Monday, December 28, 2009

Lost California Runner Found Near Mt. Tam

The lost trailrunner did a few things right that helped him survive his ordeal. Among them, remember to always tell someone where you're going and also stay put once you realize you're lost and the sun goes down.

Trail runner rescued during stormy night near Mt. Tam

A man who went for an afternoon run Saturday in a wooded area south of Fairfax was found
muddy, wet and shivering uncontrollably at 11:15 p.m. by three members of the Marin County Sheriff's search and rescue unit.

Guy Stark, 50, of Concord, had become lost and disoriented while running on Cataract Trail near Alpine Dam in the Marin Municipal Water District watershed, said Michael St. John, the search and rescue unit leader.

On Sunday, Stark had nothing but thanks for his rescuers.

"I was really happy to hear a human voice," he said. "I was amazed. I had given up hope. I don't know if I could have survived the night."

Four MMWD rangers and 34 search-and-rescue members hunted for Stark after his family reported him missing at 9 p.m. A command post was set up at Sky Oaks Ranger Station on the north side of Mount Tamalpais. Rescuers with all-terrain vehicles, a boat team and nine trail assignment teams combed the area as temperatures dipped into the low 40s.

At 11:15 p.m., Stark was found on the Helen Markt Trail on the southeast side of Alpine Lake. St. John said he was hypothermic to the point of uncontrolled shivering and was "very much in need of rescue." He was able to walk out with the assistance of the team.

"He was probably only a quarter or half a mile from his car as the crow flies," St. John said.

St. John said Stark did some smart things, such as letting his family know where he was going and hunkering down on a trail after it became dark rather than wandering. However, he left his hooded sweatshirt, cell phone and a hand warmer in his car, thinking he wouldn't need them.

He was wearing running shorts and a lightweight running shirt and had no food or water. He told rescuers that he had never before run in Marin County.

Stark had parked his car at the Cataract Creek Trailhead and started his run at about 2 p.m. He got lost - blaming his sketchy map and sub-par signage - as daylight faded and decided to stay put because of near-zero visibility.

Stark told rescuers that a shelter he'd built next to the trail worked well during the first splash of rain but not so later on. Along with the cloudbursts, thunder and lightning, Stark said he was spooked by thoughts of unwanted visitors.

"At first I was thinking about mountain lions, so I got a big stick," he said. "Then I convinced myself that the cats wouldn't be out in the rain looking for food. Plus it's hard for them to smell anything in the rain, so I started calming myself down."

A few minutes after an intense shower, he heard voices. It was search-and-rescue team leader John Channell with teens Chris Ottoboni and Ben Cook.

"I didn't think anybody was coming out because it was treacherous and rocky and slippery," Stark said. "When I first heard them, I thought they were partiers or campers because I was sure that nobody would risk their own lives to come out here looking for me. They deserve a lot of credit."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good Trail Running Resources

This is from

What Are Your Favorite Trail Running and Ultrarunning Resources?

We've got a simple question for you today: What are your favorite trail running and ultrarunning resources? Are you a print person who can't wait for the mailman to deliver the latest issue of Trail Runner Magazine or UltraRunning magazine? Are you the social sort who relies on personal blogs, the Ultra listserv, or Facebook? Are websites your thing, you internet junkie, you?! Regardless, please leave a comment to share you favorite sources of trail running and ultrarunning info. We'll get you started with a few of our own!

Trail Runner Magazine - Simply the best trail running magazine in the US. It's page host a wide variety of interesting stories ranging from the growth of ultraunning to pre-race sex. Yes, it's One Dirty Magazine.

UltraRunning - What Trail Runner Magazine is to trail running, UltraRunning is to ultrarunning... that is THE magazine on the subject. It's a repository of race reports, but there's also plenty of other content if results aren't your thing.

Running Times - Adam Chase has been bringing together great trail running content in RT's Trails section for more or less a decade. As a bonus, Running Times has the best running training advice of any running mag out there.

Honorable Mention: Trail-magazine IS in German, but you don't need to read German to enjoy the trail porn worthy images in this e-magazine. We can't help but enjoy reading Outside's Buyers Guides.

