Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Running Totals: 2008

End of the year. According to Nike +, I ran 13 times since the beginning of November, totaling 55.88 miles, at an average pace of 9'58." Extrapolating that total and multiplying it by 6, in 2009 I should run 78 times, for a total of 335.28 miles, if I make no changes. However, I hope that I will be more consistent and run more often, so I should surpass that total. The pace will pick up a bit as well, hopefully, but I am not worried about that quite yet.

Today, unfortunately, I weigh 217.5 pounds.

WI Races: The North Face Endurance Challenge

As I mentioned on Midwest BaseCamp, I plan on running The North Face Endurance Challenge near Madison, WI, because I thought that last year, it was a really well-organized, fun race.

Never Stop Exploring™

In 2009, The North Face® Endurance Challenge again welcomes you to run farther than you ever have. Whether you're an aspiring 10K trail runner or an elite ultramarathoner looking to boost your performance, The North Face® Endurance Challenge holds something meaningful for you. Every Endurance Challenge event offers four epic courses: 10K, Half Marathon, 50K, and 50-Mile. Explore your potential.

The Sport's Biggest Prize

The prize may be inner satisfaction. Or the glint off a finisher's medal. Or a share of the sports biggest prize purse. In 2009, top finishers in each Endurance Challenge event receive exceptional gear packages from The North Face® and supporting sponsors.

The nation's top ultramarathoners will aim to stake a claim to a top-three finishing spot. Regional Gore-Tex 50 Mile champions get $1,000 and a complimentary entry to The North Face® Endurance Challenge Championship in San Francisco. Second Place receives $600 and Third Place takes home $350. At the Championship, male and female Gore-Tex 50 Mile winners each grab $10,000 and an all expenses paid trip and entry into The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France. Second Place finishers receive $4,000 and Third Place gets $1,000.

Get more info at their website.

Wisdom: Fitness, Health & Life Lessons from 2008

From Grant Smith's blog:

How I ended the year a little wiser than when I started

In no particular order, here are my Top-10 nuggets of fitness, health, and life wisdom culled from 2008's Peak Fitness articles. Whether you agree or disagree with my findings, I've found that they've allowed me to Live the Life, a life I defined as one where I stay in descent enough shape so that when an invitation to adventure slaps me in the head, I'm ready.

Supplements (vitamins, etc.) are worthless.
Even though I’m nearly 40, I’m still going faster.
A salad a day does make me feel better.
I need to stop worrying about over-training and start pushing myself harder.
Running will add years to my life.
The ultimate grocery shopping list doesn’t contain gummy bears.
A 4-hour daily commute is no excuse to find time to stay fit.
Gage my health by how fast I ride, run, hike, not by the numbers on my scale.
A crappy day of exercise or painful activity always trumps doing nothing (unless you injure yourself).
Take care of my feet and teeth and my body will take care of me.

Happy New Years!


Training: Cold Weather

One of my goals for 2009 is to run more often, more consistently. This morning is a good example of why that will be difficult. 14 degrees F this morning, with some light snow on the ground from an overnight fall. The key will be to dress correctly, pick enjoyable places to run, and then get motivated to actually get out there!

WI Races: Kettle Moraine 100 Endurance Runs

14th Annual Kettle Moraine 100 Endurance Runs will be held June 6th and 7th, 2009. From the website:

The original 100-mile course had been reconfigured several times, but has remained essentially unchanged for the past 5 years or so. The backbone of the course has always been and will be the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest. The description of the course by Peter Gagarin, reported in Ultrarunning Magazine in 1996, still rings true:

“The Ice Age Trail rolls and turns and twists through southeastern Wisconsin, in places a bit rocky and rooty and nasty, in places the most beautiful pine-needle-covered trail you could ever hope for; in places a steady progression of short, sharp ups and downs, in places very gently rolling. There are no deep canyons, no mountain passes, no thin air, no claim to be the toughest 100-miler. But 100 miles is still 100 miles. You still have to deal with Mother Nature, with the night, with blisters and chafing and sore muscles, with trying to keep eating and drinking and running. These factors are always there.”

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Training: Ultimate Training 10K through Ultramarathon

The January 2009 Trail Runner Magazine is out and chock full of great articles and page after page of races. Definitely worth picking up, it’s really motivating to see so many opportunities to get out there and compete!

One article I really enjoyed was “Ultimate Training,” for 10K through Ultramarathons. They boil it down to 3 factors: VO2 Max (aerobic power), Lactate threshold (the transition between running that is purely aerobic and running that includes significant anaerobic metabolism), and running economy (volume of oxygen used to maintain a given speed).

VO2 Max is increased by long intervals. Lactate threshold (LT) is bettered by running at your current LT Pace. Running economy is influenced by bio-mechanics, proportion of slow-twitch fibers, weight, and other factors.

IL Races: Illinois Trail Ultra Grand Slam

This sounds like a very cool thing to do. Finish all 4 races, and you have completed the Illinois Trail Ultra Grand Slam!

The races are:

Clinton Lake 30 Mile Trail Run: On March 28, 2009, this course will take you through forest, hills, and meadows, and over small bridges at Clinton Lake State Recreation Area. Visit the website.

McNaughton Park Trails Runs: The 2009 McNaughton Park Trails Runs will be held onApril 10-12, 2009, at beautiful McNaughton Park in Pekin, IL. For more info, please visit their website.

Rock Cut Hobo Run 50K: In 2008, this race was run on September 26-28. Visit their website to find out when the 2009 race will be.

Farmdale Reservoir Trail Run: This 33 mile race was held this year on October 18, 2008. Located in East Peoria, IL, Farmdale is an 800 acre hidden gem maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers and volunteer organizations. It offers beautiful views of both flora and fauna. With miles and miles of meandering single track trail, service road, and open prairie, Farmdale is the perfect stage for a premier trail race. If you enjoy trails and haven’t been to Farmdale, what are you waiting for? Here’s your chance! For more info, please visit their website.

