The Outside Blog

Skiing and Snowboarding : Running

MINI Paceman Adventure Concept

Say hello to the newest model from the company that brought you the Mini Cooper—the Paceman Adventure concept.

This weird-looking cousin of the Paceman has a truck bed, rugged suspension, and higher clearance than its MINI relative. It also comes with off-road tires, a roof rack with mounted lights, a snorkel, and all-wheel drive.  

Although this Mini is technically a pick-up, it’s also been called a cute, “tiny truck,” and even a “trucklette.” You’ll have to decide for yourself if you’d be willing to replace your Toyota 4Runner.

Unfortunately (or not?), the Paceman Adventure concept won’t ever go into production. It’s a one-off project from a group of MINI apprentices who worked on it at BMW’s German factories.   

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9 Questions with Joan Benoit Samuelson

Thirty years ago, a 27-year-old Joan Benoit ran through a tunnel into the L.A. Coliseum and won the first women’s Olympic marathon with a time of 2:24:52.

“I was living a dream,” says Benoit Samuelson, who had set a world’s best time at Boston the previous year. “I found running very accessible and affordable. It allows me to prioritize what’s going on in my life; it gives me time to breathe; it gives me a sense of well-being.”


Her big marathon victories, combined with her winning attitude, ignited a running boom among American women—a demographic that has continued to embrace the sport with more fervor and passion every year since.

According to, of the 180,000 marathon finishers in 1984, 34,200 (19 percent) of those were women. By 2013, 43 percent of marathon finishers were women (232,600 out of 541,000). 

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Benoit Samuelson says. “I don’t know what to attribute that to, except I think women understand balance more than men. And if I dare say, I think they’re better at multitasking.”

On the eve of the anniversary of her gold-medal-winning race, Benoit Samuelson took time to reflect on her Olympic marathon, what’s changed since then, overcoming injury, and the best way to eat healthy—making an exception, of course, for her favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (recipe below—you know, in case you want to multitask).


OUTSIDE: August 5 is the anniversary of your win at the ’84 Olympics. What are some of your memories from that race?
I remember that first water stop and making the decision not to take water at that point. I never have a race strategy; it’s very important to run your own race and not anybody else’s. I hadn’t been running in a relaxed fashion—I was taking abbreviated stutter steps—so I just made the decision to bypass that water station and get out of the pack and find my own stride and my own space. Fortunately, I couldn’t hear the remarks from the press corps; I guess they were saying I’d made a grave error and that I didn’t know what I was doing. But deep down, I knew what I was doing, and I had faith in my training and faith in my fitness and faith in my career.

I also remember running on the L.A. freeway all by myself. That was sort of bizarre. Back home in Maine, I run on the backroads where I see very little if any vehicular traffic. I look forward to the day I can tell my grandchildren I ran down the Los Angeles freeway all by myself.

Did you consider having the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles a home field advantage?
Well, L.A. isn’t Maine, but I had a lot of friends and a lot of support out there. I felt totally comfortable. During the opening ceremonies, right after they announced the games were open, the American athletes ran to reach out to the Romanians; they were the only Eastern bloc country that didn't boycott the games. It felt very necessary.

Initially, I stayed in the dorms next to the swimming arena, but because the Americans were doing so well in the swimming events early on, my adrenaline started to flow. I said, “I need to get out of here!” So right after the opening ceremonies, I flew up to Oregon [to Nike headquarters], where I was familiar with all the health community, training facilities, and trails.

I almost missed the flight because I noticed a wooden-toy store in the airport. I was getting married a month after the Olympics, and I saw a little wooden boat with little peg figures in the boat—my husband had built me a skiff—so I had to go in and buy that boat for the top of our wedding cake.



You broke your leg ski racing as a teenager and had knee surgery 17 days before the Olympic trials in 1984. What advice do you have for athletes trying to come back from an injury?
There’s a silver lining in every injury, and sometimes you don’t understand what the silver lining is at the time of injury. But once you start to heal and get back in the saddle, so to speak, you see the silver lining.

