No one cares really that last saturday I spent the lesser of 12 hours running, walking, eating, and drinking my way through 50 miles in a forest that I visited once in my life. No one cares about the time spent logging every mile, heartbeat, fitball core workout, and strength training that went into preparing for this event. No one cares about the aches and the mental turmoil that goes through your mind before, during, and after the race.
I didn’t care. Up until 8 months ago I had never even heard the words Ultra Marathon. 50k, sure I had heard that and thought it was cool a friend of mine was doing that but didn’t consider myself that type of athlete. Then again up until 9 months ago I was spending my days wasting a talent so natural to me because of simply arbitrary reasons No one cares because 90% (a percentage made up by me and my own assumptions) of people can’t comprehend running farther than a marathon. To be fair no one should care because I don’t do this for anyone but me. Sure that may be selfish but this is me, I use to run the 800 in track and the 8k in cross country and I competed well in those events but I didn’t have the love and respect for the sport that I have for Ultra’s and the community. I do this for me because it helps me stay focused and be a better husband. Being bored and having no outlet is not a healthy thing for me for other reasons I shall no go into.
When I go back into work tomorrow and tell someone I ran 50 miles on Saturday they will give me a courtesy wow and without hesitation remember that they have a friend who recently ran a marathon or how they ran a 5k once and why yes I always respond politely and move along there is no 15 second conversation that can explain sitting at my mother in-laws house living room the night before with my friend, my wife, and her mother packing drop bags with supplies I may need at different aid stations. No 15 second conversation to the paint the reality of waking my wife up at 3:30 in the morning so she can drive me to the starting line for a race that starts at 6:00 am, or the joy of hitting the second aid station and realizing that 60% of your total elevation to climb in the race is already over less than 13 miles in. I can’t explain the oh shit moment when I slammed my foot into a tree root descending down a steep trail and instantly feeling my toenail bruise and simultaneously feeling the tendons or bone strain or break (haven’t gone to the hospital yet to find out) 20 miles into the race. I sure as hell can’t explain how fucking delicious your mother’s homemade mashed potatoes and smoked salmon are at the 30 mile checkpoint and how good it is to see your mom at that point ready to take care of you, or the look on someone’s face when they think you are running a 5k as they are setting off for their hike and you tell them no it’s a 50 miler. There is no way to explain the pure joy from reading funny signs the volunteers posted along the trail such as “It’s all down here from here. Well at least to the aid station” and “Hey it wasn’t easy getting up early to put this sign up either” and Go Joel, Go John, Go Rachel, Go Mike and the next sign saying “Go random stranger” and these signs made it possible to keep going and will never be forgotten. (Unless in my next race someone really out does themselves and makes signs 10x’s more hilarious.)
I can’t explain how excited I felt with 14 miles left to know I would finish this challenge and knowing how hard those last 14 miles were going to be but how lucky I was that a friend of mine spent all day helping at an aid station and then ran back out onto the course 7 miles in to give me support while I walked, ran, and hobbled down steep trails and did nothing but give constant words of encouragement, farts, jokes, conversation, and a celebratory “YES” every time I got the will up again to run. Not to forget making sure I was eating and making sure I was dry when the great PNW decided after 10 hours of sun and humidity to dump buckets and buckets of water on us. I can’t explain why after I just ran 50 miles I crossed that finish line told the race directors my number walked over to my wife and hugged her and started bawling my eyes out in the back of her car. I can’t even myself comprehend why these people chose to spend their day making sure I made it to that finish line and I sure as hell can’t thank them enough or explain to them how much their time meant to me and how much I enjoyed their company along the way
Everyone Has A Friend That Runs, But No One Really Cares. except for me I have some friends that run and some that don’t but they truly care and I care about them and when given the chance I’ll make sure they cross that finish line to, whatever it may be.