Why Running Helps Clear Your Mind

When I started running longer distances regularly, I expected the typical health benefits such as weight loss and a stronger heart and lungs, but I wasn’t anticipated the cognitive benefits. Scientists are beginning to explain something runners have known for generations: running helps clear your mind.

A good run can sometimes make you feel like a brand-new person. And, in a way, that feeling may be literally true. About three decades of research in neuroscience have identified a robust link between aerobic exercise and subsequent cognitive clarity, and to many in this field the most exciting recent finding in this area is that of neurogenesis. Not so many years ago, the brightest minds in neuroscience thought that our brains got a set amount of neurons, and that by adulthood, no new neurons would be birthed. But this turned out not to be true. Studies in animal models have shown that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan, and, so far, only one activity is known to trigger the birth of those new neurons: vigorous aerobic exercise, said Karen Postal, president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. “That’s it,” she said. “That’s the only trigger that we know about.”

Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

Rise of the Private Foundations

In order avoid inheritance, gift, and income taxes while also retaining control over how the money is distributed, many of the ultra-wealthy have formed private foundations. Critics see these foundations as a vehicle for plutocratic influence over the democratic process, effectively weaponizing philanthropy in the war of ideas. In her book Dark Money, Jane Mayer describes the rise of the private foundation:

Unable to gain congressional approval, Rockefeller got the New York state legislature to approve his plan. Legally, however, the Rockefeller Foundation, the granddaddy of all private foundations, was at first limited to promoting only education, science, and religion. Over time, however, the number of private foundations grew along with the kaleidoscope of issues into which they delved. By 1930, there were approximately two hundred private foundations, according to Reich. By 1950, the number had grown to two thousand, and by 1985 there were thirty thousand. In 2013, there were over a hundred thousand private foundations in the United States with assets of over $800 billion.

Excerpt from: Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right


Editorial Calendar Essentials

As I consider some strategic initiatives at Reformed Forum, I’ve been reading a lot on content marketing lately. I came across a great checklist for creating and maintaining an editorial calendar.

Is there anyone in the digital marketing industry these days (or any industry, really) who thinks that they have their jobs completely under control?

Read more

Swimming Pool Lanes

Water Birds of a Feather

I wouldn’t say that I live at the pool. I’m there two or three times a week to swim 1600 meters or so each session. That’s not much in the scope of triathlon training. Still, it’s extreme for the average pool attendee. Over the last several months, I have witnessed my share of pool oddities. Some people sitting at the end of a lane for half an hours. Others swimming in business casual attire. Countless people walking in the lane and using the occasional water dumbbell. The more serious people swim laps. But even when they do that, the workouts last no more than 25 minutes. Everyone is in and out quickly. Except for two of them.

Anyone who attends a gym regularly knows what it’s like to see the same faces in the same place. You start to know people as “the guy who grunts when he bench presses” or “that other guy who wears the Zubaz pants.” For me, there were two people I knew as the “serious swimmers.” They were the only ones that swam as much or longer than I did in a single session. Surely something had to be different about them. It turns out there is.

I know that there are triathletes all around. But it all seems distant if you don’t know any of them personally. Triathletes are people “out there” and you’re just trying to access a world of the “athletic other.” Imagine getting into baseball, but not knowing anyone else who played or even knew much about the sport. It would be odd. This changed for me recently.

Within the space of a week, I struck up conversations with my two mystery swimming partners. It turns out they are both training for full Ironman races. I knew it! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one training in this athletic world. There are other people getting out the door at 5am to swim for miles in preparation of a crazy race months down the line. These people are all around us. Now I know two of them by name.

Looking at Running Dynamics

2016-04-01 — running dynamicsI’ve been looking into the running dynamics data my HRM-Tri reports. I ran 7 miles today on my usual route. My pace or cadence didn’t seem to be anything unusual for me. My average stride length was 1.26m. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad considering I’m about 1.81m tall. My average vertical oscillation, or the distance I move up and down while running was 10.9cm. My average ground contact time was 256ms today. I don’t know whether I’m firmly planted or quickly touching upon the path as I run.

I suppose I won’t be able to make any conclusions unless I gather more data from future runs or compare with others.


Colossians 1:28–29

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.


No Uncertain Sound
Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah: A 12-Week Study