Endurance Sports on the Web
This week PBS began a new NOVA series called "Making Stuff: Faster
" that I think many of you would find interesting. Host David Pogue (the talented NY Times technology writer
) speaks with experts that push the human limits of speed in a number of disciplines, including running, cycling, sailing, driving, and more. It's highly entertaining to watch him try them all.
In the segment about running, Pogue speaks with Peter Weyand, Ph.D., associate professor of applied physiology and biomechanics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, whom some of you may remember as the guy who successfully argued against the ban on double amputee Oscar Pistorius running in open competition
In the interview, Weyand explains the dynamics of force and how it relates to sprint speed, and even gets Pogue to go all out on a treadmill.
You can stream the special at PBS Online
, or check your local listings for the Wednesday shows.
Now get out there and apply some force!
Amazing how a random post on our running group’s facebook page at the beginning of the year, asking who wanted to do the Rim 2 Rim materialized into the Thanksgiving weekend’s epic adventure! Cool idea! Obviously I wasn’t the only person who thought so, as the likes and comments kept growing, and a group of 20 of us opted in!
The plan was to rent cars from Las Vegas airport and for half the gang to start from the North Rim and the rest from the South, meet somewhere in the middle and swap car keys, and then drive back to Vegas that evening and meet up for a beer. Driving time from the south to the north rim is about 4.5 hours, so having cars at both ends makes total sense although I believe there is a shuttle as well during peak season. We had cabins booked on the North Rim, hotel rooms on the South and we were ready to roll .. or so we thought!
The big trip drew close … and can you believe it, the US Government shut down the national parks, including the Grand Canyon!! We were watching the news every day, crossing our fingers, sending out positive vibes to the Politicians .. but it didn’t look promising, so we came up with Plan B .. Flagstaff. By mid-week, we had all but given up, cancelled our Canyon accommodation and resigned ourselves to Plan B.
Ambling along the Vegas strip on Friday night, suddenly a facebook post came through: ‘The Canyon has opened’! Yay – back on track! We frantically re-booked our Canyon reservations as soon as the park opened at 8am on Saturday, and were off to the airport to meet up with the rest of the gang flying in that day, and pick up the rental cars.
We arrived at the South Rim on Saturday evening, just in time to carbo-load in the restaurant, enjoy a beer or two and check into the hotel accommodation. The South Rim is the usual rim visited by tourists, and the Bright Angel Trail (the route we took down) starts close to the lodge. We were planning to leave at 5am before the mule trains, but apparently they left earlier, so we left at a leisurely 7.15am.
The cabins on the North Rim are more basic (be prepared to share with mice), with limited facilities and is only open from mid May to mid October. At 8,800 ft of elevation, this side of the canyon is a tad chilly and there was even snow at the top. Our North Rim team left at 6.45 am from this side. Communication between our two groups was almost impossible as cell coverage on the rims was sporadic at best, and non existent in the canyon. We had no idea what time the other team was leaving, so we hoped for the best, and by some miracle, we reached Phantom Ranch, the designated ‘key swap’, at exactly the same time, around 3.5 hours into the run.
The trails are well maintained, and not really technical or that steep (compared with our North Shore trails) – having said that, it’s definitely not a walk in the park and the last section of uphill on the North Rim seemed to go on FOREVER! We managed to run the downhill and most of the gentler inclines, but the last 7 miles was a slow slog to the top. We were pleasantly surprised to find outhouses and water taps along the route. The North Kaibab trail is the only trail to the North Rim and the scenery is dramatic, with a few drop offs (don’t look over the edge if you are scared of heights). Also, watch out for rattle snakes sunning themselves on the path – we had to tiptoe around one, which was curled up on the path, ready to pounce. Both rims are spectacular, but the North Rim is a little quieter, and more forested. At least with the Rim to Rim, you get to see both in one day!
It was an epic trip, but I have a new admiration for runners who go one step further and decide to do the Rim to Rim to Rim (80 km!). Here’s a trip report from a Rim to Rim to Rim for anyone considering this.
- Best time of year for the Rim to Rim: April-May or Sept-Oct
- Distance: 40km if you take the Bright Angel Trail from the South Rim; if you take the South Kaibab, trail, 35km
- Time: it took us just over 8 hours
- Elevation: 4,000+ descent; 6,000+ ascent going South to North
- Driving time from Las Vegas to the Rims – 4.5 hrs approximately
Well, once again Race Directors George and Peggy Sarson put on one hell of a race. No detail was too minute and no idea or request impossible; the Run for the Toad
is an event that gets better every year. If you're looking for a well-organized race it really doesn't get any better than this.
Ryne and I arrived in Toronto on the thursday and drove straight to Pinehurst Conservation Area to visit with George and Peggy before the race chaos began. The next afternoon was spent at the park as well. Ryne, who was the elite athlete coordinator and co-MC this year, hosted a press conference interviewing the elites and introducing the RD's and park officials. We met up with old friends and met new ones over lunch. There was a gang from the UK as well as a couple groups of guys from Ohio and Maryland. We all chatted and introduced ourselves. After lunch I took Stacie Carrigan on a run through the last half of the course.
The Royal Highland Fusiliers Pipe & Drum Band of CanadaRace morning dawned early as Ryne was out of the hotel to get ready for a full day of officiating. I took my time getting ready, eating breakfast and putting on my race kit. I was sleepy, but alert. I'd spent the previous evening visualizing the course with me on it. I felt prepared. Stacie and I drove to the park with Stacey & Dave Cleveland, friends from back home who were also running the race.
"Tent City" was packed with over 1000 runners, volunteers and crowd supporters. We lined up for the Opening Ceremonies and watched as the Royal Highland Fusiliers marched in. They proceeded to play various songs as well as the national anthem as the Canadian and American flags were raised and a moment of silence honoured for our military personnel. It was a really moving and personal touch.
The 50km runners lined up. We shared some jittery banter and there were calls of 'good luck' all around, and then we were off.
The race start
(Photo Credit: Ryne Melcher)
I always go out like a shot before I settle into my stride. It was fun going out with the leaders and then watching as they peeled away. Dave Riddle, Verelle Wyatt and Tom Cornwaithe, all new friends were off to the races. I cheered Glen Redpath on as he went past and then Scott Myers snuck up behind me to say hello. "The Stacey's" were off as well. It was a fun and social atmosphere. It took me awhile to find a rhythm--almost a full 12.5km lap in fact. However, I did manage to run the lap in 1:07:12, well under the 1:10-1:12/lap I'd allotted myself. The course was in amazing shape, all the leaves and rocks raked away and noticeable trail maintenance from last time I was there in 2011. The rains that had been falling the previous day were holding off and it was a relatively nice autumn morning.
The 25km runners had caught up during the second lap and I saw Josh and Di from the UK roaring through like freight trains in the lead. I felt fine on the second lap, but slowed by about 7 minutes. When I came into the start/finish I knew I would have to really kick it up a notch to get my time goal, but I also felt the tiredness in my legs creeping up on me. Running just over 63km at the fixed time race two weeks before was not working in my favour.
At the top of Skeleton Hill
(Photo Credit: Ryder Photography)
The third lap was my slowest; the toughest slog and I walked some of the hills that are so constant. I really had forgotten how incessantly rolling the course is. It's hard to prepare yourself for constant up, down, up, down for 50km when you come from a terrain that is a long slog up and then a long slog down. But I kept on trucking. I was enjoying the course and the scenery. The neat thing was that as I started my third lap, Verelle was leading his way into the final lap. I saw him just flying along the course like a gazelle, nevermind the fact he was almost 40km into it. Then I saw Dave Riddle go by and cheered him on. I knew Ryne had some beer bets on this match-up!
View from the course
(Photo Credit: Mark Godale)
This race didn't go badly, it just wasn't great either. I made it through the fourth and final lap faster than the third despite tired, achy legs and some knee and hip niggles from the 7-hour race two weeks prior. I finished in 5:10:53 and 14th female. Not the top ten, 4:45 finish I'd be dreaming of, but not terrible either. It just gives me more reason to go back next year!
I took a dip in Kettle Lake after the race. I did the duathlon :)
I had a blast and so enjoyed the family reunion-like vibe at the race and throughout the weekend. It was exciting being able to race and watch a bit of the race as well as there are a few places in the course where you can see runners farther along. A huge congrats to Stacie Carrigan and Stacey Cleveland who took 1st and 3rd, respectively. Congrats too to all the men, too many to name.
My finisher's medal is solid and beautiful; another sign of the quality of the race. The post-race meal was delicious and George even went around handing out toad-shaped chocolates. At the awards ceremony he must have had about 50 toad toques as draw prizes along with other goodies and swag. The volunteers were great; so cheerful and supportive. Aid was never an issue. A MASSIVE kudos and thank you to George and Peggy who pour their hearts and souls into this race, with all the proceeds going back to Pinehurst Conservation Area. It is a true labour of love and they make it look easy.