New blog: Midwest Trail Runs

I'm starting a new blog, as a way to organize the various trail runs I come across here in the Midwest. I'm not sure how it will work in terms of organization, but hope that it will be useful to the entire Midwest running community. Please take some time to visit Midwest Trail Runs. Thanks!

MidWest Trail Runs

I'm starting a new blog, as a way to organize the various trail runs I come across here in the Midwest. I'm not sure how it will work in terms of organization, but hope that it will be useful to the entire Midwest running community.

If you haven't already, please visit my other blog, MidWest Multisport Life.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Race: World's "Highest-Gains" Ultra Launches in 2009

From Trail Runner:

"Two new long-distance trail races are kicking-off in 2009: what could be the world’s highest-gains 100-mile ultra marathon “The D.R.T.E. 100” and a ‘cleaner-greener’ backcountry loop of 50k, 50m or 100k called “The Blue Canyon Trail Race”. Presented by Blacksmith Endurance and sanctioned by the Los Padres National Forest, both events will be hosted from the historic Rancho Oso: a sprawling guest ranch and facility just 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara’s downtown district, and airport.

The D.R.T.E. 100 [Dirt Roads & Trail Endurance] debuts as what is potentially the world’s highest-gains annual ultra marathon, with 34,989 feet (10,664 meters) of gains and equivalent losses. This wild and scenic virgin course starts near sea level, requiring no altitude acclimatization! A relentless and breathtaking 100-mile point-to-point through the Santa Barbara backcountry and coastal mountains, the D.R.T.E. 100® will be held October 2 and 3, 2009. For preliminary information please visit .

Easy-on-the environment, tough on the competitor; the Blue Canyon Trail Race features a demanding circuit through Los Padres National Forest’s Blue Canyon. Slated for June 6, 2009; 50k, 50m and 100k course options offer a diverse mix of terrain and altitude – gaining upwards of 10,000 to nearly 20,000 ft. – with spectacular views of reservoirs, mountains and the ocean. Please go to for details.

Blacksmith Endurance [non-profit 501(c)(3) status pending] is a producer of endurance events in the Santa Barbara area, including trail races, marathons and paddle boarding competitions. All events are run with a sensitivity to the unique and treasured ecosystems and habitats of the region, under strict guidelines that safeguard these natural resources at the same time increasing awareness of the need for ongoing stewardship in these places, and dedicating a portion of proceeds to support charities that protect and preserve local natural resources.

The endurance series is the brainchild of lifelong Santa Barbara resident Robert A. Gilcrest. “Many elements have compelled me to organize these events: my personal life journey, success as a businessman, desire to give back to my community, passion for trail running, love for the Santa Barbara backcountry and desire to leave a legacy of stewardship and hope for my two young children,” he says.

Contact for more information."

Races: The North Face Endurance Challenge 2009

The North Face Endurance Challenge website has information for most of the 2009 Challeneges. The Northeast Regional will be held in Bear Mountain, NY on May 9, 2009, with registration opening January 5, 2009. The Northwest Regional is set for Bellingham, WA on June 6, 2009, with registration opening January 5, 2009. The Mid-Atlantic Regional will once again be near Washington, DC on September 19, 2009, with registration opening January 5, 2009. The Midwest Regional (which I plan on participating in) will be near Madison, WI on October 24, 2009, with registration opening January 5, 2009. The Championship will take place in San Francisco, CA in December, 2009, with registration opening February, 2009.

Having run the 2008 Endurance Challenge in Wisconsin, I highly recommend this series of races for the high quality of planning, courses, and amazing swag.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Book Reviews: Recommended Reading: Patagonia's Favorite Books

From Patagonia:

"The Internet has placed a world of information at our fingertips but it still doesn't beat curling up with a good book. Whether you read at home or in base camp the titles on this list are sure to inform, inspire and entertain. Note: Many of the links will take you to our friends at Powell's Books.


Libby, Montana: Asbestos and the Deadly Silence of an American Corporation, by Andrea Peacock
A detailed account of citizens vs. corporations in Northwestern Montana. W.R. Grace company, owners of a vermiculite mine in a small Montana town, never told the miners what it knew: there was asbestos in the vermiculite, and the asbestos was destroying the miners’ lungs.

Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond
A study of how Europe and the Near East became the cradles of modern society, eventually giving rise to capitalism and science, the dominant forces in today's world - and why, until more recent times, Africa, Australasia and the Americas lagged behind in both technological sophistication and political and military power.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan
The bestselling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the 21st century by tracing the impact of meals from four distinctly different origins.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, the well-considered answer(s) he provides to the questions posed in the best-selling The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, by Dave Foreman
A book that will set the course for the environmental movement for years to come, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior is an inspiring ecological call-to-arms by America's foremost and most controversial environmental activist.

Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, by Jim Hightower and Susan DeMarco
An irreverent and uplifting look at how individuals and companies can be both successful and socially responsible. The authors disprove the notion that a business must operate solely to improve its bottom line. They share inspirational stories from a variety of industries including international banking, real estate development, medical services, and environmentally safe, sustainable farming.

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating, by Jane Goodall with Gary McAvoy and Gail Hudson
Renowned scientist and bestselling author Goodall delivers an eye-opening and empowering book that explores the social and personal significance of the food people produce and consume.

Companies with a Conscience, by Hoard Rothman and Mary Scott
In an attempt to describe and promote the movement toward "caring capitalism," which incorporates commitments to employees, customers, and the community with bottom-line profitability, the authors profile 12 successful enterprises, including Esprit and Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. Each portrait is based on interviews with each company's founder(s) and includes their visions, principles, and some examples of practical applications.

