Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Pushing The Limit" - NY Times Series Pegs Running Great Matt Carpenter

Starting in September of 2008, New York Times writier Michael Brick has been publishing a series of articles, which he eloquently describes as follows :

"There is a kind of athlete groomed for the field of play, the kind who answers to a coach, who endures the rigors of practice for the rewards of an organized competition. For that athlete the games end after eighteen holes, nine innings, four quarters, three sets or two halves.

And then there is the other kind of athlete who chooses to go it alone, away from manicured lawns or parquet courts. Pushing the Limit, a series by The New York Times, chronicles these athletes who confront an opponent that must be mastered, not beaten: A mountain, a ramp, the wind and the waves, a slope, the city streets, a sheet of ice, a track or perhaps no track at all."
The series has feautred athletes from all walks of life, such as 

  • Charles Victor Tucker III, "the harmless and stoned jester of the mountains to some and the scourge of Yosemite National Park to others, is better known as Chongo, a rock climber who wrote books on physics and now sleeps under a tractor-trailer" (see "For Rock Climbing Guru, The Sky Is His Roof");
  • Todd Palin, husband of Gov. Sarah Palin, and racing partner to Scott Davis, who has won seven championships in the annual Iron Dog contest (see "Racing's Last Fronteir").
At last, Brick's fantastic series has reached the running world.  Published in today's edition of The New York Times, "At 44, a Running Career Again in Ascent" looks at the resurrection of the running career of Matt Carpenter, "the grand paladin of high-altitude distance running", a man whose resting heart rate is said to have been measured at 33 bpm, and whose VO2 max was tested at 90.2 - "perhaps a record high for a runner. Only Bjorn Daehlie, a Norwegian cross-country skier, has scored higher. Lance Armstrong recorded an 81."

If you get the chance, it is certainly worth a read.


  1. Matt Carpenter is a true mountain goat :-)

  2. Thank you sir!!

    I hope you're resting today. It being your B-day and all ;-)

  3. Wow, that does sound like good reading!

  4. Yeah, you know how well I do at mountain runs!! My VO2 max is probably TWO!! haha Oh, well!