Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vacation Travel - Should I Exercise?

Someone asked me the other day if I did any exercise while on vacation. Without a second of thought I replied YES……but then I had to think about it. I always want to say yes but it isn't always that easy. I started thinking about all of my travels, from vacations to marathon races to business trips……do I exercise on all of these? Really? Do I?

Well on trips where we do the marathons that would be the first area you could say of course not! You are about to run twenty six point freakin two miles. But actually I do. The day before I spend an inordinate amount of time stretching, short running, resting in thought and doing various exercises. I wouldn't say they are heavy exercises but they certainly are training tips.

After the race I'll repeat the same routine as the day before. Sometimes run even a little further…..certainly do more stretches.

So let's throw that scenario out.  How about a business trip? Absolutely yes! First of all I don't consider it any different than any other day at the office…..I've just added travel to my agenda. I have two typical kinds of travel for work. Long distance where I fly someplace. And then my normal overnight travels to my second office in Richmond.

For Richmond, this is like my normal routine. I travel there most often once a week. If I forego a workout, I'll really going to screw up my exercise routine. I can't have this. I am more of a runner than I am a gym rat. I don't like the treadmill especially not other cardio machines. It's just plain running for me. I always pack my running shoes, shorts and t-shirt when I go. My travel bag has all the "race goodies" that I might ever need so they are handy at all times. You know the stuff: gels, band aids, rubbing cream, etc. It's like a cosmetic bag for exercising or running.

Because I've been there so often, I know of a few running routes where I stay. I get up at the same time (regardless of my late night meetings) and do my coffee and plan for a run. It isn't as easy for the longer runs but I can do short work outs so I get my satisfying  need for cardio and complete my task of exercise so I don't get out of sync. Exercise in the morning starts everything off in the right frame of mind.

How about long distance travel? Whether it is a vacation or a business trip I treat them the same. Honestly I get up every morning at 5AM thanks to the Miracle Morning  routine established by Hal Elrod. I've modified mine a little different and call it the MARVELous Morning….after all I am a super hero!

Getting up at a regular time…..again, NO MATTER HOW OR WHAT YOU DID THE EVENING BEFORE keeps you on track and in sync with your physical and mental schedule you have established. Once I get up and run in a new town or a new country I've really energized my day…..all day!

If time restricts, I will head to the hotel gym and do a quick workout. Treadmill some and some free weights. But obviously the drug of choice is hitting the pavement. I set my Runkeeper and take off. Maybe the clerk at the front desk is a fitness guru too and will know of a trail or park close by…..if not…..I explore.

I have maps from all over where the Runkeeper logs my routes. Sometimes I have to go back and forth like in Milwaukee. There were canals that made me run some circles. Or Vegas when I had to do a bit of stopping at traffic lights. All of it is fun when you see different sites that you wouldn't typically if you walked or drove a car. Crabtree Falls required some steep hills and trail running. Vacation in Disney required some running in and around the resorts. Those things are huge, plenty of running room. Plus they probably have a gym if you really wanted to workout before traversing the day in the park with Mickey.

Best one ever was a trip to Punta Cana in Dominican Republic with a bunch of buddies. Yes, late nights made it difficult to get up early but I still did it. Nothing better than lacing up your shoes and heading out to the path right there on the beach. Try doing a sand run! I pretty much had the entire beach to myself with the exception of a few other ladies who apparently had the same running addiction that I did. Best way to make new friends!

The key here is not letting go of your scheduled workouts even during the travels of vacation or work. It's important for your body and for you. Treat it that way and as a reward rather than a torture.

I have a series of simple stretches/exercises I do in my hotel room that I'd be glad to share. Write us and we can even work up a simple plan fit specifically for you regarding a workout or running.

So here is the biggest thing you can do for exercising while on vacation....PLANNING!
We have spent all your time planning you flight, hotel and things you are going to do....don't forget to plan for your exercise. So as an example, I'm flying out with a bunch of buddies to Vegas......yes same set of buggies as Dominican Republic.....and yes I'm in trouble....LOL.

I will be preparing to rebound off of my Achilles fiasco and don't want to miss my training opportunities. Also, I don't want to miss the sites. Can we do both? Sure! Here are some of my ideas that I easily searched to figure out serval options during my trip. Not all of them will work but if time permits id surely like to get several of these bucket runs accomplished.