-Asics 2-in-1 shorts
-Columbia Freeze Degree short sleeve
-Moving Comfort "Charity" sports bra
-Injini toe socks
Two and a half weeks into my book tour, things are finally becoming routine.
I’ve mastered the last-minute hotel search, figured out how to eat healthily while traveling, and gotten used to answering many of the same questions over and over in interviews and Q&A sessions.
One of the most common questions: What exactly do you eat during a typical day?
Several people have expressed surprise that I didn’t include this in my book. The reason? Mainly, I didn’t include my typical day’s diet because the book is not about me. There are so many ways to “do” a plant-based diet; my way is just one of them. The book provides a framework and my favorite recipes, but there’s plenty of flexibility for the reader to swing towards raw or oil-free or even a vegetarian-but-non-vegan diet. I think of No Meat Athlete as a “gateway book” that gives people the tools to try out a healthy, practical plant-based diet, so that once they’re on board, they can take it in the direction that works for them.
But since people are curious, I’m happy to share here what I eat most days (when I’m at home, not on the road).
My Typical Day’s Diet
I eat according to a few simple guidelines (e.g., until I feel mostly full), and of course my meals and snacks vary, day to day. My focus is on practicality and health, and one of the amazing things I’ve found since going vegetarian and then vegan is that as I get further and further away from the processed-food world, my palate has adjusted so that those two aims coincide amazingly well with the goal we all have of eating food that tastes good.
7am — Just about every day, I start with a smoothie. The Perfect Smoothie Formula is the template I use, but not super-strictly. My smoothie starts with a tablespoon or so each of chia seeds, flax seeds, raw walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, and usually includes frozen berries, frozen broccoli, spinach or baby kale leaves, a banana, ice, and water.
I used to add flax or coconut oil and hemp protein powder to my smoothie, but this year I’ve shifted heavily towards whole foods and I’ve found that I do just fine without any of those supplements. I make the smoothie in my Blendtec, which does a good job of grinding all the nuts and seeds at once with everything else (if you don’t have a Vitamix or Blendtec, you can grind the nuts and seeds into a powder in a coffee grinder, then add that powder to your smoothie).
8am – An Ezekiel sprouted whole-grain English muffin, usually cinnamon-raisin, spread with a tablespoon or two of raw, homemade almond butter. With this, I drink one 10-ounce cup of coffee, usually Counter Culture, ground in a hand-crank grinder and prepared as a pour over. I go through phases where I switch to green tea, and I think this is healthier than coffee, but I like coffee and always find myself coming back to it, even after weeks or months without.
10am – Fruit, usually an orange but occasionally an apple, a banana, or berries. Often I’ll have a few handfuls of raw-nut trail mix (“Strider’s Snack” from Whole Foods).
12pm – With few exceptions, my lunch is leftover from previous night’s dinner, reheated in a pan or steamer depending on what type of food it is (we ditched the microwave last year). See the 6pm meal for examples of what typical dinner/lunch might be.
I don’t know where my wife and I would ever find the time to actually cook lunch from scratch, so we always make a double recipe for dinner to make sure there’s enough for lunch the next day.
3pm – Along with the morning smoothie, an afternoon salad is pretty much a constant in my diet. I blend baby kale, spinach, spring mix, arugula or whatever else we have around and top with some combination of fresh tomato (when it’s in season), avocado, green onion, celery, carrot, hemp hearts, and sunflower seeds. Sometimes I add chickpeas or black beans, but not always. For dressing I used to always use a little bit of olive oil with apple cider or balsamic vinegar, but recently I tend toward oil-free dressings based on tahini or nuts (often using one of the recipes in Joel Fuhrman’s Super Immunity).
If I’m not in the mood for salad in the mid-afternoon, I eat homemade hummus with either a whole-grain pita or some broccoli or other raw vegetable that we have on hand, and save the salad for right before dinner — and sometimes, the salad is the dinner!
4pm – I usually run in the late afternoons, and depending on how I’m feeling, I eat some fruit, drink some fruit juice, or pop a few fresh dates for a quick boost of energy a few minutes before I head out the door. If the run is less than an hour, as most are, I don’t eat anything during it. When I get back, I eat more fruit or perhaps some hummus as a quick-post workout snack.
6pm – Dinnertime. We like to try new recipes as often as we have the time for, and mostly we cook from Thrive Foods, Appetite for Reduction, Clean Food, 1,000 Vegan Recipes, and Let Them Eat Vegan. (See this list of my favorite cookbooks.)
We choose meals that are fairly quick, based on whole foods, and kid-friendly. Dinner could be lentils and rice, a hearty soup, a pasta dish with beans and greens added to the sauce, tempeh or tofu stir-fried with vegetables, black bean tacos or burritos, or a simple Indian or Thai dish. Some nights when we’re short on time, dinner is just a huge salad with beans (usually crisped in a pan). Our son won’t eat salad yet, so on these nights we heat up a few Gardein tenders for him or give him a sandwich of almond butter or hummus on Ezekiel bread. (You can find recipes like these and many more on my recipes page — some are from the early days so they don’t necessarily represent how I eat now.)
Side note: Though I try to eat most meals with my wife and kids, dinner is the one time when we always eat together. We’ve also been doing the whole “go around the table and everybody say what they’re grateful for” thing before we eat, which is fun with our toddler, and a good thing for us grown-ups too.
7pm – A beer or glass of wine. Almost always just one, and when it’s beer, I try to keep it low ABV. That’s not always easy, because the beers I tend to like are usually 6-7% alcohol.
Although we as a country are fond of sharing articles that say alcohol is good for us, I don’t believe it. I think alcohol is the most unhealthy part of my diet, but it’s a small indulgence and I don’t think the harm from one drink a night is much. Barnivore is what I use to determine if a beer is vegan.
9pm – Dark chocolate. Just a small piece, usually 85 or 90 percent cacao. You’ve got to check to make sure it’s vegan, but most brands of chocolate this dark are.
Also check out a post I wrote a few months ago called 10 Foods Worth Eating Every Single Day for a few other small things that I try to include each day, like Brazil nuts and a B12 supplement.
The Key to Lasting Change
If you’re new to a plant-based diet, or just trying to make yours even healthier, then I hope this is helpful! Coming up on five years as a vegetarian and three as a vegan, my diet is still evolving, and looks drastically different than it did when I started. The key for me has been extremely slow, gradual change. Rather than trying to suddenly cut out a bunch of bad foods and add a bunch of healthy ones all at once — which so often results in failure — make just one tiny change at a time (assuming your health situation isn’t dire, of course), and you’ll be surprised at how quickly these tiny changes stack on top of each other to move you toward whatever “ideal” is for you.
Being on the road has changed my routine, for sure, but not by all that much. I’m working on a post about how I’m managing (and honestly, eating more raw food than I even do at home!), so look for that soon.
PS — If you’ve had a chance to read the No Meat Athlete book, I’d really appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon. Thanks so much!
Sunday morning Dave, Craig, Neil and I were on the Lions Trail by 8:30 am. Craig was in town for the weekend to participate in some final bagging of the season (and of course to spend time with his family). It was great to have him along on the journey to make team DODGY almost complete. Liza has moved to Calgary so we were team DODG for the day. It was a beautiful fall morning. The small parking lot at the trail head was full so we parked back at the school parking. This allows for a walk up the steep road to view the homes of the residents of Lion's Bay. The trail starts as an old logging road, we met a few people heading out for their adventures for the day. One hiker was on his own and was going up Mount Harvey. I gave him the "be careful" warning as I have had (x2)moments coming up the back side myself.
Once we branched off the logging road onto the Binkert Trail (the Lions Trail) we were greeted with this sign.:) Team DODG had plenty of fluid with us and we have the art of water treatment down pat to reduce our risk of having to take water from any creeks.
Crossing the bridge over Harvey Creek. There is a plaque on the bridge (next to the unfortunate graffiti) that dedicates the foot bridge to Lions Bay Search and Rescue co-founder Marcel Andrie.
Once out of the trail that climbs up through the woods (about 2 hours up) you come upon boulder fields with stunning views below. There were patches of ice on the rocks which can obviously be very dangerous.
On our way to up to the gathering place at the base of the West Lion. We peaked over the edge, looked way up and ran into some familiar faces. Team DODG decided to carry on to Enchantment Peak and for those who were keen could go up the West Lion on our way back.
View back to the Lions from Enchantment.
The East Lion, a massive rock formation. The Lions are a very prominent feature on the North Shore skyline. It was quiet surreal that we were playing around at their base. Every time now, when I look up at them I will always remember having been there. That pretty well summarizes the reflections we are having of the North Shore mountains as we close in on completing all the peaks on the Bagger Challenge.
The "back view" of Cathedral Mountain (where we were a few weeks ago).
Coming back on the Howe Sound Crest Trail - this section really is a ledge with room for a piece of your foot with a shear drop off - I don't like this type of exposure. That's me in the middle with Dave leading and Craig contemplating from behind.
