102nd Intelligence Wing Otis Air National Guard Base National Guard Spartan Race nbc sports reebok championship

Get ready to watch some of the world's best athletes weep in HD.     Photo: The National Guard/Flickr

Spartan Racing Has Arrived

Spartan Racing, Reebok, and NBC announce multiyear rights deal

Spartan racing has officially arrived. NBC Sports Ventures, the NBC Sports Group arm that acquires and develops athletic events for television, announced today that it has partnered with Reebok and Spartan Race on a multiyear alliance giving NBC exclusive media rights to the grueling challenge series.

NBC begins its mainstream validation of adventure racing on July 22 with coverage of the first of five Reebok Spartan Races leading up to the World Championship in November. Each telecast will give viewers close looks at barbed-wire crawls, fire jumps, spear throws, and the rest of founder Joe De Sena’s punishing gauntlet, in addition to profiles of individual athletes.

“By amplifying the level of visibility for the sport of obstacle racing, we’re taking a huge step towards our mission to pull people off the couch and get them living fit,” De Sena said in a press release. “Our alliance with NBC Sports moves us firmly towards our goals.”

Inspired viewers can watch the races away from the cushy comfort of their living rooms. Each event will be livestreamed across NBC’s desktop, mobile, and tablet platforms through NBC Sports Live Extra.

Interested in keeping up with the rise of athletic masochism (or, dare we suggest, signing up to compete)? Here are the television air dates and locations for prominent Spartan races, which can be seen on NBC Sports Network. In a seriously exciting move, the championship will air on NBC’s main channel.


July 22: Tuxedo, New York

August 19: Palmerton, Pennsylvania

September 13: Washougal, Washington

September 23: Amesbury, Massachusetts

October 25: Wintergreen, Virginia

November 16: Killington, Vermont 


Keep that face away from the tablet. An increasing number of kids getting tested for allergies have reactions to nickel, which is a component in lots of gadgets.     Photo: Marcus Kwan/Flickr

We're Actually Allergic to Technology

Or at least the nickel in iPads and other gadgets

Increasing numbers of people, especially young ones, are finding that their bodies are rejecting technology. To be specific, they're having allergic reactions to a material found in many of our gadgets—nickel. A recent study on this allergy, published in Pediatrics, coincided with an 11-year-old boy's trip to the hospital after daily iPad use had him breaking out in a very uncomfortable rash.

Don't panic right away. It's unclear whether all Apple products actually contain nickel (though the company hasn't yet commented on this issue), but nickel can be found in a range of electronic devices such as laptops and cellphones. That's unfortunate, because it's one of the most common allergies out there. Dr. Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at the hospital that treated the 11-year-old, told the Huffington Post that about a quarter of kids tested have a nickel allergy. If you have this allergy, prolonged exposure to nickel-containing gadgets ups your risk of breaking out. How's that for an excuse to unplug as much as possible?

The Mayo Clinic recommends calamine lotion, wet compresses, or antihistamines, among other solutions, if you're suffering from the technology rash. The 11-year-old boy's long-term solution is groan inducing in its simplicity: Use a case. If you have a nickel allergy but can't give up your wired lifestyle, try these apocalypse-proof (and apparently rash-preventing) picks.


alberto contador tour de france grand tour crash peloton breakaway mulhouse cycling

An injury at the halfway point of stage 10 forced Tour favorite Contador to leave the race this morning.     Photo: Damian Hunt/Flickr

The Tour's an Open Race

Contador becomes the second prerace favorite to exit

Alberto Contador has dropped out of the Tour de France after sustaining a fractured tibia on this morning's mountainous stage 10

The Tinkoff-Saxo cyclist crashed in advance of the the Col du Platzerwasel, the third of six climbs in the Bastille Day stage. He received treatment from race doctors and got back in the saddle, but the injury put him four minutes behind the Vincenzo Nibali–led peloton and nine minutes behind the breakaway.

Contador began the race today in ninth place but dropped out with just shy of 50 miles left in the 100.4-mile stage. Contador's exit marks the second upset of prerace favorites, following defending champion Chris Froome's set of crashes on stage five that forced him to leave the race—the third big surprise, if you count Mark Cavendish crashing out of the race on day one.


No, really, you are what you eat.     Photo: Crafty Cook Nook/Google CC

The Diet That Fights Stress

Why carbs are not always (ever?) your friend

In a national survey administered by the Harvard School of Public Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and NPR found that more than one-third of participants change their diets during times of stress. More often than not, those changes are not good.

Stress causes many to turn to comfort foods, such as sugary foods or refined carbohydrates, which actually led to discomfort and more stress in the form of a tighter waistband.

In a separate study by researchers at Harvard University published in the journal Pediatrics, breakfasts high in protein, high in fiber, and high on the glycemic index were pitted against one another to see which type caused participants to become hungry again quickly. Researchers found that foods high on the glycemic index cause a spike in blood sugar and a hunger-inducing crash, plus a surge in the stress hormone adrenaline.

Although a cookie or plate of pasta may seem like a quick fix to a stressful situation, the connection between what you eat and your mood should make you reach for foods that can make your body more resilient to its stress responses. Joe Hibbeln, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, points at sources of omega-3 fatty acids and nutrient-rich foods as best to beat stress.

"One of the most basic ways that omega-3s help to regulate mood is by quieting down the [body's] response to inflammation," Hibbeln told NPR.

Fish (even canned), Swiss chard, eggs, chia seeds, leafy greens, and dark chocolate are all chock-full of nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins that can help strengthen immune response, boost your mood, and, most important, satisfy hunger.

So next time you are feeling like you are going to crack from the pressure, crack a few eggs and whip yourself up a stress-busting breakfast. 

Next time you feel like you're going to crack from the pressure, crack a few eggs and whip up a stress-busting breakfast.


surfing dogs San Diego California Humane Society Hanzo

Surfing Dogs in CA     Photo: Nathan Rupert/flickr

Paw's Up, Dude

Surf Dog Competition at Imperial Beach features canine boarders

Yesterday, dozens of "snarly" canines rode the waves at Imperial Beach in San Diego County for the ninth annual Surf Dog Competition.

The event, sponsored by Petco, included separate heats for large, medium, and small pooches, plus a "tandem" category for especially coordinated animals. (If you're wondering how this works, check out the video below of 14 dogs sharing one surfboard—a world record.)

This year, first prize in the large dog division went to a boxer named Hanzo. His owner, Eric Felland, told the Guardian, "He loves what he does, and people really see that he really loves to surf."

The competition also hosted a dog adoption event. All proceeds went to the San Diego Humane Society.