I always talk about “the Four Ps”: passion for what you’re doing, patience, persistence, and perseverance. I think those are all applicable to injuries.

What about diet?
I think you are what you eat. I get my nutrition through whole foods, good foods. I eat meat and fish, but free range or organic whenever possible. I’ve never depended on supplements. I have a big garden at home that we can eat out of six or seven months out of the year. I grow a ton of different things, including a ton of blueberries, which are high in antioxidants.

This morning, I finished 16, and I made a smoothie out of blueberries I picked, kale from my garden, orange juice, and a banana. Unfortunately, we can’t grow bananas in Maine, but the smoothie was mostly local.

I discovered coffee when I turned 50 and consider that my performance-enhancement drug of choice. As I aged and became a bit wiser, I could tolerate it. It gives me a little lift and a little buzz.

I try to fuel my body with good food, but I have some weaknesses for sweets. I make a mean oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, which is really an energy bar of sorts, if you will.

How has running gear changed since you started running marathons in the late ’70s? 
Technology and fabric have changed the most. I used to wear these cotton T-shirts, and now apparel really breathes and works with the athlete’s body. Also, the colors are more bold; you feel fast, you feel like an athlete when you wear the color schemes.

With the evolution of apparel and shoes, running is an active lifestyle that people are beginning to accept and really aspire to. I used to not wear capris very often, and now I wear capris a lot because they’re accepted socially, whether I’m at the grocery story, an appointment, or whatever. 


What about the evolution of running shoes? 
In the early ’80s, I wore the Nike Daybreak, but then Nike discontinued it. I was freaking out because I was so used to that shoe. I’d just come off a knee injury, and I was worried about trying something new. But I came home one day and there was a big box on my stairs, and it was a case of Daybreaks that they’d located in Brazil and had flown in for me.

Now I’m wearing the Air Pegasus. I usually find a shoe that works for me, and I stick with it as long as I can. The technology changes, but I stockpile enough shoes so I can introduce a new shoe and alternate that shoe with the shoe I’m comfortable with. If you wear down a pair of training shoes and then introduce a brand-new shoe, there’s a significant difference, and that sometimes leads to injury. If you introduce a shoe or a new technology gradually by trading it out with a pair of shoes that are tried and true, then you minimize the risk of injury.

And technology?
I am a subscriber with Nike+. I call it the tool of the devil. I can’t run with it, and I can’t run without it. I’m always trying to keep my pace below a certain number. Or, if I’m running 9.7 miles, why am I not running 10 miles? Or if I’m running 12, why am I not running a half marathon? That technology was never around when I was first starting.

You’re as competitive today as you were three decades ago. What’s your next race?
This weekend is the Beach to Beacon 10K, which I founded 17 years ago in my hometown. It’s going to feature Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi and several other top Americans, which I’m delighted about.

I have no plans for a fall marathon at this time, but I will run the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco in October. I haven’t missed one yet, and it’s going to be a sad day when I do. I have a streak going. 

I never thought I’d be in the game as long as I have been to date. Nike ran a campaign with me in 1990 entitled “There is no finish line.” I didn’t really understand what that tagline meant at the time, but I went along with it. Now I finally figured out what it means—because I have not found that finish line. 

Joan Benoit Samuelson’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


6 cups ground oatmeal
3 cups unbleached and/or whole-wheat flour
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup softened or melted butter
1 cup safflower or sunflower oil
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup nuts and/or raisins (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together.

Bake in small dollops at 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies.


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Oscar Mayer Wake Up and Smell the Bacon Alarm

For the sake of your waistline, you probably don’t eat bacon every morning. But thanks to new device, you can now wake up daily to its tantalizing smell—without packing on the pounds.    