Here's what I found for VEGAS....given these have mostly incorporated running:
(click the link and find all the wonderful deals on

Located about 20 miles west of the Strip, RED ROCK CANYON NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA offers more than 30 miles of trails, most of which are suitable for running including a semi-technical 12 mile loop through the interior of the park. The 200,000 acre park has stunning mountain vistas, an array of cacti (don't step on any!) and desert wild flowers....Oh and the wildlife! Bighorn sheep, coyotes to rattlesnake....(There's a snake in by boots....errrr running shoes!)

Another option is the 32 mile RIVER MOUNTAIN LOOP TRAIL southwest of Las Vegas, which includes the 7-mile HISTORIC RAILROAD TUNNEL TRAIL, a rail that snakes (no more snakes!) through 5 tunnels as it meanders from Lake Mead National Recreation Area entrance to Hoover Dam.

For a shorter urban run from a hotel, it's easy to create a 4-6 mile loop that incorporates the sights and sounds of Sin City, including the iconic WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS SIGN and the fountains at the BELLAGIO hotel-casino. You got to do this....and take a picture and send it to me!


Read more at Hidden Running in Vegas

Other options include a few of the following that I found interesting.

Sunset Park

Just south of McCarran airport is Sunset Park. Not easily accessible by foot from downtown Las Vegas or the Strip, but it’s the closest ‘green space’ to the city. There’s a small pond with a perimeter path and it’s easy to put together 2–3 miles on the trails within the park. Some paved, some not paved.
Mt. Charleston
35 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Numerous trail options
A significant mountain, rising from 3,000 to 12,000 feet. 52 miles of trails featuring trees like juniper, mountain mahogany, Aspen and Ponderosa pine. In summer, it is significantly cooler than Las Vegas. In winter, there can be snow…and skiing. Many of the hiking trails are run-able. For experienced, endurance trail runners, there are the North Loop and South Loop trails.

Valley of Fire State Park
6 miles from Lake Meade and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas. 

This is another opportunity to access some desert/red rock trail running. It’s 6 miles from Lake Meade and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas. A great destination if you’re near Lake Meade or on your way to Zion National Park. Note: bring water. No facilities whatsoever.

Please let me know of any other locations that YOU found interesting. Id love to try them out too!

Eugene Thompson

Founder + Marathon Runner


Sunday, September 18, 2016


Listened to a great lesson this morning at church regarding grumbling and complaining. We are a nation of complainers. It doesn't matter what it is about, we grumble about it. If we get 100%.....we complain that we didn't get 110%. There is always something and it's never good enough. 

Our resulting feelings are that we never happy. Never satisfied. Never content. As Christians that isn't how we should be or act. We should lead others and not follow suit with all the other grumbling people around us everyday. We become like them if we listen to them or associate with them. This spins out of control. 

Chapter 4 of Philippians gives us a powerful message of hope and encouragement. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:4-9 NKJV

Think on this things and remain positive. 

ET This I Believe. 
Eugene Thompson

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The 50 Mile Challenge - Run Eugene Run

Today was a pretty amazing day. So much work leading up to this event by so many people. I am so humbled and grateful. Waking up this morning I was a little depressed. Race mornings are always so exciting...and stressful. But today I knew I should be the one who was doing the running......but I can't. Not because of nearly 50 days ago I ruptured my achilles ending this year's challenge for me.

Thankfully some wonderful people and supporters helped me shift my goals and agenda this year and they picked up where I left off. They were able to accomplish the 50 Mile Challenge as a relay on my behalf. I'm so THANKFUL to Unify Health and Fitness for their support and coordination.

The morning started off with a brief talk sharing my story about diabetes in my life and how we got to this 50 mile challenge. It was nice to see all the support of approximately 25 people getting ready for this challenge. As always.....I had to take a pre-race photo. I needed a wide angle cell phone! Didn't get every in the picture.

The course was a quarter mile loop around the office park. It was a last minute decision to do this race as a group since my injury. It wasn't easy to find a spot to run as a group. Everything required reservations and permits.....I thought it was a loss until Melissa and Brian of Unify offered to create this run at their complex. There was no clue how many runners would show up a plan was developed to use sugar cubes as a marker of how many laps were completed. 200 laps were required and as each runner/walker completed a lap, they picked up a sugar cube and dropped it in the bucket.


So many were doing the original challenge of running miles up until this day. The added focus for this event was the ability to run through their gym after every lap or every other lap (their choice) and do a circuit of exercises like a boot camp. What a brilliant idea.