Defending The Earth: A Debate Between Murray Bookchin & Dave Foreman, ed. David Levine
In this collection of dialogue, debates, and essays, the two main protagonists in the deep vs. social ecology debate come together to answer the question, "Whither the radical ecology movement?" Bookchin and Foreman seek common ground and cooperatively explore their differing, though often overlapping, perspectives on a wide range of issues: environmental ethics, social justice, nature philosophy, and the best strategies for radical ecological activism.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond
Diamond crafts a careful and thorough account of the environmental and cultural fragility of civilizations, from present-day Montana to the toppled statues of Easter Island. Collapse is both a fascinating study of humanity's ecological relationships and a cautionary tale of our increasingly overtaxed resources.

Earthforce! An Earth Warrior's Guide to Strategy, by Captain Paul Watson
Captain Paul Watson, one of the most brilliant ecological strategists of our generation, draws on the genius of Sun Tzu, the discipline of Miyamoto Musashi, the perception of Marshall McLuhan, and his own field experiences to present an effective strategic guide for any serious student of environmental or conservation activism.


This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland, by Gretel Ehrlich
For the last decade, Gretel Ehrlich has been obsessed by an island, a terrain, a culture, and the treacherous beauty of a world that is defined by ice. In This Cold Heaven she combines the story of her travels with history and cultural anthropology to reveal a Greenland that few of us could otherwise imagine.

Patagonia: Notes from the Field, ed. Nora Gallagher
Patagonia: Notes from the Field is a collection of photographs and essays that stir the senses. Commissioned for Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company, and with an introduction from its legendary founder, Yvon Chouinard, Notes from the Field delivers in both image and word.

Below Another Sky: A Mountain Adventure in Search of a Lost Father, by Rick Ridgeway
A renowned adventurer travels to Tibet with a young woman in search of her father's memory and gains a fresh perspective on his life. Combining gripping adventure writing with intimate memoir, Rick Ridgeway takes readers to the mysterious mountain domain of Tibet, and into the remote corners of his past.

My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell
When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu.

Enchanted Vagabonds, by Dana Lamb
The best-selling 1930s account of the 16,000-mile nautical adventure of Dana Lamb and his wife as they build a sailing canoe and voyage south along the Pacific Coast from Southern California to Panama.

The Big Open: On Foot Across Tibet's Chang Tang, by Rick Ridgeway
On foot and on their own, four adventurers brave the challenges of nature on a 275-mile trek through one of the most beautiful – and most remote – regions of the world.


Glen Denny: Yosemite in the Sixties, by Glen Denny (Photographer) and Tom Adler (Editor)
This majestic visual record of Yosemite in the 60s includes a foreword by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, an introduction by Rick Ridgeway, whom Rolling Stone has called "the real Indiana Jones," and a wealth of previously unpublished photographs.

The Shadow of Kilimanjaro, by Rick Ridgeway
In one of the most acclaimed travel and adventure books of 1999, Rick Ridgeway chronicles his trek from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, through Kenya's famed Tsavo Park. His tale is, according to The Boston Globe, "a gripping account of how it feels to be charged by an incensed elephant and kept awake at night by the roaring of stalking lions."

Seven Summits, by Dick Bass, Frank Wells, and Rick Ridgeway
Frank Wells was the head of a major motion picture studio. Dick Bass had made his fortune as an energy and resort entrepreneur. In middle age, both men left home, family, and successful careers to share an impossible dream: be the first to climb the highest mountain on each of seven continents, from McKinley to Kilimanjaro to Everest.

Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn of Africa, by Majka Burhardt
In March 2007, four women traveled to Ethiopia to discover if climbing might be the next frontier for this continuously evolving country. Vertical Ethiopia documents a climbing expedition to unexplored sandstone spires in this remote African destination. (5% of sales donated to Ethiopia’s Fistula Foundation.

Spirit of the Rock by Ron Kauk
Yosemite climbing veteran Ron Kauk shares his thoughts on the natural world and our collective responsibility to care for it through a series of inspirational vignettes. Combined with breathtaking photography, the lessons contained within the pages of this book relate not only to climbing, but to life itself.

Last Step: The American Ascent of K2, by Rick Ridgeway
In September 1978, after 67 days on the mountain--nearly all of them above 18,000 feet--Ridgeway and three others stood atop K2, the first Americans ever to accomplish this feat. "The Last Step" tells the story of their extraordinary expedition.
American Alpine Journal, ed. John Harlin III. Published since 1929, the American Alpine Journal is the premiere annual record of significant mountaineering and long rock climbing ascents worldwide.

Woman on the Rocks: The Mountaineering Letters of Ruth Dyar Mendenhall, ed. Valerie Mendenhall Cohen
A sparkling glimpse into the mid-twentieth-century American climbing world, by one of the first women climbers. Mendenhall's letters radiate wit, irreverence, and pride and irrepressible joy and are ably edited by a daughter who clearly inherited her mother's passion for words as well as mountains.

Glenn Exum: "Never a Bad Word or a Twisted Rope", by Glenn Exum, (ed. Charles Craighead - Grand Teton Natural HistoryAssociation) This collection of tales by legendary founder of the Petzoldt-Exum School of American Mountaineering, Glenn Exum, illuminates the life of one of the most storied and respected guide companies in the world.

Summit and Loss, by Steve House
Forthcoming, August 2009


The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks, by Susan Casey
A journalist's obsession brings her to a remote island off the California coast, home to the world's most mysterious and fearsome predators-and the strange band of surfer-scientists who follow them.

