June 25, 2015

My Instinct

I’ve been writing in this blog for nearly 8 years now. I started with the idea that I would transcribe some details about running ultras that I thought might be of interest to someone out there. I’ve written things that I regret, but mostly I’ve written things that I really felt on my journey along the way. As much as I try, I don’t always write about running, and when I don’t, I can only suggest that running really isn’t about running. It’s more about what happens to me when I do it. If you are a runner, you will know what I mean. If you’re not, I hope you have something similar, anything that releases you from the tentacle.

This is the first time in 8 years I’m not signed up to run an ultra. My instinct has wandered from a yearning to submit myself to the test of running 100 miles as well and as fast as I can, on someone else’s course following someone else rules, to just running for the experience of being somewhere I want to be, like high in the mountains, possibly when the weather is turning harsh. Where I only have myself to rely on.   

It’s been a whole year since I began the first of the four grand slam events last summer. There isn’t any peculiar day that I can recall.  In fact it was many days that melted together that kind of became one. I think about it now as if it were just one day. Because it feels that way. Like when the tide goes out. I don’t really notice it, but when I do, it seems so obvious. To see all things when they happen is impossible, I suppose, particularly when I’m not looking for them. 

June 15, 2015

Doping Wars - Enter Distance Running

I used to think that distance running was immune from doping. But after reading the news this last month, it appears my naiveté has been exposed.

Apparently Alerto Salazar, former University of Oregon star, three-time winner of the NYC marathon and current head coach of the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), has been gaming the system. In this article by Pro Publica and the BBC, Salazar is accused of pushing a doping rigged training program on his athletes with a “win at all costs” approach to coaching.

I won’t go into the details here because they are well laid out in the article. There are also interesting interviews and comments from former coaches and athletes of the Oregon Project, including this interview with former NOP coach John Cook, who describes the sport as essentially tainted and beyond repair. He thinks the honest coaches are "fooling themselves" if they think they can outwork the doping plague with old fashioned hard work.

Seems Nike is in the middle of all of this. Wait, who was Lance Armstrong’s biggest sponsor?