The Long Run - January 2019
NSGA Contact Information Reminder
NSGA HQ relocated to Clearwater, Florida in May 2018. Please make note of our current contact information.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5630, Clearwater, FL 33758-5630
Main Phone: (727) 475-1187
"A Hand Up From Humana" 2019 Games Scholarship Announcement
Do you know someone who deserves a "hand up" to attend the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana? NSGA, in partnership with Humana and EcoMedia, is excited to announce "A Hand Up from Humana," a scholarship program to help ten athletes attend The Games who are otherwise unable to due to a life-changing situation and financial challenges. Nominate/apply at the link below.
First 2019 Personal Best Feature Athlete
Brings "A Message of Hope"
The Personal Best health and wellness initiative now enters its seventh year of showcasing National Senior Games athletes who inspire others and demonstrate perseverance with life challenges as they pursue healthy, active lifestyles. Don Wright, our first featured athlete, is literally running for his life.
In 2003, Don was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer, and given five years to live. The Minnesotan, who had just run his first marathon at 64, went on to keep it at bay through advanced medical treatments and running 100 marathons with a goal to give encouragement to others with cancer. 13 years later, the retired attorney pivoted to focus on running road races and track distance events and taking his message to the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Check out Don's conversation with us and watch for more inspiring Personal Best stories to come on the road to The Games!
Improved Team-Partner Finder Helps Make Connections
Need a doubles partner, team or team member? Access our new and improved Team/Partner Finder under the NATIONAL GAMES tab on our website to post your team or partner request or to view current listings. Entries are sorted by each sport. Please note that athletes are responsible for contacting each other. NSGA will NOT put together teams or form partnerships, nor assign partners at The Games.
Altitude and You
Albuquerque is just over one mile high, and while most athletes will not develop noticeable symptoms with the altitude gain, some may feel the difference. We've prepared an information sheet with some simple strategies to help minimize the differences. See the link below.
Registration and Housing Reminders
- Athlete Qualification Notice- Qualified Athletes are able to register when the state(s) in which they qualified are listed on the Registration Page at NSGA.com. States are listed as soon as results for all sports are submitted to NSGA and verified. When the results have been uploaded, NSGA will send an e-blast and mail one postcard to qualified athletes. Information about online registration will be shared in these communications. Early registration discount will end February 28th, with the final registration deadline on April 2nd. Once a state is listed on our Registration Page, athletes can register. Checking the website is the fastest way for qualified athletes to know they can register as email messages and mail can be lost or misdirected.
- How to Find Your Schedule- Access your respective Sports page at NSGA.com for downloadable files with event details - look toward the bottom of the page. You can find available competition dates and times by referring to 2019 Competition Schedules Page, but the Sport pages have more details as they are available. Please note: All sport brackets, draws, pools, etc. will be posted on each sport page about two weeks before the Games open. Schedules may be subject to change.
- Hotels and Dorm Options- In addition to numerous hotel options, limited dormitory housing is now available on the campus of the University of New Mexico. Single and double rooms with a shared bathroom along with 4 bedroom 1 bathroom apartments are now available for booking. Please visit the Travel and Lodging Page for a dorm information link, and you can search by sport and location to find hotels with low block room rates negotiated by our partner NTS. You will also find air and car rental discount information there.
- Local Transportation - Complimentary shuttles will operate throughout the duration of The Games to specific sport venues and hotels. Our hosts have also arranged for one free "Transit Pass" to each athlete (including 1 companion pass) to ride the New Mexico Rail Runner Train, Albuquerque Ride, Santa Fe Trails and North Central RTD bus services at no cost. The 2019 Transportation Page has a listing of sports, venues, and hotels that will be serviced via the National Senior Games complimentary shuttles.
2019 Venue Spotlight: Triathlon at Cochiti Lake
Cochiti Recreation Area is a popular location for staging triathlons and is situated north of Albuquerque in Sandoval County within the boundaries of the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation. The lake offers two public recreation areas: Cochiti on the west side of the lake, and Tetilla Peak on the east side. Both sides offer spectacular scenic views of the water and surrounding mountains. The Cochiti Dam is one of the ten largest earth-fill dams in the United States, and also one of the largest in the world. The lake derives its name from the Indian Pueblo on the Cochiti Reservation.