The Essential Grizzly: The Mingled Fates of Men and Bears, by Doug Peacock and Andrea Peacock
In The Essential Grizzly, Doug and Andrea Peacock argue that the conservation of big, wild, sometimes dangerous animals is of absolute importance to modern humans, to the survival of our own species, and for rational thought.

Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild, by Ellen Meloy
An inspired reflection on the bond between wild creatures and the human imagination, told as a chronicle of four seasons with a band of rare desert bighorn sheep.

Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, ed. George Wuerthner
Wildfires are an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon that have shaped North America’s landscapes since the dawn of time. They are a force that we cannot really control, and thus understanding, appreciating, and learning to live with wildfire is ultimately our wisest public policy. More than 25 leading thinkers in the field of fire ecology provide in-depth analyses, critiques, and compelling solutions for how we live with fire in our society.

Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West, eds. George Wuerthner and Mollie Matteson
In this excellent overview of the ecological and economic consequences of ranching in the arid Western United States, natural historian and photographer Wuerthner and environmental activist Matteson present a collection of impassioned essays by scientists, conservationists, and economists.

Wildlands Philanthropy: The Great American Tradition, by Tom Butler
With a foreward by Tom Brokaw, and photographs by Antonio VizcaĆ­no, readers are taken on a visually spectacular tour of preserved landscapes across the Americas and around the globe. From Alaska’s coastal rainforest to the Florida’s panhandle, from the prairies of New Mexico to the plains of Namibia, this limited edition, large-format volume profiles extraordinary places saved by amazing people.

The Big Outside: A Descriptive Inventory of the Big Wilderness Areas of the United States, by Dave Foreman
Dave Foreman and Howie Wolke identify America's 368 remaining wilderness areas by state and region. With practical information and a sense of urgency, The Big Outside is both a guide and an inspiration for all those interested in seeing and preserving what's left of wild America.

Yellowstone: Land of Fire and Ice, by Gretel Ehrlich, with photography by Willard and Kathy Clay
A lavishly photographed and wonderfully informative exploration of the diverse, seemingly incongruent attractions of the Yellowstone Plateau.

Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation, ed. George Wuerthner
This book exposes the lasting damage done to our land, water, and air from the growing plague of jet skis, quads, dirt bikes, dune buggies, snowmobiles, and other motorized recreational craft that are penetrating the last bastions of wild America.

The Wildfire Reader: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, ed. George Wuerthner
The Wildfire Reader presents, in an affordable paperback edition, the essays included in the larger, photographic companion volume, Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy.

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy Of Industrial Agriculture, ed. Andrew Kimbrell
With 58 essays and more than 250 photographs, Kimbrell, director of the Center for Food Safety, aims to provide "a timely treasure trove of ammunition" for consumers concerned about the impacts of agribusiness.

The Fatal Harvest Reader, ed. Andrew Kimbrell
The Fatal Harvest Reader brings together in an affordable paperback edition the essays included in Fatal Harvest, offering a concise overview of the failings of industrial agriculture and approaches to creating a more healthful and sustainable food system.


Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia, by Stephen J. Bodio
A fascinating account of the ancient–and still living–Mongolian tradition of hunting with eagles; a memoir of days spent in the company of the hunters, both human and avian.

On the Edge of the Wild: Passions and Pleasures of a Naturalist, by Stephen J. Bodio
Passionate outdoorsman Stephen Bodio manages to pull off an important feat in these collected nature writings: he makes the natural world fresh and new. With a seemingly small detail or minor twist, Bodio takes us to the edge of wildness and beyond.

Aloft: A Meditation on Pigeons & Pigeon-Flying, by Stephen J. Bodio
Bodio discovered the pleasures of pigeon-keeping as a child; in this affectionate but unsentimental memoir, he celebrates such diverse aspects of the hobby as racing homing pigeons, breeding rare ornamental varieties, and simply enjoying watching his flock in flight. He also describes his experiences and relationships with a delightful assortment of fellow pigeon lovers, an engaging group of humans.

A Rage for Falcons, by Stephen J. Bodio and Jonathan Wilde
The great solitude in which men and hawks regard each other, from the tops of their respective food chains, has created a deep trail in history and literature. Stephen Bodio has written an unpretentious yet thrilling book about falconry, one of man's oldest and most mysterious alliances in the natural world; and he takes us afield under the wild skies of birds of prey.

Hawks in the Hand: Adventures in Photography and Falconry, by Frank and John Craighead
First published in 1939 when the authors, Frank and John Craighead - pioneers of American conservation - were just 19 years old, this chronicle of their early adventures in falconry and wild-bird photography was a groundbreaking book that propelled the identical twins to long-lasting international fame as ecologists.


The Lobo Outback Funeral Home, by Dave Foreman
A hard-hitting, action-packed eco-thriller set in New Mexico and centered around active conservation issues.

The Milagro Beanfield War, by John Nichols
Nearly 500 residents of an agricultural community in the mountains of northern New Mexico face a crisis almost without a stir, until a young, unemployed handyman with a family of four begins to irrigate his father's parched bean field.

Changing Light, by Nora Gallagher
Nora Gallagher’s elegant debut novel, Changing Light, is a love story set in Los Alamos during the summer of 1945, in the shadow of the creation of the first atomic bomb.

The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey
Ed Abbey called The Monkey Wrench Gang, his 1975 novel, a "comic extravaganza." It’s all that and more when ex-Green Beret George Hayduke returns from the Vietnam war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development.


Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish, By G. Bruce Knecht
Hooked: A True Story of Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish is the extraordinary story of a remarkable fish, the men who prey upon it, and the people who battle to save it from extinction.

The Case of the Missing Cutthroats, by Jean Craighead George
This mystery begins when Spinner, a New York City native who would rather pirouette than fly cast, catches the family prize––much to her boy cousins' dismay. The prize fish, a huge cutthroat trout, had been thought to be extinct in the river, and Spinner and her cousin set out to solve the mystery of how this one spectacular cutthroat survived until Spinner reeled him in.


