Santa Barbara Tough Enough


Rant, news (sort of)
July 3, 2021, 7:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sha’carri Richardson will miss the Olympic 100-meters because she smoked weed after her mother died. She’s 21. She didn’t expect her mother to die. Brianna McNeil, Gold medalist in Rio, qualified for Tokyo, had her career ended because two days after having an abortion she failed to answer the downstairs door when the drug tester arrived. And then, to make it worse, she lied: she mistakenly thought the procedure date was the 11th and when the medical records showed the 10th she corrected it. This brought a five-year ban. Oh, to make things more egregious, McNeil, a religious woman, went to her church for solace and counseling, not a psychiatrist, as the CAS (Court for Arbitration in Sport), a panel of lawyers in Switzerland, deemed a required cultural universal. Her five-year ban eliminates both the current the the next Olympics and the intervening two World Championships. She didn’t want to publicly talk about a very private and for her heartbreaking procedure; she spoke to a NY Times reporter to clear her name. Shelby Houlihan ate pig offal (organ meat) in a food-truck burrito and had a test 11 hours later. Pig offal is known to very temporarily—roughly 24 hours—raise nandrolone levels. She’d had eleven other tests in the past year. The Director of the Canadian lab that runs the tests lied under oath about the lab’s data in a previous case. The arbitration clause is binding; no athlete who wants to compete internationally has any choice. Appeals of a CAS decision can be made to Swiss Federal Courts but only on procedural grounds. There are no scientists on the CAS panel, only lawyers. Testing is now so sensitive it can detect one part per trillion. To make that degree of granularity vivid, if translated to time it’s one minute in roughly 1.9 million years. Because testing is so sensitive and the lists of banned substances is so long, and so frequently without empirical data, effectively it is a single lab director who decide whose career should be upended or crushed. The lab director’s main job is to secure sustaining funding; this means the core incentive is to deliver convictions. There is no counterbalance; accusations, which are almost universally convictions, carry no cost to the lab. (The lab director who lied about her data was promoted to a seat on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Board.) Even the head of US testing has said, publicly, that the testing system is corrupt.

Well, in news specifically relevant to Tough Enough, rattlesnakes are predicted to thrive under climate disruption.

When the heat comes, as we know it will, please be safe. Heat is not something to shrug off. Please put more into being aware than into being ‘tough.’



Your perfect running form
March 14, 2021, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I can’t tell you your perfect running form, as it cannot be fit into words.

We use ‘form’ as a noun — ‘your running form’ — unconsciously biasing ourselves to think it’s a thing, an ideal that we should try to approach. It’s not a noun, though.

Pace (think sprinting versus end-of-ultra shuffling), terrain, angle of ascent or descent, time of month for some of you, fatigue level, today’s weight, weather, shoes, clothing, how far you’ve already run, what you did yesterday, surface wetness or dryness, texture, slipperiness, hardness/softness; the reader can add her or his own variations for influences. When enthusiasts instruct on perfect running form, they’re perhaps thinking, ‘Your perfect form when running on a flat unpitted moderately elastic non-slippery non-canted surface with neither wind nor rain nor snow nor excessive heat or humidity, neither speeding up nor slowing down nor turning, with no ground-level impediments nor larger obstacles nor other people nor animals near, nor any tree branches you might bump your head into, and after warming up, but not fatigued, while moving at your mid-high sustainable-for-a-few-minutes pace.’ Click-bait for sure.

§ § §

Of course there are plenty of people who are certain they know what that ideal is, the universal truth of running, and will with complete sincerity tell you. The word ‘natural’ is likely to show up.

This is scientifically unsound: any argument from evolution (nature) is descriptive, not prescriptive; feet are densely innervated nonlinear nonequilibrium dynamical systems that we don’t understand. ‘We evolved to run barefoot’ doesn’t stand up to the evidence that our intermarriage cousins the Denisovans were living on the Tibetan Plateau at least 170 thousand years ago. Human (Denisovan or Neanderthal) tools dating to 300 thousand years have been found in Siberia. Homo sapiens were in Mongolia 45 thousand years ago. We’ve been wearing shoes for a lot of generations. (Noting as well that evolutionary pressure would be centered on standing, walking, squatting, and stabilizing our trunks for throwing far more than on running.) Yes, running is part of our evolutionary heritage. That does not mean constant running without walking is a dominant evolutionary determinant, any more than is dancing, another human universal.

