Sunday, April 13, 2014

Let's not commercialize the training run!

Step three is profit!
"I love capitalism!"  my friend Ana used to say. Growing up in Sarejevo, Ana was always annoyed by carrying ski boots back to the car.  But in the US, they made these little devices - a handle with a loop of string - to carry the boots.  Someone makes them because everybody buys them.  Hooray capitalism!

I should have just used the one on the right. 

Similarly, commercialization has brought some wonderful gear to trail running.  As an example, last year, I had a packable windbreaker, for hiking, that was cut poorly for running.  I also had a running windbreaker that didn't pack well, and barely tied around my waist.  Now?  I own a packable running windbreaker, and I had several to choose from. I'm happy to pay for great gear.

But is commercialism a threat to our sport?  I can see one trend that frightens me.  It isn't sponsored athletes or pricey races. It's the commodification of training runs.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

First barefoot run of the season!

Hooray hooray!  What a great day!  It was in the upper 50's when I got home from work, so.... I got in my first barefoot run of the season.   It was only around two and a half miles.  I took my 11 year old out for 2 miles, came home, and ditched the Luna Sandals.  Did that ever feel weird!  It's been a long, long, winter, and many months since I've gotten the skin on the ground.

I'm definitely planning on doing more barefoot running this spring and summer.  It's good to be back!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ultrarunning culture: we need this growth.

There's been a great deal of buzz lately about changes to trail and ultrarunning culture, and most of that buzz has been negative.  Many people are complaining that new ultrarunners are somehow ruining the culture, and that we are in jeopardy of "losing something".  Most outspoken about this is Bob Crowley, who has gone on several podcasts with a call to arms for preserving the supportive nature of trail and ultra culture through new runners learning from and listening to the older runners.  You can find some of his podcasts here and here.  I don't mean to pick on Bob Crowley, as he's done amazing things for our sport, and he correctly identified some wonderful things about the supportive ultra community.  I've heard the same sentiments from people other than Bob, so the ideas are knocking around all over.  But I disagree that it is changing for the worse, and I disagree with what needs to be done to preserve the best parts. 

Wonderful though it is, the ultrarunning community isn't perfect and could use improvement.  I don't think that the way to improve it is through impressing some ideology on newcomers, though.  I think we need to work on some of our problems from the inside, and make the newcomers feel more welcome.