Politics, Pollution & Pandas: An Environmental Memoir, by Russell E. Train
Train recounts his experience as a major player in environmental developments in the US government during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and before and after that in the nongovernmental environmental community, particularly as head of the World Wildlife Fund in the US.

Finding Beauty in a Broken World, by Terry Tempest Williams
In her most original, provocative, and eloquently moving book since Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams carefully constructs a skillful, nuanced mosaic of stories and observations to convincingly make the connection between racism and specism and sensitively argues for respect for life in all its myriad forms.

Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World, by Lynn Hill
In Climbing Free Hill describes her famous climb and meditates on how she harnesses the strength and the courage to push herself to such extremes. She tells of her near-fatal 80-foot fall, her youth as a stunt artist for Hollywood, her friendships with climbing's most colorful personalities, and the tragedies and triumphs of her life in the vertical world.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard
The founder and owner of Patagonia Inc., presents his philosophy for a "new style of responsible business," along with a chronicle of his personal and company history in this sincere vision of business, detailing eco- and people-conscious philosophies on aspects of the supply chain from product design and production to human resources and management.

Surf is Where You Find It by Gerry Lopez

Ocean Warrior: My Battle to End the Illegal Slaughter on the High Seas, by Captain Paul Watson
Paul Watson has rammed fishing trawlers; smashed whaling ships; sailed boldly into Soviet waters; and brazenly challenged the government of all seafaring nations to live up to the letter of the laws they have agreed to and signed. Ocean Warrior is Paul Watson's own story--an amazing chronicle of courageous acts in support of deeply held convictions.

Naturalists/Natural History

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, by Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond states the theme of his book up-front: "How the human species changed, within a short time, from just another species of big mammal to a world conqueror; and how we acquired the capacity to reverse all that progress overnight."

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, by Edward Abbey
The noted author's most enduring nonfiction work, Desert Solitaire is an account of Abbey's seasons as a ranger in some of the desert Southwest’s most stunning national parks, offering a clear-eyed vision of lands on the verge of being loved to death.

Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness, by Doug Peacock
For nearly twenty years, alone and unarmed, author Doug Peacock traversed the rugged mountains of Montana and Wyoming tracking the magnificent grizzly.

Walking It Off: A Veteran's Chronicle of War and Wilderness, by Doug Peacock
When he wrote The Monkey Wrench Gang in 1975, Edward Abbey became the spokesperson for a generation of Americans angered by the unthinking destruction of our natural heritage. Without consultation, Abbey based the central character of eco-guerilla George Washington Hayduke on his friend Doug Peacock. Since then Peacock has become an articulate environmental individualist writing about the West's abundant wildscapes.

Arctic Dance: The Mardy Murie Story, by Charles Craighead
From her first glimpse of Alaska as a young girl, Margaret "Mardy" Murie has had a special connection to the Northland. After her Yukon wedding to naturalist Olaus Murie, Mardy joined her husband for years of wilderness adventure, becoming his partner in a lifetime of conversation efforts. For more than seventy years, Mardy Murie has tirelessly championed the environment.

Act III in Patagonia, People and Wildlife, by Bill Conway
Patagonia. The name connotes the exotic and a distance that seems nearly mythical. Act III in Patagonia is the first book to take an in-depth look at wildlife and human interaction in this spectacular area of the world.

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams
Utah naturalist Williams ponders the loss of her mother to cancer and the disastrous flooding of a bird refuge in a moving account of the interrelations between personal tragedy and natural history.

A Garden of Bristlecones: Tales of Change in the Great Basin, Michael Cohen
In his latest book, Cohen (author of The Pathless Way: John Muir and American Wilderness, 1984) focuses on a species of tree, the bristlecone pine, that is thought to be this planet's oldest living thing. Living up to 5000 years, the trees provide an enduring partner through which to examine human relationships to the natural world.
Through a Window, by Jane Goodall
Goodall's newest book continues the saga of the chimpanzee families with an engrossing account of animal behavior.

Down the River, by Edward Abbey
"Be of good cheer," the war-horse Edward Abbey advises, "the military-industrial state will soon collapse." This sparkling book, which takes us up and down rivers and across mountains and deserts, is the perfect—if not ironic—antidote to despair.

A Blizzard Year, by Gretel Ehrlich
For one year, 13-year-old Timmy records in her journal the changes she sees in the natural world and her family's activities on their Wyoming ranch as they fight to save it from financial ruin.

John Muir, Nature’s Visionary, by Gretel Erlich.
Ehrlich adroitly chronicles Muir's wholly admirable life--from his self-education as a boy in Scotland and Wisconsin to his solitary cross-country treks, fruitful mountain hermitage, and co-founding of the Sierra Club."

Tech: Wii Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip

My son got the Wii Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip game for Christmas and we've been having a blast playing it. It will take me some time to learn the tricks, but so far it's been great fun learning it. It can be played using the remote only or in conjunction with the Balance Board, which adds a slight lower body workout to the mix, but, as a bigger guy, I wish the Balance Board came in a bigger size. Also, as a goofyfoot, it's a bummer that everything is geared towards regular. My son and I most enjoy the Coop selection -- it is a lot more fun to work together than always to compete (though we do plenty of that as well!).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Book Review: Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture

I just finished Taylor Clark's Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture, and I really enjoyed it. Clark has done a great job of research and, while it's clear that he wants Starbucks to be a big, bad behemoth, his writing is very evenhanded. This is also a very funny book, with many asides and clever quotes. As a sometime Starbucks drinker, it is amazing that, not only has the chain thrived, but that it has made an untold amount of money off the "luxury" of water, milk, and ground coffee. Suffice it to say, while I generally do not go to Starbucks, it is a relief to see one in a foreign airport, knowing that a consistent product is at hand. maybe not the best, but consistent.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pure Ice