Ah - the leap of faith - thanks Dave for catching me and not letting go! I see now in this photo that you were really on the edge yourself. I recall you saying along this section - don't push me when you land! I get it now. Last night in my sleep I had a few flash back moments - perhaps you did too! Once back at the base of the West Lion, in the interests of time and family, Neil and I opted to leave our team members and carry on back down the trail. Craig was determined to climb the West Lion and so he should having lived on the North Shore all his life and now having the opportunity to summit on such a glorious day. Dave phoned Helen who agreed to pick them up in Lions Bay and so Neil and I wished them well, said our good byes and headed back down the trail, making it back to the truck just before dark. The Thanksgiving Turkey dinner tantalizing smells were incredible going through the Lions's Bay neighbourhood prior to reaching the truck. We were hungry! I stashed Dave and Craig's bags they had in our truck in the woods and texted where they could find their bags. We were anxiously waiting a text from Craig and Dave to say they were safely off the West Lion. We knew they had headlamps and it wasn't a first for a journey out in the dark for team DODGY. Congratulations Craig on climbing the West Lion and #3 for Dave! The West Lion is not a difficult climb but involves significant exposure for us part time rock climbers. I must end this blog by admitting our timing was off for the day and we were 2 hours late picking up Fergus (dog) and 2.5 hours late for our own family Thanksgiving dinner. (Give thanks for microwaves and forgiving family!). Next weekend we plan to climb Dickens Peak which will make Dave and myself "completeists" in the Bagger Challenge, to join Neil who finished a few weeks ago. We are very thankful for the high pressure ridge of fine weather that is allowing great bagging opportunities for another week! Happy Thanksgiving!
Belgian Frederik Van Lierde and Australian Miranda Carfrae were crowned the 2014 Ironman World Champions in Kailua-Kona, HI, just a few minutes ago. Madam Pele presented fast conditions this year, and it was the fast bike/runners that took advantage to bring it home.
(Miranda Carfrae wins the 2014 Ironman World Championship in a new course record, photo by chicrunner
Miranda Carfrae wins her 2nd Ironman world title, this time in a course record 8:52:14 (she also scored a marathon course record of 2:50:39, beating all but two of the male pros). She used a personal best bike split here and an amazing run to hold off the UK's Rachel Joyce, and Liz Blatchford who sprinted in a very close race for 3rd. Carfrae's fiancee, Tim O'Donnell, took 5th in the Men's.
(Frederik Van Lierde takes the win at the Ironman World Championship, photo by chicrunner
Frederik Van Lierde was an early favorite, and used a strong run to catch Australia's Luke McKenzie at the Energy Lab (mile 20'ish), and German Sebastian Kienle who took third.
Men's Top 10 (Finish Time, Time Back, #)
1 8:12:29 6 Frederik Van Lierde BEL
2 8:15:19 2:50 49 Luke McKenzie AUS
3 8:19:24 6:56 2 Sebastian Kienle DEU
4 8:21:46 9:18 55 James Cunnama ZAF
5 8:22:25 9:57 7 Tim O'Donnell USA
6 8:23:43 11:14 33 Ivan Rana ESP
7 8:24:09 11:40 44 Tyler Butterfield BMU
8 8:25:38 13:10 9 Bart Aernouts BEL
9 8:26:32 14:03 25 Timo Bracht DEU
10 8:31:13 18:44 15 Faris Al-Sultan DEU
Women's Top 10 (Finish Time, Time Back, #)
1 8:52:14 111 Mirinda Carfrae AUS
2 8:57:28 5:14 131 Rachel Joyce GBR
3 9:03:35 11:21 112 Liz Blatchford GBR
4 9:04:34 12:20 118 Yvonne Van Vlerken NLD
5 9:09:09 16:55 103 Caroline Steffen CHE
6 9:10:12 17:58 124 Caitlin Snow USA
7 9:10:19 18:05 108 Meredith Kessler USA
8 9:11:13 18:59 119 Michelle Vesterby DNK
It's going on live right now
if you want to come check it out!
Neil and I recently returned from a trip that took us to the Grand Canyon (North Rim), Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise and Emerald Lake). It was a very active vacation! The North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Our cabin where we stayed - it had some unwanted guests - mice. We should have clued in with all the Hanta Virus warnings. We caught them eating Neil's Ginger Snaps at 3 AM. Good thing Neil is a rodent control expert and was able to chase them out and secure us a few hours more of sleep.
The Lodge at the North Rim - beautiful big rooms for nightly entertainment and views of the canyon.
Sitting on a stone wall at the Lodge - spectacular views.
Neil enjoying the views on the Adirondack chairs at the lodge.
Heading down the North Kaibob Trail into Roaring Springs Canyon which leads to the main Grand Canyon.
It was fun running down on fresh legs. Last time we were here we had already completed Rim (South Rim) to Rim (North Rim) and were heading back to the South Rim. It was great to just enjoy the outing.
More Kaibob Trail.
The trail continues across the canyon.
Large canyon walls - we look pretty small!
Pathways to run on with drop offs - we stayed close to the walls!
Almost done - the climb back up was tough (high altitude!)but not as bad as the last time.
At the top of the trail on the North Rim. The North Rim has an Alpine forest at 8,700ft above sea level which is quite a contrast to the rest of the Grand Canyon. It was a great out and back, fun running down and an awesome climb up. We went to Roaring Springs (the main water source for the whole Grand Canyon) and then turned around...our plan was to get to Zion National Park before dark that day. Zion National Park
Climbing up Walters Wiggles - this was fun! 21 steep switch backs that are a marvel of trail engineering. We hiked/ran down here on our last trip - the Zion traverse, at the end of our long journey in May. Great to revisit on fresh legs.
The trail up Walters Wiggles takes you to the trail to Angels Landing. This is the most popular trail in Zion National Park. It was very busy with tourists, many griping the support chain for dear life as they made their way up and down. Good thing the chain was there as the drop offs were severe - 1,500ft straight down to the canyon floor!
High walls of rock.
Plenty of slickrock to play on.
Plenty of squirrels around - last visit Dave dropped his pack before the climb up the North Rim and the little critters chewed through his pack and ate his Fig Newtons. Looks like this guy was eating bread - another tourists lunch.
The trail to the Narrows - you can start your canyon water experiences from here. The sport activity is called Canyoneering where you wade or swim through water using the riverbed as your trail. Bryce National Park
From Zion National Park, we enjoyed a day trip to Bryce National Park, just over a 2 hour drive away.
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. There is accommodation in the rustic lodge or you can stay in a cabin close by.
There is a path from the lodge that takes you to this overlook of Bryce Canyon below. You would have no clue this view was there unless you come and stood on the canyon rim. Many trails to explore! We chose the Fairyland Rim Trail which provided us with spectacular views of the many formations in the canyon and the Queens Garden trail that took us down into the canyon and up showing us many incredible rock formations... one of which is said to resemble Queen Victoria. It actually did!
Views from the Rim Trail.
A perfect hole in the rock to frame the perfect picture!
Lighter coloured rock on the other side.
Having a seat on an inviting rock to take it all in.
Neil running up to the Bryce Canyon Lodge - a tourist shouted out "show off|". Banff, Emerald Lake and Lake Louise
We arrived in Banff to much colder temperatures than we had been experiencing south of the Canadian border. For our first outing we climbed Sulphur Mountain which is 7.800 feet. It is a steep climb from Banff where we came upon snow about half way up the climb. We also visited Lake Louise and Emerald Lake some of our favourite spots in the Canadian Rockies. It was snowing lightly which made some of the hikes so beautiful.
Snow in the Mountains.
On the trail up Sulphur Mountain.
Banff is way down there - it was a big climb up!
We opted for the cable car down.
Views from Tunnel Mountain in Banff, the local "Grouse Grind" climb.
Top of Tunnel Mountain with the snowy Peak of Sulphur behind.
Emerald Lake, one of our favourite spots!
Mt. Burgess, towers over Emerald Lake. We have climbed this one.
Wapta Mountain, with the Wapta Highline Trail that passes through the Burgess Shale, a World Heritage site of geological significance. The shale beds here contain marine fossils laid down approximately 550 million years ago when the area was all under water!
The end of Lake Louise looking back at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. We enjoyed a few more nights in Banff to end a great vacation of Canyons and Mountains!
Speaking at JackRabbit NYC. Photo courtesy Ben Ko.
Wow, what a week! It’s been 10 days since I started my book tour, and I’ve had two events each in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Ohio, plus Boston and New York City.
If all that weren’t enough for 10 days, I took a two-day “break” to run the RAGNAR Relay in DC on an ultra team … which meant running 40 miles of our team’s 200 total. In 90-degree heat. From a smelly, crowded, always-moving van. Over the course of 28 hours. Fun times!