Social Media (New and Old)
Ultra Listserv - The ultra list might be older than the internet itself... or at least it seems that way. Regardless, it and its archive are great resources for aspiring and experienced ultrarunners alike. Be aware that the List serves up an enormous volume of email on everything ultrarunning. We'd suggest setting up a separate Gmail account if you subscribe. (If you want to know more about the Ultra List, check out Endurance Planet's podcast on the subject.)

Facebook - Facebook has become ubiquitous enough that we feel comfortable mentioning it. While there are a ton of trail running and ultrarunning resources on Facebook, our favorites are Salomon Running for its witty discussion points and Trail Runner Magazine, which mixes informative posts with discussion starters.

Blogs - We're not going to list our favorite personal running blogs. Instead, we mention them generally. They run the gambit from informative to inspirational. Heck, we challenge you to go read a new personal running blog today. Looking for leads, check out our blogroll.

Websites - Trail Running Soul has long been aggregating lots of trail running news stories, gear reviews, and even some video. It's updated quite frequently and recently there's been more original content. - It's where we go when we're looking for info on a North American 100 mile race. - Real Endurance has a fairly comprehensive ultrarunning calendar that's sortable every which was and a pretty hefty trail running blogroll. The only question with Real Endurance is can you find the good stuff among the volume.

Trail Runners Outpost would like to add: offers race listings and information about multi-day racing.

A Trail Runners Blog is also a very good site for trail running info and interviews with cool people.

Also, a couple of sites that have race listings and offer online registration that are really good:

Wrap Up
Ok, now that we've shared a few of our favorite trail running and ultrarunning resources, we'd love for you to do the same. Throw out a couple of your favorite websites, blogs, magazines, whatever. Not in North America? Even better! Tell us where the great info is overseas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

XTERRA Trail Running World Championship Half Marathon Video

Video from the 2009 XTERRA Trail Running World Championship in Hawaii.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Mile with Two of the Fastest Trail Runners in the World

Video detailing one mile with two of the fastest trail runners in the world - Uli Stiedl and Geoff Roes at the 2009 North Face Challenge Championship race in Marin County, CA. Winner takes home $10,000. And yes, that uphill they're running at the start of the video is pretty steep.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Barefoot Running Shoes

Dr. Jenny Sanders interview with Podiatry Today.

Have you seen an increased demand for shoes that simulate barefoot running?

Yes. Questions about barefoot running seem to parallel the introduction of new barefoot running shoes into the marketplace. The most common I’ve seen in my practice include NikeFree, Vibram Five Fingers and Newton Running.

NikeFree was the first introduced in 2004. At the time, Nike who was sponsoring Stanford’s track team discovered that some of their training had been done barefoot. Stanford’s coach at the time, Vin Lananna felt that barefoot training reduced injuries and improved foot and ankle strength. Seizing an opportunity, NikeFree was developed. Basically it has a soft, non-supportive cloth upper with a wide, cushioned midsole having deep grooves to enhance flexibility.

A little slower to catch on has been Vibram Five Fingers, which were introduced in 2005. Vibram originally designed these to be worn while yachting and was surprised initially that anyone would want to run in them. Once they discovered this however, this shoe with individual toes became mainstream.

Newton Running was developed in 2007 and is similar to NikeFree in appearance but provides more forefoot cushion. It was designed by Runners and is heavily endorsed by runners. The shoes are expensive and cost between $150-$200.

Other than the debut of a new barefoot running type shoes, Christopher McDougall’s recently released book entitled Born to Run, has re-ignited the barefoot running controversy.

Chris is an ultrarunner and writer for Men’s Health. His book is a page turning, entertaining read about his own personal journey of barefoot ultrarunning, which started, with the simple question of “why does my foot hurt?”

It chronicles Chris’s introduction, training and subsequent 50-mile treacherous run with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. The Tarahumara are a legendary tribe known to run hundreds of miles at a time while only wearing sandals. In it he vilifies running shoe companies, podiatrists, sports medicine specialists and orthotics as the cause of running injuries. Looking below the surface however, I was able to appreciate the book for it’s historical accounting of barefoot running, ultrarunning and Chris’s analysis of running form. I also think it will stimulate conversation and better scientific research into the question is there an optimal running form and is it the same for everyone and every foot type?