§ § §

Running is a skill, like dancing, so while your ‘perfect’ running form is something you have to continually rediscover from inside, looking at expert practitioners to see whether there are consistent patterns can (possibly) be helpful.

Here is Zola Budd winning the World XC Championship in 1986, running barefoot. She is a heel striker. (The gear icon at the bottom right of the YouTube frame allows you to adjust playback speed; slowing it down makes it easier to see.)

Kip Keino—the most beautiful runner I have ever personally seen—winning the 1968 Olympic Gold in one of the most strategically brilliant races of those or any other Games. Also a heel-striker, even at that extreme-for-us speed.

Sifan Hassan, the dominant runner of 2019, is a midfoot striker.

You can pick any number of elite runners, athletes who have immense volumes of running in their bodies, and find every form imaginable. Please don’t cite the third-dumbest paper published in the modern era under the Harvard brand name. Watch World Champion Tim Cheruiyot.

§ § §

It seems to be human to want a One True Way. It’s heroin to our minds for things to be simple. So here’s the One True Way to Perfect Running Form: Don’t interfere. Let your feet do what they want. They’re virtuosos. Enjoy feeling them.



2020 Tough Enough wrapup
April 15, 2020, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

2020 Tough Enough in the books. All those new course records from the shortened/trail course will have to wait until next year. Thanks to Rabbit for sponsorship.

We sent $1,000 to Direct Relief this year. That’s from all of you, a whole-team effort.

Take care of yourselves, and one another. See you next year.



TE Entries
January 28, 2020, 5:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Tough Enough relay and the ultra will happen on Saturday, 04 April, 2020, starting at 7:00 am (relay) and ‘earlier’ for the ultrarunners, beginning at Toro Canyon Park, near Carpinteria, and finishing at Nojoqui Falls on the far side of Solvang. Teams comprise five or if necessary fewer runners, each running two (or more) legs. Advice for first-time teams (or anyone who wants a reminder) is on the Course Description page. The entry form is here.

Swag is now fully distributed.

Teams
Aching Bad (Marc L.)
Biscuits and Gravy (Erin McC.)
Call AMR (IRTC, Michelle M.) (Three-person team)
C.A.R.E. 4Paws (Isabelle G.)
Fun Bus Returns! (Sara K.)
Get-er-run (Katrin E.)
Hurt and Sole (Erin McC.)
Currently hypocognitive (Sten E.)
JMBLS (IRTC, Bonnie G.)
Modelos Not Coronas (IRTC, Sal S.)
No folly of the beasts of the earth (Molly T.)
Resolute in the jaws of destiny (Tracey M.)
Social Distance Runners (Lisa D.) (current leaders on topical team names)
Still trying to think (IRTC, Kim R.)
The Bald and the Beautiful (IRTC, Joe B.)
Team relay? I thought you said free buffet? (Spencer A.)
(IRTC => Inside Track Running Club)

Ultra
Cooper Atkinson (glad to have you back!)
Rob DeCou
Rachel Entrekin
Martin Pattison
Mauricio Puerto (?)
Ian Seabury
Just Horrible Enough (IRTC, Karla & Billy)



Of interest
July 24, 2019, 5:53 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2019/07/23/episode-17-how-to-make-running-less-painful-and-more-fun/



TE19, TE20
June 17, 2019, 11:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tough Enough gave $400 to Direct Relief International, which believes that while teaching a man (or woman) to herd sheep, shear, card, and weave wool may be great, if he or she is near death from cold just giving out a blanket is also great. (This is not their official motto.)

Course change for 2020: more dirt! Leg 2 will start and end at the same handoff points, but instead of E Mountain Drive and Gibraltar Roads, we’ll take West Cold Spring trail. Same fabulous gravitational pull, but worse footing! The trail emerges onto Gibraltar at the ‘180’ that’s been the handoff since the first running in 1986. The meeting point won’t change but the path between points will.



TE 2018
April 8, 2018, 6:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tough Enough encompasses time, distance, and elevation change, riparian, meadow, oak forest, and mountain-top ecosystems, fire-scarred, flooded, and lush terrain, temperature ranges, and this year visibility varying from twenty feet to twenty miles. Thinking of all the things that have to be going right in our lives to be able to do this, it is extraordinary.

