Running and Bitter Blood

I have decided to join my 3rd running training group (for a town of only 30,000 people I think we have a least 5 which is pretty cool). This one is the CMBM – Chamonix Mont Blanc Marathon. They were hard to get a hold of – they used to be part of the Club des Sports of Chamonix, but political disagreements meant the two organizations are now separate (but still on ‘friendly’ terms) and they have no website anymore (there is one for the race, but not for the training group). In fact, reading the race site I would have no idea a group of people existed to train together for this event. But I’d heard rumours, and then confirmed them by asking around.

I already go to a group based in Les Houches (meets on Saturdays), and run with 3 other women every Friday.  The CMBM running club were also the originators of the Chamonix Mont Blanc Marathon, (now mostly organized by the Club des Sports with participation from the CMBM) which is a largely uphill mountain marathon along with a completely uphill half-marathon (this is a yearly event and their 10k was my first foray back into racing 3 summers ago) and a 10k ‘introductory trail run’ as well as a children’s fun run. They also participate in organizing the North Face Ultra Trail, the new Trail des Aiguilles Rouges and something called the Monstre Dure which is done for charity and is a very good excuse for running hill repeats … it’s a how many times can you run up the ski hill and back in x hours kind of event.

So this running group focus is going to be on long distance mountain trail running, which is my thing right now. I knew of them before but was a bit intimidated to join them for whatever reason (image that they are all greyhound slim 6 minute mile ultra marathoners speaking incomprehensibly fast French or something sat in my mind for about a year and made me reticent to seek them out). In fact they are a diverse group, with older and younger members, with some quite seriously competitive amazing atheletes (Vincent Delebarre, a previous winner of the North Face Ultra Trail and top finisher in this year’s Trail des Aiguilles Rouges) and others in their 50s and 60s who are there regularly and just keeping fit. The CMBM meets on Wednesdays and seems to first of all be gigantic in comparison with the other groups I run with already (30 people showed up in the pouring rain last Wednesday) and secondly it’s the only one which is an ‘official’ French association.

In France, if you create an ‘association’ you can run it (not for profit) with a bank account and membership fees as well as a ‘charter’ explaining your purpose, tax free without a whole lot of hassle. This is how this club is organized. The other advantage is that since it is an officially registered sports association, once you join you must go for a medical exam, and then you are given an official licence(number) as a club racer. This allows you to easily use this number to register for races here in France (or elsewhere), which famously all races (even 5 and 10Ks) seem to require a ‘certificate medicale’, without requiring you to go in and get another check up or copy of the certificate every time you want to join a race.

So today was my day for the medical. Another cool thing about France. Guess what – the check up was free. Not because of French social security (they never asked for my Carte Vitale) which would have been cheap anyhow (my last one was €26) but because the checkup was run by a doctor associated with the running club, who works at ENSA – L’Ecole Nationale de Ski et Alpinisme (which is the place in France to become a mountain guide or ski instructor). My guess is they are using the data gathered for statistics they keep on athletes in general.

The exam took about 25 minutes and consisted of being weighed (my least favorite bit), measured for height, some odd analysis of my body position (you stand up on a box with a mirror at an angle underneath and he checks if you have spinal curvature issues, bowlegs etc.), a measuring of resting blood pressure and pulse, an electro-cardiogram and a VO2 max test done in ‘submaximal’ fashion (they have a treadmill and mask there but I get the impression this was only used for elite athletes in training) using a stationary bike with a heartbeat monitor. This was a 12 minute test with graduated ‘watts’ of effort required, all while cycling at the same medium rate of 60-70 turns/minute.

The verdict was that for my age (in my 40s) I had excellent endurance (from my cardiogram – not sure what they look at there as I did not get a copy of it), a decent resting pulse (67 which I think is down from when I started distance running a couple of years ago – I think it used to be around 75), my blood pressure was good (120/65), and I had an OK VO2 max of 40 (this factored in not only the numbers from this sub-maximal bike test but my sex, age and worst of all my weight which is my weakness). Well – on some sites any number over 38 for my age is considered ‘superior’ but I look at this in comparison to competitive athletes (78 for Joan Benoit) and will stay with judging it as ‘OK’. 

In conclusion I was told the measurements were all very good save one thing – “Vous etes trop lourde. Est-ce que vous avez mal aux genoux?” – My rough internal translation – “Good lord, you are a fat ass – do you have problems with your knees?” No, not at all I told him, in the 2 ultra marathons I’ve done with 4500m of uphill (14,670ft) my favorite part continues to be running the downhills as fast as I can. OK I was told, you are in excellent shape for endurance, but it would be best if you can lose some weight.

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I Have Found the BEST Dog Food

Yes, I have. What is it? It’s called FOOD. Yep – the same stuff that you eat, and often served raw and something you can easily do yourself.

Read about the best way to feed your pet on websites such as:

Do you think that you are doing the right thing by feeding your dog a ‘premium dry (or even canned) dog food’? The ones that are expensive in the stores? Think again silly people! All you are paying for is more murder of dogs in the name of ‘science’ and a lot of over processed garbage (literally) in a fancy paper sack.

  • First of all your kibble or canned dog food purchase supports the continued vivisection of dogs and cats to ‘study’ the effects of the food on the animals. The ‘effects’ are not always about making your dog healthier either!
  • Secondly it supports a factory farming food industry who simply want to get rid of waste products which they cannot sell on to humans, and which are marked as ‘not fit for human consumption’ (in the USA … supposedly the EU has regulations against using this type of ‘food’ in pet foods).
  • Thirdly the ingredients are heated to extremely high levels, destroying any nutrition that might have been in them to start with. It’s worse than living on a steady diet of canned raviolis or oreo cookies in the end.