In regard to shoes that simulate barefoot running, what in your clinical opinion are the biomechanical strengths and weaknesses of these shoes in comparison to conventional running shoes?

Barefoot running shoes are designed to promote forefoot contact over heel contact. This does two things. One, it reduces the impact of heel strike, improving shock absorption throughout the midfoot and forefoot. Two, it alters the center of gravity forward with the feet being better centered below the hip, which is a much more stable alignment.

My problem with barefoot running shoes isn’t with the biomechanics of the design but rather the concern that runners will see this as the newest fad and train without proper conditioning or assessment. It doesn’t matter whether you are wearing NikeFree 5.0 or Nike Zoom Structure Triax +12. If the running shoe isn’t a match to your foot type and running biomechanics, injuries will occur.

I also think in addition to shoes, too many runners have not been adequately coached in proper form. The best running shoe design in the world coupled with poor running form has little chance of benefiting a runner. ChiRunning, Pose Tech Training and Evolution running are all running methods which simulate barefoot running form and are often helpful in reducing or eliminating injury.

Are there other considerations Podiatrists should keep in mind when asked for recommendations of these shoes by patients? Are there certain foot types that would prohibit use of these shoes?

When asked by patients about barefoot running I say it may have a place in an overall training strategy, but based on most of the patient’s pathology I see coming through the door, few would benefit from this as a primary treatment. In fact I have taken quite a few runners out of these styles of shoes because they caused injury. It amazes me that so many experienced runners (triathletes, marathoners, ultrarunners) who presumably know everything about their running are oftentimes clueless when it comes to their shoes. They are sponsored by a particular shoe company consequently have to wear that company’s shoe and no one has really ever analyzed whether it’s right for them or not. Or, they have run in the same shoe for the past 10 years but never realized that the shoe design has changed so dramatically during a version change, that in spite of the name being the same it’s not the same shoe.

In your experience in treating athletes, are there particular brands of these shoes that simulate barefoot running that you have found to be effective?

The few patients I have who use these types of shoes as well as readers of my blog find that Vibram Five Fingers are really the only shoe that simulate the true feel and biomechanics of barefoot running. NikeFree and Newton Running seem to be losing ground in the battle of barefoot running shoes. However, I’m sure as time goes on, more and more shoe companies will jump on the barefoot running bandwagon and incorporate even more designs and styles into their manufacturing lines.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Is Barefoot Running Beneficial Or Detrimental?

More reading about the barefoot running debate. From Podiatry Today.

By Lauren Grant, Assistant Editor

With the emergence of new research and more footwear that simulates barefoot running, the debate seems to be intensifying in the podiatry community about the merits of barefoot running.

In a recent study, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, researchers assessed eight experienced barefoot runners and found that barefoot running led to more plantarflexion at the ankle, which facilitated a reduction in impact forces and shorter stride length. The study authors also found that a lightweight shoe (FiveFingers, Vibram) was “effective in imitating barefoot running conditions while providing a small amount of protection.”

Another recent study, which appeared in the Journal of Biomechanics, found increased eversion of the forefoot with barefoot locomotion. The study authors also noted that shoes “restrict the natural motion of the barefoot” and “impose a specific foot motion pattern” during the push-off phase.

Assessing The Biomechanical Strengths And Potential Drawbacks

Could the emergence of shoes that simulate barefoot running have an impact? Two podiatrists see pros and cons with these shoes when it comes to biomechanics and the training regimens of athletes.

“Increased torsional motion of the foot will likely stimulate activity of the intrinsic musculature of the foot,” explains Doug Richie, Jr., DPM, a Past President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. “Stronger intrinsic muscles in the human foot could conceivably improve foot function and efficiency in running gait. However, this has not been proven in any credible scientific study.”

Jenny Sanders, DPM, says barefoot running shoes are designed to promote forefoot contact over heel contact.

