Back in 2006, most of the communication for North West ultra runners was on the NW ultralist, an email list that we used to keep each other informed about up-coming races and the occasional musings. One of my favorites was this posting by Greg Eyerly from Oregon.
After I ran my first couple of ultramarathons, I found it hard to explain the quirkiness of our sport. But leave it up to Greg to define what it means to race up on mountain trails for hours on end.
You know you are an ultra runner when:
1. You actually have a preference in flavors of GU or Hammer-Gel
2. Your co-workers stop asking what you did over the weekend
3. You use the phrase, “I felt crappy for the first few hours of my run, then I started feeling better.”
4. You brag about walking a 17-minute mile uphill
5. Your kids actually know who Scott Jurek is
6. You use a headlamp in the bedroom to find your cloths after rousing bout of sex
7. You think of running a marathon as improving your leg-speed
8. You’re a guy and you have more shoes in your closet than your wife does
9. You’re a gal and your shoes actually smell worse than your husband’s shoes
10. If you both run, your whole house just plain smells
11. When you the phrase “it was a tight finish, they were only separated by a half-hour?!”
12. You bump into all of your co-workers at least once in the bathroom everyday
13. You get some actual work done between emails and ultra surfing on the net
14. Every vehicle has at least one pair of shoes, a hand-held and a GU stashed somewhere
15. All your hand-helds are a biological hazard
16. When you know an electrolyte has nothing to do with a light bulb
17. Your kids are shocked to see you at home on a Saturday before noon
18. You complain about having to eat all the time
19. When you can actually get into a heated discussion about amount and brand of electrolytes
20. The last thing on earth you want to eat is another stinking carbohydrate
21. You buy a bigger bowl for ice cream or cereal
22. When you have dinner…. twice, in one night
23. When you continue to say “Good-Morning” to dazed and confused hikers even though it’s in the middle of the afternoon
24. When you use the phrase “ when bonk #1 hit me during that race I…”
25. You know what an ice bath is…..and you actually look forward to taking one…
26. You can actually think to yourself…”Good, only 23 more miles to go – heck that’s less than a marathon!”
27. When your recovery runs during the week are actually faster than your race pace was
28. When your a guy and you can run a and pee
29. When you’re a gal and you can stand and pee
And finally, you really know you’re an ultra runner when you don’t stop your watch when you’re using the bathroom — or heck, start your watch at all…
By Greg Eyerly NWUltralist 12/05/06
- Your wife tries to introduce you to your three children and you reply “Three?”
- You spend more time in the drug section than the food section of the local market.
- You wonder why they don’t make all running socks a dusty brown color.
- You have more dirt on your shoes than in your garden.
- You think that flagel and ibutrophin belong on the breakfast table.
- You get more phone calls at 5:00 AM than at 5:00 PM.
- You don’t recognize your friends with their clothes on.
- You have more buckles than belts.
- You postpone your wedding because it will interfere with your training.
- You keep mistaking your boss for Norm Klein.
- 6am is sleeping in.
- Your feet look better without toenails.
- Your idea of a fun date is a 30-mile training run.
- You’re tempted to look for a bush when there’s a long line for the public restroom.
- You don’t think twice about eating food you’ve picked up off the floor.
- You can expound on the virtues of eating salt.
- You develop an unnatural fear of mountain lions.
- When you wake up without the alarm at 4AM, pop out of bed and think “lets hit the trails”.
- When you can recite the protein grams by heart of each energy bar.
- You don’t even LOOK for the Porto-sans anymore.
- Your ideal way to celebrate your birthday is to run at least your age in miles with some fellow crazies.
- Your ideal way to have fun is to run as far as you can afford to with some fellow crazies.
- You know the location of every 7-11, public restroom, and water fountain within a 25-mile radius of your house.
- You run marathons for speed work.
- You have more fanny packs and water bottles and flashlights than Imelda Marcos has shoes.
- You visit a national park with your family and notice a thirty-mile trail connecting where you are with the place your family wants to visit next, which is a 100-mile drive away, and you think “Hmmmm”.
