Saturday, January 30, 2010


It's been a tough month! A bit of travel, a lot of rain and not a whole lot of running. I've been kind of down and out lately. I'm not sure if this is still post ultra blues or not. It's been about 3 months since my race and I would almost guess I've run less than 100 miles in those 3. Of course it is winter and winter in Mission usually means rain. I was reading a friends blog the other day and he had a post entitled "Rain, Rain Go Away" He talks about the debilitating effects of the rain on your motivation to run. I couldn't agree more.

I've been playing with the idea of running before bed instead of early in the morning.

1) It's easy to lace 'em up after a frustrating day of work and after the kids go to bed.
2) I don't have to rush home before the kids get up, unless I run all night (a la Dean Karnazes)
3) My energy stores will be more in sync as I would have had 3 square meals rather than a fast of about 8 hours.
4) Bodily systems would be more in sync as I would have completed my business long before. (If you know what I mean ;-)
5) I would actually get to sleep in, which is what I've been doing anyways.

On the down side
1) I've heard its harder to get to sleep right after a run because of endorphins and such.
2) After the kids go to bed is usually our couple time. I could wait until 9 when she goes to bed.
3) If it rains and I take the dog he'll be wet and although I personally don't mind the smell of wet dog I think my wife might have something to say.
4) There are more crazies out at night then there is in the morning.

I still don't know it could go both ways. Probably the most appealing aspect is the Pros as the Cons don't seem all too bad.

I'll let you know.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Audiobook Review: Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner

As I mentioned to you before I recently started subscribing to Audible. I have listened to three books in the three months I have subscribed. Most recently I listened to Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All night Runner by Dean Karnazes. I have both read and listened to this book.

In the curious case of Ultramarathon Man, let me preface this a little. When I first read this book about 4 years ago I borrowed it from the library. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about the book not so much that it was poorly written but rather the subject matter being self glorifying, egotistical etc. That being the case I didn’t want to spend my hard earned money on something I might find worthy of the waste basket. I gave it a read and actually enjoyed it. At the time I wasn’t an ultrarunner and only aspired to be one. Reading about someone go through every agonizing step from couch to ultrarunner was just what I wanted to see and read. To read accounts of Western States and Badwater, two of the classics in the world of ultras is kind of can’t miss literature in my narrow minded , tunnel vision view of literature.

A few years later I read Karnazes’ book 50/50 Fifty Marathons in Fifty States in Fifty Days it was his follow up book. I bought that book because I enjoyed the first one so much. That book was okay but just okay. I guess when you know the outcome of the story it becomes more or less a series of 50 race reports hardbound into a book. Don’t get me wrong I love race reports but this book could have been and probably was Dean’s blog (I can only speculate). I love blogs but for someone looking for great literature or a great story or something epic then look elsewhere.
Fast forward a few years to me purchasing the Audible audiobook Ultramarathon Man. As it goes the book is half as long as the other books I have purchased so on a dollars per word value it is a little short. I had run a couple of ultras and remember the stories as being empathetic . Listening to the book the stories are still great and after completing a couple of ultramarathons I still found it inspirational. Now here is the ‘BUT’.

Only after hearing the words come off the page and into my ears I had to shake my head. Maybe I am too modest. Maybe I should toot my horn a little more than I do. I am proud of my running accomplishments and maybe I should flaunt it more. Whatever the case (I am choosing my words carefully) I have maintained a bodyweight and body fat content consistent with my running lifestyle. So even in this little blog of mine which very few people read I would never refer to myself as cut, ripped, muscular, single digit body fat or whatever would make a reader envision something that I may be but modesty wouldn’t allow me to say. When I heard the narrator say these words written autobiographically by Dean I thought it was a little much. I honestly don’t remember reading this the first time through the book or maybe I just blocked them out. After the first cut/ripped reference I passed it off but soon came the second, third and fourth reference and I thought too much.