“This does two things. It reduces the impact of heel strike, which improves shock absorption throughout the rearfoot and midfoot,” notes Dr. Sanders, who is in private practice in San Francisco. “(These shoes) also alter the center of gravity forward with the feet being centered below the hip, which is a much more stable alignment.”

In terms of potential weaknesses of these shoes, Dr. Richie says a lack of cushioning may increase the risk of certain injuries. In his clinical experience, he has seen many running injuries that were “impact-related and could be related to shoes with poor cushioning.” However, Dr. Richie concedes that the literature is inconclusive on the cause-effect relationship between impact and running injury.

He maintains that the lack of torsional stability in minimalist shoes will likely put strain on the plantar aponeurosis and increase the risk of plantar heel syndrome. Dr. Richie adds that the lack of heel elevation in these shoes will cause eccentric loading of the Achilles tendon and calf musculature. “In runners who have not adapted to this footwear design, the risk of Achilles tendon injuries could be expected to increase,” notes Dr. Richie, an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Biomechanics at the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University.

Dr. Sanders says a significant concern is the possibility that runners may see these shoes as a new fad and train without proper conditioning or assessment.

“If the running shoe is not a match to your foot type and running biomechanics, injuries will occur,” notes Dr. Sanders. “In addition to shoes, I think too many runners have not been adequately coached in proper form. The best running shoe design in the world coupled with poor running form has little chance of benefitting a runner.”

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Video of Trans Zion Traverse

Video of Jared Campbell and Karl Meltzer's 2008 Zion Traverse Adventure:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jared Campbell's and Christian Johnson's Recent FKT on Trans Zion Traverse

From Jared Campbell's blog:

Spectacular view from the West Rim Trail, looking West

Two weekends ago Mindy and I had a few dreamy days in Zion National Park. The weather was perfect for running and the forecast was more of the same through the following weekend. So, on a whim I decided to get off my lazy butt and run the Trans Zion Traverse (TZT). With just a few emails I had two good friends, Jay Aldous and Christian Johnson, sign up for the journey. Christian’s experience of Zion thus far had been the standard tourist trails and sites so I was excited to show him this incredible run. Plus, he’s running the HURT 100 in January so this would make for a great training run for him.

Jay Aldous in Hop Valley

After stuffing ourselves with a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner Mindy and I hopped in the car and drove down to Cedar City where we quietly snuck into the hotel room that Christian and Jay were staying in. At 6AM we woke to some fine gas-station coffee compliments of Jay, quickly packed our stuff, and headed out, bound for the Kolob entrance of Zion National Park. Just after 7:00 AM we left Lee’s Pass down the La Verkin Creek Trail. We reached the Kolob Arch trail intersection in about an hour and started the small climb up into Hop Valley. We were moving quite well and enjoying good conversation. Jay shared some stories of his past endurance activities, which really are amazing. For example, back when I was in diapers, Jay was into REALLY long distance cycling. He tackled a circumnavigation of the lower 48 United States, and then moved on to set the record (which stood for 18 years!) for circumnavigating…. the entire globe! Something like 13,000 miles in 100 days. Jay is an amazing guy. And, at 48 years old, this year he pulled off a 22:03 at the Wasatch 100 after taking a 26 year hiatus from the race.

Christian and I have done several small runs together in the past few years and is the kind of guy that I knew I’d enjoy being with on a longer adventure. He is one of the nicest guys I’ve met and is an incredibly talented runner. In just a few years of trail running he has climbed to the top! Like Jay, he also has a background in road riding, but fell in love with the simplicity of trail running. I’m excited to watch Christian crush it at the up-coming H.U.R.T. 100 in January, where I predict Christian to go sub-24 at this brutally hard course.

So, needless to say I was in great company. I was incredibly excited for this run, but was honestly quite ill-prepared given how little and how inconsistently I had been running in the past few months. So, I’d have to “BS” this one.

