Check Your Watch!

I was entered in the Sean O’Brien 50-miler, but a cold hard eye on my sad probable splits suggested I do something else that day. My likely seventeen hour ETA meant a DNF hook at the final Piuma Creek crossing, a mere 2 miles from the finish. Last month’s SOB50k had several post-DFLs moseying in from here with no urgency, which meant penalty dollars to the race for going over their time limit from the Park Service.

Yes, thats a buzz kill. For them. For you its a reminder to make your training count, and not be a dick. More on that in a bit.
Why We ServeIn that light I decided to volunteer to work at the 13/36mi aid station with Amy Berkin-Chavez and her crew. It beats game-shows and day-drinking.

The fast and the furious came in and went out, they’re pretty much OK. Things got interesting when the early mid-packers arrive, and its a swirl to get them fueled up and gone. 

Then you start seeing the late DFLs, who are probably going to get pulled at Mile 22, the lowest elevation of the Zuma …

Döppeldönger DFL

"A man alone with his thoughts lives in a crowded house"
—Don Juan Castaneda, "Conversations With Maestro Sevende Sandia"

Seconds before the start I realized I’d left my hand-held back in the car, a quarter-mile away. Holy Shit! So I sprinted back, got it, and burst through the start. And everybody had gone. This was a definite first, a DFL start with Boner Mileage. It was a fitting preview bookend to my 10:00:35 DFL finish*.

The start was a clear, calm and very cold 28F start, a sharp drop from the balmy 44F at home. All you Midwesterners can go fuck, it's SoCal. I was feeling totally naked, and only half-afraid. It was so cold, that even the venerable John Vanderpot wore long pants. Ultra-couture aside, staying ahead of cutoffs at this late stage was my only goal.
Say goodbye to my little friendAs this is a physical sport, your body makes its wishes known clearly. Gwyneth Paltrow should take note. 

At the first of several whiz-calls, I was busy admiring the northw…

Indisputably SKT!

I received a lot of requests to repost this post that was part of my SKT story a few hours back.
Long Story Indisputably ShortI was in a 31 mile race, had drop a MEGA Deuce about 15 miles in, went to the Poop Lounge in a dry stream bed. That’s kind of near the Hurt Locker. But I didn't have to fall down an embankment. Then had to wipe my butt with a tree-branch. 

Came back out to finish the race. 




Lots of times. Fuckin’ Betties passing my ass like I had a pulmonary enema or some shit!


Kept my hand out of the aid-station food trays until I Purell’d it and made sure there was no taint. Because I had to show that my asshole wasn't the boss.

Several hours later my watch lost 30 minutes while I was recharging it. 

“GOD DAMN! You had ONE JOB.”

But I took responsibility for it. Then I got chicked a few more times. 

They say “It's not about winning a trophy or a medal, it's the about the message” They gave m…

Mr Trail Safety Creation Mythos

Mr. Trail Safety first emerged in 1995 during the last golden age of the fabled ULTRA@LISTSERV.DARTMOUTH.EDU, out of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. It was text only, no attachments, no #hashtags, supposedly no flaming, but tempers ran hot anyway.

These posts grew out of my smart-ass self who was already over the distant trumpets of why “Ultrarunning Is Calling, And I Must Run” Pentacostalism. It was the Age of “What Is An Ultra?” and of course the Great Salt Wars, where hours and bandwidth were clear-cut in the search for immutable truths.

Mr. Trail Safety asked pointed questions aimed at sport blowhards and mercenary frauds. Other posts made advocacy points. And of course there was physical comedy running through the whole mess.

In the end, the aim was to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable — while being as hallucinatory as possible.

Any comparisons to Hunter S. Thompson and Molly Ivins are cheerfully acknowledged. They taught me all that I know, but not all that they…

The Definitive BigFoot 200 DNF

Vanity has a lower boiling point than common sense. Having DNF'd the 40-miler in 2018, I figured "what's it like to go big, I mean really big?" The Fates took note, elbowing each other as they crowed "Hold my beer, bitches!"
It wasn't always like thisWhen I got home in 2018 I promptly called Tom Nielsen, old friend, coach, and ultra-beast. I booked him and we got to work. I had a lot of work to do. My last 100-miler was 1998, last 67-miler in 2017, last 50-miler in 2015. A thin base, timed out at best. 
At one late point I noticed that I looked fit from the neck up and waist down—the flyover section was Dad Bod. Oh fucking well.
To spare you, Gentle Reader, the trudging statistical drizzle that is the geeking heart and soul of this sport, the Executive Recap is "close, but no cigar." The Race, and where it got funMade the 12 & 30mi checkpoints in respectable time. I was ahead of 2018, and feeling guardedly optimistic. 
Meanwhile, weather. 

As You Are, I Once Was


Tarahumarans And Ultras

The Tarahumaran/Raramuri runners of northern Mexico have an exalted ultra reputation. Their legendary running skills have cyclically transfixed ultras here in the USA going back to the early nineties. Coming out of deep, remote canyons in Chihuahua, the optics were magnetic. What gets lost in the media pixie dust is that they are desperately poor, sustaining themselves in a harsh landscape, and beset by loggers, narcos, and an indifferent ruling class and government. Starvation is a constant threat, now exacerbated by global warming climate change.
Here it comes: “Born To Run”McDougall’s “Born To Run” book is often cited as a primary source on the Raramuri. Last time it was mentioned by an aggrieved SJW who was newly woke on ultras, I nearly shot coffee out my nose. Wikipedia can be like that. But McDougall’s done well with it, bullshitting TED talks in Davos etc. I get it, writing doesn’t pay much, and Davos can be fun. 
Rewind!The Raramuri have been in several Little Brown Indian Trav…