Have you ever gone on the Ultra List? It is kind of a throw back to the early days of emailing before chat rooms and Yahoo Groups and the like. Without going into too much detail about how it works let’s just say the threads are various and can go on for quite some time. Most or all of the participants are hardcore ultrarunners with various pedigrees so their opinions are valid and not some couch potatoes or armchair quarterbacks putting in their two cents. Mention Dean Karnazes or simply DK on the Ultra List and you get a long continuous thread of Dean bashing with only the occasional ‘but he was so inspirational to me’. In his defense he is very inspirational, his accomplishments are incredible and I never really polarized myself one side or the other. Now after listening to the book and hearing the blatant lack of modesty I see where the bashing gets its fuel. Dean deserves all the attention he gets both good and bad.
Bottom Line: Would I buy the book or audiobook again? Hell yes, I just told you it was inspirational even if it does make we wince when I hear the word ripped.


I received this email recently. Normally I don't read the glitzty kind of chain mail stuff people send me but this one caught my eye and made me think . A lot!

No matter what our kids and the new generation think about us,


OUR Lives are LIVING PROOF !!!

To Those of Us Born

1925 - 1970 :

At the end of this email is a quote of the month by Jay Leno. If you don't read anything else, please

read what he said.

Very well stated, Mr. Leno.



1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank

while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then, after that trauma, we were
put to sleep on our tummies
in baby cribs covered
with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets,
and, when we rode our bikes,
we had baseball caps,
not helmets, on our heads.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes....

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren't overweight.


Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day.

--And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building
our go-carts out of scraps
and then ride them down the hill,
only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were
no video games, no 150 channels on cable,
no video movies or DVDs,
no surround-sound or CDs,
no cell phones,
no personal computers,
no Internet and no chat rooms.

and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut,
broke bones and teeth,
and there were no lawsuits
from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies
made from dirt, and
the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and
-although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts
and not everyone made the team.

Those who didn't had to learn
to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers,
problem solvers, and inventors ever.

The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas..

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of those born
between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

The quote of the month
Jay Leno:

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu , swine flu , HIV and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Audiobook Review: Born to Run

Recently I have started subscribing to Audible. If you don’t know what Audible is, they are a company that produces audiobooks ‘for your listening pleasure’ that can be downloaded to your iPod or MP3 player. The books run the whole range from bestsellers to textbooks to classic literature to podcasts. I can’t remember the number of thousands of titles they report to have but it is a lot. I first heard about Audible through the Phedippidations Podcast as Audible is one of the sponsors of the show. I’ve been subscribing for a few months and every month I can’t wait to use my one credit for my next download. Of course, you can buy as many books whenever you want but my monthly subscription affords me one book per month. If you do it this way by paying about $16.48 CDN/month ($14.94 USD)you can get more expensive books for less because most books are one credit which is your monthly allotment for being a member.
So far I have listened to three books but have built up a wish list probably for the next year or so. I am hereby going to give you my 2 cents worth of reviews for the books I have listened to.

Audible Review: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (Narrated by Fred Sanders)
What more can a person say about Born to Run that hasn’t already been said. McDougall writes an epic tome about his adventures into the world of ultramarathoning. Being an ultrarunner myself, this was no brainer for my first Audible book. I bought the book a few months prior to buying the audiobook. If you haven’t read the book McDougall shares with his readers his adventures into Mexico to run an ultramarathon with the legendary Tarahumara Indians as well as some legendary ultrarunners from this world too. People have described this book as the best book they have ever read about running. I couldn’t agree more. I won’t elaborate too much about how much I enjoyed the book but it has so many facets that appealed to me such as: the history of ultrarunning, the Tarahumara, barefoot running, the science of running and some really interesting characters.

Finding time to read books for a father of four is almost as challenging as finding time to run. When I get a chance to read it’s usually in some crowded noisy place like an airport or on a train. At times the book can get pretty ‘heady’ meaning there are some deep anthropological or physiological theories explained in layman’s terms but still somewhat elevated. McDougall gives full credit to the researchers and their work and thus gives as much background as possible before delving into the full on theories. That being said if you can’t read the chapter from start to finish the flow of thought is interrupted and you lose the gist of the theory. Step in Audible and a narrator coursing through the heady matter explaining it at a pace and meter better than you could ever read yourself. You can back up or speed forward if you want. Audible is perfect for some of my long commutes or long runs.

This is my favorite audiobook by far. I have listened to it start to finish a couple of times and listened to certain chapters nearly a dozen times. I never tire of the subject matter and always seem to pick something up each time though.
Bottom Line: Two thumbs up. Audible rules