Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Books Read in 2010

At the beginning of the year I decided that since I was unemployed and had lots of time on my hands with no cable TV to watch that I would try my hand in reading more. I set a goal of reading 12 books in 2010. Needless to say I surpassed that without a problem. I read 16 of these books before starting my new job in March. With working at a great new job my book reading goal in 2011 will be a more modest 12 books again or one a month. You can also look at some of my reviews for these books on my LinkedIn profile by clicking here. I keep a running list on this profile since LinkedIn offers this cool feature.

Below is my 2010 list along with a link to each on on

2010 books read

1. Die Trying
2. Born to Run
3. 14er Distasters
4. Forever on the Mountain
5. Montana Mountain Goat (local Montana book, not on Amazon)
6. Pre
7. Above the Clouds
8. The Beckoning Silence
9. Running with the Buffaloes
10. The Long Walk by Rawicz
11. Fire on the Mountain
12. The Greatest- Haile Gebrselassie
13. Gold Hill and Back
14. Effective Project Management
15. Beyond the Mountain
16. Minus 148
17. Raising the Bar- Gary Erickson
18. No Shortcuts to the Top
19. Mountain Rescue Doctor
20. Once a Runner
21. Goal Setting (WorkSmart book)
22. Touching the Void
23. Dual in the Sun
24. Hyperfitness
25. Where Men Win Glory- Krakauer
26. Again to Carthage
27. Last Climb
28. What the CEO wants you to know

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Runner in Winter (Boulder Colorado)

Here is a great video of the local trails that I run before work sometimes and on weekends. Thanks GZ and Brandon for pointing this out.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Balance MT101 Give away

Go over here and throw your name into the hat. This dude has been giving lots of stuff away this holiday season. All you have to do is comment on his blog.

Peace- Shad

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Grossman Motivation Series Part 10

These are great motivation pieces written by a great runner, Eric Grossman. I had to copy these from Running Times just for my own record in case this is ever removed from the site. LOVE IT! You can find it by clicking here or just read below.

Maybe you saw me on TV. The Western States 100 was featured on NBC's World of Adventure Sports in July of 2007. I was interviewed the day before the race as well as at mile 56. You might have noted my deliberate and rational mental preparation during the former, and my almost complete mental breakdown during the latter. I was stopped. Though desperate for water, I could barely sip any fluid. Though desperate for calories, I could only nibble at food. Everything was making me sick. The run had already completely stripped me of all pretense and all hope of finishing competitively. When asked how I was doing, I could only respond: "I can't imagine going on."

I have only been able to muster the desire to run Western States on alternate years. I ran in 2005 until I dropped out at mile 78. At mile 20, my vision completely blurred in one eye, I collided with a sharp branch and gouged my right thigh. Over the next 50 miles, the inflammation grew intolerable. In 2009, I once again organized my training around preparation for this pre-eminent ultramarathon. I sprained my ankle at mile 12. Although I finished, I wasn't able to run again until late fall that year. When I did start training again, I developed chronic Achilles tendinitis that stayed with me through the five ultras I started in 2010. When I became simultaneously plagued by an acute hamstring pain, I stopped running. Instead, I began to saw and split large fallen trees for firewood. Seriously. I gave myself a hernia.

That was two and a half weeks ago. Last Thursday, I was scheduled for a follow-up exam with the surgeon. I jogged lightly in the morning. Knowing my propensities, he asked if I had been running since the surgery. He checked my incision, cut a suture and sent me out with a pass to ramp up training again at my discretion.

Early last spring, after months of trouble with my Achilles, I was told that recovery would likely depend on spending a year limited to very light running. I had reasons to try and run anyway. For several years I've enjoyed the benefits of competing with a sponsored ultrarunning team. I wanted to keep my place on the team. So, I ran even when I would have been better served by resting. Now I have given myself no real options.

