Archive for Argentan

Argentan half-marathon [1:26:03, 22nd/329, 4th V2/63, 15⁰]

Posted in pictures, Running with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2018 by xi'an

Despite failing to reach the podium this year in my V2 category, a predictable first as I get closer to move to the next category, V3, or “senior grandmaster”, and missing by a few seconds my 1:25 target, I was rather happy with this half-marathon, having run at my pace the whole race, with none of the low passages I had in previous races and instead feeling quite well in the last kilometers, where I left the first female runner. Weather was perfect, with no sun, no rain, and no wind in the second half. The three V2 runners in front of me were much faster (1:22, 1:24, and 1:25:21) than those of the previous years, an illustration of the law of small numbers found in these races…

at the station [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by xi'an

art brut

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2016 by xi'an

Norman sunrise [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , on October 16, 2016 by xi'an

Argentan half-marathon 2016 [1:23:28-23/380-V2 2/74-16⁰]

Posted in Running, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2016 by xi'an

And yet another Argentan half-marathon! Which started this blog, so to speak, 8 years ago… Although I could not repeat my feat at the San Francisco half-marathon, as I had lost my high altitude benefits, I managed well enough, with a good overall time of 1:23:28 and a second place in the V2 category, once again. I gained more than one minute from last year time, despite a strong face wind and thanks to sticking to a small group of younger runners. This is one of my best times since the start of the blog in 2008, so I am clearly very happy with the result. And plan to celebrate tonight with a top Montpellier wine!

cheating in long-distance running

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2016 by xi'an

This morning, I was reading at breakfast a NYT article on a presumed cheat by the winner of the 2015 Ironman Canada race, in the category of women ages 40-44… (This gruelling race takes place around Whistler, with a 2.4-mile swim, a 112 mile bike race with a huge differential, and a complete marathon!) Leading to reassess earlier victories by the same runner and ending up by her being barred from running in Ironman and Triathlon Canada races (and loosing her title for the 2015 race as well). This reminded me of Darren Wraith pointing out to me an article in Runner’s World where an independent volunteer was checking times of road-runners across the US towards detecting inconsistencies in split times and between races, or in pictures at alleged split times, eventually exposing a significant number of cheaters that had been undetected by the organisers. While I find the temptation to cheat less of a surprise than the article authors, even when nothing more than local and much temporary fame is at stake, and particularly so when a podium or a selection for a more prestigious race is at stake, the limited involvement of race officials is an issue, given how easy it is to spot those inconsistencies. Actually, it is ridiculously easy to cheat as well: when I ran the last Gertrude Cox scholarship race at JSM in 2009, my wife and I picked our tags together and ended up switching them by mistake. Which made my wife the female winner of the race until I pointed out the switch later that afternoon to the organisers. And spoke with the true winner who was surprised but unsuspecting at not being the winner. This may well be a reason for the phenomenon to be so widespread, namely that it does seem to make sense to try to cheat for a middle-of-the-pack rank, so little sense that one does not bother to voice suspicions to course officials. For instance, when I ran my most recent half-marathon in Argentan, I crossed a runner coming backward on the course route around the 11th kilometre and thought he had either given up or was acting as a pacemaker for another runner. Later I however spotted him during the awards ceremony in the first ten runners of the half-marathon! But did not do anything as I was not 100% sure it was the same runner and as being on the podium was the only reward of a possible cheat… In addition, there was no split time and hence little if any hard fact to back up my story. Maybe I’ll pay more attention on the next race!

Norman restaurants [Ivan’s star]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2016 by xi'an

Visiting relatives for the New Year break, I had two wonderful opportunities to sample chef’s restaurants in Normandy. One was Ivan Vautier’s IV in Caen, who had recently lost one Michelin star out of two, but seems to deserve two from the quality of the food and service we received for lunch. For instance, this poached egg… (Definitely above the X I tested twice in 2015.) Plus a great touch of connecting with the local producers, whose pictures were posted in the entrance to the restaurant. The second restaurant was Pavillon de Gouffern, located in a forest near Argentan (and almost on the path of my traditional half-marathon). Worth recommending if only for the setting, in a former hunting lodge, superbly quiet with great views. Plus a well-made scampi risotto, ultimately creamy. And a wide collection of local pear-ciders.