Sunday, August 31, 2008

Top UTMB runners drop like flies after anti-doping

Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB) introduced strict anti-doping control measures this year. Blood, urine and even hair samples were tested from many top runners.

Topher Gaylord blogs, "...20 top runners were chosen to be tested... Scott Jurek and Nikki Kimball were also tested...".

Gaylord turned out to be the best American runner this year, finishing 11th in 24 hours 55 minutes. Jurek dropped out in Champex, after running 123K in 15:48. He was third when he decided to stop racing. 

Surprisingly many UTMB 2007 top runners chose to drop out during the race. The weather was fine, but I'm sure they all have another excuse.

  • Marco Olmo (1st UTMB 2007): dropped out at 149K (20h 58 mins).
  • Jens Lukas (2nd UTMB 2007): dropped out at 108K (15:29).
  • Nicolas Mermoud (3rd UTMB 2007): dropped out at 39K (4:03).
  • Samuel Bonaudo (4th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 108K (15:55).
  • Christophe Jaquerod (6th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 50K (6:15).
  • Nicolas Darmaillacq (10th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 108K (16:13).
  • Nikki Kimball (1st UTMB 2007): dropped out at 77K (11:37).
  • Magali Juvenal (4th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 159K (34:23).
  • Virginia Olivari (5th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 94K (17:13).
Also Kami Semick and Diane Van Deren DNF'd.  

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jurek tours Mont Blanc

Scott Jurek seems determined to finish Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc this time. At the half-way point he was placed third after Kilian Jornet and Dachhiri Sherpa. Jurek has already passed Courmayeur, where he decided to DNF last year. The experience wasn't wasted as I'm sure he learned a lesson or two about European style of ultra trail racing. 

UTMB is the premium mountain trail 100-miler in Europe. Officially the route is 166.4K (103.4 miles) long, with 9,400 meters (30,840 feet) of climbing. However the real distance may well be shorter as it's possible to take a few shortcuts here and there. That's against the rules of course, but most of the 2300 competitors are from France and other Southern European countries where it's ok to break the rules. Hiking poles are allowed, but those who choose to use them must carry them all the way. This year there will be doping tests.

There are a few videos here.

You can follow the race live here (click Tete Course > Tour Mont Blanc to see Top Ten of UTMB). 

By the way, there is another race called CCC on the same route and same day, which should not be confused with UTMB. It's 98K from Courmayeur (Italy) to Champex (Switzerland) to Chamonix (France). UTMB starts and finishes in Chamonix.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Secret History of The American Empire

The Secret History of the American Empire by John Perkins proved to be an interesting listen during my recent long runs. 

I also enjoyed his earlier book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. 

Both books deal with a global issue he calls corporatocracy.    

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

35 down, 17 to go

Today I ran my 35th weekly ultramarathon. 

It was 43K (26.7 miles) and it took me 5 hours and 7 minutes. 

The weather was ideal, cloudy and +15 degrees C (60F).

35 down, 17 to go! 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No points for style in running

You may have come across a few claims that a certain running style or technique or shoe is the right one. 

Although something may seem right for someone, that hardly guarantees it's the right one for everyone.

So let's keep an open mind while exploring the alternatives, right?    

You might want to check out the New York Times article that gave me the idea for this posting: There Are No Points for Style in the Marathon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

34 down, 18 to go

My self-supported ultramarathon for the week 34 went well. I ran 43.2K in 5:12. It was pretty cloudy and humid, but luckily there wasn't much rain. The temperature was quite ok, around +16C.

34 weekly ultramarathons down, 18 to go.

Monday, August 18, 2008

4-minute mile - LEGO version

4 Minute Mile
Originally uploaded by Balakov

Balakov's brilliant LEGO version of Roger Bannister breaking the 4-minute mile in 1954.

The original photo of the historic event in Oxford is here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

50/50: one of 100 most influental books

Dean Karnazes was recently voted as one of the 100 most influental people on the planet. So its only logical to think that his latest book would also be celebrated as one of the 100 most influental books, right?

"Whatever, dude", I hear you saying. 

People who have upgraded their lives into running mode since reading Dean's first book probably want to know if this new one is as good. No it isn't. It's like 50 times better. I'd say 50 times more inspirational, and 50 times more useful. 

50/50 is packed with practical tips, or "Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days - and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance" as the subtitle puts it on the cover.  Wow, it seems this is marketed to us as some sort of literal Viagra, or EPO disguised as a book. 

Well, the stuff really works in this case. Like Ultramarathon Man, 50/50 is ashtonishingly well written (with a little help from Matt Fitzgerald). 

You may agree with Karno's critics who claim that he is hardly the greatest runner out there, because that's beside the point. The point is that he is the greatest author of inspiring running books, period.

Of course, the book is not about how to run 50 marathons in 50 days. Only a Forrest Gump would be interested in doing that. It's about inspiring everyone to move into a healthier lifestyle one step at a time.

Here's my tip: get a hold of copy, read and integrate into your life asap.     

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A rare Dr. Maffetone interview

Check out this rare Dr. Philip Maffetone interview.

Maffetone is famous in endurance circles for his results with triathlete Mark Allen. Using Maffetone's training program and consulting with him over the years, Allen was able to rack up six Hawaii Ironman titles.

Later on Maffetone went on to explore the world of music, travelling with the Red Hot Chili Peppers as their doctor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It rained most of the time. And my poor left foot hurt all the time. 

That's why the title Rain'n'Pain came to mind during my weekly ultramarathon for the today. Altogether it was 43.2K in 5:19. 

Actually it wasn't as bad as it may sound.

33 done, 19 to go!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

How TeamTBB is taking on the triathlon world

Inside Triathlon (August 2008) has an interesting article about How coach Brett Sutton and TeamTBB are taking on the world

In case you can't get the magazine right now, you can view the 5-page article here.

Also has a new Brett Sutton interview: part one part two part three.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Amazing K2 survival story

Amazingly, Dutch adventurer Wilco van Rooijen survived to tell his story of the August 2008 K2 climbing accident

His family is lucky to get him soon back home alive.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Ghost by Robert Harris

The Ghost by Robert Harris is a contemporary political thriller with fascinating insights into publishing industry. 

I listened the audio book version the other day while running and I just couldn't stop before the end.

"...once he started talking there was never any question I wouldn't listen, and by the time he had finished, I was done for."

This is one of those thrillers which improve if you enjoy speculating how much of this could have happened in reality.

There seems to be a film in production, starring Pierce Brosnan and directed by Roman Polanski.    

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

32 down, 20 to go

Today was the day for my self-supported ultramarathon training run of week 32.

It was a little cloudy but nice weather, around 15-17 degrees C (low 60s F).

I ran 43.0K (26.7 miles) in 6:15.

32 weekly ultramarathons done, 20 to go in 2008.

Friday, August 1, 2008

What lifestyle secret do Leno and Karno share?

What an earth could Jay Leno and Dean Karnazes possibly have in common? Well obviously they both are pretty famous, popular and succesful, so they are on TV and other media a lot, but that's not the answer we are looking for here.  

The correct answer is: both are allegedly 4-hour sleepers. 

In this Runner's World video Karno's dad chats about his son's daily schedule.   

I agree with what he mentions at the end, most of us ordinary sleepers are lucky to get by with 8-12 hours a day. And if I worked as hard as Dean, I'd probably find it challenging to stay awake for four hours a day!