Actually RAGNAR was a lot of fun, even if doing it in the middle of the book tour wasn’t my best idea ever — see Doug’s RAGNAR recap if you’re interested in more about how our team did and Doug’s do’s and don’ts.
The No Meat Athlete RAGNAR DC team. 28 hours, 199 miles, 1 seriously disgusting van.
Being on the road has been fun, too. I’ve met so many great people and longtime fans of No Meat Athlete, and every event feels just like hanging out with friends — exactly what I had anticipated, and the reason I wanted to do a book tour in the first place. It’s been especially awesome to see, in the flesh, people who have made major changes in the past few years as a result of this lifestyle – Wendy, Tom, Shane, and Greg (who paced me for the last 35 miles of my 100 this summer), for example.
At Life Alive Cafe in Boston, with Tom Giammalvo and his cousin Mike. (Click image for Tom’s story.)
What I was unprepared for is how little time there would be for anything else. Mornings are an hour or two of writing, email, or running with a friend, then it’s into the car to drive to the next city, and soon enough it’s time to do the event, grab some food or a drink with people I’ve met, then to bed to do it all again.
Even getting up a blog post is tough, but being on tour has generated lots of new ideas for when I do have time — eating vegan while traveling, for example, has reached a whole new level of challenging, and how I’m managing (quite well, thanks) will be the subject of an upcoming blog post.
At Park + Vine in Cincinnati, with Susie Crossland-Dwyer, owner of Studio S fitness center.
NMA Around the Internets!
With all of this going on, it’s been hard to properly share the many interviews, book reviews, recipes, and book giveaways that people have graciously published since my book has come out. In these days when I can’t write quite as frequently as I’d like, there’s plenty of me all over the internet, so please check these out!
Signing books in NYC after a run in Central Park. Photo courtesy Ben Ko.
Amazon Update, and the FINAL Chance to Get Bonuses
Something of a fiasco occurred last week with Amazon — if you had pre-ordered my book there, you likely got an email from them last week saying the book would not be delivered until November or December. That was due to a stock error, which has now been fixed, and as of today, Amazon finally says “In stock”!
Thanks for your patience — believe me, this mix-up has been incredibly frustrating for me, too. Nothing has pained me more on this tour than when a loyal reader who has pre-ordered the book can’t get it signed at an event because it hasn’t arrived yet.
Last week I had planned to announce an extension of my pre-order offer for just a few days, to say thanks for all the support. But to avoid further confusion during the fiasco, I’ve kept quiet until the issue was resolved. Which is now.
So here’s the deal, one last time: Buy or order the book by the end of the day tomorrow — that’s Friday, October 11 — and forward me a copy of your receipt (firstname.lastname@example.org). To say thanks for being an early-adopter, I’ll send you 6 great bonuses, three of which are ready now, the other three of which are in the works. (And if you’ve already ordered and sent me your receipt, thanks — look for an email today about the bonuses.)
Click here to learn more about what I think is a pretty incredible package of stuff!
One more from Park + Vine in Cincinnati.
And thanks, once more, for helping this book do as well as it has these first few days. We’re reaching so many new people with this message as a result, and I know a lot of good will eventually come of that.
Hope to meet you at an event soon!
Are you ready to plan for 2014?!? Inside Trail Racing
has released the dates of their late 2013/early 2014 schedule
, and there are some great ones, including the new Ordnance 100k race in the Fort Ord trails near Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA, on Feb 1st, 2014. You can even get 10% off for a limited time (until 10/12/13) when you use UltraSignUp
and the coupon code "AUTUMNTRAIL13".
(Cruising through Fort Ord)
I ran the inaugural Fort Ord 50k earlier this year
, and loved the winding trails of the Fort Ord National Monument on the banks of Laguna Seca. Now a 100k option is available the same day as the 50k for those who can't get enough. With the beach and Monterey Bay Aquarium nearby as well, this is a great ultra family weekend escape!
Also for those looking to add an October race, the Catra Corbett-designed "Dirty Dare 50k
" will be a great tour of the Sunol Regional Wilderness in the Bay Area's East Bay. Well worth the trip to try out these awesome trails, and will happen on Oct 20th.
Hard to go wrong with the Woodside Ramble 50k if you're looking for some nice redwood-lined climbs - ITR has both a Winter and Spring version.
Here's the full schedule - get yourself committed!
Upcoming 2013 Events
10K, 25K, 50KSunol Regional WildernessSunol, CA
10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KFolsom PointFolsom, CA
SatMt. Tam Trail Run
10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50KMt. Tamalpais State ParkStinson Beach, CA
10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KHuddart County ParkWoodside, CA
Upcoming 2014 Events
10K, Half, 30K,
Marathon, 50KSan Pedro Valley ParkPacifica, CA
100KFort Ord National MonumentMonterey, CA
10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KFort Ord National MonumentMonterey, CA
SatChabot Trail Run
10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50KLake Chabot Regional ParkCastro Valley, CA
SatMarin Ultra Challenge
10K, Half Marathon,
50K, 50 MileMarin Headlands & Mt. TamMarin County, CA
10K, Half Marathon,
30KAuburn S.R.A.Cool, CA
10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KHuddart County ParkWoodside, CA
10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50KFolsom S.R.A.Folsom, CA
5K, 10K, Half, 35KChina Camp S.P.San Rafael, CA
Earlier this week, I started asking some local elites about the remainder of their 2013 race schedule. Seeing how Kilian has tied up the Skyrunning competitions again
, UROC was quite a showdown
, and the 2013/14 Montrail UltraCup is still a mystery,
what's left for big races/prize purses that can attract the uber-ultra-elites into some head-to-head madness? Usually there is one big one left - The North Face Challenge - San Francisco
, the grand finale of TNF's year-long global competition, which often boasts a $10k winning prize. So I asked around and guess who is coming?
[Ed. Note - TNFEC-SF is now accepting elite athlete applications - if you are interested elite, please send e-mail to endurancechallenge [at] hawkeyeww.com]
So far, I can't find anyone.
From what I can tell, the elite invites that attracted 100+ from around the globe last year is mysteriously gone. The press I contacted have no info, and I didn't get a response from the race organizers. Could it be that the TNF Series has headed the route that Competitor.com took with their Rock n' Roll series, and have ended their outreach/prizes to elites
? Given all the longer distances of the race are sold out
for TNFC-SF, it's not like they need it to draw attention to the race. Still, that would be a bummer. It was so great to see all the international athletes in SF last year, even when the weather forced last minute course changes
We all know that VFC, the holding company for The North Face, makes tons more money selling jackets and backpacks to everyday folks. But I've always been impressed with their use of elite runners to promote an iconism that is inspiring, and their willingness to put some money on the table to draw the greats into competition. Let's face it, there were one of a few sponsors willing to do so, and it helped pull us into the golden age of trail running. But when the financiers at the Competitor Group did the math, they felt the price of drawing elites wasn't as good as say, another rock band on the course
(I mean, why draw the line at one per mile?).
Let's hope this isn't an early signal of where the TNF brand is going.
[Note - per the sleuthing of commenters below, it appears the $30k in prize money is indeed intact, and there are some elites rumored to be coming including the defending champion, Miguel Heras.]
2013 saw the debut of Challenge Penticton, an Ironman distance race, and part of a global series of races held in 13 countries. Better known in Europe, the Challenge Family is just starting to make inroads into the North American market and has announced a second race in Canada in 2014 in the Maritimes – Kingsbrae Garden Challenge St Andrews in New Brunswick.
See below a race report from Richmond’s Erin Lee:
So it is October 2nd and I am updating my blog after giving it a long rest.
After my training camp in July, I regrouped, reviewed my training and racing plans for the remainder of the year and refocused on my goal of Challenge Penticton.
Needless to say, this took a lot of time and effort. Training for any endurance race takes a lot of time and training and an iron distance race is no exception.
Here is my race report, better late than never. It is a bit choppy and detailed around nutrition
Read on to read the rest of the race report …
How many people do you know that have broken 12 hours for the 100-mile? Well, if you know Modesto, CA's Jon Olsen, you know one! The 39-year-old teachers recent North American record was set last weekend at the Sri Chimnoy Ultra Classic 24-hour race, and his write up is well worth the read
(poop cans and all). He took down a nearly 30-year-old record and broke an incredible psychological sub-12 barrier. Congrats fellow Injinji and Vespa teammate!
(Jon Olsen with wife/crew Denise)
Also want to give a shout out to JB Benna who recently set a new unsupported FKT for the Tahoe Rim Trail (140+ miles) of 58 hrs, 43 minutes.
And one last shout out to Canadian Robert Grant who found and returned the camera I lost at Ironman Lake Tahoe
! Gracias, my man!
Running legend Dick Beardsley, author and editor of Marathon & Beyond Rich Benyo and Olympian Hilary Stellingwerff are among the speakers at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon Speaker Series, to be held on Saturday October 12 at the Marathon Race Expo. The Speaker Series runs from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm and will be held at the Victoria Conference Centre, Level 1 in the Auditorium.
