!

Written by Philip Walter on Apr 20 at 9:47 pm.

My dad and I summit Pinnacle Mountain during the Ouachita Trail 50k race on April 19, 2008

Photo courtesy of
black dog photo productions

First off, a quick apology for letting nearly two weeks go by without a post. I have been earnestly training for this race, as well as getting together material for a string of features over the next couple of weeks. There’s a new episode of BrickhouseBodymindTV going live tomorrow, followed closely by a long article on using the yogic bandhas to enhance core strength and ensure proper alignment in all you do, then I’ll be releasing the BrickhouseBodymind Blueprints for effective warmups and cooldowns that go along with the intelligent stretching articles. So again, sorry for the lengthy absence.

That said, the OT50 is actually two races, one that is 50 km (approximately 31 miles) and another that is 50 miles, both of which started at Maumelle Park just outside Little Rock at 6:00 a.m. on April 19, 2008. The bulk of the distance in both races ran along the Ouachita Trail from its trailhead at Pinnacle Mountain State Park and followed it around the north side of Lake Maumelle. The outbound leg included a jaunt up the east side of Pinnacle Mountain, which is a steep climb from about 400 feet above sea level to the summit at 1011 feet. Here’s a map of the course with landmarks and mile markers, or you can download this kmz file to scope out the Ouachita Trail 50k course for 2008 in Google Earth.

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My First Marathon!

Written by Philip Walter on Mar 4 at 5:04 pm.

Photo courtesy of a kind race official.

Just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge that my father (at age 59) and I walked the sixth annual Little Rock Marathon Sunday. We finished together after 6 hours and 55 minutes. It’s a memory I’ll have the rest of my life.

Thanks, Dad!

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Sylamore Trail 25k Reflections, aka Blogging From the Bathtub

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 17 at 5:35 pm.

Before I get to my ramblings on the Sylamore Trail 25k Run, I just wanted to say thanks a ton to Greg Eason and the folks who helped him organize this race, and the 50k too. This was great fun! Also, if you care not about my personal trail running saga, just skip this post. I assure you there is still tons of great stuff for you here. I encourage you to look around, and please, if you like anything you read here, subscribe to my feed so you don’t miss the next mind, body, spirit transformation article.

Soaking in Bath Therapy after running the Sylamore Trail 25k Race.

I am now soaking in a wonderfully luxurious, hot bath and sipping a cold beer after having run 16 miles in the Sylamore Trail 25k Run. It was my first official trail race and my first official race longer than a 10k (6.25 miles). I prepared as well as I could, but a bout with the cold/flu funk cost me one very valuable week.

We started at 7:15 am under a fairly thick blanket of mist, at about 35 degrees, from Angler’s Restaurant in Allison, AR. After a little more than a mile on pavement and dirt road, we intrepid runners had to foard the Sylamore Creek before joining up with the Sylamore Trail itself.

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Hiking, Trail Running, and My Newest Obsession

Written by Philip Walter on Jan 29 at 6:30 pm.

So, I have developed a new obsession. More accurately, I found one new obsession, which subsequently led to a couple others. Blog posts here have been scarce because of said obsessions, actually.

I am training for a 25k trail run next month. This led to a 14.3-mile jog through Pinnacle Mountain State Park and along the Ouachita Trail. This in turn led to my need to map the jog for all see. I then became obsessed with Google Earth, which is an incredibly powerful (and free) program. So I mapped the trek, as you can see below. I have also made the KMZ file of my hike around Pinnacle and along the OT to the Scenic Vista waypoint available for you to download and open in Google Earth.

View Larger Map

So, I completed the course in about 3:21. That’s an average of roughly 14 minutes per mile. If you take out my 8-minute break at the Scenic Vista on the Ouachita Trail, you an average of 13.5 minutes per mile. I figure that’s pretty good, considering I climbed the East Summit Trail of Pinnacle (a steep 600 foot climb) during that time. Still, I’d like to run the Sylamore 25k in under 3 hours. To do that, I’ll have to push my average to under 12 minutes a mile. Difficult, but doable.

At any rate, this is my new obsession. I’ve added a category to the Mechanisms of Transformation to reflect this. I plan to post more about various hikes I do and make KMZ files available for those interested in such things. Maybe one day soon I can even afford a GPS device to make the tracking ultra easy.

Until next time, get outside and use those lungs!

Toning a Trim Tummy and Finding Your Six Pack Abs

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 11 at 12:14 am.

 It seems that the physical fitness Holy Grail for the majority people I work with is a killer core. If you’re a guy, you want ripped, 6-pack abs. If you’re a girl, you want a sleek and sexy, well toned midsection. Problem is, most people don’t employ an effective strategy for toning their core muscles and bringing out their latent 6-pack. Crunches alone aren’t going to do the job. Neither will starving yourself and running 5 miles a day.

The first step is dropping the ego a bit and mentally preparing yourself for the fact that the perfect body doesn’t really exist, and that for most of us, simply having a flat stomach is sexier than, and just as good for our long-term health as a ripped-to-shreds six pack. Having established that, the best way to pull every bit of sex appeal you can from your midsection is to take a two-pronged approach to your workout routine. This means regularly performing exercises that build and tone the abdominals, obliques, and other muscles of the core while at the same time adopting a cardio program that effectively burns fat from your tummy. The former without the latter only serves to increase the pooch above your belt buckle, while the latter without the former only turns you into a skinny waif. Of course, diet figures heavily into this equation, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the combination of toning your core and getting cardio designed to burn fat in order to unleash those sexy abdominals.

Effective Core Strengthening Exercises

First off, rid your mind of the two following myths:

  1. Since the rectus abdominus (down the center of your stomach), is what we actually see as the “six pack,” I should concentrate on bulking it up and forget about the transversus abdominis, obliques, and other core muscles. Not true – a tight, sexy abdomen has as much to do with these other, more behind-the-scenes muscles as it does with the star of the show.
  2. I should keep a running tally of how many crunches I can do while I watch American Idol, and shoot for doing more in a row each night. Again, not true – you’re better served performing fewer, more concentrated exercises if achieving the 6-pack is your goal.

Okay, so now that you’ve purged your mind of this nonsense, let’s talk about the single greatest piece of workout equipment ever devised for increasing core muscle strength and tone: the ab wheel. That’s right, this cheap, simple, unassuming little gadget will do more for your midsection than anything, ever. How can this be true, you might ask?

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