Shopping Options Abound in ABQ
Authentic Southwestern pottery, weavings, art and more fill the picturesque adobe shops and galleries of historic Old Town, often at prices that you won't find anywhere else. Wherever you shop, from traditional art galleries to contemporary boutiques, you are sure to find a treasure that will bring back wonderful memories of your visit to Albuquerque for years to come.
Albuquerque's major shopping districts include Old Town, Nob Hill, Downtown and Uptown and all have something different to offer. Old Town has over 150 shops and galleries surrounding a charming 310-year-old plaza. Nob Hill is filled with locally owned stores and trendy boutiques. The specialty shops and galleries of Downtown feature contemporary jewelry and art from local artists, with much made using turquoise, New Mexico's state gem. And ABQ Uptown is now the state's biggest shopping destination with an outdoor mall with upscale specialty shops, restaurants and a spa/salon. The nearby Coronado Center features more than 150 stores and has undergone numerous remodels over the years to keep it updated and modern.
January Athlete of the Month
80-Year-Old Makes Birthday Run in the Cradle of the Marathon
What does your average person think about doing when they turn 80? Heide Moebius of Lancaster, PA is definitely not average, because she set a goal of running a marathon in Greece and finished in Olympic style.
The feat is remarkable, but not surprising once you know the background of the retired export executive. Heide had little sports opportunities as a child in Germany during and after World War II. That did not prevent her from applying her natural ability to downhill skiing, swimming and tennis, and she enjoyed success as an adult competitor on the tennis court after she emigrated to the U.S. with her husband at age 22.
Heide didn't run her first race until she was 55 and entered a 5K on a whim. She discovered a natural "heel striker" gait suited for distance running, and that launched a running career that has resulted in more than 100 half marathons and ten full marathons. She also took on track competitions in the 400-, 800- and 1500-meter events and has been a frequent face at National Senior Games since 1997.
Her husband Richard, himself a former semipro soccer player, has been her constant coach and record keeper. He proudly states, "Counting all distances from the 400 meter up, the detailed record shows she has a batting average of .890 for winning her age group in the 714 races she competed in." Her many accolades include an NSGA Top Ten Performance ranking of #2 in the 1500-meter event.
As she approached her 79th birthday, Heide heard members of her Lancaster Roadrunners team talking about running in the 2017 Athens Classic Marathon, which follows the original route of the first Greek marathon. "When I heard it was on November 10th I said, 'Oh my goodness, that is my birthday!'" she says in a still-noticeable German accent. It had been 12 years since her last 26-mile race, but Heide could not resist the chance to have a "last hurrah."
Heide made the trip last November with three other team members. The 2018 event was one day after her 80th birthday, and she was delighted to finish just under her six-hour goal and place second in her 75+ age group. "A lady from France beat me, but all of the others in my group were way, way behind us." She is also proud to finish ahead of nearly 5,000 other runners, some less than half her age.
A lingering memory for Heide was running four miles of the original route that had been devasted as a result of many wildfires that occurred in Greece last year. While the road was restored, that stretch was an eerie experience. "Everything was still black and smelled like smoke," she recalls. "The Greek people were great. They lined the entire race, but along those four miles most of them were still wearing black in mourning for the many who had died in the fire. It was very touching- I think all of the runners cried when they went through that portion."
Marathons are the only races Heide has retired from. "I'm still doing half marathons - 13 miles is not a big deal for me, but a full marathon requires an enormous amount of training." She still plays tennis regularly and works out at the fitness center at Willow Valley Communities in Lancaster, PA, which the Moebius' moved across town to last year. "Willow Valley Communities is really dedicated to the well-being of residents and supports their National Senior Games athletes. The fitness trainers and amenities are excellent."
She's looking forward to the 5K and 10K races at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana, where she will also run the 400-, 800- and 1500-meter track races. "I don't train for the track runs. I do them to keep me occupied at Nationals." Richard concurs, saying, "If she doesn't get out and do something she gets nervous. Her body was meant to move!"