And any study done (killing or maiming dogs to ‘help’ dogs … hmm) on the effects of the food is not done to ensure it’s more healthy for them – no – it’s to study things like how to control how much they shit and the consistency of the crap. Think I am kidding? Read the full story I link to below. And with ‘twice a week’ exercise sessions for the lab animals who get to live, you can be sure these lab dogs are not the perfect animals to be testing whether or not the food is good fuel for active high performance dogs.

How to react? Make your own dog food. This will not only avoid evil Chinese ingredients like melamine that recently killed so many pets in North America, but more importantly it avoids the evil dog food industry which does NOT have the best health of Fido in mind when ‘designing’ and testing your dog food on dogs that will never ever live outside the laboratory. I often wonder why they do not test baby food in the same way … Continue reading

Overweight? Hungry? Blame Factory Farming and GMO Foods

As we enter the time of the Fall Harvest, something that I have hypothosized about to myself for years is being proven now in real studies, according to the below article.

I had always wondered if part of why the populations in developed countries were getting fatter and fatter was due in large part to the lack of nutrition in the food that people were eating. My theory was that it should contain less nutrients each year, due to poor soil that results from factory farming practices, chemical fertilizers and GMO crops, making people crave more food in order to get the same amount of vitamins and minerals which their bodies required.

I realize that as well there is a factor of less exercise on a daily basis and more watching of TV, internet, computer and video games contributing to this – but I also see plenty of people who do exercise and remain a bit pudgy and seem to crave a lot of food.

Looking for more reasons to go organic? Look no further  . . . here are some key excerpts from the article:

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Doping Scandal goes to the Beach

EPO, te quiero, grace à toi je serai numéro uno. EPO, te quiero, grace à toi j’aurai le plus beau des maillots… La Plage

I love this video. It’s in French, sung with a Spanish accent and parodies apparently some old soap opera type song shows that were broadcast in France in the 50s with Dario Moreno or Luis Mariano, famous for his role in “Le Chanteur de Mexico” (Mexico’s singer). . The obvious target is today’s bike racing cult of blood doping. It was released a few weeks before the start of Le Tour de France … now bathed in more scandal than it’s seen for years.

Unfortunately on Utube some people who speak Spanish and not French are taking umbrage, as they don’t realize it’s a parody of doping, not Mexico … ah well. Can’t please all of the people all of the time. This same group made another funny spoof video when Zinadine Zidane was red carded out of the world cup for the head butting incident.

Lyrics in English (no guarantees!)

Hi, dom Pedro
Si ?
What is your secret for being so fast ?
You would really like to know, wouldn’t you ?
It is an “especial” potion.
Let me tell you about it ….

EPO te quiero (EPO I love you)
Thanks to you , I’ll be “numero uno” (number 1)
EPO te quiero
Thanks to you, I’ll have the most beautiful of the jerseys.

On the roads of France,
I take advantage of the beautiful day.
I musn’t make too much effort
If I want to win the Tour.
I ride along on my bicycle
Without effort or complexity.
Far ahead of the peloton,
I’m humming this song.

EPO te quiero
Thanks to you , I’ll be “numero uno”
EPO te quiero
Thanks to you, I’m going faster than  ? (a tornado or Don Lado).

When I have a little pump strike (I feel drained)
On my bike
I stop beside a field
Of poppies
So I extract from my flask
An good old medicine

And when comes the end of the stage,
I’m hailed as a hero.
Bravo, Bravo
The champagne, I don’t give a damn about it.
I prefer my EPO.

EPO te quiero
Thanks to you , I’ll be “numero uno”
EPO te quiero
Thanks to you, I’ll have the most beautiful of the jerseys.

Your attention ! Everyone into the saddles!
Each morning, with EPO, get a leg up.
A product of ours the whole world envies.
For you and your bicycle, EPO is what you need.
Thanks to you my EPO.

EPO te quiero
Thanks to you , I’ll be “numero uno”
EPO te quiero
Thanks to you, I’ll have the most beautiful of the jerseys.

I’ll be cuter than Laurent Fignon,
Stronger than Poulidor
And far crazier than Virenque,
And more handsome than Bernard Hinault.
Thanks to you, my EPO.

My PP, my PO, my PP, my EPO,
My PP, my PO, my PP, my EPO

Bitter Lardons Batman! Porky Friends make you Fat!

This article is really funny but scary – Friends who are fat make their friend’s fat (or having fat friends will make you fat) observe scientists – just how can this be considered real medical research? . After all – isn’t everyone in the US getting fat … maybe that’s why it simply seems like friend’s of friend’s get fat. How can they even measure this and not account for all the other factors that might just make any person gain weight? It seems like very odd logic to me – disjointed reasoning. Oh and that advice ‘don’t sever your relationships!’ to avoid weight gain if you have fat friends.

I mean we wouldn’t want to start going really crazy and looking into things like chemical food additives mixing badly with our digestive process or how nutritionally deviod most packaged food is, potentially driving people eating them to crave more just to get the same level of vitamins or minerals their body requires, or anything like that would we? Nooo….let’s blame it on ‘friends’!? 

That concept is very safe for industries – no one needs to stop marketing processed foods that way. I think that industrialized nations are getting fatter populations because the people work less physically demanding jobs and eat crappier food and don’t exercise as much and are addicted to things that do not address the root cause of their problem – like anti-fat pills, fat sucking operations or even nose and boob jobs to improve their appearences rather than daring to change diet or exercise habits. We all talk to friends on cell phones or e-mail instead of walking over for a visit and will sit at home watching TVs, internet and Wiis, not working outdoors or exercising.

 Sheesh. I’m going for a run now.