Beardsley, known for his famous ‘Duel in the Sun’ with Alberto Salazar at the Boston Marathon in 1982, is now a passionate motivational speaker and he will be talking about how being a runner taught him to turn roadblocks into stepping stones despite debilitating circumstances. Benyo will be on a panel with race announcer Steve King, 2010 Women’s Marathon winner Catrin Jones, and Women’s Half Marathon world record holder Betty Jean (BJ) McHugh. The panel, chaired by CBC broadcaster Paul Kennedy, will discuss the allure of destination marathons and running in extraordinary places.
Olympic 1500m runner Hilary Stellingwerff and husband, Physiologist Trent Stellingwerff will discuss the specifics of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and 19-time Canadian Champion Lucy Smith will share her secrets and passion for running. Mena Westhaver, founder of Sole Sisters, and Sara Joy Erickson, founder of Running Moms talk about the growing number of female runners, the fastest growing demographic in North America, and Cathy Noel, Rob Reid and Bruce Deacon from the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon host a pre-race information and discussion session.
“Our Speaker Series continues to grow, and we continue to offer participants high quality sessions from internationally renowned presenters,” say Race Director Rob Reid.
For the fifth year in a row the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon will host the BC Marathon Championships. There is $37,300 available in prize money with $3,000 each going to the top male and female and a $5,000 bonus for a new men’s or women’s course record. The Men’s and Women’s Marathon course record was set in 2011 by Thomas Omwenga (2:14:31) and Lucy Njeri (2:37:56). Natasha Fraser set a new Women’s Half Marathon record in 2012 (1:14:06). The Men’s Half Marathon record is held by Jon Brown (2002 – 1:02:32). Gary Barber holds the Men’s 8K course record (1989 – 23:23) and Ulla Marquette holds the Women’s record (1991 – 26:24). For more details, visit www.runvictoriamarathon.com
Today, the first day my book is officially available in stores and online (serendipitously, World Vegetarian Day), is a surreal one indeed.
I’m typing this post from the passenger seat of a car, driving to Boston for the second stop on my book tour, in just a few hours. Even that phrase — “my book tour” — feels very odd to actually say or write.
But it’s underway, and the faces, names, and stories of the people I met last night in the small town of Media, PA made it feel very real, reminding me why I decided to take on this tour in the first place.
The book is at the top of several categories on Amazon. All morning I’ve been doing phone interviews and email interviews and scheduling new ones, amidst excitedly reading early reviews of the book on blogs — some of my favorite blogs, no less. It’s like a dream, and one that I’m doing everything I can to appreciate while it lasts.
It is beyond incredible that all this has happened. And while I’m feeling lots of different emotions right now — giddiness, nervousness, excitement, fatigue, missing my wife and kids — the one keeping me centered and integrated is gratitude.
Gratitude that so many of the blogs, podcasts, magazines, and people I’ve reached out to have been so eager to help the book reach new readers. Gratitude that the message — one that is so meaningful to me — is being spread in a new way. And gratitude, of course, that my book and the scary, crazy, who-do-you-think-you-are idea to do a self-supported, self-organized tour across the country, is being so enthusiastically embraced by No Meat Athlete readers.
It’s convenient and easy to call it “my” book. But just as I don’t want to be called “the” No Meat Athlete (I’m only one of many), it doesn’t feel like the book is “mine.” On the front cover alone, there are three names! Open it up, and gracing the inside covers you’ll find pictures of the 40 or so others, kicking ass in their own way in their No Meat Athlete shirts. And in the book, there’s of course plenty from me and co-author Matt Ruscigno, but there are also contributions from 23 experts, chefs, and readers. The book is not mine, but ours.
I used to skip the acknowledgements page at the beginning or end of a book. I still don’t really read it, but I force myself to at least skim it, because more often than not it leads me to someone else, someone who influenced the author and whom I can learn from.
Which is why I’m posting the acknowledgements page from the No Meat Athlete book here — in hopes that you might discover a new source of information and inspiration in someone who has inspired me.
Thank you to my mentors and inspirations, in writing, entrepreneurship, and (in several cases) veganism:
Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Leo Babauta, and Tim Ferriss. What I’ve learned from you — not just what you teach, but the way you teach it — is the foundation for everything I do.
Sonia Simone, Brian Clark, Tony Clark, Jon Morrow, and everyone at Copyblogger Media. It’s easy to look at No Meat Athlete’s history and pinpoint the exact moment when I started learning from you all, and to this day I continue to do so.
Caitlin Boyle, whose support in the early days of No Meat Athlete made all the difference.
Karol Gajda, Gena Hamshaw, and Robert Cheeke, without whose examples I might never have found the inspiration to become vegan. Brendan Brazier, Rich Roll, and Scott Jurek, the pinnacles of what’s possible that I always like to point to, all three of you generous supporters of No Meat Athlete from early on. And Douglas Hofstadter and Richard Dawkins, the first to (very likely inadvertently) plant the seed in this one reader’s head that maybe I didn’t want to eat other thinking, feeling beings not all that different from me.
The No Meat Athlete team, who somehow make this operation seem halfway legit: Susan Lacke, Doug Hay, and Erin Frazier. We can get back to normal now.
Charlie Pabst, Bren Dendy, Jenny Leonard, Christine Hein, and Kevin McCarthy, all of whom have helped to make No Meat Athlete look sharp. Alright, cute.
The experts who contributed their collective wealth of knowledge to this book: Matt Ruscigno, Brendan Brazier, Jason Sellers, Christine Hein, Mo Ferris, Jason Fitzgerald, Robert Cheeke, Meredith Murphy, Ed Bauer, Erika Mitchener, Sara Beth Russert, Hillary Biscay, Adam Chase, Leo Babauta, Gena Hamshaw, Mike Zigomanis, and Susan Lacke.
The readers who were kind enough to share their stories to inspire others: Tina Žigon, Pete DeCapite, Greg Watkins, Tom Giammalvo, Janet Oberholtzer, Tori Brook. Hearing stories like yours is the best part of this gig, bar none.
Recipe testers for this book: Tim Frazier, Vickie Craven, Christine Hein, Bren and Joe Dendy, Pete and Kristin DeCapite.
My family: Mom, Dad, Christine, Erin, Holden, and Ellarie. You’re the reason for all of this.
Supporters of No Meat Athlete from day one: Colleen and Joel Baldwin and Pete and Kristin DeCapite.
Jamie Halberg, who helped me keep my head on straight throughout the daunting task of writing a “real” book.
Marcus Leaver, Cara Connors, Winnie Prentiss, Kevin Mulroy, and everyone at Fair Winds Press, for your help in making this project a reality and reaching far more people with this message than I could ever do on my own.
Last and most important, the No Meat Athlete audience, including but extending far beyond those who contributed photos for the inside covers of this book. Without you to support, share, interact with, and care about our work, No Meat Athlete would be a long-ago abandoned blog with a few recipes and a clever name — and I would still be a guy searching for something meaningful to do.
Thank you all. So much.
Mogollon Monster 100 runs below and on top of the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona. The Mogollon Rim rises out from the earth 2,000 some feet for a span of 200 miles across Arizona and into New Mexico. The race gets it name because it is a monster of a race, but also because of a legend that Big Foot roams the course.
Pictures by Michael Miller
The course runs on sections of the Highline Trail shared by the very tough Zane Grey 50. I’ve run and finished Zane Grey 50 four times and after that fourth time vowed that I wouldn’t return because it hammers you and isn’t particularly scenic. However, when I have run there, I was always intrigued about the possibility of also running on top of the rim. Well, I now had my chance.
I went into the race with my eyes wide open, fully aware of how difficult this 100-mile (really 106-mile) course is. Last year in its first year, there were many problems and only nine runners finished, most very familiar with the trails. In my email exchanges with the race director, Jeremy, I could tell that preparations had dramatically improved and I was willing to take a chance and run it.
My expectations for a good finishing time were low. I decided that my only true goal was to cross the finish line. Finishing in about 30 hours seemed reasonable for me. I liked the fact that the race was “traveler friendly” meaning that I could show up at the start with an hour to go, deliver my drop bags, and listen to short race briefing. Thus, I went to work on Friday, flew afterwards, arriving at Payson, Arizona in the evening with plenty of time to get ready.
Me in orange
The weather was on the cool side, no rain in the forecast and seemed perfect for me. There were about 47 starters this year and I started running with the top six for the first mile or so. The first section of the course presented a nice view of the town of Pine below and then made its way up Pine Canyon to the top of the eastern edge of the Rim. This would be our first of four trips up to the rim.
I led a small group of runners in the second pack as we made our way up switch-backs for an 800-foot climb. As usual, after a while I let them pass and continue on, preferring to slow a little and go at my own pace. I arrived Pine aid station (mile 8.4) at 2:08, probably in about 15th place.