We want to hear more great stories! To submit yours, or to nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you, Please Click Here.
Senior Health and Wellness
Balance Training and Senior Athletes
How's your balance? When was the last time you checked it? At this time of year, there are a lot of articles about balance training and fall prevention. But how relevant is this advice for people who aren't frail or sedentary? Should senior athletes worry about their balance, or do they, as fit members of the population, get a free pass?
Being active is an important part of protecting your balance, and, like so many health-promoting activities, something is better than nothing.
Naturally, when you start from a position of fitness, you need to do more to challenge and improve your balance than someone who is frail to begin with. For athletes, the purpose of balance training is more about boosting performance, rather than preventing a fall.
Balance training is also referred to as proprioception training, or postural stability training in the scientific literature. It generally involves improving the neuromuscular pathways - the messaging system between sensory inputs, the brain and muscular reactions. Knowing precisely where your body is in space, and how your limbs are aligned can help in making movement more efficient, so you get less fatigued. Which means you can keep up the intensity for longer. You are essentially boosting communication between the different parts of your body needed to make that shot, reach for that ball, or simply move better through air or water.
Improvements here translate to better performance across almost every sport. Being able to improve reaction times, or fine tune the placement of limbs has a beneficial effect also when it comes to avoiding injury. All athletes, no matter their age, have shown to dramatically reduce injuries (especially in the knee and ankle) while undergoing balance training, compared to control groups who only did sport specific exercise.
So, balance training can give you a double benefit: get better at your sport, plus minimize your chance of injury.
Zibrio, the balance company, is a Premier Sponsor for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana and provided this content. They will be in The Village near the SAFE screening area to help you better understand your balance.
Principles for Training Well for The Games
The 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana is only five months away, so it is important to make your training plan now. Build a solid fitness foundation to enhance your potential at The Games. This is especially true for senior athletes, whose performance depends on building that strong foundation now and focusing on optimizing health, wellness, and general fitness.
A good strategy is to first evaluate overall health through preventive health care and fitness screening. The information gained will help create a finely tuned game plan that reduces the likelihood of training setbacks. Preventive health is important for all senior athletes, especially for athletes 65 and older. Medicare covers routine, preventive health screenings, that is easily conducted by physicians throughout the United States. The Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE) we have extensively reported on is designed for highly-active seniors. Make sure to visit the SAFE area at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
In addition, your basic fitness closely relates to heart health. The American Heart Association's MyLifeCheck assessment gives you a heart health score based on seven key lifestyle indicators. Recent research found that positive heart health scores predict overall health and long-term brain fitness.
Last June, qualified athletes from the past two National Senior Games received an NSGA email encouraging them to complete the MyLifeCheck online assessment using a special NSGA code. If you have not yet participated, please find that June 7 email and use your unique code to complete this brief confidential assessment. All others can complete a free assessment at www.MyLifeCheck.org.
It is also important for senior athletes to embrace training principles of recovery, cross-training, rest and progressive resistance. Injuries are reduced and sports performance is enhanced when intense workouts are complimented with rest and recovery periods. Adequate recovery maximizes the strength gains from resistive exercise routines. Whether you use body weight resistance, resistive bands, or equipment, the principle of progressive overload (where you gradually increase resistance) is best applied with adequate recovery time in order to bring greater fitness gains. You will benefit from a total body resistive exercise program that emphasize leg strength and core activation. Core activation increases trunk stability and enhances your awareness of your center of gravity, which results in improved balance, decreasing the likelihood of a fall.
Research published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) indicates that cross training is an effective recovery strategy, optimizing preparation when combined with sports-specific conditioning. For example, a runner can cross train by using a stationary bike and road cycling. Brooks Johnson, coach of numerous track and field world-class athletes, emphasizes the importance of recovery, especially for senior athletes who are doing high intensity workouts in this basic bit of wisdom: "One less repetition is sometimes better, and if you are in doubt, don't."
Unwanted injuries and setbacks can be reduced by integrating these training principles.
Andrew M. Walker MPH, NSGA Director of Health & Wellness
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