Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kilian Jornet's "A Fine Line - Summits of My Life" - DVD Review

I just had a chance to watch A Fine Line, the first film in Kilian Jornet's Summits of My Life series, and all I can say is WOW. Stunning photography of the Alps, wonderful behind-the-scenes views of Kilian and his fellow mountain warriors, and deep emotional context as we experience the death of Stephane Brosse, the 3-time World mountaineering champion who died on a traverse attempt with Kilian in June, 2012.

A Fine Line official trailer. from Summits of My Life on Vimeo.

Within the first few minutes, the cinematography explodes onto the screen and gives you an close up view of Kilian's minimalist alpine style set to a delicious original score by Zikali. I kept doing double-takes seeing him at 12,000 feet, running through the snow with little more than what I wear on a California winter day. Where's all the heavy gear?!? Not his style. Or more importantly, not his way. And soon you see his minimalist style isn't a racing technique as much as it is his way of life. Did you know he did the whole UTMB course in two days just a few weeks before his first win, eating only berries and drinking water along the course? Yeah, I know. Amazing.

Kilian is a child of the mountains, and he and his fellow alpinists have a great way of explaining how this differs from running for the sake of running. "On the track, there is no risk so we time ourselves to get a benchmark. In the mountains, it is different. We try to become one with the mountain by finding new limits. It's an emotion, from the heart, very connected to risk." From each voice, their soul is is not a "better than you" sort of thing. It's a mountain thing. And you can see why even though he has won every major trail running race out there, he has set his sites on much bigger summits.
(Kilian Jornet's Summits of My Life goals)
My favorite quotes come near the end, where just before Stephane Brosse has his accident, they are both blissfully playing with birds and wind among the mountains. "You have to go look for happiness in life, find it in the things that make you feel alive. Life is not something to be preserved or protected, it is to explored and lived to the full." And with those words, there is not a hint of regret for his friend and hero meeting his end, only that he can't be there to share the next one. Stephane Brosse's closing words on happiness bring the film an intense closure.

Truly an epic film. Definite buy it, or become a friend of Summits of My Life for the full package. You won't regret it!

- SD

[Note - the DVD is encoded in PAL (a European format) instead of NTSC (an American format), so it may not work in your typical American DVD player. You may need to stick it in your PC or something. You can also downoad the film directly from the Web site.]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Team Inside Trail Racing - Stoked for 2013!

I'm excited to be continuing with the Inside Trail Racing (ITR) Team for 2013! They are a passionate group that puts on fun trail races in the Bay Area, and are always actively finding new areas for trail races such as the upcoming in augural Fort Ord 50k this weekend in Monterey, CA. Check out their ever-expanding calendar of great trail running races in California for an adventure near you!

It's a fast team this year with speedsters such as Victor Ballesteros, Gary Gellin, Sarah Lavender Smith, Caren Spore, Jason Perez, Christine Chapon, Chris Elde, Luke Garten, Jonathan Gunderson, and Chris Wehen. Plus this year they have expanded the team to include ITR Ambassadors Liz Bernstein, Aron Eichhom, Sabine Gillert, Sam Hsu, Patty Osorio-O'Dey (giving Victor a run for the money in the 'coolest name' category), Karen Peterson, Alyssa Perry, Donna Tam, and Emily Yu. Wow! What a TEAM!

I'm stoked to be with you guys. Now let's rip it up!