The next section was very enjoyable as we ran through forests on the rim in a place called Milk Ranch Point. We were becoming much more spread out and I enjoyed the solitude of running alone in the cool trees about 7,500 feet. I arrived at Dickerson aid station (mile 13.4) ahead of my pace schedule doing well.
The next section involved a very technical long descent down to connect with the Highline trail (Zane Grey course.) I discovered with all the technical descents I had run recently that my legs loved the rough trail and it wasn’t long before I passed several runners. I was having a blast pushing the pace on the technical downhill. My shoes, New Balance 1210’s seemed perfect for this course, with a good rock plate and some nice cushioning. Hokas would not have worked well enough because of stability factors running on the constant rocky trails.
Looking good on a climb
By the time I arrived at Geronimo (mile 18.4), I had passed six runners, and arrived there at 4:14, about 45 minutes ahead of my planned pace for a 30-hour finish. I was doing very well. Next up was the trail I was very familiar with, the Highline Trail, a rugged, rocky trail that goes up and down constantly as it traverses across drainage areas below the rim high above.
The miles between aid stations in this race are generally long, normally between 7 and 10 miles. This next section going to Washington Park includes a three-mile section of exposed burn-out area and it already was becoming very warm. As expected, my two hand-held bottles were not enough, so I dipped them into a couple passing streams, deciding to take the chance rather than going into dehydration. The water was cool and tasted amazing.
Arriving at Washington Park
I reached Washington Park (mile 27.1) at 7:12 to loud cheers and friendly greetings. This was the race headquarters and I enjoyed talking some with the race director there. He noticed dried blood that trickled down my arm and asked if I had fallen or was just getting too close to the nature. It was the latter. I since learned which nasty bushes to avoid bushing by. I must say that at every single aid station in this race were very helpful, kind, experienced volunteers. At times it felt like I had my own crew there helping me cut down the time.
Trail heading up to the rim
Next up was a monster climb straight up to the rim along some power lines. There were no runners to be seen either ahead or me or behind so I made the climb alone. The final section was very steep (45 degrees) and very rugged but I enjoyed it and made it to the top, greeted by some radio guys.
Looking down at the steep trail
Once up, there was 4.5 miles of dirt road running to the next aid station. The road went along the rim providing spectacular views. I could look back or ahead nearly a mile, but could see no other runners.
View from the rim
I arrived at Houston Brothers (mile 34), a forested aid station on top of the rim, at 8:57, about 30 minutes ahead of my planned pace. From there, I would run across the rim through the forest going up and down across little canyons. After I climbed to the top of a ridge, it was finally time for a bathroom break in the trees. My break was about ten minutes and finally a couple runners caught up to me. But I now had plenty of energy and pushed on ahead. At a road crossing were kind radio guys who took our numbers and pointed to the continuation point. The course markings and volunteers at intersections made route-finding almost idiot proof.
The last three miles of this section was nice single-track downhill. The guy behind me with trekking poles caught up, passed me going fast. That woke me up and I started clocking 8-9 minute miles all the way to the next aid station. I arrived at Pinchot (mile 41.2) at 11:00, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. It was now 5:00 p.m. and the sun was getting low in the forest.
Next up was more rolling forest back to the huge power-line decent off the rim back to Washington Park. First up was a dirt road section. With the low sun, I pulled my hat down to keep it out of my eyes, but I totally missed a well-marked turn. After a half mile I could not find any runner tracks in the road. As I pulled out the course directions a crew car drove by. They stopped and I asked if I was still on the course. They explained that I should be on a trail to the west. So back I went back and found the missed turn, wasting about ten minutes. The sun soon went down and it quickly became cool up at 8,000 feet. I took the steep descent off the rim pretty fast although my feet were now feeling pretty punished on the rugged, rocky sections. I arrived at Washington Park (mile 50.9) at 13:25 about ten minutes ahead of schedule. At this point I took a very long 30-minute break to change into my night clothes and get everything ready for a long night back on top of the rim.
Next up was one of the toughest sections for the course. It was only 5.2 miles of Highline Trail to Hell’s Gate, but at this time of the year there is about two miles covered with thick three-foot grass. It was impossible to run it. Normally I would let my feet feel the trail, but the trail under the grass was loaded with big rocks and holes to trip over. So it was slow going and that section took me 2.5 hours. It was pretty well marked with reflectors but I would have to stop many times to look around and figure out where the trail went next.
I arrived on Hell’s Gate (mile 56.1) at 16:36, now a half hour behind schedule. I didn’t plan for the very long stop at Washington Park. I really looked forward to the next section, a very tough, rugged climb back up to the top of the rim. It indeed was tough and at times required hands to steady myself on very steep sections. But generally there were also switch-backs to help. I was well ahead of the next runners and it was fun to flash my green light for them to see far below. I could see many lights making their way up toward me, or back further on the Highline trail.
When I reached the top of the rim, the trail was marked kindly by true lights and I eventually was greeted by a nice radio guy who gave me water and commented that he had been tracking my green light down below for a couple hours. He said it could be brightly seen down below.
It was much cooler on the Rim and I put on my jacket and made sure I stayed warm. I put on some tunes to help me push the pace down a dirt road to the next aid station. I arrived at Buck Springs (mile 63.8) at 19:20. My times at the aid stations were increasing significantly as I was trying to eat plenty and warm up. I was now more than an hour behind a 30-hour finishing schedule.
Going out of the aid station, the volunteers said to go up the trail about 75 feet and turn right on a single-track trail. I went up the road but failed to find the trail. I searched and searched. I hit a red flag which means stop and turn around, but no good flags. I went back to the station and they admitted that they had just arrived and were just relaying directions from those they had replaced. So they went with me and we figured things out. The big problem was that this turn had no reflectors or glow sticks. The first flag seen was a red flag and later a good flag. It was very confusing in the dark and wasted another ten minutes.
The next section was nearly all forest single-track with some significant climbs and descents across some little canyons. It became significantly colder. Thick frost formed at the low points and I put on a garbage bag to wear to keep me even warmer. It worked for a little while, but soon I became chilled, then a hypothermic (drowsy), and finally what always happens to me in these cases, my stomach lacks blood-flow, gets stressed, and stops processing well. So, things started to fall apart. The faster I pushed the pace, the more I became cold because of a slight breeze.
Finally, I had to stop and take periodic cat naps. It was warmer lying beside the trail. Just shutting my eyes for a couple minutes made a huge difference. It was a lonely time. I made stops that probably totaled about 20 minutes, but even with that, no runners passed me. I was having a rough time. It took me about three hours to do this 8.2-mile section. These night sections were just too far apart from aid stations. A little before the aid station, I stopped at the historic cabin where a volunteer was camped. He was there to give directions near a confusing intersection. He was stoking his fire and I stayed a few minutes to warm up. Finally a couple runners caught up from behind and we arrived again at Pinchot (mile 72) at 22:35. I stayed by the fire for quite some time, trying to dash away the hypothermia. My mood was somber. The volunteers were quite concerned, but I assured them that I was going on and could recover from this low point. It turns out they radioed ahead for the next checkpoint to watch out for me.
I continued on. Some sections were bitter cold. But as dawn arrived, the temperature quickly went up and as usual, my stomach recovered. It was still very tender, but at least was processing again and I could once again run with speed. I arrived again at Houston Brothers aid station (mile 79.2) at 25:34, now more than three hours behind my schedule. I knew that my race was shot. For the first time since my rookie ultra season, I became concerned about cut-offs. I was still 1:30 ahead of the cut-off but I didn’t think that was much of a cushion if something else went wrong. I heard the aid station guys comment that more people had dropped behind me and that now there were only three more still coming. Wow, I was truly at the back of the pack. What is funny is that while I lost about three hours, I wasn’t passed by anyone except for the two guys I was now leap-frogging with. The back-of-the pack just disappeared one by one because of DNFs.
Now, with new energy, a beautiful morning, and great views at the rim edge, I really pushed the pace hard running the dirt roads and the huge descent off the rim back to Washington Park. I passed three runners on the way, and gained a half hour on the cut-offs. But my stay at Washington Park was again about a half hour as I prepared for the heat of the day.
I left Washington Park with the two guys I had been leap frogging with for the past eight hours. I was confident that I could blast ahead, but within minutes, as the warm sun hit me, my body temperature went up and I felt really sick. I knew it was early stages of heat exhaustion. First the cold, now the heat. This next 8.8-mile section would go through very hot and exposed sections. What should I do? I started to go VERY slowly. The two guys disappeared ahead. About a half mile out, I was still feeling terrible and worried about the hot miles ahead. I stopped, looked back, and seriously considered turning back and DNFing at Washington Park. It was the right thing to do. However, I kept considering all the hard work I had put into at this point running 87 miles. How could I quit now? So I faced forward and hoped for the best.
