Sport

The Mistress of Frimousse runs or does cross-country skiing now whenever she has a few hours free. Running is not a time-consuming activity, whereas cross-country skiing takes almost half a day. The good news is her knee and ankle problems seem to be under control. And she is doing cross-country skiing this afternoon with a colleague of hers.

On Tuesday Elouan took his high school diploma. At Les Saisies! The cross-country skiing race. And it was serious: an oral in the afternoon after the morning race. To recover (!), yesterday Wednesday downhill skiing at the Clusaz, with the high school. Nice weather and good snow.

As for me, my usual little route, with a little bit of snow yesterday morning. This morning I jogged by the Lake. Since I had to run errands, I made the fuel profitable.

News

Yesterday it was raining cats and dogs. Frimousse’s Mistress and Fabien ran 20km to Annecy and back in about two hours. The first time Frimousse’s Mistress has run this distance since the Lausanne half-marathon nearly 6 years ago – and the start of her tendinitis problems ! She is very pleased indeed. In the meantime I walked my usual 4,5km, in the rain.

This afternoon it was hot ! I decided to walk in the mountain up to the altitude of 1050m – starting from 650m. And I jogged on the way down.

Biathlon on top of Semnoz

Yesterday, the Mistress of Frimousse participated in her first biathlon at the top of the Semnoz. A team race for three – with Steph and her husband. It was very cold with a strong icy wind. Cross-country skiing (2x5km) [2×3.2M] went well but rifle shooting was not that good…

Elouan also participated but there were only two, the third, sick, who could not come.

One year ends, another begins

One year ends, another begins. It is only a convention, there are no boundaries between years, nor between months. The year that ends has had its lot of good and bad things. We hope that the year that comes brings more good than bad.

Today Christophe, who injured his thigh while running on Christmas morning, has cycled round the Lake of the Bourget via Rumilly, Val du Fier, Chautagne, Chanaz, Jongieux, the gallery under the Chat, Aix-les-Bains. 91 km. It was not very hot– see photo!

Happy New Year to all visitors, sporty and less sporty.

A lot of water these days!

A lot of water these days! It’s dripping everywhere! The rain doesn’t really bother me but this morning I had, on the advice of the Mistress of Frimousse (1), to postpone my walk to this afternoon because of the wind – gusts up to 50 MPH according to Météo-France.

My “prosthetic” knee has troubled me for a few days. So I’ve started walking again rather than jogging. Frimousse’s Mistress still has her Achilles ankle/foot/tendon problems – it’s all connected. She goes on running though. Fabien her osteopath-physiotherapist who she runs with says that as long as she’s not suffering while running it’s not a problem – our doctor has the same opinion. For Fabien when you run you always feel pain somewhere, if you don’t want to feel pain you just have to sit in an armchair in front of the TV. I agree with him.

(1) Today, she’s baking Christmas biscuits…

SaintéLyon

We have to wait for midnight in a gymnasium. A bit like, when we were kids, we waited for the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Shortly before the time, we head for the street where the departure is given. At the windows, men, women, children in vintage night shirts and nightcaps, carrying candles. They wish the runners “good night”. Midnight. The start is given.

I ran the SaintéLyon twice, in 1993 and 1994. It’s really something to be part of the «bright snake»! So many anecdotes! The first time, a young woman in front of me fell into a huge puddle of mud and… disappeared! When she got up, the mud was dripping all over her body, from the top of her head, like clowns in circuses! The distance is indicated every five kilometers but, at night, it is difficult to be sure of the distance covered from the last sign! Not to lose the way requires an attention of every moment; I met a line of about twenty runners who asked me if I was sure I was in the right direction. Imagine the doubt that crossed my mind! I was in the right direction. The second time I ran with a cousin. Towards the end of the night, on a descending road, I had to wake her up to prevent her from missing the turn and ending up in the barbed wire! There are so many runners that even if you are not in the first ones when you turn around in some places you can see the “bright snake” that the headlights of the runners and walkers draw behind.

I think it took me seven and a half to eight hours to run the 65 km, but whatever! Ten years earlier I never thought it was possible to run from Saint-Étienne to Lyon. And even less than I would!

La Saintélyon is a “night running raid” between the cities of Saint-Étienne and Lyon. It is a very popular running race, either individually or in teams of 2, 3 or 4 people. It is also possible to hike. It is partly done on asphalt and on hiking trails. This race takes place every year on the first weekend of December.