I had hoped to get a run in this morning, but when I went out with the dogs, it was freezing rain on top of the ice everywhere, completely slick. We tiptoed around the block, kind of comical to see my dogs, who are usually zooming around to make sure they check every scent. This afternoon they are predicting warmer weather, culminating in a 50 degree day tomorrow! I definitely will run if that happens.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Inspiration: Beijing 2008 Paralympics

I've been watching the Beijing 2008 Paralympics over the last couple of days on Universal Sports. Amazing stuff. It really motivates me to see so many talented people not just participating, but competing at an incredibly high level, even though they are "disabled" in some way. Watching them, there is no disability, just athleticism of the highest degree. Great timing with the holidays and a new year upon us, the impetus to excel will give a boost to my efforts. At least, that's the hope...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Post-holin' We Will Go...

Christmas Eve, warmer morning, decided to run today. I drove over to Hidden Lake Forest Preserve and immediately plunged into knee-deep snow. I alternated between running, jogging, jumping, and walking -- managed almost 3 miles and kept a 10:37 pace, felt good about that. My legs and shoes and socks got soaked, so I was happy that it didn't seem to affect the Nike + sensor in my shoe. I had parked in a store parking lot because the Preserve lot was closed (it was only 6:00 am, unplowed, and they only open at dawn. I spent a good 45 minutes prowling the aisles, buying presents and stocking stuffers willy nilly. Typically, I've never been a big fan of the holidays, but having children excited about it has rubbed off on me. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tech: REI vs. The North Face in iPhone App Tactics

From adweek:

'The North Face and REI compete for the hearts and minds of snow enthusiasts. Now they're taking their battle to a new front: the iPhone.

The rival retailers are both out with competing iPhone applications that perform a similar function: tell skiers and snowboarders about the conditions at resorts. The Snow Report, released last month by The North Face, and the REI Snow and Ski Report, released a few weeks later, enable users to track weather forecasts and snow conditions. Both are free and available through the iTunes App Store.

The retailers, however, took different approaches in their attempts to reach consumers through the iPhone platform after confronting a dilemma many advertisers face in digital: build a property outright or partner with experts.

The North Face has chosen to go it alone. Denver digital agency Factory Design Labs constructed The North Face Snow Report app, which provides the current weather, forecast and snow base at up to 10 resorts, along with driving directions. The app is lightly branded, featuring The North Face logo in the bottom right corner.

"Having your own prop app is much more powerful than one you sponsor," said Nate Bosshard, brand manager of action sports at The North Face. Having brand ownership in that space is extremely important, he said.

REI, on the other hand, went a more traditional route, buying placement on an app developed by mobile app company Zumobi. Like The North Face, the REI Snow and Ski Report offers conditions and weather forecasts at resorts.

So far, REI's choice is bearing the most fruit: it is ranked as the No. 5 weather-related app. The North Face is not represented in the top 15, as compiled by Apple. Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi, credits the company's tech prowess and stable of apps for creating a distribution network that allows it to offer clients like REI performance pricing.

"There are over 10,000 apps in the App Store," he said. "Two guys in garage can create an iPhone app, but it won't get used or seen."

The North Face decided to target the iPhone because of the technological possibilities of the advanced phone, along with noticing that its upwardly mobile, tech-savvy demographic overlapped significantly with the iPhone's, said Aaron Carpenter, vp of marketing for The North Face.

"The advantage of having it on the iPhone is just that it's mobile," he said. "A lot of our end users are mobile and on the road."'

Quote: Juvenal

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.

-Juvenal, Satires

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lazy Week

This has been a lazy week for me, not a single run in! The weather has been pretty rough here in the Midwest (0 degrees + windchill this morning), so, apart from shoveling snow for some cross-training, it's been hunker down time. All this wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that I am eating as if food were going out of style. I had a couple of decent weeks, but with the holidays, temptation has been fast and furious both at home and the office.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Injury: Dumb Move

Last night, while my daughter was chasing me around the kitchen/dining room/living room/front hallway loop, I did a Parkour-style leap down the stairs to hide in the lower-level bedroom. This morning I can feel a slight pain in my foot. Dumb move.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Book Review: Force of Nature

I just finished reading Laird Hamilton's book, Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul and, of course, Surfing (2008, New York, NY: Rodale). I really enjoyed it, found some good nuggets throughout. It's somewhat hokey, in an infomercial way (complete with celebrity testimonials!), but you have to hand it to the guy -- he has a life that is just amazing. He surfs, snowboards, and plays his way around the world, being adventurous and getting paid to do it. On top of this, he says he is a good son, husband, father and friend. Reading this book makes you want to find a way to get paid to do what you love, not just what you fell into or are good at. At the least, it makes me want to waste less time and get outside, which is a powerful thing. Motivation is what you make of it, and this book does a good job of it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cross-Training: Shoveling Snow

Several inches of snow on the ground, a little bit difficult to ride the bike home this afternoon. I've been riding my Novara Fusion, but the slicks are definitely not made for this weather. Last year on a day like this I took a serious fall on a metal bridge, definitely makes me more cautious. After dinner, I went out and cross-trained by shoveling snow, looks like it will be a common occurrence this winter.

10/24/2009: The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K - Madison, WI: (REGISTERED)

I'm not sure what races I will run in 2009, but I am definitely returning for the The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K in (actually near) Madison, WI (see previous post). It was a great race and, though I did much worse than I had hoped (something to do with the lack of training?), it was well-organized and a pleasure to participate in the race. As previously mentioned, the swag bag from The North Face is worth the registration fee alone!

