The other day Jim happened to mention to me in passing that he had signed us up to crew for his sister for a 100-mile ultra-marathon.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yep. It’ll be fun!”
“Yes. Fun. We’ll hike into remote areas of the Sierra Mountains and bring her stuff she needs.”
“Stuff like a ride in a car to whatever her destination is? She knows there are cars, right?”
Then he just rolled his eyes at me and mumbled as he left the room.
Why would someone run 100 miles (yes, I said MILES, not pansy-ass KILOMETERS) in the wilderness unless you were being chased by an axe murderer?
Or you are part of the Donner Party….who were probably too weak to actually run the 100 miles. Unless one of the fatter ones was trying to get away.
I tried to get into the mindset of someone who would do this for the challenge and the fun of it. This is not an easy task for one such as me. I don’t push my endurance, I lay on a soft bed of Egyptian cotton with it.
These are the elite lunatics who do shit like climb Mt. Everest, helicopter ski and cliff dive. They, like James Bond, have a taste for danger.
By stark contrast, I’ll take my rape whistle with me to take the garbage out. And I live in a very nice neighborhood. I do not flirt with fear and danger.
I blow my rape whistle at it.
Jim’s not a ton tougher than I am. He once ran, panicked, in our front door and double locked it because he saw a raccoon in our front yard. He swears it charged him. But, since raccoons do not have opposable thumbs, I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the double lock was.
We are simply a cautious people.
But, I gamely went along, cuz’ no one is going to call me a pussy, however accurate it might be. Plus Jim double-dog-dared me and no one walks away from THAT!
At the orientation meeting with all the runners I found myself in a sea of the sinewy. I know I have more body fat in my left butt cheek than all of them combined. A few looked kind of like Dobby the house elf in really good gear.
These are a steely-eyed group with laser-sharp focus. Like me at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale. So, I totally get them.
As is my way, I was much more concerned about my performance in this run than I was about our runner. I considered this the Olympics of project management.
Jim and I were ready. We had our Ziploc baggies (a staple for any and all project management work) packed and marked appropriately. We were like a SWAT team of efficiency.
However, the weather sucked ass. Usually, this is a very hot run so I don’t think anyone was really prepared for the freezing temps and driving rain that hit us.
You may think that we would not complain about being cold and wet as we stood waiting at checkpoints but you’d be so wrong. Yes, you could say we had it pretty easy in comparison to the runners, and I could punch you in the head with my frozen hand. But none of this would deter us from bitching about it anyway!
Because, after all, this was all about us.
But, as the day went on we found ourselves talking to other race crews, watching runners come through checkpoints, and really getting into the spirit of camaraderie that this sport fosters.
After all, every one of these deranged individuals had family and friends cheering them on and I found myself cheering for all of them as well.
It’s kind of like the Special Olympics for super fit nutjobs.
While I am well aware that this is a race and someone has to win, it did seem like no one really loses. If you have the gigantic balls to even sign up for this thing, you’ve gone beyond the average out of the gate.
I, on the other hand, do not possess balls of a gigantic or any other nature either literally or figuratively.
But, in the sport of relaxation and self-indulgence, I am the ultra-marathon equivalent.
Can someone cheer for me now?