Mobile phone

This invention makes it possible to contact someone in case of difficulties when out in the wild. It also allows through applications like Glympse to be followed by people of our choice. It also allows you to take photos, like the one I took yesterday morning while jogging near Laudon – a torrent that flows into the Lake. Today, Sunday, it has rained all day and as I have a pretty sharp pain in my back I’ve decided to stay home. The Mistress of Frimousse has waited impatiently all day and just before five she and her usual running partner decided to meettfor a short run in fog and drizzle – a little run that will end when it is dark for sure!

Can a plant-based diet provide…

Vegan runners: can a plant-based diet provide what you need to compete – and win?

The number of Vegan Runners club members has shot up in the past three years.

“In 2004, I was the only vegan in the village,” says Fiona Oakes, a multi-world-record-breaking marathon runner. “But now you see vegan runners everywhere.”

An animal lover who set up her own animal sanctuary, Oakes started a running club called Vegan Runners in 2004. The idea came about after she saw the long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe on TV and spotted an opportunity. Oakes was a good runner and thought that, if she got faster, she could end up alongside Radcliffe at the start line of the London marathon, on national television, with the words “Vegan Runners” emblazoned across her vest.

“It was a way of showcasing the cause,” she says. “I’d been vegan since I was six years old. I’d lost my kneecap from an illness when I was 17 and been told I would never run again. If I could do this as a vegan, it showed that anything was possible.”

Back then she was a lone crusader, trying to introduce people to the word “vegan” in a positive way. “Rather than cause disruption and be in people’s faces, by running, I was leading by example and generating interest in a positive way,” she says.

She went on to twice finish in the top 20 in major marathons, with a personal best of two hours 38 minutes, and also won the north pole marathon. Oakes’ powerful example has seen the Vegan Runners steadily increase their numbers over the years. But with the interest in veganism growing, partly in response to the global climate crisis, the club’s numbers have swelled exponentially in the past three years; there are almost 4,000 today, with more than 40 local groups across the country, their distinctive tops unmissable at races.

Club activities vary at each branch, but typically involve weekly training runs and group attendance at events such as local parkruns – usually with a visit to a vegan cafe afterwards.

Understandably, members are expected to be vegan not just in their diet but in their choice of clothing. Oakes says that the expectation is for members to be living a fully plant-based lifestyle.

Mike Exton from Sheffield joined Vegan Runners in June. Although he is vegan, he primarily joined because the training runs were local. “I do find it a little tricky being pigeonholed as a vegan runner,” he says. But he feels more comfortable wearing the Vegan Runners vest now than he might have done five years ago, as veganism has become “less weird”.

“In many ways it’s just another running club,” he says, “though we do tend to chat about food, recommending things to try and getting advice on nutrition.”

Lisa Gawthorne joined Vegan Runners in 2018. She says it is great to be surrounded by like-minded people and that the club forms “a really kind and compassionate running community”.

“I think it’s important to bounce off people who are going through similar things to you and to share experiences,” she says. “This may include tips on nutrition or the best vegan running shoes. It all helps.” Most running shoes that don’t use leather or suede are vegan, but sometimes the glues used in shoes can be made from animal products. The Vegan Runners’ website has a helpful guide to which brands are fully vegan.

Gawthorne has been vegan for 16 years and is an international road runner and duathlon athlete. She believes being vegan has helped her to perform at such a high level. “It improves recovery time, is better for the digestive system and promotes better sleep,” she says. “I have never had as much energy as I have since moving from a vegetarian to a vegan diet.”

Not everyone shares this view. Tim Noakes, a South African sports scientist famous for his promotion of a high-fat, meat-rich diet, says a vegan diet is “incomplete in so many ways”. “In time, a truly vegan athlete will run into trouble unless they are sourcing additional animal-based nutrients – such as vitamin B12, iron, choline and probably high-quality proteins – from somewhere else,” he says.

Dietitian Renee McGregor, who works with international ultra-runners, says that while it is possible to be vegan and a good runner, it needs a lot of careful planning. “In my clinic, many of the athletes that come in with relative energy deficiency have become vegan,” she says, adding that the high intake of fibre more common in a vegan diet can impact the absorption of nutrients such as iron and calcium, as well as displace energy intake.

There are not enough long-term studies to show how vegan diets impact athletic performance, which leaves us with a battleground of anecdotal evidence. Some of the world’s leading long-distance runners swear by the meat-heavy diet promoted by Noakes, while others are vegan, spearheaded by the legendary ultra-runner Scott Jurek, whose seven consecutive victories in the most competitive ultra-marathon in the US, the Western States 100-mile endurance run, make the case that a vegan diet doesn’t have to be incompatible with running.

For Oakes, proving this to the world is what gets her out of bed on cold mornings. “It gives me a reason to get up and train,” she says. “To show what is possible, and to promote what I believe in.”

From The Guardian, Nov. 2019