book review – Born to Run

On the insistence of my Adventure Racing buddy, Dave Adlard, I bought a book.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

A fantastic read, even for non-runners. The author, Christopher McDougall, (video) is a master story teller. I was gripped by this true life story.

Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong. …

It’s available on, as well as in a Kindle edition.

Get it!

I listened to this book immediately after Dan Brown’s entertaining The Lost Symbol (my review).

It was crystal clear that Dan Brown is a hack compared with by Christopher Mcdougall.

Why is that?

I believe Brown is an old school author. Mcdougall an author of the future,

Mcdougall is a journalist, writing primarily magazine articles. This is his first book.

A magazine article must be instantly engaging. Otherwise the reader will flip ahead to the next story.

Christopher Mcdougall reminds me of Jon Krakauer, another magazine scribe turned author.

Bottom line: get Born to Run.

coming down to Idaho with me?

My big AR event is right around the corner – Adventure Sports Week . Contact me if you can come down with me.

May 24, 2009

For Immediate Release…

Danelle Ballangee is scheduled to compete in the “Crux and the Crucible” at Adventure Sports Week 2009!

Adventure Sports Week is a 10 day long festival of 24 outdoor races, contests, clinics and social events taking place at Farragut State Park, 30 miles north of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, June 5—14, 2009.

One of the racing world’s greatest stars and most inspirational stories is coming to compete at Adventure Sports Week in Coeur d’ Alene, June 12—14.

Danelle Ballangee is perhaps the World’s most decorated female Adventure Racer, having won Primal Quest, the Raid, the Adventure Racing World Championships, as well as dozens of other equally impressive competitions. She has also been named “US Athlete of the Year” an unprecedented six times in four different sports.

Despite her impressive resume, it was an unlikely slip that has Danelle—Nellie—to national prominence.

In December of 2006, while on a routine training run with her dog Taz, she slipped on some black ice and fell nearly 60 feet down the cliffs at Hurrah Pass, Utah, near Moab, breaking her pelvis completely in half, and leaving her bleeding internally and unable to walk. She managed to crawl over a quarter of a mile to a puddle where she could drink, and she spent over 50 hours in sub- freezing temperatures as her dog tried to keep her warm. On the third day, Taz left her, eventually making his way to the trailhead, where he was seen by the search and rescue team, who followed him back to Danelle.

After major surgery, where she received a titanium plate to hold her pelvis together, she was in a wheelchair for several months, and doctors speculated she would be unable to walk for as long as a year.

As a tribute to her strength and tenacity, Danelle competed in a solo 12 hour adven- ture race less than 6 months after her fall, finishing as top female.

Danelle will be competing at ASW representing Project Athena— – whose mission is to help women with breast cancer and other medical traumatic setbacks live their athletic and adventurous dreams by providing coaching, equipment, travel, entry fees and encouragement.

She will also be teaching part of the Adventure Racing Clinic, along with other super- stars such as Mike Kloser, captain of Team Nike, and AR World Champion.


source – Mind Over Mountain

Olympic Torch Relay

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Flame, originally uploaded by Sanctu.

Did not turn out the way the IOC and Beijing intended.

As you might expect, I have many thoughts on the Olympics. But am not sure where to start. Here’s the first post on my gymnastics blog: Olympics in crisis – IOC

pressure on Beijing begins

How will the old men running China react to this kind of scrutiny leading up to the Olympic Games next year?

I expect them to make concessions to democratic reform.


In this innovative ad, Amnesty International comes dangerously close to violating the heavily protected Olympic Rings trademark. At the same time, they get their point powerfully across.

The ad text reads, “In the name of ensuring stability and harmony in the country during the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese Government continues to detain and harass political activists, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers.” …

Beijing Olympic Rings of Torture – Amnesty International’s Shock Campaign

Amnesty International

kids OVERPROTECTED in 2007

I posed this question on my gymnastics blog. And got a big reaction from a number of coaches.

Everyone (so far) agrees that our kids are suffering long-term from not being more challenged.

I’m not looking for SPARTA, but it is time for a backlash. The benefits gymnastics coaches and parents see in competitive gymnasts are exactly those needed by all children.

Wordsmith from Nantucket wrote:

I think the fear of lawsuits has dictated much of what I consider to be “bad” changes in our society. It’s insulated us from “hurting ourselves”, but in so doing, has disarmed us of the tools we would otherwise develop as part of the maturation process in dealing with life…with learning to cope with adversity and conflict.

It’s similar to how we developed all these anti-bacterial products, from soap to baby toys – all in the hopes that it would protect us from getting sick. But exposure to some sicknesses, early on in life, is what makes our immune system stronger. ….

Here are some articles and studies that might be of interest:

Yep, life’ll burst that self-esteem bubble”

Enough already with kid-gloves

The Power and Perils of Praising your kids

I really do think that there is something about our society (at least what I see with kids here in Los Angeles) that is developing soft, mushy kids. Emotionally and physically. ….

Read the post and the rest of the comments.

source – New York Magazine