Book Review: Andrew Suozzo "The Chicago Marathon"

I recently reviewed a book about the NYC Marathon (read previous post) and, seeing that I live in Chicago, picked up Andrew Suozzo's book on the Chicago Marathon for comparison. It is a very well-researched book, very academic in comparison to the NYC Marathon book. Suozzo really gets down to the basics -- in my opinion, his goal was to make this a baseline book on the marathon, in hopes that others would extend it through their own research and writing. Though I'm not that interested in running road races anymore, the book did make me want to get involved as a volunteer -- we'll see what happens next fall!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Art: Martin Creed -- Work No. 850

From the Road Runners Club of America's November Footnotes:

"This is art that motivates. The conceptual art show at the Tate Gallery London, now until November 16, consists of a single athlete running at top speed down the long, marbled neoclassical hallway of the historic Duveen wing. Artist Martin Creed calls his creation, ‘Work No 850’. He recruited, for about $20 per hour, young men and women who could sprint the 86 meters in less than 15 seconds. Each one bursts on the scene, running like they stole something, - “to complete the work” - and then disappears behind the columns. A momentary pause for what remains of a 30 second interval ‘frames’ the next runner, or ‘work of art’. The runners rotate through the cycle, each making 15 runs per half-hour shift, returning to the starting point via an underground passage. Instead of questioning the way we look at art, Creedhas given us an artistic view of running. The heavy, lifeless, hundred-year-old architecture can find no better contrast than the sudden rush of human energy in peak form and fitness. Like art, no two runs are the same. Each athlete is provided with their choice of designer sportswear and shoes from the 2008 Puma Runway Collection. "

From the Flaunt website:

"PUMA partnered with the Tate Britain museum in an art exhibition by Turner Prize Winner and renowned artist Martin Creed. Launched in the Central Gallery of Tate Britain, Creed developed Work No. 850, a living art exhibit centered on the simple idea that a person will sprint as fast as they can every 30 seconds. Celebrating physicality and the human spirit, Work No.850 investigates the body’s flow of nature and presents the beauty of human movement in the purist form. Each runner participating in Creed’s Work No. 850 wore PUMA’s Complete Running footwear and apparel."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Race: Da Deer Run Run 8K - Cancelled

Yesterday, I was supposed to run the Da Deer Run Run 8K, but due to the training last week and being out of town, I had to cancel. In lieu of that, I ran my own 8K, three loops on the Maple Woods trails -- I even found an extension of my original loop!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Race: Email Post: Krispy Kreme Challenge

February 7, in Raleigh, NC, you can run the Krispy Kreme Challenge, which
involves running 2 miles, eating a dozen donuts, then running another 2
miles. I'm not sure how I feel about this...

Travel: Email Post: Run on The Mall #3

Really nice run this morning, around 40 and drizzly, streets quiet. Ran
along M Street NW into Georgetown, then back along the towpath, along the
Potomac, past Roosevelt Island, the infamous Watergate Hotel (now condos),
Kennedy Center, behind the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument,
ending at the White House.

Anyone who says that urban redevelopment cannot be done on a human scale
needs to visit the capital. My one complaint is that, due to the height
restrictions in the District, the developers, in an attempt to maximize
FAR, have built mostly soulless squat cubes. Luckily, enough buildings with
character have been built or saved, so overall it's comfortable to walk the

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Travel: Email Post: Treadmill + Sauna

Half hour on the treadmill; had forgotten how tedious that was -- hats off
to those with enough mental fortitude to do that regularly. I personally
prefer facing the vicissitudes of the great outdoors. After the run, I
fired up the sauna and steamroom, thinking to partake of each, but the
steamroom smelled a wee funky, so it remained for the sauna to ease the
aches from pounding the rubber trail. Methinks I need to find space and the
wife's okay to install one at home...

Travel: Email Post: Lazy morning

Didn't feel like running today; drizzly overcast morning. I checked out the
hotel fitness center and plan on running on the treadmill after training is
done for the day. I'll follow that with a sauna or some time in the steam
room, neither of which I've done in a long time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Travel: Email Post: Run on The Mall #2

I wasn't planning to, but this morning, I went for another run on The Mall.
54 degrees! I was totally unprepared, as I had brought cold weather gear
only. Tomorrow and Friday look to return to colder temps.

It was very surprising to me how many cars there were, and so few
pedestrians - the drizzle probably contributed to that. Having lived here a
year, I am well aware of how traffic is a real burden here, though I
minimized it by using the Metro and occasionally riding my bike to work.
I'm glad I won't be here for the Inauguration - they are expecting 20,000
tour buses, and that only includes the pros, not church groups and the
like. Ay caramba, what a mess it will be!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Travel: Email Post: Run on The Mall

This morning, I had a really enjoyable run on The Mall. Very few people
out, the monuments lit up beautifully, really stirred the soul. Washington
DC is a gorgeous city, and I can't imagine anyone not being blown away by
all this history. It makes me proud to be an American in all the right ways
and appreciate how lucky I am to live with so much freedom, choice, and

Monday, December 8, 2008

Travel: Training in Washington DC

This week I am in Washington DC for training, hope to get a couple of runs in on the Mall before I leave. My main disappointment is that I won't get to run 2 of my favorite trails while I'm here: The Potomac Heritage along the river and the Pimmit Run in Falls Church, VA.

I'm being put up at The Loews Madison Hotel, a very nice place that prides itself on customer service. So far so good. I used my camera phone to take some photos of the room:

Not sure how much I'll post this week...