The Oscar Mayer Wake Up & Smell the Bacon app and device is exactly what you’d expect given the name. Plug the gadget into the bottom of your iPhone, set the alarm, and when it goes off, a bacon smell (accompanied by sizzling sounds) is released.

It's the best of bacon—without the calories—coming to your night stand from the Oscar Mayer Institute For the Advancement of Bacon.

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Disco Hammock from Betabrand

The best way to spice up your next camping trip? Bust out the Disco Hammock from Betabrand. (The company also carries disco-ball shorts, pants, a hoodie, and a tuxedo jacket if you want to go all in.) 

Robert Murdoch, the man behind the sparkly swing, collaborated with ENO to turn its Doublenest Hammock into a rocking world of shiny lights and flared pants, or you know, just a cooler-looking hammock for the woods.

The comfy nest, made from Betabrand's Disconium material, is lightweight and quick drying, and easily supports up to two people. It just might heat things up a bit during your next backcountry adventure.


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Discover the Outdoors in America's Most Secret Town

Earlier this week, the tiny town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, won Liveability’s “Best Small Town” contest for its diversity, education, population growth, health, and civic engagement. Although we agree that the Atomic City scores well in these areas, it’s the area’s outdoor scene that really blows us away (no pun intended). In fact, Los Alamos scored a whopping 84 on Outside’s Best Towns index (see below for judging criteria), on par, per capita, with places such as Missoula and Anchorage.

Here’s what you need to know about America’s most secret town.

Thirty-five miles northwest of Santa Fe, Los Alamos straddles a series of canyons that feed into the Rio Grande Valley below. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains loom on the eastern horizon, and the rugged Jemez range towers immediately to the west. This landscape is particularly gorgeous at the beginning or end of the day, when the sun is rising or setting above one range and reflecting off the other.

It was on this high desert plateau that the atomic bomb was developed during World War II. The crowning achievement of Robert Oppenheimer, the bomb solidified the town’s place in history, and—as the Manhattan Project morphed into the famous Los Alamos National Laboratory—ensured that Los Alamos would remain shrouded in mystery. Today, it remains a town of secret nuclear experiments and over-the-top security, where plutonium is (falsely) rumored to seep into the drinking water and the local science museum boasts full-scale replicas of Fat Man and Little Boy.

{%{"image":"","width":"800","height":"450","caption":"The Los Alamos National Laboratory, where discoveries are made."}%}

Eleven thousand of the world’s best scientists living together in the mountains makes for a very intelligent and diverse (not to mention socially awkward) community. But this culture and brilliance are exactly what set Los Alamos apart from anywhere else in New Mexico—and the world. Well, that and the fact that its location offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. You don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate the 37 percent grade of Pajarito Mountain or the volcanic-rock singletrack that is oh-so-good for mountain biking. 

Here are six Atomic City events to check out:

{%{"image":"","width":"800","height":"450","caption":"JMTR participants receive race shirts and pottery from the nearby Jemez Pueblo."}%}

Jemez Mountain Trail Runs

Held every Memorial Day weekend, the Jemez races—a half marathon, 50K, and 50-miler, now in their ninth year—are considered among the toughest in the country. Technical trails, substantial elevation changes, steep climbs, torturous descents, scree fields, stream crossings, and more—all at altitude—make for a tough but scenic race. Anton Krupicka, who won the 2014 50-miler, called the stretch between miles 45 and 50 “spectacular. A carpety trail traversed along the gently descending ridge for miles and miles at a grade perfectly suited for running downhill fast. Seriously, it is one of the more quality descents I’ve experienced in the sport.”

Runners can enjoy well-stocked aid stations along the way but should carry their own water—the only cups in this race are handmade pots from nearby Jemez Pueblo that runners can claim at the end. “The finish was a perfect example of the intimate, community feel to this event, which was a big reason I wanted to run it,” Krupicka wrote. “Selfless volunteers, tables and tables of very good Southwestern food, and general mirth defined the atmosphere.”

