Ultra-Nostalgia Ain't What It Used to Be

Mere moments before I did my first ultra, Sept 1989.

I was at a wedding several summers back and a handsome young dude asked me "don't you ever wish you were young and beautiful like me?"

I looked at him, thinking, "...sure."

But I answered him "Billy, play your cards right, and you can be old and ugly like me."

This wasn't the answer he expected. But I deal in the unexpected.

Have a seat.

Oh very young, what will you leave us this time?

I see your fresh faces thundering down the trail in your most Recent Race Shirt. You're young and enthusiastic. It's springtime, and Ultras are magical. Your Luck Bag is full, and your Injury Bag is empty. 

As it should be.

In time, typically about five seasons, you'll look around and suddenly wonder "who the fuck are all these new people?"

They'll be wearing their own styles, carrying gear that is different from yours, and probably look at your flat-brimmed trucker cap and oversize Julbo glasses as hopelessly passé. 

They'll be IG influencers, sponsored by some entity that senses value, and will trade some form of merch or swag, so they can donate sweat and blood. 

They'll be seen in all the right places, inescapable. 

Until reality sets in—for you. Injuries, fatigue, family, job, and time you no longer have. Interest that is inexorably baked off by the demands of ultras. Nothing in the world stands still forever. 

As Oscar Brown Jr famously sang:

Oh, you must feel betrayed by age
I'm reading from a later page
You can't hear me at your stage

Don't take it hard. If you feel abused, you'll adjust.


Peter Fish said…
I am literally not in a position to comment on the younger runners in our sport, because they're all miles ahead of me, and I have the whole goddamned mountain to myself. It can't get any better than this!
Scott said…
love the photo. looking at the reflection in your frank poncherello's, that looks like a konica disposable camera from kmart. clutch choice.
Mr Trail Safety said…
Close! It was a Pentax ME Super w the kit 50mm Takumar lens.
Mr Trail Safety said…
The camera might've been an Olympus Infinity II w magical QuartzDate. Its all a blur at this point.

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