Jan 19
Pacifica Foothills
Results | Photos
10K, Half Marathon,
30K, Marathon, 50K
San Pedro Valley ParkPacifica, CA
Feb 2
Fort Ord10K, 25K, 50KFord Ord National MonumentMonterey, CA
Feb 23
Chabot10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50K
Lake Chabot Regional ParkCastro Valley, CA
Mar 16
Rodeo Valley8K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50K
Rodeo Beach, GGNRASausalito, CA
Mar 24
Knickerbocker Canyon10K, Half Marathon,
Auburn S.R.ACool, CA
Apr 13
Woodside Ramble10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50K
Huddart County ParkWoodside, CA
Apr 27
Folsom Lake10K, Half Marathon,
Marathon, 50K
Folsom PointFolsom, CA
May 25
China Camp5K, 10K,
Half Marathon
China Camp S.P.San Rafael, CA
Jun 9
Humboldt Redwoods10K, 25K, 50KHumboldt Redwoods S. P.Humboldt, CA
Jun 22
Marin Ultra Challenge50K and 50 MileMarin HeadlandsSausalito, CA
Jul 13
To be announced10K, Half MarathonTo be announcedCoastal CA
Jul 21
La Sportiva Table Rock10K & 27KMt. Tamalpais S. P.Stinson Beach, CA
Aug 3
Santa Cruz10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50K
Henry Cowell Redwoods S. P.Felton, CA
Aug 31
Skirt ‘n’ Dirt10K, 25K, 50KRedwood Regional ParkOakland, CA
Aug 31
Skirt Chaser25KRedwood Regional ParkOakland, CA
Sep 15
Toro5K, 10K,
Half, 30K
Toro ParkSalinas, CA
Sep 28
Berkeley Trail Adventure10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50K
Tilden & Wildcat CanyonBerkeley, CA
Oct 6
Santa Rosa Rut Run10K, Half Marathon,
Annadel State ParkSanta Rosa, CA
Oct 20
To be announced25K, 50KTo be announcedEast Bay, CA
Nov 2
Folsom Lake
Endurance Runs
10K, Half Marathon,
50K, 50 Mile
Folsom PointFolsom, CA
Nov 16
Mt. Tam Trail Run10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50K
Mt. Tamalpais State ParkStinson Beach, CA
Dec 14
Woodside Ramble10K, Half Marathon,
35K, 50K
Huddart County ParkWoodside, CA


Monday, January 21, 2013

The 2013 Robert and Linda Mathis Memorial Run and Raffle

Some of you may know about the Robert and Linda Mathis Memorial Run to be held on Saturday, Jan 26, 2013, at the Auburn Dam Overlook in Auburn, CA. If you're in town, be sure to join Jennifer Lee Dicus and her crew for what is surely to be a fabulous run and celebration of the lives of two great people snatched from our lives a lithe more than a year ago.

But if you can't make it, get a raffle ticket! Check out some of the prizes you can get for your $5 (or $20 for 5 tickets):

[list updated on 1/22/13, 9am PST]

1). Two Free Weeks of Fitness Coaching with Kristen Koski at Double Diamond Athletic Club in Reno. (Expires 3/19/2013)

2). Copy of “Unbreakable: The Western States 100” on DVD from JB Benna/Journeyfilm.

3). Copy of Yolanda Holder’s book “My Journey to Guiness”, from Yolanda Holder.

4). Copy of Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run” and a $5 gift certificate to Sundance Books and Music.

5). Men’s Large INKnBURN Under the Tree Tech Shirt from INKnBURN.

6). Women’s Large INKnBURN Love Mushroom Tech Shirt from INKnBURN.

7). Three (3) drink cozies and stickers from

8). Complimentary 2013 Session of Training with Reno Running and Fitness from Reno Running and Fitness.

9). Two (2) Complimentary Rounds of Golf for Two at Somersett Golf and Country Club in Reno, Nevada from Somersett. (Each certificate is ONE raffle prize.)

10). Four (4) $50 Gift Certificates to Zombie Runner…good online or in the Palo Alto store from Zombie Runner. (Each certificate is ONE raffle prize.)

11). Two (2) Complimentary Entries into Nanny Goat 12hr/24hr/100m at the Sexton Horse Ranch in Riverside, CA on May 25, 2013 from Steve Harvey, Race Director. (Each comp is ONE raffle prize.)

12). Two (2) Complimentary Entries into any race (Born to Run Ultras, Los Olivos, CA on May 18, 2013; Santa Barbara Red Rock Trail Runs, Santa Barbara, CA on November 24, 2013; Penny Lane Trail Run, Los Alamos, CA on February 2, 2013; and Nine Trails 35 Mile Endurance Run, Santa Barbara, CA in August of 2013) from Luis Escobar, Race Director. (Each comp is ONE raffle prize.)

13). Two (2) Complimentary Entries into any distance of The Razorback Endurance Runs at the Harvey Bear Ranch Park in San Martin, CA on March 9th & 10th, 2013 from Tracy Crane, Race Director. (Each comp is ONE raffle prize.)