That is the ultimate truth we have to contend with: Decision making, like politics, is local. Each depends on nearby factors. Appearances notwithstanding, choices aren't freely made. The decision to run depends on the rewards we get by doing it, offset by the costs we incur. So why are some people able to exercise moderation and work toward their long-term interest while others fall prey to temptation, overdo it and end up injured?

Freedom emerges where the person inserts long-term interests into near-term calculations. This doesn't involve magic, but it does involve reflection and effort. My purpose in the previous nine parts of this series has been to elucidate the kind of reflection and effort required. One pitfall we both face when I write about willpower is that we may both be convinced it is something I have and you need. So I keep reminding myself, and you, that willpower doesn’t work that way. We cultivate the freedom we desire. When we imagine that it is a gift that some just happen to have, it immediately evaporates.

Aligning short and long-term interests mostly requires a comfortable relationship with the passage of time. Yes, patience is a virtue, and your best ally in cultivating freedom. As I hope I’ve shown, I’m not particularly patient. When I start training after a layoff, my impulse is to see how far or how fast I can go. After a few weeks I feel good — I’ve readjusted to the immediate metabolic demands and my legs itch to move faster. The short-term gratification I get from running longer and faster does not align with the long-term benefits I’ll get from coming back slowly.

I’ll need to refer to my own playbook to manage. If you haven’t already read them, check out parts 1–9 in this series (see "related articles" below). At the core of developing willpower is one central tenet: feelings change. What feels good today may not feel good tomorrow and perhaps, more importantly, what feels painful today may not cause pain tomorrow. One of the greatest appeals of running ultramarathons is that we are forced to realize that it never always gets worse. That’s because you will have run into the wall. The race is so long, though, that you have time to come out on the other side. The most striking thing you find is that what had seemed hopeless can be recovered. You will rise and fly again and quite likely feel ecstatic for having transformed yourself.

If you did catch that episode of World of Adventure Sports, and stuck it out through the last commercial break, you saw the backside of a tall scrawny runner as he strode through the undergrowth en route to a respectable sub 24-hour finish at the Western States 100. I was conferred the Energizer Bunny award for getting back on the trail and finishing despite my near total collapse only a little over halfway through the run. The reward of finishing was reason enough for withstanding the trials of that day. The real value of the experience, however, was outlasting my impulse to stop. Nearly every bone in my body cried to be still and rest. A very subtle chord resonated through me that this too shall pass. So I hobbled out of the aid station, then walked, jogged and finally ran again. All it took was time.

Eric Grossman is a member of the Montrail ultrarunning team. At age 40, Grossman won the 2008 USATF 50-mile national championship. Check back next week for more of Grossman's motivational tips.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Grossman Motivation Series Part 9

These are great motivation pieces written by a great runner, Eric Grossman. I had to copy these from Running Times just for my own record in case this is ever removed from the site. LOVE IT! You can find it by clicking here or just read below.

I'd like to challenge you to a race. If you accept, we'll meet at a time of my choosing, run a distance of my choosing along a course that, yes, I choose. I'll inform you of my choices only as you absolutely have to know them. I'll text you 15 minutes before the start so you can get your shoes on. I'll have the course marked clearly, but you will only be able to see markings as you approach them. You will not know how far you have to go, or what lies ahead. You won't know where the finish is until you get there.

You may want know my reasons for challenging you. OK, let's say that I just want to beat you. Suppose that you also want to beat me. Will you accept? If we have similar abilities, do I gain an advantage by knowing the parameters of the race? You probably feel that I do. I'll be able to plan, after all. I'll eat the optimal pre-race foods, ensure I get enough sleep and choose the best shoes and clothes for the distance and terrain. I would certainly understand any reluctance you might feel about racing me.

