13 April 2011

Ultrarunners - we're normal!!

Long time no blog, so may as well start up again with something droll. 
I just had this email:

See below. Looking for weird physical, emotional or personality traits that end up helping with sports

I'm working on a story for that I'm hoping you might be able to help me with. Here goes:

Athletic blessings in disguise: This story is about the characteristics we complain about that actually end up helping us out in our sports. I'm looking for a few other examples from professional female athletes—can be any sport—on one thing about them (can be a personality trait, a physical trait or an emotional trait) that they would normally complain about, but actually puts them ahead or makes them stronger in their sport.

So, from this I am to assume that being an ultrarunner is not, by itself, a "weird physical, emotional or personality trait"

I suppose this is a good thing, and you know as well as I do who to thank: Dean Karnazes. Way to go Dean, your books and TV appearances have made the rest of us appear normal.

Anyways, this isn't a bash on Dean (see the ULTRA list to get your fill of that ongoing, multi-season soap opera), he's a nice guy who I shared some miles with at Leadville one year. However, the wording and concept behind the TV show's requirements made me think that we ultrarunners are not such odd ducks after all. 

That is, until more folks hear about someone like Geoff Roes and think it is normal for ultrarunners to effortlessly squeeze off a 3:41 for 50k. Then when they look at, say, the pedestrian 5:57 I ran at Diez Vista last weekend, they'll think I'm just another lard-butted chump and won't even be asking me to tell them about my experience running 330km in Italy so they can quickly interrupt me to say Yeah, they ran a 10k once, but now they have knee problems otherwise they'd be doing marathons and isn't it cool that the Canucks are in the playoffs wow did you see that guy in the Elvis costume last game he was hilarious.

So like I said, I suppose this is a good thing.... I think I'll like being normal and not being viewed as having a weird physical, emotional or personality trait. Bummer about your knee, though, that's a shame, and no I'm not watching the game, I don't care about hockey and I'm going out for a run. 

In which case I just turned weird again .... I can't win.


Sue said...

Good to have you back blogging Bruce. I see you have the Chilkoot on your list this summer...awesome. Being a past Yukoner I've done it a few times both hiking and running it and it's amazing. Are you hiking or running it? I've got some good friends in Whitehorse that have also done the trail many times so if you need a Yukon local for any info etc drop be an email ( or leave me a message on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that your weird physical trait, which allows you to succeed in ultras, might be the lack of anything ressembling a toenail. Blech

olga said...

Tell me about it. I thought I was doing a great job bringing people into trail ultras by appealing to their hearts. Then DK came and swapped the masses...then young blood came, and we are slow mules who hardly move these days. And HR100 is overwhelmed with lottery qualifiers. Ah, aging and whining...that's life! :)

lonerunman said...

Ha, Olga, you are absolutely right :-)
If I knew all the people I (and DK) was introducing to ultrarunning were so fast, I might not have been so keen on getting them involved! At least all the McDougall disciples who are getting involved these days never seem to finish a race because he rocky trail has pummelled their bare feet to a pulp ;-)

I'm kidding, of course, it is wonderful to see so many others involved in our great sport. Some are faster than we ever thought possible, but once one of them goes beyond the apparent barrier, they show it is possible and others will follow and go even faster. It's pretty cool seeing the amazing times being posted these days.

But that HR lottery...that's another story!

Jude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jude said...

i like your point of view, by the end i was wondering if you had written this off my own

ok, advantage...physically, im stalky, i put on muscle like nothing which i use to always hate as i was always a little heavyset, however, its given me a strong advantage to endure endless miles. I also think growing up with a very (hate to say it)abusive childhood has really hardened my mental abilities to cope with 'discomforts'. These setbacks have given me a huge advantage in the UltraRunning world.

hope that helps.

and i think you're aWESOme (and superhuman) for running 330km through Italy, and GREst work running a strong 50km last weekend :) age is a mindset and an accumulation of lessons.

olga said...

At least you braved the post on it:)


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