14). Free One-Year Subscription to UltraRunning Magazine from John Medinger. 

15). Complimentary Entry into American River 50 Mile Endurance Run, from Sacramento, CA to Auburn, CA on April 6, 2013 from Julie Fingar, Race Director. 

16). Complimentary Entry into Dick Collins Fire Trails 50 Mile Endurance Run (or Golden Hills Trail Marathon) at Lake Chabot, CA on October 12th, 2013 from Julie Fingar, Race Director.

17). Complimentary Entry into Team Sunsweet’s Tehama Wildflowers 50k in Red Bluff, CA on April 20th, 2013 from Beverly Anderson-Abbs, Race Director. 

18). Complimentary Entry into the Tahoe Rim Trail 50k Endurance Run beginning at Spooner Lake State Park in Nevada on July 20th & 21st, 2013 from George Ruiz and David Cotter, Race Directors. 

19). Complimentary Entry into any distance of the San Bruno Mountain Ultramarathons at San Bruno Mountain in Daly City, CA on February 24th, 2013 from Alan Geraldi, Race Director. 

20). Complimentary Entry into the Leona Divide 50k in Lake Hughes, CA on April 27th, 2013 from Keira Henninger, Race Director.

21). Complimentary Entry into the Leona Divide 50m (part of the Montrail Ultra Cup Series) in Lake Hughes, CA on April 27th, 2013 from Keira Henninger, Race Director. 

22). Complimentary Entry into any distance of the Ruth Anderson Ultras in San Francisco, CA on April 20th, 2013 from Rajeev Patel, Race Director. 

23). Complimentary Entry into the Run-de-Vous 50k in San Martin, CA on August 17th, 2013 from Rajeev Patel, Race Director. 

24). Complimentary Entry into the Bishop High Sierra 100k in Bishop, CA on May 18th, 2013 from Marie Boyd, Race Director. 

25). Complimentary Entry into the Bulldog 50k at Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas, CA on August 24th, 2013 from Nancy Shura-Dervin, Race Director. 

26). Complimentary Entry into the American Canyon 50k in Auburn, CA on February 9th, 2013 from Harlan Reymont, Race Director. 

27). Complimentary Entry into any distance of the Harding Hustle at the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon, CA on July 6th, 2013 from Jessica DeLine, Race Director. 

28). Complimentary Entry into the Twin Peaks 50 Mile Ultra in Corona, CA on October 19th, 2013 from Jessica DeLine, Race Director.

29). Complimentary Entry into the Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile (or 50 mile) Endurance Run (part of the Montrail Ultra Cup Series) in Steamboat Springs, CO on September 13th, 2013 (for the 100 mile; September 14th, 2013 for the 50 mile) from Fred Abramowitz and Paul Sachs, Race Directors.

30). Complimentary Entry into the River City Marathon in Folsom, CA on March 10th, 2013 from Elemental Running and Training, Jimmy Gabany and Carmella House, Race Directors. 

31). Complimentary Entry into the Rucky Chucky 50k in Foresthill, CA on May 5th, 2013 from Elemental Running and Training, Jimmy Gabany and Carmella House, Race Directors. 

32). Complimentary Entry into the Rock’n River 50m in Auburn, CA on October 19th, 2013 from Elemental Running and Training, Jimmy Gabany and Carmella House, Race Directors. 

33). Free pair of Inov-8 shoes (winner’s choice of model and size) and Injinji socks from Scott Dunlap and A Trail Runner’s Blog. 

34). Complimentary Unlimited Laps Entry into The 4MPH Challenge in Whiskeytown, CA on March 30th, 2013 from Shasta Trail Runs, Mark Swanson, Race Director. 

35). Complete VO2 Max Testing Package from Dr. Andrew Pasternak of Silver Sage Center For Family Medicine in Reno, NV. 

36). Complimentary Entry into the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon in Ashland, OR on November 3rd, 2013 from Hal Koerner, Race Director (Rogue Valley Runners).

