Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Terrible Idea

I just had a terrible, absolutely terrible, idea...

Stolen from:

What's a Fat Ass?

So, what's a Fat Ass? Well, other than a common physical trait among most of the participants it's a term used in the ultra-running world that means that the run isn't an official event.

This is an official Fat Ass event, which means that it's not an official event. There are:

* No entry fees
* No T-shirts
* No awards
* No sponsors (including CRRC - this is simply a non-event being organized by a club member)
* No aid stations (bring your own fluids & nutrition)
* No road or trail closures (so obey all normal trail etiquette and traffic laws)
* No time cutoffs
* No cheering crowds...don't show up if you're expecting tons of spectators (other than funny looks from passersby)
* No bitchin' or whinin'
* No wimps
* Plus, this one will likely be cold, windy, and maybe even icy if conditions are normal for that time of year

Wow, that sounds terrible. What is there?

* A date, time, and place
* A course or route
* Bragging rights
* Good people
* Great fun
* Possible social events following the run at a local food/drink establishment

Since it's not an official event it also means that that anyone that wants to participate is welcome. If you want to participate in this Fat Ass but don't want to run 50K (let's say you want to run 5, 10, or 20 miles) that's OK since it's not an official event. Just don't claim that you did do the 50K or you'll get a Fat Ass Whoopin'.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One of those runs

I've had some good runs in my day...yesterday was one of the best.

In my book you can't beat one of three conditions for running: snowing, a beach or a nice rainstorm. Rainstorm sans thunder, lightning, hail and tornados, of course. Yesterday I got the rainstorm.

I met Ben and Sophia at Shawnee Mission Park at 6. I had planned on the beginners run, which starts at 7, but since they were running at 6 I figured I'd just do both. We hit the MTB trails as a nice steady rain was falling. Not too hard, not too soft, just right.

It was fabulous. The trails were sturdy yet just slick enough so you had to fight for your balance. The three of us did one lap, stopping midway to admire the new trail being put in by the Earth Riders (I think) back on the North side of the trails. The addition of the second trail is going to make a 10-mile run back there possible.

We got back to the trailhead just after 7. There was one additional car in the parking lot so I headed back into the woods to see if I could find whoever it was that had shown up. I enjoyed every step of that run. No iPod, just me and the woods. It doesn't get much better than that. I had boundless energy.

It was just the kind of post-MCAT run I needed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A different kind of ultra

I'm currently in the middle of a different kind of ultra...yet one that can be easily related to a 100-miler. Or, maybe, 10 100-milers, on consecutive days.

I take the MCAT in 8 days. 8 am, on the 17th. I've been getting ready for this, more or less, since June of 2007 when I sat down in that summer chemistry class and began this long journey. It's been quite an adventure.

I've spent the last month and a half (since Jemez Mt) studying at least 2-3 hours per day for this test. Over the past month I've been putting in more hours - somewhere in the 4-6 hour range. The last two weeks, it's been even worse, in the 10-12 hour range.

The last few weeks have been quite analogous to a long race. I'll start a day out strong, trying not to think about all the work ahead of me. I'll start to get tired, take some breaks and try to re-focus. Then I'll get really tired and start setting small goals for myself; get through this next section, run halfway up this hill, etc. Past a certain point it all becomes a mental game you have to play with yourself. Eventually I finish each day and I find it hard to remember what it felt like throughout the day, I just know how it feels to be done.

The analogy extends to other people (racers) also. You come across people who seem to be so prepared for the test. They don't even seem to have to try and they exude an air of confidence that you wish you had and wonder if you could have developed given the right training and preparation. There's others who you're wondering why they're even toeing the start line, thinking there's no way they're ready, why are they even here?

I guess it'll end just like an ultra too. Some of those folks who looked so good at the start won't even make it halfway. Others who you wouldn't have put a dollar on finishing will end the race with their head held high, looking strong and ahead of most in the field. You'll still wonder how they did it after the race.

You'll finish also. You'll run your own race, doing what you need to do to get you to the end in one piece and in a respectable time. There wouldn't have been a doubt in your mind that you would finish, you know your preparation and hard work were a good foundation to run your race off of and all you have to do is show up race morning somewhat coherent and with a couple pairs of shoes. It'll be a fun race.