- Someone asks you how long your training run is going to be and you answer “seven or eight … hours”.
- People at work think you’re in a whole lot better shape than you think you are.
- You actually are in a whole lot better shape than you think you are.
- Your weekend runs are limited by how much time you have, not by how far you can run.
- You always have at least one black toenail.
- You buy economy-sized jars of Vaseline on a regular basis.
- You tried hashing, but felt the trails were too short and easy.
- You think of pavement as a necessary evil that connects trails.
- You rotate your running shoes more often than you rotate your tires.
- Your friends recognize your better dressed in shorts than in long pants.
- You really envied Tom Hanks’ long run as Forest Gump.
- You carry money around in a zip lock bag because store clerks complained that your money’s usually too sweaty.
- Any time a plain old runner talks about her aches and pains, you can sympathize because you’ve already had that at least once.
- You put more miles on your feet than on your rental car over the weekend.
- You don’t need to paint your toenails; they’re already different colors.
- You start planning the family vacation around races, and vice-versa.
- When you start considering your next vacation location on the merits of its ultras only.
- You spend you entire paycheck on running gear, ultrabars, and entry fees.
- You miss a work deadline cause you just had to have that “one more minute” on-line writing to the list.
- You become a quasi-expert on different detergents so as to not “hurt” your tee shirts.
- You leave work early to hit the trails.
- You wear t-shirts based on if you’ve had good work outs when you’ve worn them before.
- Have a trail shoe collection that would make Imelda Marcos envious.
- You walk up the stairs and run down them.
- Peeing in the toilet seems unnatural.
- You start wearing running clothes to work so you’re prepared for afterwards.
- Running trail is better then sex. (even if you don’t get any)
- Vaseline isn’t just for fun anymore.
- When the start of a marathon feels like a 5K and you’re wondering “Why is everyone in such a rush? Where the ##@@**!! is the fire?”
- As an infant you were dropped on your head.
- Nobody recognizes your power T’s. Met a guy at the market the other day who was wearing an AR50 T. So was I. I gave him a hearty, “Ta-da.” He said, “Oh yeah, I tell people we were all acquitted and the charges were dropped.”
- You sign up for a 10K and
- you strap on your fanny pack because you never know where the aid stations are.
- you bring your own drinks.
- you bring potatoes and salt.
- you start fast and a six year old passes you.
- you are the only one walking the up hills.
- you run it a second time because its not far enough to call a training run (and you were racing the first time through).
- you are the only one around who is eyeing the bushes THAT way.
- you punch the lap button on your watch instead of the stop button at the finish.
- When “NEXT GAS 36 MILES” signs start sounding like tempting runs.
- Your pedicure kit includes a pair of pliers.
- Your number of toes to toenails doesn’t match.
- You drink from a water bottle at the dinner table.
- You consider the mold and mildew in your bottles extra electrolytes.
- You just found out Poison and Oak are words by themselves.
- You see a 1 quart water bottle colored like an Advil bottle, and don’t realize that it’s not in fact an Advil bottle.
- You know you’re married to an ultrarunner when Valentine’s gifts come from Ultrafit.
- You know you’re married to an ultrarunner when she helps you up and says, “Come on, suck it up, keep moving!” and you know she means it in love.
- You know you’re an ultrarunner when a prospective employer asks for a photograph and all you have is race photos.
- You know you’re an ultrarunner when the races you enter end in a different area code. -and pass through several different Zip codes enroute.
- You know you’re an ultrarunner when your crew tries to keep you motivated by saying, “You’re in second place and only 6 hours behind first with 25 miles to go!”
- You know you’re an ultrarunner when you go to your 8:00 a.m. college geology class and you can use the salt crystals, still caked on your glasses frames from your early morning run, in your talk on the category of sedimentary materials called evaporites (and I’m not making this up).
- You know you’re an ultrarunner when, on the night of a bad thunderstorm and downpour, you ring for a cab, and your announcement that this is the *first time* you’re not getting home under your own steam causes a stunned silence in the office.