That's a lot of prizes! There are even more expected on site for the run too. You can get tickets by sending an e-mail to jendicus.mathisfoundation [at] and getting her address to send the money (or sending a PayPal payment to jendicus [at] Be sure to do it quick, since the drawing is Saturday!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lance Armstrong Movie Set For JJ Abrams and Paramount Pictures

(Lance Armstrong, photo courtesy of Joel Sagat)

What's next for Lance Armstrong? The news feed says a major motion picture is in the works.

According to, Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot partners JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk are going to make a movie about the epic rise and fall of doping bicyclist Lance Armstrong. They’ve just closed a deal for screen rights to Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong, a proposal for a book that will be written by Juliet Macur for HarperCollins. Macur is a sports reporter for The New York Times, and she has covered Armstrong for over a decade, through the cyclist’s recovery from deadly cancer to his capturing seven Tour de France title, and covering the doping allegations.

(Banksy-inspired graffiti spotted in Los Angeles, CA)
I guess once they saw Act III play out on Oprah this week, the screenplay was ready! The modern day Icarus.

Okay, no more Lance postings, I promise.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What Should Lance Armstrong Say to Oprah? - The Curious PR Dilemma

On Monday afternoon, Lance Armstrong met with Oprah Winfrey in a hotel in Austin, TX, to tape a 90-minute interview for the Oprah Winfrey Network's (OWN) "Next Chapter", a show specifically designed for celebrities to air their misgivings [update: the interview went on for 2.5 hours, and will now air across two nights). It is highly rumored to be a confession of sorts to address allegations of Armstrong's use of performance enhancing drugs (PED), coercion of teammates to do the same, and the subsequent lying to the public that was detailed in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) recent 1,000-page investigation that led to stripping Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and a lifelong ban from competition. The program will air this Thursday on OWN at 9pm eastern (and streamed live from and the same time on Friday for Part II.

Putting any personal opinions and emotions aside, I find Armstrong's current PR dilemma absolutely fascinating. Crisis PR is always tricky, but as a marketing professional I have always been surprised at how a well-executed PR plan can quickly get the public beyond the problem and focused on the future. So...what should Lance say to Oprah to position himself best for redemption in the eyes of the public, the sport, and millions of cancer survivors? And how should he do it?

Crisis PR is both an art and a science. The art is in the "story", while the science is based in the tactics. If you get both right, the public appetite for this kind of story is mind-boggling HUGE. It is the gift and curse of mass media - like Icarus, you are granted wings only to fly into the sun. And it's not the burning of wax that the media wants, it is the confession and if possible, redemption. This is how heroes become human again.

The Tactics - How To Say It

Tactically speaking, Armstrong and his crew are right on target for a 10-point Crisis PR plan:
  1. Define your message strategy. Collect your advisors (and lawyers, in this case) and define the primary audiences you want to reach, your outcome goals (compassion, forgiveness, permission, etc.), and the actual words and phrases you expect to be published. This is "the story"...more on this later. 
  2. Define an action path to redemption. A story or apology isn't enough - you need to declare actions you will take to correct your path. Michael Vick donates time and money to rescue dogs. Tiger Woods and Pete Rose get rehab.  Chevron scrubs oily birds and donates money to wetlands. The more direct and measureable the actions are, the better. It will never be enough to overcome what you've done (and you will likely say this), but action implies sincerity. Years of action can even make people forgive.
  3. Establish a friendly media face to exclusively deliver your message. You want to control the message, so the best thing to do is find a media giant to help deliver it and give them an exclusive to draw as many eyes as possible. This should be a respected authoritarian figure, usually the one most apathetic to your story, and who is incented to spin it in your favor. Oprah is perfect - she's a media giant (bigger than Armstrong), has a history of taking confessions, and could use a ratings boost for OWN. How many houses have husbands that are setting their Tivo to record a show on OWN for the first time this week? Millions. All the other media voices (Bryant Gumbel, etc) will now be left to interpret the story, not ask questions directly.
  4. Spend some 1-on-1 time with those closest to you. You need to tell your closest partners what's about to happen face to face, show authentic emotion, and give them a chance to get some details ahead of the story. Friends, family, existing sponsors, employees...they all need to hear it directly and know you are sincere. Remember, they backed you, so they now get to ride the shitstorm right along with you. You better have their back now. Armstrong spent the morning with the staff at Livestrong yesterday, where tears were shed. Right on target.
  5. Distance yourself from those who could get dragged into this deeper. Resign from Livestrong - check, have Nike, Oakley and other brands cut ties - check, etc.
  6. Leak the expectation of a confession. Most of the "haters" are already using Armstrong's silence to judge and criticize, so it's best to leak the expectation of a confession with an "insiders who will not be named" kind of story about a week before your actual press date. This can help shift more of the hater dialogue in front of your message, rather than behind it. The hashtag "#liestrong" (note, no letter "v") is already trending big on Twitter...this is perfect. Let it get frothy.
  7. Be sincere in your message delivery, and show emotion. This may seem obvious, but let me tell you, it's hard for big egos to express things like regret and compassion to those they have wronged in the making of their image. It's the same big egos that fought incredible odds to get them to hero status in the first place, and it won't arrive at the conclusion of apologizing until every other avenue is explored. But it has to be done, tears and all, or you will get crucified.
  8. Remind people of the good you have done. Armstrong has helped millions deal with cancer and raised over $500 million. He should make sure to emphasize the importance of that, and actively distance it from the scandal in his dialogue.
  9. Follow up on your action path. Within the week, you need to start showing proof on your action plan, such as donations, Twitter apologies, and anything that can prove your trajectory has changed. Doing this in the face of people screaming "this doesn't redeem you" is actually best...drag that cross up the hill. Let everyone see the public had a voice for their lashings.
  10. Focus all future dialogue on the path forward. You've come out, you've taken your licks, and it's now off the table. The only press moving forward is what you're doing now.