2018 Results

1 Weaver et al., 8:49
2 Who’s Running This Leg? 9:15
3 Are You Ruff Enough? 9:17
4 Austin Panthers 9:17
5 Pain Cave 9:28
6 Blister Sisters 9:32 (first all-woman)
7 A Bunch of Randos 9:45
8 Just Horrible Enough (ITRC) 9:46
9 The Galz 9:59
10 Otto Normalverbrauchers 10:07
11 Safety 3rd 10:15
12 Oh Truck, Where Art Thou? (ITRC) 10:21 (Wittiest name, hon. mention)
13 Kick Some Ash (ITRC) 10:56 (Wittiest name)
14 Happy Feet (ITRC) 11:09
15 Greg’s Groms 11:13
16 Four Girls and a Boy (ITRC) 11:19
17 Crossfit Oxnard 11:37

Karla and Billy of Just Horrible Enough were ‘distributed ultra’ runners, their alternating legs meaning each ran more than a marathon’s distance, and as a team impressively quickly. Ian Seabury was the sole full-length ultra entrant; he showed the common sense for which ultra runners are widely admired by dropping at the Gun Club with a potentially serious foot issue. Ian of course showed no sign of having run more than 50K when chatting with people at the finish.

Modest year for our annual contribution to Direct Relief International (though the event was in the black): $150.



2016 Donation to Direct Relief
April 9, 2016, 10:59 am
Filed under: RUTE event, Uncategorized

The Tough Enough community — that’s you — donated $2,440 to  Direct Relief this year. Particular thanks to Mauricio and Leif for extra donations.

Please write to me or post comments with improvements or tuning you’d like next year. For example, one runner suggested having a 4WD patrol long, hot Leg 6 with water and snacks.

From the Race Director, thanks to Kimberly Burnell and Toad&Co.

On behalf of all of you, thanks to all of you.



TE 2016 notes
April 3, 2016, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Luck. We were there at that time
Long sight from the ridge, over the chaparral, up through the pines
Later, in the valley, California poppies, lupine, wild mustard
Descending Refugio, oaks overhanging the trail, Spanish moss on north-facing hillsides
Sycamores tracking water

 

Good day. The noble-hearted Amigos de Goleta triumph. The JayKays have to wait another year in their attempt to dethrone We’ve Got The Fronk. How close? Sweet Stephanie and her cohort were roughly one-1000th of a percent faster. Ian and John looked not at all as though they’d just run 65 miles; Jon was graceful enough to look tired.

Sincere thanks to all runners and everyone supporting them. I feel fortunate in the opportunity to support you.

Accounting and donation to Direct Relief next weekend.



Results 2016
April 2, 2016, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Commentary and accounting tomorrow.

Soloists
12:23 Ian Seabury
13:23 John Hoenigman
14:20 Jon Zaid
Mauricio Puerto ran 55 but had to zip down to LAX.

Teams
08:18 Los Amigos de Goleta (Mr W. Rossow)
08:36 Why Not!? (Chris L.)
08:46 Trouble Follows Us (Ryan K.)
09:09 The Dillon Panthers (Mia G.)
09:12 We’ve Got the Fronk (Karen B.)

09:12 JayKay’s (Drat. Foiled again!) (Maggie and Kimberly)
09:13 Got the Runs (Oscar D.)
09:28 Inside Track (Kim) (possibly first women’s team?)
09:44 Team Three Generations (Scott Y.)
09:45 Wild Card! (Mike L.)

09:58 Inside Track (Rafael)
10:18 Right Turn Clyde (Matt K.)
10:38 Mount Those Twin Peaks (Eddie M.)
10:48 Without Adult Supervision (Simone K)
10:52 Delusions of Toughness (Valerie T.)

10:54 Atomic Force Awakens (Matt K.)
11:02 Ritardando (Whitney W.)
11:10 Inside Track (Galina)
11:22 Greg’s Groms (Greg L.)
11:29 Inside Track (Craig)

11:31 Inside Track: Joe
11:33 The Hills Have Cries (Jill C.)
11:38 Femmes Fa’trail (Katrin, Sara, Tara, and )
11:44 How Grandma Likes It (DR)
12:07 Inside Track (Erynne)

12:17 Conejos Chasing a Coyote (Diana P-M)

… but first, coffee. (Lauren D.; team ran half-way, had a family event)