- You bother to argue about (discuss the meaning of) what an UltraRunner is!!!
- when you don’t finish on the same day as the winner.
- your dogs can drink out of water bottles
- When you meet the opposite sex you see:
- A possible crew.
- A possible pacer.
- A possible search and rescue team.
- A possible race director.
- A possible source of race entry fees.
- You ask advice of hundreds of people on a list, looking for answers you have already determined to be correct, taking hold of only those, and running with ’em.
- Your wife asks you the morning after your first 50 miler if you’re still planning on that 100K in five weeks, and you say “Sure!”
- You strap on your water bottles and walk the hills… in a 5 K race and consider that your 10 minute pace is a blistering pace.
- People praise you to the high heavens for being able to finish a marathon, and you feel insulted.
- You do a triathlon and it is your RUN time that is slower than the years when you specialized in triathlon.
- You are told *not* to run another marathon during the next few months (because that would be bad for your health), and you really follow that advice – by immediately sending off the entry form for your next 50/100 miler.
- Somebody asks about the distance of an upcoming race and you, without thinking, say, “Oh, it’s just a 50K.”
- You’re running a marathon and at mile 20 say to yourself, “Wow, only 6 more miles left, this is such a great training run!”
- You know you are a clumsy ultrarunner when after running headfirst into the trail for the third time get up and continue running even though you are bleeding and covered in maple syrup where your gel flask exploded and you have another 20k to go.
- You go for an easy 2 hour run in the middle of a Hurricane and think it is fun to get wet, muddy and run through the rivers that were once trails.
- You get to the 81 mile point of a 100 miler and say to yourself, “Wow, only 19 miles left!”
- You try to tie double knots in your Oxfords.
- You pass a swamp towards the end of a run and think ‘How bad could it be?”
- Livestock salt blocks look good after a run.
- You’re embarrassed that you’ve only done 50K’s…
- Your wife/girlfriend/significant other asks you if you want to have sex on any particular night and you respond with:
- “sorry, I don’t have time, I have to go running”
- “sorry, I’m too tired, I just went running”
- “sorry, I would rather go read all my messages from the ultra-list”
- You go down a flight of stairs, uh, backwards, after an ultra and everybody laughs.
- No one believes you when you say “never again”.
- You refer to certain 100 mile races as “low-key.”
- You number your running shoes to distinguish old from new, since they all look dirty.
- Prior to running a difficult race, you check to see if local hospitals and urgent care centers are in your PPO.
- The only time major household projects get done is in a taper or race recovery.
- Everything in your life, everything, is organized in different sized zip-loc bags.
- You call a 50-mile race “just another training run”.
- You think a 100-mile race is easier than a 50 miler because you don’t have to go out as fast.
- You say, “Taper? Who’s got time to taper? I have a race coming up this weekend.”
- You’re tapering/recovering, and you’d rather drive 50 miles to watch Ann Trason’s heavenly running style for 20 seconds than the Super Bowl.
- You have to rent a car to drive to a major event because you and your pacer own stick shifts and neither will be able to drive them on the return trip.
- You actually DO drive a stick shift home with a severely pulled left hamstring
- You meet someone of the opposite sex on the trail of a 100 and all of conversation is about what color is your urine, can you drink? and were you able to dump.
- Ya know you’re and ultra runner when a girl changes her tank and her bra in front of you and all you do is take another drink of water, look at your watch, get up and tell your pacer “Let’s hit the trail.”
- On a long drive you see the road signs listing various mileages to different places and think of how long it would take to get there on foot rather than by the car your driving.
- You’ve started a race in the dark, run all day, and finished in the dark (if your lucky).
- Your non-Ultrarunning running friends look at you strange when you tell them that 10:00/Mile is a fast pace for a 100 mile race (not to mention most ultras).
- You don’t hesitate to lie down in the trail (anywhere) when you are falling asleep on your feet during the early morning hours on the second day of a 100 miler; and it feels so comfortable.
- You know your an ultrarunner when you actually sit down and read all of the postings about, “You know your an ultrarunner when…” and can laugh and relate to all of the comments.