The Story - What To Say

Now comes the "art" of Crisis PR. What exactly do you say, and who is that message intended to reach? This is where it gets fascinating for Armstrong because not all of his audiences are aligned, and he has to contemplate whether to sacrifice a few individuals to achieve his PR goals (coaches, doctors, etc.). Those of you unfamiliar with this dilemma can watch the movies Thank You for Smoking or Margin Call to get an idea of how this can aid in crisis messaging. Both are damn good movies, anyway.

First off, what is Armstrong's goal? Well, if I were to guess, I would say his goals are ranked as follows:
  1. Don't lose the cancer audience. This is his legacy, even more so than cycling. Under no circumstances can he lose this audience. Imagine if he cluster-fucked this by saying "I did dope, and in fact it was doping that caused the cancer, so once I got that under control the cancer went away". Holy macks that would be insane. 
  2. Don't go to jail. Armstrong has never had to testify under oath about doping, but there are potential scenarios where he would have to do jail time should certain court cases unfold. Floyd Landis has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in alleging Armstrong and fraud associated with his $37 million sponsorship from the US Postal Service, and senior officials in the federal government are suggesting to jump on board. Plus the SCA case could potentially be re-opened/appealed given new facts, which may present a scenario where Lance would be subpoenaed to testify under oath...definitely not good.
  3. Compete again, and soon. Armstrong really, really, really wants to compete again. He rocked the triathlon world in his short debut, but now faces a lifetime ban in the sport, and according to USADA law, this lifetime ban can only be reduced to eight years. That's too long for Lance - he needs a 2-year ban max, so he's gotta get good with the USADA. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes can get as much as a 75% reduction of a ban if they provide the kind of substantial help to antidoping authorities that enables them to build cases against others. That window might work for him professionally and be worth an aggressive 2-year effort.
  4. Retain some marketability. Armstrong is a giant of a brand, and if he does his confession correctly, his Q score will retain enough marketability to stay in the brand business. I can think of 30 brands off the top of my head that would still embrace him in a heartbeat post-confession, although likely not at the $30 million level he had with Nike, Oakley, and others. He does still have 4 million Twitter followers, for example - even a Tweet for a TV show he likes can move the needle more than a TV commercial.
You'll note a few things I didn't put in here like "not lose money" (he's rich enough already, at least enough to cover a barrage of civil suits that would come out of the woodwork if he confesses) or "honor those who stood beside me all this time". He demanded intense loyalty from those around him, but let's face it, I don't think he's got those people top of mind relative to achieving the above.