And the reward after everyone's hard work.....THE BLING! Our first medal, our first race, our first everything. Will there be more? I think so. Challenges for everyone by virtual racing, running or walking. Watch for some upcoming events. We hope you will join us as we continue to fight diabetes.
Thanks again to everyone for helping us start our dream. Without each of you we couldn't have done it.
Eugene Thompson
Founder + Marathon Runner

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

MARVELous Morning Routine

What is your schedule like in the morning? How about during the day? When do you find enough time?These are the questions I often hear. I have had so many people ask how I am able to accomplish so much every day. So I thought I would share what I do everyday and how I start off my morning. This is just MY methods. You should develop or figure what works best in your life. It's important that you utilize a plan that means something to you. Modify and adapt something will be relevant to your beliefs. MARVELous Morning is mine.

So yes, it has a lot of similar characteristics to Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. If you haven't read his book, well...What are you waiting for?! A piece of his plan is part of what I do. I read my affirmations to myself. Sometimes there are multiple thoughts or affirmative actions. I don't always read them all everyday. I also get up early every morning. I like to get up at 5:00 AM but that doesn't always happen. I lose time if it slips too late, but it is my early morning routine.

So why Marvelous? Well Hal already has his.....since this is me and for ME's marvelous! Also because of MARVEL comics. I want to be a superhero and if I do this on a continuing and regular basis.....I'll become MARVELous too...every morning. Now that's settled.....we will move on.

I'm old school so I like writing my lists. All my morning work is on my iPad. It's easy to keep with me when traveling and has all my quick notes, readings, bible thoughts, agendas, friends, etc. I use my Penultimate app which ties back to my Evernote Account. My MARVELous Morning List is copied from day to day so I don't have to re-write everything everyday. Just the check in the box and my assessment/progress. And no.....I don't make it to 100% everyday......or often.....or regular......or maybe even EVER. Maybe a weekend day I've been able to accomplish every item, but then again those days are less full.

Use whatever programs work well for you. I try to keep mine simple. These tools link together and allow me to track my progress. Tracking is my way of holding myself accountable. If you don't know where you came from how can you know how far you've come?

I use the 5 minute journal app. It allows me to add visual motivation and plan for the day's short agenda....its just a big picture....not a task list. It also allows me to write a quick motivator or how I'm feeling that morning. Even the opportunity to provide an affirmation for some big I'm going to accomplish. My gratitude reward at the end of the day sends me back to this app to plug in my accomplishments. It's important to recognize your own successes.....even if they are small. One small step at a time.

I use the YouVersion bible app. Gives devotionals that is backed up by reading scripture. My faith puts me in the scripture DAILY. This is important to me. The app allows me to pick images of my own and place scripture on them. A daily visual motivation with scripture allows me to continually focus on good things. I also add these images on our church's Facebook page. It's quick and simple and allows me to encourage others while serving.

I once was a terrible reader. I'm still not the best but I work at it. I have a stack of books from business related to fun related. It's important to get a mix of both. EO has a blog post from various members. I try to read them often. If not, I'll switch to Kindle to read a chapter or so in the morning. This is short readings at this time of the day. If I'm reading something that I'd prefer to take a lot of notes on then I'll find another more opportune time to do such. Also, early in the morning it's still pretty dark. I can't read a hardcover book. I save those for sitting at my desk or even traveling. Kindle is nice when you travel because you can flip through several different books and carry them on your iPhone or iPad.....everywhere. If I find myself stuck in a waiting room or for a plane, I can pop open Kindle and pick up where I left off.

Currently I'm using blogger to post my stories, thoughts and other bits of data that are bigger than a social media post. There are some limitations with the iPad app when it comes to editing. However getting the thoughts down quickly works well. I come back to it later on the computer for final review. I have three blogs I am currently writing for. That is my most challenging effort.....finding time to imput my own original content.

I use my notes a lot. Wherever I am and I run across something I'll jot it down here. My devices sync so I can coordinate my thoughts in other areas. By doing this I'm able to capture great ideas and keep from loosing them. My memory isn't what it used to be.....but my note taking skills are excellent. I use this app also for my Mental Workout. This piece was take from Dr. Jason Selk who wrote Executive Toughness. Breathing - Identification or Affirmations - Visualization. I have a quick list that I can change add or modify without much effort. This same list I return to each day.
For tracking my exercise.....other than at Unify.... I use the RunKeeper app to log my miles. It ties in with the Heath and Human apps where I can track my weight and blood sugar. All things that are critical to me when fighting diabetes. Again it's good to know where you have come from to understand where you are.