What if I told you that my purpose is actually to see how fast I can get you to run? I know how you are before races. You get all wound up. You obsess over race preparation, exhausting yourself before you even start. And the night before? You barely sleep. I'm offering you a way around all that tiresome hassle. I've got your best interest at heart, so will you accept my challenge now? I want you to imagine that you can actually run better by knowing less about the race, even as you run it. You can shut down your brain and just run, pleasantly unaware of your remaining mileage. I’ll do the thinking for you, and set a pace that I think will be optimal.

Those who compete in trail races, especially trail ultramarathons, get a small taste of how this kind of challenge plays out. Trail races are difficult to measure and mark, so there is an element of surprise, especially the first time runners compete on a given course. Most race directors do not post mile markers, and even posted mileages are notoriously inaccurate. The Hellgate 100K may be the most sinister ultramarathon you can run. It starts at midnight on a Friday night in December near Fincastle, Va. I was certainly in the dark the first year I ran it. Because of snow and ice, the crew assigned to mark the course fell behind, so I ended up in front of them. Not only was I unsure of mileage, but I was also unsure of the route. When I started climbing, I had no idea whether I was in for 100 or 1,000 vertical feet. There are nine aid stations where runners can grab food, refill bottles and try to regain sanity. If you are deliberate enough while you are there, you'll think to ask about the distance to the next aid station.

After running through the night and into the frigid dawn, stamping postholes into interminable stretches of snow and ice for over 50 miles, you will arrive at the eighth Hellgate aid station. If you are collected enough to ask, they'll tell you it is 6.6 miles to the ninth, and final, aid station (click here a complete course description). That doesn't sound too bad, so you stride out on the lengthy downhill section of gravel road, thinking that this second-to-last segment will pass quickly. When you turn onto meandering single track, you are slowed. You climb hills and go around corners, always thinking that just around the next turn you'll see some sign of the aid station. It doesn't come. You were thinking you'd finish that section in an hour. You are already at 1:20. Your suffering is protracted, but what happens to your performance? Did thinking you only had 6.6 miles until the next break cause you to run a little faster than you might have had you known the actual distance was at least 8 miles? How does your consideration of the distance to be run in any race affect your pace and your perception of effort?

When Jure Robic died in a collision with a car in September, he cut short a legacy of perhaps the greatest feats of endurance achieved by any person. He rode his bicycle an average of 28,000 miles every year. He holds the world record for a 24 hour ride: 518.7 miles. He has won the Race Across America an unparalleled five times. According to a New York Times story from 2006, Robic left decisions during events to his crew, termed his "second brain." Robic was allowed to choose the music he listened to, but all the other decisions, including speed, breaks and fueling, were left to his crew. Significantly, they kept him uninformed about remaining mileages. So was keeping Robic in the dark a good way to promote top performance? Perhaps my challenge to you was not so unfair after all!

The year after I graduated from college, I traveled to Japan with an invited group of athletes to compete alongside Japanese collegians in an Ekiden. I ran the final leg, some 21K, for our eight-person team. I was handed the team sash in the middle of the countryside en route to the holy city of Ise. I ran completely alone through a light drizzle all the way to the famous Shinto shrine, where the race finished. I had no feedback about pace or distance other than my watch and my own senses. I simply ran, unreflectively soaking up the sensations of a strange land while metering out my effort. Afterwards, I had to be shown how my split stacked up against those of my Japanese counterparts. I had the second-best time for that leg.

So maybe I can persuade you that a seemingly unthinking approach to running can yield good results. That isn’t my intention. Training and racing are ultimately exercises of your intelligence. What I want is for you to broaden your concept of running intelligence to include all the things you do with and without conscious awareness. Even if you don't offload training and racing decisions to a separate crew, you should still locate and use your own second brain. It extends through your body and into every extremity. It is your activity and your feedback. You can call it intuition, but it isn't mindless, and it requires honing just like any other intelligence.

It is me.

So what do you say? Let’s see how fast we can run this thing.

Eric Grossman is a member of the Montrail ultrarunning team. At age 40, Grossman won the 2008 USATF 50-mile national championship. Check back next week for more of Grossman's motivational tips.