As we settled into the northern end of Hop Valley, the temperature dropped to somewhere in the high 20s (guess). The river was frozen and the sand frosted on-top. This really is a nice and peaceful section of the run, very flat with beautiful view all around. We made good time down the river valley and then made quick work of the climb up and out of it, finally seeing the sun for the first time of the day. We hit the Hop Valley TH and then shifted to the Connector Trail. The Connector Trail was in far better condition that when I did this run about a year and a half ago. We followed it perfectly this time.

Partway up the climb, where it angles towards Pine Valley Peak, we ran into Mindy who was coming down the trail. She informed us that she couldn’t get into the West Rim TH due to the road being closed so she went to the Wildcat TH instead. This meant that we’d get an extra 1.8 mile out-n-back to the car and would have to take extra food with us to make it 31.7 miles to the end. No big deal, but it did cost us about 15 minutes. After fueling up we took off, bound for Wildcat Canyon.

The climb to Wildcat Canyon is low-angled and actually quite enjoyable for several miles. It was at this point that we saw an incredible heard of roughly 50 Elk. We startled them and they took off making the ground shake as they ran up the hillside. We watched in amazement and part of me wished that they’d let me join them, but no such luck. We pressed on to the traverse down to a dry Wildcat Canyon river and then the small climb up to the West Rim TH. Christian and I had pulled ahead of Jay a bit in the last mile or two and we knew something wasn’t right. We waited and he caught up with us and explained that he just wasn’t feeling on today and that we should go ahead with out him. Sometimes you got it and sometimes you don’t. So, Christian and I pressed on heading south-bound on the West Rim Trail.

We did the 5 miles to Potato Hollow in about 45 minutes, moving at a nice clip on the easy rolling hills. The view starts to get really tasty at this point. Whenever I look west from this vantage point I feel as if I’m at an ice-cream parlor and I want a bit of everything. Left and Right forks of North Creek, Ivins Mountain, Inclined Temple…. they all look so good.

As we continued on I pointed out the start of Heaps Canyon, the backsides the Patriarchs, Behunin Canyon, and thought back to the many great adventures I’ve had here in the past few years. The descent from here is awesome and the view just continue to get better and better. Eventually Telephone Canyon comes into view on the left, a canyon that my uncle Ron descended just one week ago. Next, the Imlay Sneak route leaves the West Rim Trail to my left, another great adventure comes to mind. Nearly every step of this trail has fond memories tied to it for me.

It is at this point that one thing changes very quickly…. the number of people! As we crested the next hill, Angel’s Landing comes into view, perhaps one of the coolest trails in the world so I can’t fault the droves of people trying to hike it. We encounter hundreds and hundreds of people and 2 guys immediately jump on our tail as they’re curious why we’re running downhill so fast. We explain that we’ve already logged quite a few miles today and that our objective is to run across the entire National Park in record time. They tell us that they’re marathon runners and are pretty amazed at what we’re doing. It was fun to chat with them for a bit, but both Christian and I were running on empty (dehydrated) and it quickly became too much conversation. So we put the throttle down a bit and left them behind. I had poorly judged the time to run the W. Rim Trail section and had consequently run out of water and I could feel it. So, when I got to the Grotto Aid Station (i.e. spigot) I had to go through the usual routine to “come back”.

After some salt, water, and calories we were on our way running the road up to Weeping Rock where we dropped a gear or two for the climb. Christian pulled on the climb up the many switchbacks while my body re-equilibrated again. At a low-point physically we ran into Mindy who was running the East Rim Trail into the park, which lifted my spirits greatly. One gel and one Mindy encounter and I felt great again! We grinded up to the top of the plateau and then onto Stave Springs. Just a few hundred yards after the Spring and I stopped dead in my tracks as there was a beautiful Bighorn Sheep just 50′ ahead, staring us down. We watched in amazement of this great animal. He came towards us a bit and then decided to leave the trail we were on. wow!

Christian at the end of our great Trans-Zion Run

Eventually we reached the high-point where we put it in high gear and ran to the end. 9:08 was our official time, good for a new FKT (Fastest Known time), but one that won’t last long. What a great adventure. We jumped in the car (which Mindy had left for us) and drove into Springdale where we had pizza and beer with Jay and Mindy.

Life is sweet. Another stellar adventure in Zion.