I don't often just listen to music (except when I'm running) especially in the car. A thirty minute drive to work allows me to catch a short podcast. A drive to my Richmond office which is two hours away, gets me three or four podcasts. I keep track of them and organize my next one using the Podcast app. Currently I'm way behind.

The rest of the MARVELous Morning Routine relates toward performed in the office. Regular tasks that help me focus on the organization and growth of the company. It doesn't log my specific tasks as I use my Calendar and Reminders for those. Each reminder gives me detailed scope, deadlines and timeframes to complete. Each have categories for work, personal and play.

Speaking of PLAY. We really never watched live television. Too many commercials that wasted my time. Why would I sit around waiting for them.....I watch tv on MY time. We used to have DISH. Everything was on the DVR. Now we watch more Netflix. (We decided to save the $130 a month on DISH and use the money elsewhere.) We have been hitting the recorded seasons lately which again.....its on my time.

That's my planning process and how I'm able to accomplish as much as I do. I continually work on being more efficient with my schedule and my time. There are so many things that I want to do, try, see etc. that I must be better organized. Management of my time helps me be a better person to others in my life. Hopefully I'll be able to continue sharing with them to help them reach their dreams too.

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Achilles Chronicles - The First Steps

Week five since my accident, four weeks since surgery and two weeks since the cast was removed.....the first time I'm allowed to put some weight on my foot.......with doctor's permission.
I know, I know, I know.....I'm supposed to follow the rules.....and if you know me.....I never follow the rules. That being problem number one. Problem number two is I'm so impatient.

Today I went to UNIFY for the first time to do an upper body workout. It felt good but I certainly wish I could do more. Returning to a routine is rewarding. I've missed my workouts. With both my wife and I being out of commission these last months we have both found blessings and comfort in the support of our friends there. I posted a few videos of us working out that Michelle took of us on the YouTube page.

Today was also the last half-day Friday at the office that signals the end of summer. With Labor Day on Monday we all get the opportunity for a long weekend. With the hurricane/tropical storm approaching we will have a holiday in doors! That figures! I'll miss the Rock-N-Roll half marathon in Virginia Beach....but then again maybe everybody else will to unless the winds calm down. I couldn't do much this weekend anyway so I'll do some reading and resting......that'll work!

Today was also the second physical therapy appointment but more importantly I was given permission to apply some weight on it. 10% 19 pounds? Sure why not! That sounds about right. Toes tingling a bit. Incision doesn't really look so pretty. The healing process is going well but it less than desirable looking. I guess that might be normal. PT was a little too light for my preferences (of course) by picking up marbles with my toes.....really? Come on guys....PUSH ME! I know I know I know....patience. We already talked about this.....I don't have any.

All in all, things are going well and I should be careful not to create any setbacks. Ok.....I guess. 

Registration for The 50 Mile Challenge for RUN EUGENE RUN. If it wasn't for UNIFY we wouldn't have much. I'm thankful for all of those that contributed and are helping. Two weeks away from the run. Everyone jumping in to accumulate a total of 50 miles on 9.17.16 will be outstanding and humbling at the same time. I looking forward to being a spectator (not really but that's all I can do right now) and cheering everyone on!

Everyone can still sponsor and still run. I just won't be able to get you a shirt or medal until later. All those contributing will be our sponsors throughout 2017. We will have your link on our website and posts. We will add late sign ups to our official race shirts. I'll be preparing for a full recovery and begin running by (or before) the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. I think that will be a rewarding and significant return for me. 

Look for updates and follow-ups as we continue......again I want to thank EVERYONE.

Eugene Thompson
Founder + Marathon Runner (soon once again)

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Achilles Chronicles - Recovery Update

First of all let me apologize to my followers, friends and family. I've been less than motivated lately to post updates to my progress......mostly because there hasn't been any. Most of you already know of my set back in late July when I ruptured my Achilles. That quickly ended my journey to run my 50 mile challenge I have been planning for so long. I have had the feelings of letting myself down but more importantly of those who had been counting on me. I am so sorry to have let you down.

