Sunday, September 07, 2008

Running Stuff

1. Fellow backpacker Andrew Skurka recently finished second in the Leadville 100, which he entered "on a whim," which makes me (a)totally jealous, and (b)think that, although I have a pretty small sample size, it seems to be an easier transition for backpackers to get into ultra-running than it is for ultra-runners to get into long-distance backpacking. I'm not sure if that's actually true, or why it would be true physiologically or mentally, but it's interesting.

2. I recently noticed a Reebok billboard in Oakland with a picture of a collapsed runner and the words "Congratulations, you can't stand up. Go run easy." Or something to that effect. That sort of motivation might make a lot of sense in Oakland, especially given its lower-income residents that are more likely to be overweight and thus could use motivation to simply get out the door rather than motivation to do something hard-core.

3. It's interesting to compare that to Dean Karnazes, who was recently on KQED's Forum promoting his second book 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance. He's also been on 60 Minutes (where one segment says it's believed that Karnazes has run more miles than any other living human being. I'm not sure I believe that. He may do a lot of miles in a week, but David Horton has been doing it way longer, and then there's the rest of the world to consider), and run for 24 hours on a treadmill suspended above Times Square among other things. I think there's definitely a place for both approaches, but the economist in me wonders which method is more effective at motivating people to live healthier lives. Maybe the data fairy could hook me up and I could write a dissertation.


  1. Here's a question.. in reading Karnazes books, etc. When he runs the long distances, he's got the silver bus with his family in it, constantly feeding him.. hmm.. is this cheating? When you do an ultra, do you have that kind of help? I've got a Tri- in Montreal this weekend.. any tips? :)

  2. Support is almost always legit in ultras; each race usually sets its own limits on where crew can meet you. Long-distance backpacking can get a little fuzzy with the distinction between supported hikes and unsupported hikes, but it's usually still clear.