Now, let's talk about his audiences, because this is where it really gets interesting. At a minimum, this message needs to address the cycling community, the cancer community, everyone he publicly skewered for calling him a cheat (some of which had their lives devastated), the teammates he may have asked to dope (with or without coercion), his sponsors, those he sued for liabel and took money from (the London-based Sunday Times, $12.5 million to SCA, etc.), insiders like his team manger Johan Bruyneel (who continues to claim his innocence and "will see the USADA in court") and doctors, the cycling pros that he knows were also doping, the perpetually weird UCI, the USADA and it's President, Travis Tygart (whom Armstrong has already allegedly told to go f*ck himself), his confidant and agent Bill Stapleton, his political connetions, rich folks like Thomas Weisel who convinced the world to back him and risk getting drawn into USPS whistle-blower cases, etc., etc. PHEW! Navigating these audiences and not unwillingly sacrificing the wrong one is VERY tricky. The story has to be just right.

If I was the PR guy in charge of the message, I would suggest the following:
  • Admit to lying.
  • Admit to doping at "certain points" in his career, no specifics. Be sure to cast this admission in the cloak of the known issues of doping in professional cycling. 
  • Define your "moment of clarity" as a time in the last 90 days.
  • Define your losses (7 TdF wins) and focus on that as "what I've lost".
  • Apologize to those you have hurt, and call some people out that are unexpected (Tyler Hamilton, etc.). Personally do it on Twitter, since honestly, it will only get you more Twitter followers.
  • Extend an olive branch to help the USADA in their successful eradication of doping in the sport you love.
  • Do something radical that addresses kids in sports - funds, free speaking tour, programs, you name it. Go for the heart strings. 
  • Pay back the US Gov't some portion of the salary received while under the US Postal Service team, just to get that perjury monkey off your back. That's jail time, yo. Big egos no likey small cages.
It would probably sound something like this:

Oprah: Lance, there have been a lot of accusations and you promised to be candid. How are you doing? (Oprah is genius to always get the emotion first, and start on a first name basis)

Armstrong: I'll be honest, Oprah. Aside from the month that I was diagnosed with cancer twelve years ago, this has been the hardest month of my life. All of these things going on, being stripped of my seven Tour de France titles, has taken what was once a grey area and forced it to become very black and white. I've spent a lot of time asking myself questions I should have asked a long time ago. For the first time in my life, I'm ready to admit it to myself, and I owe it to the public to share the truth.

Oprah: Let's cut to the chase, Lance. Did you take performance enhancing drugs (PED), and did you require your teammates to do the same?

Lance: I will answer that question, Oprah. But it's important that you understand some context first. My introduction to PED came with my introduction to cycling, the sport I love the most and the one that pulled me from a Texas trailer park to compete with the superheroes of endurance racing around the world. I love this sport, and love its heroes. I did what the best of the sport did to succeed - use every possible legal technology to compete at the highest levels. Carbon fiber, wind tunnels, studying every tactic of every race, and yes, performance boosters when and where it made sense. Like many in the sport, we pushed everything we could right to the legal limit. My team felt the same - I've never asked a teammate to do something they weren't ready to do. But it wasn't a big deal at the time since it was so pervasive in the sport, as was claiming it wasn't happening.

Oprah: And you lied about it.

Lance: Yes, I did, Oprah. And I feel terrible about it and how it has affected so many people around me. At the time, nearly every athlete on the podium at a major cycling event was doing the same, so I didn't think much of it. But in retrospect, it began a process that resulted in a lot of people getting hurt. My family, my friends, my teammates, their families...I can see now how much I have let them all down. For that, I deeply apologize. I will have to live with this the rest of my life.

Oprah: So why come out now? Because of the USADA report and your titles being stripped?

Lance: Yes, but maybe not why you think. I had always seen the USADA as the enemy, the ones who invaded our lives with questionable tests and old methods, and rarely got it right. It took the stripping of my titles for me to understand what they were really trying to do - clean up the sport of cycling. Given the pervasiveness of PED in the sport, it never occurred to me that this could even be done. I had to lose everything I worked for my whole life to understand that their fight is still worth fighting for against all odds. I'm hoping that by being honest here today, and giving the USADA my help if they will take it, can help them clean this sport up for good. I don't want it drawing in others like it did to me. This is also why I'm going to be announcing some new initiatives I will be funding to help reach kids before they even get there. We need to start early. Now that I've lost everything, I want them to see how it ends so they don't follow that path. I will also be sending personal apologies to all of those I affected. There's no excuse for what I did.

