Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flying Bastards

The world hasn’t quite gotten used to the fact that many people dress up in exotic bright colors with lights and cruise alongside the roads and sidewalks.  It’s like a Mardi Gras parade, but with a whole lot more exercise.
On Monday, I went out for a run with Robert.  We were talking, and there were a few drunks across the street.  ‘You bastards, what the hell are you doing?’  I wasn’t quite sure how to explain the idea of running to a bunch of frat boy drunks.  It’s what the athletic people do to feel good.  I think drinking might be what the frat boy drunks to do feel good.  I’m not really if it feels good, but runners know a lot about addiction.  Of course, I think everyone can agree the effects of two years of running are a lot better on the body than two hundred gallons of beer.  And, I think there might be just as many people who manage to hit 26 bars in a night as manage to run 26.2 miles.  Actually, the former is less common, but I’m not sure why it should be impressive.
So, we run away from the frat boy drunks, and run by God’s Love.  One of the residents yells out ‘Run, Forrest, Run.’  Yep, I’m being mocked by Helena’s bum population.  On the other hand, there are some upsides to this.  After all, some people look at the transient population shuffling their feet and feel sorry for them.  But, now Robert and I know the truth, which is that at least one of them is a feet shuffler, always willing to start trouble because they’ve got nothing to lose.  And, I realize, I just feel sorry for them.  Some drunk transient screaming at passerby?  That’s pretty much as pathetic as it gets.
I can separate out the runners from the non-runners when I tell them about the events that I’ve done.  The first thing that a non-runner does is ask ‘what was your time?’  That isn’t even a fair question.  I’ve ran as strong as I can in events and finished near the back of the pack, ran downright mediocore races and finished near the front.  Run the Governor’s Cup, and you’ll feel like a Greek God of running.  Do the Montana Cup, and you’ll struggle.  Do a 50k, and you’ll finish ten minutes behind the person in front of you.  Running in Montana has temperatures that neither coast has ever heard of, high altitude baking instructions, and no flat section of 26.2 miles in the entire state.  I’ve run over ten minutes per mile pace on the flats, while getting slowed to a crawl by snow, and flown on uphills past the snowline.
Well, I need to give credit to drunk frat boys, where credit to drunk frat boys is due.  Add a good adjective to bastards, like flying, and it becomes an awesome name for a running group.  In honor of overweight drunk frat boys everywhere, we are now the ‘flying bastards.’

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

50 miles, a solstice away

Yes, I get to write about running, or exercising, and try to inspire everybody else to do it.
I am going to sign up for a 50 mile run.  I know I can do it.  I did a 50 kilometer race, and that was in the middle of Montana’s miserable wintertime.  I watched a documentary on Everest, mocked the guy for complaining about the cold.  Started at my place, by the time I hit Lime Kiln, the Camelback’s straw had frozen solid.  Got it thawed out again sometime past the Power Station going up Lump Gulch.  I remember taking off my Brooks running shirt and having it freeze by the time I got it back on.  Clothing isn’t designed to freeze, but somehow, I manage to run in it.
50 miles is a long way.  It takes a decent amount of time to drive, and that’s cheating.  I think a person might get it done faster than a horse.  There’s a big bike ride up York way, that’s less than 50 miles.  No one had any idea how long the thing should take; anything under 11 hours should qualify me for Western States, the disaster example of what happens when a bunch of hippies have to work with the Forest Service.
So, I do what I need to do, now, knowing that June is a long way off.  It’s training from winter solstice to summer solstice, in conditions that scare Everest climbers, running in the dark, running in snow, running over hills, all of it for something that’s months away.
Runners have an addictive personality.  There’s that ability to overcome temporary discomfort for future reward.  It’s the same trait that makes them generally succeed in jobs and school, and likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.  That ability to overcome the first poke, the first inhale of hot smoke, knowing there’s something absolutely amazing to come.
So, with the help of a GPS watch, expensive shoes getting shredded, and wonderful sugar in a packet, y’all get to read about what goes into running those 50 mile races.

Running total for Jan 30: 5.31 miles in 45:15.25 up Grizzly Gulch for 2.55 miles and back, plus some jogging to the starting line.