I offered a silent prayer for help, and pushed on. I reached a stream, soaked my hat and wetted my shirt. I replaced my water bottle with cold stream water. My pace was terribly slow, and I knew by the time I reached the next aid station, my cut-off cushion would be gone. How could I DNF at mile 95? This was the most depressing moment of my race.
Something wonderful next happened. A breeze was felt in my face. Within minutes, the terrible sick feeling went away and energy reappeared and I felt cooled. I tried to run. It worked. I continued to squirt myself with cool water and filled up again at the next stream. I pushed the pace even more and very soon I could even run the uphills on the tough Highline trail. Could I catch those two guys? They were probably almost a mile ahead but I could try. I kept looking for them around each corner but they didn’t appear. At one point I thought I took a wrong turn, went back and ran into a female runner who I had passed on the rim. She was doing well. We ran together for a while but I knew I could run faster so I soon bid goodbye and started running up and down the trail like crazy.
I arrived back at Geronimo (mile 94.8) at 31:06 with less than an hour cushion on the cut-offs. The two guys were still there. I didn’t stay long, just ate quickly and refilled. We all left together. I had caught up. As we made the two mile very rough dirt road trek to the Webber trail, a terrible deep blister had formed on my forefoot. I decided that I needed to stop, see how bad it was, and clean the foot. The guys disappeared ahead. After I did the best I could for the foot, the girl runner had caught up. She went ahead and I kept her in my sights even as we began the terrible climb up Webber Trail to the top of the rim. I looked forward to this climb but it was longer and steeper than expected. The switch-backs were steep and never-ending. I wish I would have counted how many there were. Another woman runner appeared below and caught up to me. She explained that there were two more runners behind.
I considered that it was quite possible that I would finish in last place. (DFL). That would be pretty cool. But I looked far down the mountain and could not see any more runners below. The two women teamed up and ran the rest of the way together. I was struggling, but ate more, and took yet another pain killer, and soon could push the pace again.
Finally we reached the top together. We had reached the 100-mile mark at 33 hours. But there was still six more miles to go. It was all downhill, how hard could that be? Well, it turned out to be by far the hardest section of the course. The trail down the other side of the rim consisted of endless switch backs, but the trail was the most rugged, nasty loose rock section that I had ever run. I considered that I would never even want to run this section in training. The trail was narrow and nasty bushes pushed out into the trail that scratched up the legs and arms.
The final descent down the Donahue Trail
Despite this nastiness, my pace was good and I quickly caught up with the two guys. We talked about how cruel this finish was. I became angry about it. I could not see the point of it. First, it made the course more than 100 miles. There were plenty of adjustments that could be made to make the course the standard 100. Second, this finish is just cruel. The terrible rocks started to rip away at any forming blisters. As I finally saw the Pine trailhead come into view (our start point) something ripped in my forefoot deeply, the pain shot up like crazy, and I could hardly walk. I stopped, took off the shoe and tried to consider what to do. The guys caught up, talked to me, and then went on ahead.
My car was in sight, so I limped to my car, retrieved some tape and a thick clean sock, and went to work. Once finished, it felt much better, keeping the deep blister in place. As I started out for the two miles of pavement into town, the lady runners appeared. We ran together for a little while, but I knew I could run faster and didn’t want to risk being DFL. My pace was strong and I almost caught up to the guys. But then the finish came with a few people left to cheer at the finish. I crossed the line feeling good at 35:11, certainly my slowest 100-mile finish ever.
I was satisfied. I could have quit many times. I had faced some terrible lows, but kept going and came out of them. How hard is Mogollon Monster 100? For me, it was the toughest 100 I had ever run, not because of the 18,000 feet of climbs, but because of the terrible rugged nature of the trails. I believe in ranking 100s, it is tougher than both Plain 100 and H.U.R.T 100.
Will I run this one again? That is very unlikely. Two reasons: The length needs to be fixed to be 100 miles. Second, the finish seems unfair. But perhaps Jeremy wants this to be one of the toughest races ever. He certainly has worked hard to make this a great, tough race. The volunteers were numerous and amazing. The course markings were pretty much idiot-proof this year, in fact too many markings.
Of the 47 starters, I came in 19th. Amazing! Only 23 finished. So “buyer beware.” If you sign up to run Mogollon Monster 100, prepare yourself for a tough adventure run, not a 100-mile race. If you like rough challenges, this run may be for you. I’m glad I did it once and actually did finish. This was my 58th 100-mile finish.
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of presenting to a packed house of runners at the San Francisco Running Company
in Mill Valley, CA. The subject was "how technology is changing how we run and train", and included a sneak preview of a few new inventions coming to market in the next 2-12 months. Perfect for a Silicon Valley nerd/runner/blogger like me!
The event was part of Altra
Series, and I opened for three other great guest speakers - nutritionist Sunny Blende
who talked about Superstarches, fitness coach Nate Helming
with some awesome training and analysis tips, and the incredibly funny Bart Yasso
, Runner's World's Chief Running Officer, who shared his insights and stories from racing the globe over the last 35+ years. And, of course, a chance to learn about Altra's zero drop shoes. All in all, a fun and educational event!
Here's my preso and a transcript for your viewing pleasure. I hope you are all having a great weekend!
Running in the Infonautic Age - How Technology Will Change the Way We Run
from Scott Dunlap
[Slide 1 - Cover]
you for having me! And thank you to SF Run Co, Altra, and Runner's World for hosting the event.
like to spend the next 10 minutes talking to you about our
favorite sport, running, and how it is changing in the infonautic age. What is “infonautics”?
It’s my clever word to explain the creation, organization, and exploration of personal data coming from the explosion of technology in areas such as smart devices, mobile phones,
social networks, and more. We are entering an unprecedented
era of data creation and accessibility, with dozens of new products being
released every month, something the tech industry refers to as "the Quantified Self". On top of that, many high-end products made for professionals and hospitals are coming to the main stream. I find it endlessly fascinating. This presentation is going introduce you to a few game changers, and give you a quick sneak
preview of some products coming out in the next year.
[Slide 2 - Intro to Scott]
Quick intro on me. I’m an ultrarunner,
trail runner, and triathlete that really just loves to get outdoors, blog about
it on A Trail Runner’s Blog (http://www.atrailrunnersblog.com), and share the experience. My day job is working in Silicon
Valley at 10th
Dimension Design Labs, where we play with data and new mobile experiences all day long. So I’m a data nerd. A big one. I can admit that now.
[Slide 3 - You Don't Need Tech, Just Ask Forrest Gump]
Before I jump into the nerdy bits, I should point out that you don't "need" technology to run. As Forrest Gump shows us, you don't even need a destination to access the joy, optimism, and fitness that comes with the oldest human sport. But if you're tech-curious, a little nerdgasm can be fun.
[Slide 4 - The Gold Rush]
And if you are tech-curious, this is your era.
We are in the Gold Rush of tech-meets-athletics, and "data is the new gold".
Hardware costs have brought
sensors, chips, and networking costs down to where a consumer can buy a product for less than $50. This influx of sensors and data is what many refer to as the Quantified Self movement. On top of this, we're seeing a boom in display devices and capabilities riding the growth of mobile smart phones, presenting opportunities to use, analyze and massage that data in real-time (infonautics).
Capital has become accessible
through crowdfunding with sites like Kickstarter and IndiGogo,
which have funded a number of new devices by placing the first 10,000 orders
directly with consumers.
And “the cloud” is alive and well,
making it easy to create software services that are accessible to any device for storing, sharing, and
[Slide 5 - Where Tech Can Be Helpful]
When is tech helpful for athletes? When it can
help increase motivation, knowledge (as the band Us3 said
in the 90’s “you gotta get
mad knowledge of self”), and optimization of your time and training.
1)Sensors and tracking devices. These are
the things that collect new information from your body and/or the environment.
GPS, pedometers, hydration flow meters, etc. How many of you have one of these
already? Five years ago, a GPS watch was a $800 expense and it barely worked.
Brett, what is the cost of an entry level GPS now? [ans -
$50] And it works beautifully.
2)Display and analysis. This can either be
real-time, such as Strava on your mobile phone or the new Google
Glass, or passive analysis like blood analysis.
3)Augmentation. These are efforts to use
technology to augment the human body, or a process such as recovery.
This is the underlying technology that allows many of these other things to
happen, such as the creation of a new material like graphene, or
a new battery.
the point? When the user experience is right, tech can helpful in finding
motivation, knowledge, and training optimization. And help us really understand
when things are going right, or going wrong.
[Slide 6 - Just Don't Overdo It]
Just try not to go "full Borg". Remember, this is about having fun!
[Slide 7 - You Are Familiar With Pedometers...]
many of you have a pedometer or
GPS watch? No surprise, nearly all of you. And these technologies from
companies like Nike, Jawbone, Fitbit, Garmin, and others are selling like
It is projected that 43 million
will be sold this year alone, growing to 167 million in the next four years.
Pair this with the 2 billion smart
phones that can also track these things, and you can see how measuring your
body will quickly become the norm.