Oprah: And what about Livestrong?

Lance: (tearing up) Their work is so important. SO important. And they work so hard. (rattle off stats) I will never give up the fight against cancer, but I don't want my personal situation to affect their mission, so I've stepped aside....(etc., etc.)

It will be a good show, no doubt. And we'll all curse and do the woulda/shoulda/coulda game, get it out of system, and then realize this is little compared to your average politician, Wall Streeter, or the Herculean devastation of Hank Greenburg and AIG suing the government for bailing them out after causing a near-fatal global collapse. Now THAT guy is an asshole. Let's keep it in perspective, people. ;-)

My thoughts to Armstrong's family and friends, the good folks at Livestrong, and all the others who will take on some friendly fire in this mayhem. It will pass soon enough if he sticks to the Crisis PR plan.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mike Morton and Ellie Greenwood Named 2012 Ultra Runners of the Year for 2012 Morton and Greenwood Named Ultra Runners of the Year by UltraRunning Magazine

Two ultrarunners with insane 2012 resumes - Mike Morton of Lithia, Florida and Ellie Greenwood of North Vancouver, British Columbia - have been voted the 2012 UltraRunning magazine North American ultramarathon runners of the year, as many had expected. Below are bio excerpts from the press release put out by UltraRunning Magazine.

(Photo by Jan Vandendriessche)
Morton, 41, a Master Sergeant in the US Army Special Operations Command, won all five races he entered in 2012, including Badwater, a 135-mile race across Death Valley in July. He set course records at both the Umstead 100-Mile Race in North Carolina and the KEYS 100-Mile Race in the Florida Keys. His year culminated in winning the World 24-Hour Championships at Katowice, Poland, where set an American record with 172.457 miles.

(Photo by Glenn Tachiyama)
Greenwood, who won for the second straight year, was a unanimous winner for the women, placing first on all 24 ballots. Originally from Fife, Scotland, she has lived in Canada for the past 13 years. Greenwood, 33, won the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run in June, breaking the women’s course record set in 1994 by the legendary Ann Trason. In all, she won eight ultramarathon races during the year, including a course record win at the venerable JFK 50 Mile in Maryland.

Both of these runners are amazing, particularly to win amongst such a deserving field. Take a look at who else received top votes and you get the idea - Tim Olson and his CR at Western States, Max King and his multiple CR's and victories, and more. Below are the stats on how the votes from the 24 members came out. Congrats to all on great performances!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Kicking Off 2013 with the Crystal Springs Trail Marathon

Last Saturday, I had the great pleasure of joining 300+ runners for the Crystal Springs 50k/Marathon/22-miler/Half Marathon/5k on my home trails in Woodside, CA. The weather was great and it was fun to see everyone - a great way to kick off 2013!

(Chris Rennaker from Ashland, OR, returned this year for more Woodside fun)
(RD Wendell Doman gives us some last minute tips)
I was just returning from a Tahoe vacation, which this year involved far more snacking and champagne than exercise, so I wasn't in any shape to compete. But the crisp air lured me out of my slumber and down to the start for a last minute sign up in the marathon. Why not? Could there be a better way to kick off the year than 20 + 13 miles (if I run to the start, that is)?

(Karen and Matthew Kidwell are ready to roll)
(First time 50k'ers Megan Stroms and Sarah Clarke start the new year off BIG!)
It was great to see so many eager faces ready to start off 2013 with an epic run. Megan Stroms and Sarah Clarke were kicking down for their first 50k, Elizabeth Weil was going for the marathon, while her sister Heather signed up for 22-miles (just 12 weeks after delivering baby #2!), and Jason Wolf was getting back into training with an "easy 22". Penny MacPhail just flew in from Ireland, while Beat Jergelener and Jill Homer just came back from Iditarod training in Alaska, and all seemed happy to be back home. Wendell Doman gave us a few last minute tips, and before we knew it, the grassy field was full of runners heading for that first bottleneck of single track.
(...and we're off!!!)
(Some yummy single track to get us started)
(The redwoods and pines keep us protected)
(Hanoch Raviv leads a pack down Richards Road)
We quickly went through the first mile of single track before spilling out onto the wide Richards Road and finding our various paces. Particularly impressive was 12-year-old Miguel Vivaldo from Sunnyvale, CA, who was tackling the 22-miler. Wow! His parents should be commended (or put in jail, depending on how you look at it).