The 50 mile challenge was to happen while I was still 50 years old. Unfortunately the doctor says I cannot even begin running until after my birthday if at all this year. Patience has never been my best trait. Struggling with depression seems to have escalated. Diabetes does that. Running helped with it. The inability to walk without crutches, to drive, to do just about anything without assistance or depending on others has just thrown fuel on the fire. Some days are better than others. Some worse. Life goes on and I strive to focus on the issues I can address.

The definition of SETBACK is shear daunting when I think about having to start all over. The fear of ever returning to where I once was haunts me. It'll be a long road.......longer than 26.2!

Well that's my emotional state......sorry if it lacks positivity......that's today's mood.

Here's the recovery story....or at least my update for the last four weeks:

07.28.16  Snapped Achilles went to ER

07.29.16  Saw the orthopedic surgeon


08.25.16  First visit to physical therapist for evaluation


Two weeks of no weight bearing then two more of minimal weight bearing from 9.19.16
That'll put me at mid to late October before I can begin walking without crutches entirely.

09.16.16  Return to surgeon for follow-up
09.17.16  50 mile challenge day. Thankful for others who will be running in my stead at Unify!
That's about as far as I can see into the future. Each day I grow more anxious to begin.....begin doing something! Anything! Did I say patience wasn't my best trait? It's hard to plan my schedule even months in advance because I just don't know how well I'll be walking or if at all yet. That's frustrating.

Running by end of November.
First marathon......Shamrock in Virginia Beach by J&A Racing
50 mile challenge redux......9.16.17

Wish me luck and send your prayers. Thank you to my friends.

Eugene Thompson
Marathon Runner + Founder

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Prevent Sugar Spikes and Crashes

Credit writing to Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM

One of my clients told me about a high fat diet her medical doctor prescribed for the treatment of heart disease. As a long-time nutritionist and doctor of natural medicine I am well-versed in the benefits of healthy fats, but would never recommend the fatty bacon, sausages and other foods this patient ate as part of her prescribed eating plan.

Too often people assess a dietary strategy by one factor only: 

does it work? But that should not be the only factor to consider when it comes to your health. In addition, you should ask what the diet does for your overall health. This has never been truer, particularly with the high fat and high protein fad diets on the market right now.

New research published in the medical journal Experimental Psychology confirms this fact. In this study researchers found that a high fat diet can harm the kidneys as much as type 2 diabetes. The study found that these dietary habits caused a significant increase in blood sugar levels, which is to blame for the kidney damage.

Blood sugar naturally fluctuates in response to the various foods we eat. Glucose, one of the body’s energy currencies, powers our muscles, brain and other aspects of our bodies. But, when we eat high amounts of sugars or refined starches, our blood sugar fluctuates wildly, causing spikes and crashes that result in the same fluctuations in our energy levels, mood and over time, our weight.

When high levels of glucose build up in the blood—an extremely dangerous state—the kidneys come to the rescue in trying to filter it out before it can cause damage to the organs or tissues. But, sometimes that comes at the cost of damage to the kidneys when the problem occurs frequently or is ongoing. Many diabetics experience a state called diabetic kidney disease due to high blood glucose levels over long periods of time which results in the kidneys straining to filter out waste products from the body. This new study found that a high fat diet can have the same type of effect on the kidneys. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that diets high in junk food were also found to have the same effect.

How to Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes and Crashes

Fortunately, there are some excellent natural ways of preventing the blood sugar spikes and strain on the kidneys:

1) Significantly reduce your intake of junk food. I’m sure I don’t really need to tell you this.

2) Avoid high fat diets. They are the nutritional equivalent of choosing a career path as a bank robber. Sure, you may reach some of your short-term goals like weight loss, but a life of crime will definitely catch up to you before long. And, as you’ve learned, high fat diets can wreak havoc on your kidneys.

3) Eat more fiber. A diet high in fiber helps to evenly release sugars into the bloodstream so your body will have the energy it needs without the rollercoaster spikes and crashes.

4) Eat protein at every meal. That doesn’t necessarily mean meat, which is often high in fat. There are many excellent sources of plant-based protein. Check out my blog “Top Vegan Sources of Protein” for more information.

5) This one’s another no-brainer: reduce your sugar consumption. For ideas on how to do so and how to curb cravings, check out my blog “A Guide to Cutting Sugar Out of Your Diet.”

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast! (Rodale).

Run Eugene Run

Eugene Thompson

Marathon Runner + Founder