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UTMB TDS: Race Report, Part 3

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program… Right, so I was seriously doubting my sanity going up these hills. I mean, sure, the scenery is great and the tougher the race, the better the bragging rights…. but when you’re gasping for air and your face is practically up the derriere of the person climbing the hill ahead of you (keeping […]

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UTMB TDS Race Report (Part One)

Now that I’m starting to mentally recover from this race I feel like I can start to put the experience into words. Had I tried to write this two days ago, my blog would have consisted of only profanities!! The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) race is thought by many to be the hardest footrace in Europe. Crossing three countries (France, Italy, Switzerland), it covers 166 km with positive altitude change of 9500 m, which is over twice the altitude change of Everest from base camp. Yikes. Luckily for me, by the time I signed up for the race, the UTMB was full and so I registered for a new event as part of the Mont Blanc races: Sur Les Traces Des Ducs de Savoie (TDS). At only 106 km with 6700 m of altitude change, it seemed like I was taking the easy route…. …Or so I thought. Post-race accounts have been reporting that although the UTMB is the longest run in the series of races, “TDS has been designed to be the most technical”. It has also been described as one of the hardest.  I’d like to think that were the case (y’know, to make me look more hard core), but I have a hard time believing that’s true. I did talk to one guy, however, who did both and said that the TDS was harder…but anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s how the race was […]

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Pre-race nerves…

It is almost 1 am in the morning and the alarm is set for 5 am for my flight to Geneva…and then onward to Chamonix for the Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc. Here we are again. Injured and nervous, but itching to run (and praying to the running gods that “it” will just come together on race day). What race am I doing exactly? Video of last year’s Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. Stay tuned. Alone, in the clear air and searching sunlight, we are afoot with the quiet gods, and men can know each other and themselves for what they are. A.F. MUMMERY 

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Space hoppers: the new cross-training technique

Thursday was the annual Staff Day Out for the International Bar Association. Now, you’d think that spending an entire day on a farm playing traditional English school games with a bunch of lawyers would be about as exciting as, well, sitting in a room with a bunch of lawyers (ha)… but not so! We were all split up into teams about a week before the grand event. That’s when the emails and secret meetings started. Suddenly my inbox became inundated with emails written in CAPS. MEET IN THE KITCHEN AT 4PM TO DISCUSS COSTUMES!!!! WE NEED A TEAM NAME!!! We should have named ourselves the Red October with the amount of covert operations going on in the office! There were seven members on our team so we decided to base our name (and theme) around that…The Seven Dwarfs? James Bond 007? We settled on the Seven Deadly Sins… I chose pride. Now, it is easy to find an ugly prom dress outfit with oversized, loud accessories (er, I mean, different from my usual oversized accessories…), but try finding one that is also functional for traditional English games (I still didn’t really know what that meant at that point). There I was on my lunch hour the day before the Staff Day Out, in the change room of a hideously tacky store on Oxford Street (appropriately titled ‘Hyper Hyper’), testing out the range of motion of various nasty dresses as I lunged […]

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High altitude training in Central London?

I’m not fully settled in a new city until I have found My Gym. THE Gym. In other words, my Second Home. In New York, I was lucky enough to have access to an Equinox gym about half a block away from my apartment. Spinning classes, spa services, excellent cardio equipment, juice bar, pool, and — the best — ice pools right next to hot baths. After a workout I would plunge my legs into the ice bath for 2 min, followed by 2 min in the bubble-less jacuzzi (for two cycles). It is one of the best ways to flush the lactic acid out of the muscles and help promote recovery. …But alas, it is tough being spoilt. As I’ve quickly learned, the gyms in London just don’t compare to the gyms of NYC… Except for ONE: the Third Space (www.thethirdspace.com). Now, as I’ve learned using my highly refined wikipedia research skills (is this what I learned in law school?), the term “third spaces” refers to social surroundings separate from the “first space”, being the home, and the “second space”, being the workplace. Third spaces are thought of as the “anchors” of community life that facilitate creative interaction. Author Ray Oldenburg, in his book entitledThe Great Good Place, argues that the defining features of a true “third space” are that it is (1) free or inexpensive, (2) highly accessible, (3) welcoming and comfortable, and (4) usually has food and […]

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Two degrees of separation?

I started work this week at the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association in Central London… The people are amazing and the work sounds fantastic. The hilarious part is that the IBA is located on the top floor of a building FILLED with crappy television producers…not only am I learning about human rights violations around the world, I am also getting an education in bad tv. Did you know that America’s Got Talent was 11th in the ratings last week and Coronation Street has 3.2% of the market share??  Personally, I think forcing someone to watch Eastenders is a human rights no-no in itself… I had my second chance encounter this week. My colleague with whom I share a work sp ace heard that I ran “really long races” and asked if I was an ultrarunner.  Now, as I’ve discovered, the average Dylan (Joe just seems so expected) does NOT know what an “ultramarathoner” or “ultrarunner” is. I’ve had people asked me if I was one of those crazy “ultrathoners”, “uber marathoner”, or my favourite, “hyper runner”. To be fair hyper runner is probably a more accurate description for the sport, but anyway, I digress…. “Why yes, I am an ultrarunner. Do you happen to know someone who does them?” I asked. “Yeah, someone I went to school with actually. This guy, Mark.” Immediately I thought of Mark Mosimann, the only Mark I know, in fact, in ultrarun […]

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Hyde Park Encounter

Ah, jet lag. How long can I keep using that as an excuse to sleep in past 10 am guilt-free? This is my third day in London in my new house and I’m ALMOST settled in. I’ve now got bedding, hangers, all the right plug adapters and a lamp. Unfortunately, I still don’t have the right light bulbs (it is […]

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