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Posts Tagged ‘Marathon

“It’s not a matter of ‘Did you break?’ It’s a matter of ‘How far can you make it before you break?'”*…

 

Day 1, 1:42 a.m.: Lazarus Lake, who designed the Barkley Marathons in 1986 (no one finished that year), lights a Camel, signaling the start of this year’s race.

Since 1986, the world’s top ultra-runners have fought to compete in the Barkley Marathon, 100 miles through hellish Appalachian Mountain terrain. So far, only 15 have completed it…

For most of us, the 26.2 miles of a marathon represent the epitome of athletic endurance. For others, there are the ultramarathons, races that stretch to fifty or one hundred miles or more through some of the world’s most inhospitable regions. The Badwater 135 winds through the middle of Death Valley in July. The Marathon des Sables is a six-day, 156-mile race across the Sahara Desert. The Hardrock 100 is a high-altitude hundred- miler amid lightning storms and avalanches.

And then there is the Barkley Marathons.

Officially, it consists of five loops through Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee, totaling one hundred miles, but most participants believe it to be closer to 130. Runners must ascend and descend about 120,000 feet of elevation—the equivalent of climbing up and down Mount Everest twice. And all this must be done in just sixty hours. As of race time this year, of the more than one thousand people who have run it, only fourteen have finished.

It costs only $1.60 to enter. An application must be sent to a closely guarded email address at precisely the right minute on precisely the right day. The email must include an essay titled “Why I Should Be Allowed to Run in the Barkley.”

You must then complete a written exam that asks, for instance, “Explain the excess positrons in the flux of cosmic rays” and “How much butter should you use to cook a pound of liver (with onions)?” New runners, known as “virgins,” must bring a license plate from their state or country. “Veterans”— returning runners who did not finish—must bring an item of clothing. One year it was a flannel shirt. Another year it was a white dress shirt. This year it’s a pack of white socks. The few who have finished the course and are crazy enough to return, known as “alumni,” need only bring a pack of Camel cigarettes…

“An ever-shifting race, designed by a madman,” the story of the Barkley: “The Masochist’s Marathon.”

* John Kelly, Barkley contestant

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As we hit the trail, we might recall that it was on this date in 1984 that Carl Lewis won the long jump at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the second of the four gold medals he won at those Games.

In a career that ran from 1979 to 1996, Lewis won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships medals (eight of them, gold). He is one of only three Olympic athletes who won a gold medal in the same event in four consecutive Olympic Games.  he was voted “World Athlete of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations and “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee, and “Olympian of the Century” by Sports Illustrated.

 source

 

Written by LW

August 6, 2017 at 1:01 am

Your web… Your web on drugs…

 

Spiders routinely spin the sort of web pictured above.  When they are doing drugs, however, spiders’ webs become really interesting…

a web on marijuana

Cannabinoid receptors have been found in non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and even some invertebrates, so there are plenty of animals that react to marijuana. Most of those reactions aren’t that surprising, or all that interesting, though. Dogs and cats act kind of funny and groggy after eating weed (please don’t feed them your stash, no matter how YouTube famous you want to be, though—the stuff can be toxic to them, especially dogs), and monkeys exposed to THC keep wanting more.

Spiders, though, are infinitely interesting when they get stoned because the effects of the drug are clear in the odd-looking webs they build afterwards.

Getting spiders high for science started in 1948, when German zoologist H.M. Peters got fed up with trying to study web-building behavior in spiders who wouldn’t do him the courtesy of working on his schedule. His garden spiders tended to build their webs between two and five a.m., and he asked his pharmacologist friend P.N. Witt if there might be some chemical stimulant that would coax the spiders into building their webs at a more reasonable time.

Witt tried giving the spiders some amphetamine and, while they kept building at their usual hour (to Peters’ dismay), the two scientists did notice that those webs were more haphazard than normal. Over the next few decades, Witt continued to dose spiders with a smorgasbord of psychoactive substances, including marijuana, LSD, caffeine and mescaline, to see how they reacted. Since spiders can’t use tiny bongs or drink from little mugs, Witt and his team either dissolved the drugs in sugar water or injected them into flies and then fed the spiders with them.

The drugs affected the size and shape of the spiders’ webs, the number of radii and spirals, the regularity of thread placement and other characteristics. By comparing photographs and measurements of normal and “drug webs,” Witt and other researchers could see how the different substances affected different aspects of the web and, by extension, the spiders’ motor skills and behavior.

Read the full story– and see webs spun on caffeine and chloral hydrate– at “What Does Marijuana Do to Spiders?

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As we commune with our inner monkey, we might recall that it was on this date in 490 BCE – ironically, as this year it’s Labor Day – that Pheidippides of Athens set out on the run that inspired the Marathon.  Pheidippides was on a mission seeking military support from Sparta in defense against the invading Persian army.  Tradition (that’s to say, Herodotus) holds that he ran the ran 246 km (153 miles) between the two city-states in two days.  The Spartans, constrained by religious law, were unwilling to help until the next full moon.  So two days later, Phidippides ran the return leg alone.

Pheidippides then ran the 40 km (25+ miles) from the battlefield to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon; he uttered the word Nenikékamen (“We have won”), collapsed, and died on the spot from exhaustion.

 source

 

 

Written by LW

September 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

With hope that you will be in Heaven thirty minutes before the devil knows you’re dead…

 

From Liz Danzico and her bodacious blog Bobulate:

Forget what you’ve heard about first impressions; it’s the last impressions that count. Last impressions — whether they’re with customer service, an online shopping experience, or a blind date — are the ones we remember. They’re the ones that keep us coming back. But there’s one kind of final impression that people seem to forget.

The closing line of email — that line that you write before you type your name — has been all but forgotten.

Danzico proceeds to offer a kind of taxonomy of ta-ta’s:

If a closing line can be so meaningful, so important, why are emailers squandering the opportunity, putting no thought in the closing? Time, perhaps, iPhone-finger exhaustion, multi-tasking—they’re all possible excuses. And many times, acceptable ones. We can’t be expected to neatly tie up every email every time. But once in a while, it would be delightful if people applied the same sincerity to the last impressions that we do to first ones.

Enjoy Danzico’s analysis at “Second Chance for a Last Impression.”

Your humble and obedient servant,
(R)D

[TotH to GMSV]

 

As we concentrate on the complimentary close, we might recall that it was on this date in 490 BCE that– because there was no postal service, and thus no facility for sending messages with closings of any level of courtesy or creativity– Pheidippides of Athens set out on the run that inspired the Marathon.  Pheidippides was on a mission seeking military support from Sparta in defense against the invading Persian army.  Tradition (that’s to say, Herodotus) holds that he ran the ran 246 km (153 miles) between the two city-states in two days.  The Spartans, constrained by religious law, were unwilling to help until the next full moon.  So two days later, Phidippides ran the return leg alone.

Pheidippides then ran the 40 km (25+ miles) from the battlefield to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon; he uttered the word Nenikékamen (“We have won”), collapsed, and died on the spot from exhaustion.

Statue of Pheidippides on the Marathon road (source)

 

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