Race: Xterra Trail Running World Championship

"Max King, 28, from Bend, Oregon and Cynthia Anderson, 25, from Kailua, Hawaii won the inaugural XTERRA Trail Running World Championship half-marathon at Kualoa Ranch this morning. More than 800 runners from 32 states and eight countries participated in the 5, 10, and 21km events. Near perfect running conditions with cool breezes, cloud cover, and temperatures in the mid-70’s greeted runners for the 13.1 mile championship race that featured 3,000 feet of elevation gain while weaving up-and-down the verdant cliff faces in Ka'a'awa Valley and into the dense rainforest of Hakipu`u Valley at Kualoa Ranch."

For complete results, visit

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gear: Nike + Website Down

The Nike + Website was down yesterday, which created a little stress in more than a few runners, but when I checked this morning, it was back up and working fine.

Gear: January 2009 Outside Magazine

The January 2009 Outside Magazine has arrived and I think it's one of their best issue yet. A few highlights:

An article about the Arctic icemelt and subsequent landgrab

Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) to lower anxiety and stress

An opportunity to vote for the "Crocs/Ouside Magazine Inspiring Soles Award" -- the finalists are: Mike Lenhart, endurance athlete, founder of Getting2Tri; Heidi Wirtz, climber, co-founder of Girls Education International; Rusty Bishop, Ultra Runner, supports Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Craig Dodson, pro cyclist, educates and motivates inner city youth; and Will Cross, climber, supports Children with Diabetes.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gear: Patagonia Men's Super Guide Jacket - Pro Patrol Review

I have found my winter running jacket! It's been a concern of mine for several weeks. Yesterday another shipment from Patagonia arrived (yes, I know, i'm an unabashed Patagoniac). Part of the shipment was the Men's Super Guide Jacket - Pro Patrol, which I hoped would do the trick. I had purchased the Dimension jacket (see earlier post), but when it arrived, I could see it was too heavy for what I wanted.

The Men's Super Guide Jacket - Pro Patrol is outstanding! I paired it with a Capilene baselayer and R1 Flash Pullover this morning. The jacket performed admirably, giving me plenty of freedom to move, but shedding the light snow with no problem. I fell once, over a hidden root when I strayed off trail, and no water breached the jacket. For the money, I can't imagine a better jacket for winter running (even better, it's a Web Special at a greatly reduced price). Highly receommended.

Here's what Patagonia has to say about this jacket:

"Technical yet burly, our workhorse Super Guides stretch, breathe, and resist weather on clean granite and alpine grovels alike. The superb, durable soft-shell fabric sheds snow and light rain while breathing freely and allowing unencumbered movement. It's also lightly brushed on the inside for next-to-skin comfort in mild conditions. The no-frills design includes hand pockets that sit high, above the harness-line, and a gasket-style neck closure that forms a streamlined seal. The slim hook-and-loop cuffs, drawcorded hem and chest pocket zipper are all welded in. Articulated elbows."


Friday, December 5, 2008

Gear: Nike Plus for non Nike shoes

I've been wondering about the possibility of this, so I did a little research and of course, people have found ways to use the Nike + Sensor with non-Nike shoes. Some companies are actually making products to cash in on this. Here are a few examples from the website:

Travel: Tour du Mont Blanc- Mountain Running

(Photo by Howie Schwartz The view of the trail to Grande Col Ferret)

Sierrra Mountain Guides have what sounds to be an amazing trip: a circumnavigation of Mt Blanc, fully-supported, running for approximately 100 miles, ranging from 9 -26.5 miles per day.

From the website:

"The beauty of this trip is that it is fully supported. This means that not only are you accompanied by expert running guides who are elite mountain athletes, but all of the complicated international logistics are lined out for you. It also means we have a support shuttle that can carry some of your personal items along the way. This allows you to minimize the amount you need to carry to a tiny running pack, while still maximizing comfort and enjoyment when we stop in towns. Along the trail, we set you up with guides, but we also provide you with all you need to find the route on your own at times if you prefer your own pace. Each day there are easier and more difficult options to choose from and most days you will have the flexibility to shorten the journey by hopping on a shuttle, bus, or train, catching up with the rest of the group later."

3 countries, 6 days, 100 miles -- what's not to like? Looks like it will take place in August.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gear: Patagonia Dimension Jacket Review

Yesterday, I received my new Patagonia Dimension Jacket. Today I paired it with my R1 Flash Pullover for the bike ride to and from the train station. 25 degrees F, slight wind in the morning, 35 degrees F, rain mixed with light snow on the way home -- the Dimension Jacket handled both with aplomb. I love this jacket!

From the Patagonia website:

"Our Dimension Jacket's stretch-woven fabric provides unmatched durability for climbing crumbly limestone and skiing narrow chutes and resists water and blocks wind. Inside, the bonded polyester knit mesh adds warmth and speeds wicking. An offset front zipper won't bunch up under a layering system, and torso pockets actually stay open when you need to ventilate. Other features: easy-gliding, water-repellent zippers; hood/hem drawcords that adjust from the inside front pocket; a helmet-compatible, three-way Optipull hood, and anatomically contoured, light-and-supple, perforated hook-and-loop wrist closures."

Absolutely recommended for anyone who needs a high-quality soft shell at an amazing price! Buy it here.


Interesting blog I found today: Quadrathon. I like his inclusion of Family, Work, Life, and Ultrarunning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Book Review - A Race Like No Other

This morning, I finished reading Liz Robbins' A Race like no other : 26.2 miles through the streets of New York (New York : Harper 2008). She does a good job of balancing the history of the New York City Marathon, the elite runners' perspectives, and the human interest stories of the average runners, as well as the untimely death of Ryan Shay, during the Olympic Trials preceding the 2007 Marathon.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Today, through no choice of my own, I cross-trained by shoveling snow. Yesterday and last night was the first serious nowfall of the season. It's going to take some time for us to get used to being in a place where winter really affects daily life.

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports -

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women