Saturday, September 22, 2012

Not running

You may have noticed that over the last three months or so, almost all of my posts have been for running related books or movies, not about any running I'm doing.  And if you have paid attention to my DailyMile posts, you may have noticed that there haven't been many.  So I haven't been running much at all.  My goals for 2012 have pretty much fallen by the wayside.  I have been drinking copious amounts of Dr Pepper, taking lots of vitamin C3 (chocolate chip cookies), and watching my weight head back up to my 2008 pre-running level.  Something's got to change. . . . Lately I feel like this race is the only race I would be in shape for:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sunset Run at Tandy Hills

The following is an actual conversation (although it may be remembered differently by other parties involved).  It took place yesterday evening after the conclusion of Chloe's Person-Centered Planning meeting.

Me: Is Cathy keeping the kids tonight?
Kelly: Yes.  What are you going to do?
Me: I don't know.  What are your plans?
Kelly: Jennifer and I are going to dinner.
Me: You and Jennifer?
Kelly: Yeah. . . .
Me: . . . .
Kelly: Why don't you go for a run?

So, excluded from dinner, I did decide to go for a run.  I hadn't run at Tandy Hills for a while.  I hadn't run at all for a while.  I was reminded of a few things.

  1. When you've been running an average of 0 miles a day for a few weeks or months, you can't just pick up where you left off.
  2. Even when you're hopelessly out of shape, it can be fun to pound out some miles on the trail.
  3. If you go for a "sunset run" the implication is that at some point, it's going to get dark.  That's fine when you're running in the neighborhood, with plentiful street lights and other ambient light.  But in a park like Tandy Hills, where some trails are narrow, rocky, rutted, and/or tree covered, running in the dark is potentially hazardous.  Thankfully, I came home unscathed.
  4. Tandy Hills isn't very big, but it's easy to get turned around in, especially in the dark.  I was never lost: there's the downtown skyline the west, the tall transmission towers to the east, and I-30 to the south, so you can't really get lost.  But sometimes I still don't know where I'm going there.
(The above image shamelessly lifted from the Durango Texas blog.  I hope he doesn't mind. . . .)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Running the Sahara

It takes a special kind of person to decide that he wants to run across the Sahara.  Special as in crazy.  But ultrarunners are used to hearing about these kinds of challenges, and Ray Zahab and Charlie Engle are just the guys to take on the challenge of running across the continent of Africa through the Sahara Desert.  The two of them, joined by Taiwanese runner Kevin Lin, ran for 111 days, over 4,300 miles, through six countries.
Summarized in one sentence like that, the run doesn't seem like that big a deal.  Or maybe it does.  That's the dilemma of the movie.  How can a one and a half hour movie capture the scope of that kind of run?  It really doesn't, but the movie does give some hints as to what these men went through.  Imagine the issues of fatigue, injury, hydration and nutrition, that you go through in an ultramarathon.  Then multiply that times 111. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like fun to me.  The opportunity to see a big part of the world, including some exotic and beautiful places in six countries?  Awesome!  Doing it on foot over three and a half months?  I'm not so sure. . . .

That said, these guys are impressive.  You may remember Charlie Engle, who went on to participate with Marshall Ulrich in his run across America.  (See my review of Running America.)  Ray Zahab continues his ultrarunning, having run across the Atacama Desert in Chile and preparing for a run across the Gobi Desert in  March of next year.  (Follow his exploits at

Next time you're feeling awesome that you finished that 10K or marathon, check out these guys.  They'll challenge you to do more than you ever thought you could do.