Sunday, September 29, 2013

10 Rules of Ultra Running

Before you get your panties all tied in a knot by The Rules, see # 4 and remember that I used my own experience to write these.  Yes, I own a pair of (oh god, shame) leopard print gaiters, see # 7.  I thought I was going to kill myself when I DNF'd the Tahoe Rim FKT last summer, see # 1.  I ran on plantar fasciitis for 9 months and am going stir crazy now, see # 3.  I traded an addiction to nicotine and alcohol for ultra running, see # 2.  I fear the marathon like the slug fears salt (I've only run one road marathon ever and it was my gateway to ultras) see # 5.  Like any good cult, we ultra runners have certain defining aspects, which I present to you without further ado: 

10 Rules of Ultra Running

1. Love the DNF. You were on such a good streak. You were so hardcore. Never a DNF in 8 years! You think that makes you an ultrarunning badass? Think again. Once you've been deflowered you will realize it's the DNF that makes you tough as nails.

2. Do it For the High. Admit it already!  You are as much of a junkie as the next drug addict. So you love the mountains, the serenity...blah, blah, blah. Ok, repeat after me: I love the pain, I love getting into my head and ignoring my body, I love the feeling I get from destroying my body over 100 miles. Ok, good we got that straight.

3.  It's Not an Injury until You Can't Run: but if you can't tell the difference between a "niggle" and something serious, you'll never be a good ultra runner.  Even experienced ultra runners make the mistake of thinking something is a niggle when it's serious.  You will too.  The more crazy you go when you do have to take a break the more #2 applies to you. 

4. Kill Your Ego: If running 100 miles doesn't make that ego die, it's gonna be tough. And for ultra runners making the ego die is really, really tough. We like praise and we write/talk about our accomplishments like no other group of addicts: how tough, how crazy, how bad the weather was, how we suffered like it's a badge of honor. We can live off praise for at least a week, no food needed.  How can we become a better runners? Stop talking and writing about how badass we are and get out and run. 

5.  Fear the Marathon: It's what separates us from the masses right?  Heck, we avoid the dreaded marathon like it's a rest break because deep down we know that running a marathon is just as hard, if not harder than an ultra. Why? Because we have to run fast, no walking breaks. See #6.

6. Walking=RunningWow, you ran 100 miles!  That is so amazing!  Well.... the dirty secret of ultra runners? We don't "run" 100 miles. We get through 100 miles as fast as we can. There's a lot of walking. Regardless of how much walking, ultrarunners may call a race a "run". Why? I have no fucking idea.

7. Wear all the Latest Gear at Once: I swear I've seen more crazy styles on ultra runners than I do in a episode of Sex and the City.  Seriously, compression socks and capri pants? Buff headbands? Leopard print arm sleeves?  Compression shorts sticking out under skorts?  Shorts/Skorts over tights? Gaiters? I mean seriously gaiters?  HAVE WE NO SHAME!! No, we don't.  

8. Sell your Soul or at least your Body: For all those aspiring fast folks and the the ones who are actually fast: get used to putting advertisements all over your body. Consider temporary tattoos, hats/shirts/pants/socks with logos. Heck, even patch a logo onto your pack or shirt. If you're logo'd apparently you've made it.

9. Change your Profile Picture: You'll need a picture of you running for social media now that you are an ultra runner. While you're at it start an athlete page and invite all your friends. I'm sure they don't get eough updates on your running from just your personal page.

10. Go Paleo: Or at least pick some sort of creative diet.  It could even be the I-Ran-so-I can-Eat-Anything Diet.  Or the I-Ate-too-Much-so-I-have-to-Run Diet.

Bonus! 11. Start Liking Beer. 'Nuff said.

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  1. From #1-11... I'm an Ultra addicted runner *sigh* You're the awesomest!

  2. #1: Haven't DNF'd because I know it's going to suck really bad. So yes, it probably makes you tougher.
    #2: Not sure... there are a lot of times I don't want to go out and run. But I do anyway, and I hate myself if I don't. Maybe you're on to something!
    #3: Yes. #4: Probably right on. That's why the best races seem to be the ones where I'm not emotionally invested in the outcome. #5: I think I can run a sub 2:50 marathon. But that would be riding the edge of disaster, and I'm scared to... so I don't! See number 4! #6: Somebody just ran a sub 12 hour 100. But it wasn't me! Plenty of hiking (although I mostly run/wobble, and that's because I'm the worlds slowest hiker). 8: Yup, 9: Never! 10: Veggie before being a runner, but it fits the bill right?! 11..... yes!

  3. Great list, I'll share it on my page! I'm guilty of #7, the stupid-looking buff on my head, but it's the only way I've found to keep the hair & sweat out of my face, and to keep my headlamp from irritating my forehead. I was guilty of #3 earlier this year and it sabotaged my summer since I couldn't run.

  4. Good list. I applaud your introspective and insightful analysis.

  5. Can I add a #11. It's never allowed for anyone, at any time, in any format to say anything slightly critical of a certain Salomon athlete from Spain.

    1. Yes, because if you do, you're either jealous that he is so much better than your favorite pretty boys or whiny.

  6. I personally prefer to combine #10 & #11 :/

  7. it was easier when there were only five?

  8. Awesome post. We ultra runners are definitely 'special'.

  9. Great post. Thank you. I haven't even run an Ultra (yet) and I know that #5 must be true. Talking to friends after a 20 mile training run last weekend, they asked why I didn't sign up for a marathon. And I know the answer is because it's scary and painful and hard (and yet running 46 miles through mountains doesn't seem to be so frightening).

  10. That sums it up perfectly! God what a great analogy. I have lost count of the amount of times I have fed off my exploits, starting a conversation with " I remember doing this ultra marathon and it was 2am and I found myself sleep walking" people always look at me incredulously! Not sure which bit they find the most disturbing!!

  11. I just love coffee and energy drink, after a long run........yes in other to push the body beyond kill the ego and learn to be happy. Above all LOVE LOVE LOVE and LOVE.

  12. I know what you mean about injuries. I think the high kind of blocks that feeling of pain. That's one reason why it is essential to pay attention to each niggle and make certain it's not serious. You can be enjoying the run so much that, as you pointed out, you really don't want to stop to assess your injuries.

  13. From #1-11... I'm an Ultra addicted runner *sigh* You're the awesomest!

  14. Great list.!!
    Thanks for sharing.


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