(12-year-old Miguel Vivaldo on his way to an impressive 19th place finish in the 22-miler)
(Shahid Ali finds a good tempo)

(Lots of smiles!)
(Peter Rahmer tackles the first big climb)
As we began the five mile climb up Huddart Park, a few sprinkles of rain tempted us but never quite committed to anything big. Not to worry...the canopy is thick here and we likely wouldn't feel a drop. Penny MacPhail took off like a banshee and most of the marathoners just hung on her tail...I guess flying in from Ireland the day before didn't slow her down!

(Elizabeth Weil leads us up the switchbacks)
(Tina Le sets a fast pace up the Crystal Springs Trail on her way to a 2nd place finish in the 22-miler)
The Coastal Trail Runs (CTR) team always does a great job marking trails, but it doesn't stop us from getting lost on occasion. Don't look at those views too long!

(Running among giants...find the runners in these pictures!)
We hit the "Dunlap aid station" (mile 6), and I paced along with 50k runner Yaz Saito as we tried to keep up with Penny and Jason Wolf. 16-year-old Lucas Matison from Palo Alto took off to catch the marathon leaders (where are all these fast kids coming from?). There was also a tight race for the 22-miler women, with Monica Zhuang from Belmont trading the lead with Los Altos' Tina Le.

(Volunteers were amazing, and Dwight Brown got us fueled fast)
The marathon had a short loop in Wunderlich, so I bid farewell to Yaz and Jason and tagged along with Adam Wolf from Petaluma, doing only his second marathon ever. He said "I'm going to try a few marathons before kicking up to the ultras", and I did my best to explain that this race is far harder than a road marathon. If he can finish this, he's ready for a 50k!

(Lizbeth Tello came up from Los Angeles to tackle the 22-miler)
I dropped Adam on the descent, but found it hard to get my legs moving on the climb back out and had to take a few walk breaks. That was enough for Penny to pass me once and for all at the Wunderlich aid station (mile 18), and we each gave encouragement to runners still heading in.

(Jenni Love and Diane Lucas enjoy the soft trails)
I was well off the splits from the CR I set here in 2010, and suspected that CR wouldn't last the day with these perfect running conditions. I picked up the pace, and it reminded me how much I enjoy the marathon distance, short enough to put it all on the line, but long enough that misjudging your tempo can have dizzying results. My preliminary 2013 race schedule had a lot of want-to-run trail marathons in the US and Europe, and as I passed the Dunlap aid station (mile 22) one more time, I decided this was the year to do them. Zermatt, Chamonix, Italy...a year with no night running! Sounds good to me. ;-)

(Go, go, go!)
(Alyssa Berman lets gravity do its thang)
I found an extra gear on the last descent, but could hear a runner closing in on me fast. It was Elizabeth! And she wasn't going to let me get away with a lazy finish chute photo. It took all I had to keep her a shoulder length back and we finished in 3:55 for 6th and 7th place. Great fun!

(Elizabeth Weil and I refuel at the finish)
We settled down for some soup, snacks, and socializing, and one of the volunteers said "don't you ever get tired of running these trails?". I thought about it, and sure enough, this was probably run #3,400 and something, and each time it feels more fun than the last. Trail running (and trail runners?) never get old! And never get slower too - Bernardo Tapia (3:30) had set a new CR in the marathon, while Penny (3:54) won the Women's division. Gregory Benson (4:16) won the 50k, and first timer Megan Storms (5:43) got the win for the Women! She looked great at the finish...I suspect we will see her again before she tackles Ironman Lake Tahoe this Fall.

(Medals for marathoners, coasters for ultramarathoners)
Thank you, CTR and your wonderful volunteers, for a great race. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!

- SD