Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The "True" Cost of Running

There was an interesting piece on public radio's Market Place yesterday about the "true" cost of running -- the opportunity cost that reaches beyond the price of shoes, entrance fees, boxes of gels, orthopedic appointments, gas, and lodging (oh, the lodging!). The economist, a Wharton professor training for the Marine Corp marathon, put the true cost of his 16-week training plan at several thousand dollars when you consider the time taken away from other important endeavors, which largely appear to be related to work.

One can only imagine the opportunity cost he and his colleagues would put on a Western States 100 training plan. Get Mr. Krupicka to stop running and it would seem we could easily pay for health care reform.

Yet, in a surprising turn, the piece comes around to what we all know: The numbers don't really matter; the opportunity cost doesn't really matter. What matters is simply that we love to run, because in the balance sheet of our lives, running will always keep us in the black.

Story Link: If You Run the Numbers, It's a Good Time (APM's Market Place)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Performance" Plus "Goats"

This great roadie vs. fixie video by Robin Moore's been making the rounds. If you haven't seen it yet it's worth a couple viewings at least, if just to hear "spandex" rhymed with "aerodynamic."

Clearly, Mr. Moore has talent, and he's put it to some serious use as well with his very good You Tube series Because There Are Goats, about volunteers traveling abroad to work on organic, sustainable farms.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Most Popular Reviews

No need to deal with Google or tag clouds or, heaven forbid, typing in a direct URL, here they are served up nice and easy, the most popular Run Junkie reviews of the season so far:

Asics Gel-Trail Sensor 3

Brooks Cascadia 4

Asics DS-Trainer 13

Nathan HPL #020 Hydration Pack

"Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall

Inov-8 Roclite 320

Hammer Perpetuem Sports Drink

All RJ Reviews here

Saturday, August 8, 2009

To the Top of Idaho's Hyndman Peak (elev 12,009)

After years of hearing about the arduous hike/scramble to the top of Idaho's Hyndman Peak (elev 12,009), my wife and I finally made the trek last weekend. Perfect weather. Fantastic day. A short Flip video of the affair.

Music: Furr by Blitzen Trapper (iTunes)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

RJ Review: Mexican Food, "Mexican" Food, and Brief Thoughts on Christopher McDougall's Book "Born to Run"

I spent the late 1980s and most of the 1990's on the East Coast - first in DC, then in Boston - and one of the things I missed most from my native West was authentic, great Mexican food. It was just hard, or downright impossible, to find. But deprivation often brings acquiescence, and when I really wanted Mexican food bad enough, I'd find myself sitting down at a mediocre "Mexican" place for some mediocre "Mexican" food and find my gustatory needs sated, to a degree.

This describes to a "T" the experience of reading Christopher McDougall's book, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, (Knopf; $24.95). The book chronicles, with a few diversions, the trip made by the author and some big name ultrarunners (Jurek, Escobar, Shelton) to a 47 mile race in the Copper Canyons of Mexico against the fabled distance-running Tarahumara Indians. And while the book contains a handful of interesting passages, many ultrarunners who know a bit about the sport will come away feeling that the book depicts a sensationalized facsimile of the sport: "ultrarunning" as it were, rather than just, ultrarunning.

The writing itself is OK, and sometimes sings, but McDougall can at times come across like a convert who doesn't quite comprehend the nature of the sport he's writing about. Of course, the book can't be written for ultrarunners alone, all 413 of us worldwide, so maybe I'm being a tad unfair, but at the end I was left wondering what a great essayist like Adam Gopnik could have done with the same material. There are enough amazing elements in each ultrarunner's experiences that there's no need to sensationalize, just aptly describe.

That said, I read the book with verve from start to finish, being so starved for printed matter on the sport, and it was a satisfying experience, to a degree.

Luis Escobar's photo essay of the Cooper Canyon race in Born to Run