Out of town on Memorial Day? Save the date for Pajarito Trail Fest, held on the ski hill in October. Run 15 mile or 10K under golden aspen and, more often than not, snow.

Refuel: The deli at the Los Alamos Cooperative Market is full of fresh, local, organic options that range from breakfast burritos to green chile enchiladas. Be sure to check out the baked goods, which include tasty treats for vegan and gluten-free customers.

Co-op baked goods and coffee are also available at Fusion Multisport, the only bike and running shop in town.

{%{"image":"","width":"800","height":"450","caption":"Michelle Pederson flies down Pajarito Mountain."}%}


If going downhill fast is your idea of a good time, the inaugural three-day Los Alamos Rock 'n Roll EnduroFest in early August is not to be missed. Start at the top of 10,440-foot Pajarito Mountain and zip down 7.5 miles and 3,900 vertical feet of free-ride and XC trails until you hit smooth singletrack. Then, catch the shuttle and do it all again, or just hang out on the ski hill and enjoy live music and local beer from Marble, Santa Fe Brewing, and La Cumbre Brewery.

Sponsored in part by the Los Alamos Tuffriders (the local IMBA chapter), the weekend also features clinics, guided rides, barbecue, and a kids’ race.

Road bikes more your thing? Don’t miss the Tour of Los Alamos, the oldest bicycle race in the Southwest. 

Refuel: On the ski hill, order a burger from the Pajarito Mountain Cafe and sit on the lodge deck to watch cyclists scream down the slopes. Back in town, stop by Pajarito Brewpub and Grill for a bison burger and one (or more) of the 30 beers on tap.

{%{"image":"","width":"800","height":"450","caption":"The Los Alamos Triathlon is the oldest continually run triathlon in the country."}%}

Los Alamos Triathlon

Like a lot of things in the Secret City, the mid-August Los Alamos Triathon is just a little off: It starts with the bike. But no one seems to mind—now in its 40th year, the race is the oldest continuously run triathlon in the country. Riders start at 7,400 feet at the Walkup Aquatic Center and charge hard to “the back gate,” as locals call the end of lab property on the west side of town. Once back in the transition area, the swim is 400 meters in the highest-altitude Olympic-sized pool in the country, and the run is a mostly flat out-and-back 5K with stunning views of the Jemez on the out.  

Sound too watered down for you? Opt instead for the Atomic Man Duathlon, hosted by local multisport club the Triatomics, with two course options named Fat Man and Little Boy. (To geek out even more on World War II history, afterward visit the Bradbury Science Museum, which offers more than 40 interactive exhibits about the Manhattan Project and the lab’s role in national security.)

Refuel: Ruby K’s Bagel Cafe is just a half-mile walk from the race finish and offers plenty of homemade bagels, soups, and salads. Get the full Los Alamos experience: Order the “Up & Atom,” eggs and sausage topped with salsa and melted cheddar on a green chile bagel.

{%{"image":"","width":"800","height":"450","caption":"Pajarito mountain on the morning of Pajarito Trail Fest."}%}

If shredding powder instead of singletrack is more your style, keep Pajarito in mind during ski season. The snow has not been great lately, but on a good year the mountain has about 300 acres of skiable terrain, including tree, bump, and Nordic skiing. At the top of the mountain, take a rest in the giant blue chair. You’ll have a clear view of the Sangres to the east and the lab below—but that doesn’t mean you'll know what’s going on down there.

Los Alamos by the Numbers

(judging criteria for Outside’s Best Towns index)

  • Population: 18,191
  • Income: $124,335
  • House price: $296,597
  • Unemployment: 3.9%
  • Acres of greenspace within city limits: 84
  • Number of farmer’s markets and how many hours each are open: 1; 5.5 hours/week
  • Miles of trails in the city limits (paved an unpaved): 63
  • Number of breweries, yoga studios, and bike shops: 11
  • Miles of bike lanes within the city: 12.3

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