[Slide 8 - ...Now With LED and Skin Sensors]
One of the first improvements you
will see with pedometers is the addition of LED and skin sensors. The LED heart rate monitor is going to be big with these
devices, much like this one from Basis Science. No straps needed – it just
shines a light into your skin to read your heart rate, and to a degree of
accuracy that some predict the heart rate “digital signature” may even eclipse
the fingerprint. And that just came out last week on the iPhone! But I also like that these sensors can pick up more things,
like skin temp, perspiration, and hopefully someday, salination
[Slide 9 - Measure Your Brainwaves]
Canadian company called InteraXon has developed a portable EEG that can
track brainwaves. Other vendors are coming up with similar tech.
Why? By itself, it may not be
interesting, but combined with other data it could help you understand what
conditions are affecting your mood, stress, etc. It could even be used to
trigger or control events.
One case I could see this used is
with other data to indicate what leads you to hit a mental low point, and start
becoming predictive. Or have it change your songs based on your mood.
This one is Kickstarter-funded,
hopefully coming in early 2014.
[Slide 10 - Smart Socks]
has developed a “smart sock” that has sensors
woven directly into the fabric. This is a trend we are likely going to see,
where measurement devices are non longer separate straps or devices, but
instead put right into the fabric.
The smart sock can tell you all
about your foot strike and weight distribution, for example, and how that
affects your cadence. Available now.
[Slide 11 - Smart Shirts]
another example of a sensor
built right into fabric, this time from OMSignal.
Their new biometric shirt is designed to be
worn all day, and measures heart rate, breathing, and stress levels, sending
the info in real-time to your phone.
This is already being beta tested by a few early adopters, likely coming in
[Slide 12 - Google Glass]
Glass is a fascinating new display product, not only because of it’s lightweight feel and
just-out-of-view display capabilities, but due to the fact they are creating an
ecosphere of developers around it. What
this means is you likely will have hundreds of apps, many of them
sport-specific, to choose from. It also tethers to a mobile phone, and can take
Rumor has it that apps from both
Nike and Strava will
include real-time heads up data when announced in late October with the Glass
Developer Kit (GDK). The GDK is less static than the
apps to date, so it will be cool to see what comes out.
[Slide 13 - Other Heads Up Displays]
Similar heads up display capabilities will be
popping up everywhere, and in many cases already has for things like skiing
Here’s one that I’m looking forward
to – the Instabeat swim
goggle that tracks laps and strokes. I’m always losing count. Let’s face it – anything is better than
the bottom of that pool.
[Slide 14 - Visor-based displays]
another angle – put it in the visor like Nordic Semiconductor did. You
touch a button and the display is visible for a few seconds.
[Slide 15 - The Apple iWatch]
Ah, the iWatch.
Yes, there have been smart watches
before, but when Apple gets in the game, it all gets so much better.
Wall St is abuzz about research
indicating that Apple is working with outside suppliers to ship as many as 65
million next year. That would be the equivalent of the first 2.5 years of
I can believe it though – this is
selling right into the 700m strong Apple iPhone base, and quite frankly, we'll buy anything they make since the design is so solid.
The reason the iWatch will
work is it takes one critical step out of the user experience – having to pull
out your phone and login. You can see who is calling, get real-time data feeds,
get weather warnings, you name it. If you look at what else came with the iOS7 operating system upgrade such as iBeacon, it will be easy to customize experiences for both the phone and watch based on location. Want a guided tour of the Dipsea Trail with all the history? Done.
[Slide 16 - More Body Analysis]
analysis and blood analysis are two other
things that have dramatically come down in price, both now can be had for less
Genetic analysis is interesting,
although hard to say exactly how it helps running. It does show your genetic
propensity for sprinting vs long
distance, but it told me I’m a sprinter, so there.
Blood analysis is quite helpful if
you haven’t tried it. A full blood chem can
give you a baseline for key nutrients, show
you all the symptoms of overtraining, and spot iron deficiencies, which anyone
who has had a run in with anemia can tell you is worth avoiding.
[Slide 17 - Gravity-assisted Treadmill]
Alter-g Treadmill can alter gravity to make you feel
lighter, and has already come out of the labs to regular use at clubs, recovery
facilities, and the workout rooms of professional athletes.
Some use it to continue through
training with things like stress fractures or IT band issues. Alberto Salazar
has his athletes use it weekly to run at 95% weight and goal pace.
I tried it a few years back, and it
gave me a really good idea how far off a 4-minute mile I was. My stride length
has to be HUGE. But of course I was only 74 lbs
heavy. I guess I just need to lose 80 lbs!
[Slide 18 - Near-Instant Core Cooling]
one is still in the labs, but could change high heat races forever. A lab at Stanford accidentally discovered
that our palms have special veins that act like a radiator to dissipate heat
from the body. When the proper vacuum is applied, your core temp can go back to
normal in a matter of minutes.
Do a full set of weights, stick your hand in the
glove, and do it again and again and again as if it was the first set.
Test patients were able to go from
125 max push ups to over 600 in a month. This
could be a big game-changer in getting your body to adapt quickly with less
training. And I’m sure Western States will never be the same.
[Slide 19 - The Drone War Has Begun]
drone war has begun! My last two races, the Matterhorn Ultraks in Zermatt, Switzterland, and the Ironman Lake Tahoe, had drones
following the lead pack and zooming all over the
With a 2-3 mile range, it’s
debatable if they are FAA approved, but regardless there is no doubt they are
here to stay.
When in Paris last year, I got on
the phone with a manufacturer of one of these and asked about what it could
carry. He delivered a newspaper and cup of Starbucks to my 3rd
story balcony 20 minutes later.
Pictures, crew, supplies,
delivery…the possibilities are endless. And
at $1200, you can expect to see a lot of them. The LAPD has already had to put
warnings out to folks drone snooping around Hollywood houses.
[Slide 20 - High Tech Recovery]
an instant ice bath? Cryo-tanks can now spray you down in 90 seconds.
Want to see exactly how and where
your muscles, bones, and tendons are wearing and tearing? The Dexa
X-ray can scan you in minutes and give you a full break down.
Want the heat? You can now get an
infrared sauna put into your house for $5k
that can heat up in 2 minutes.
And hospital-grade inflatable
compression can now be purchased for the home.
There was a guy on my flight two weeks ago who just whipped these out in coach
– apparently it’s that socially acceptable now.
[Slide 21 - Graphene Supercapacitors]
core tech is the really nerdy stuff, but one worth mentioning is the recent
development of graphene-based
supercapicitors. Graphene is a very cheap, abundant, and condusive
material, and it’s what is responsible for giving modern lithium-ion batteries
the 10x boost they needed to power cars and smart phones thanks to mixing graphene in.
But a new all-graphene-based
supercapicitor could really take it to the next level,
bringing another 3-20x more power to batteries in a biodegradable format.
Bottom line, it means we can power
all of these new devices without filling the dumps with batteries.
[Slide 22 - Thank You!]
that’s the fast tour! I hope you enjoyed it. If you spot some cool tech, drop me a
Otherwise, I hope to see you on the
trails. Naked or borg, if you’re out there getting it done,
you are winning!
Michael, I did nothing. I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be. — Peter Gibbons, Office Space
Shortly after I started this blog back in 2009, long before I added ultramarathons and kids into my life, a lot of people started asking me: How do you find time to do it all?
Back then, “it all” meant marathon training, eating a vegetarian diet, not flunking out of grad school, writing a blog, and being a husband.
I never thought it was that much, honestly … I always had plenty of time to do nothing; time to just be.
But now that two young kiddos are part of the picture — along with a 100-mile ultra, a new book, and a 40-city tour to go with it — this year there hasn’t been so much time to do nothing. I have a new understanding of “busy,” something I’m never proud to be.
So with that understanding — and the skills and tricks I’ve learned for accomplishing a lot of different goals without going insane — I’m ready to take a decent shot at answering the How do you find the time? question.
That’s what this episode, number 17 of No Meat Athlete Radio, is about. Doug and I sat down and talked about how we manage to balance fitness, healthy eating, and family life (because that’s all pretty important, you know) along with all the extraneous stuff we want to do.
Here’s hoping you’ll find a nugget or two that’ll help you handle what you’ve got on your plate, or maybe even add something more — even if that something more is just some precious quiet time to yourself, with which to do nothing.
Here’s what we talk about in this episode:
- The classic time management tip: important vs. urgent
- Is multitasking really any good?
- The power of turning “shoulds” into “musts”
- Choosing to spend time on activities that create more time
- Being efficient with your workouts
- My plans for running on the book tour
- Time-saving tips for eating a healthy plant-based diet
- Meal planning strategies when you don’t have much time
PS — We had some audio issues this time around that made the sound a little bit distorted at times. Sorry about that!
Click the button below to listen now:
Download audio file (nmaradio17.mp3)
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Links from the show:
Thanks for listening!