In Every Ultra-Dream A Heartache
|I can see clearly now.|
Sooner or later, your ultra-romance ends. What started off so fresh has now crashed. All those races, buckles, t-shirts mock you. And maybe a hot hook-up too.
You might even have had that finish line marriage proposal, where you said “yes, yes, a thousand times yes”, not realizing it was a fateful ambush in front of total strangers. Or a social-media stunt. It was a simpler time.
The day when a Running Vacation was the shit is also gone. You are hearing, or saying, that ultras suck too much out of whatever life you have, and you/they want to do other things. Its never a fun discussion.
Or your health. My health ultra-path [or Journey®™] was:
Sept 1989: First ultra, Baldy Peaks 50k. Man, I thought I was truly gonna get laid.
Oct 1991. First 100. Man, I thought I was truly gonna get laid.
April 1999: Chronic Fatigue-Adjacent. Whatever it was, I was knee-capped, and my first ultra golden age was over. It was a hard quasi-recovery. Buckling becomes remote. Who are all these fuckers passing me?
Feb 2002: did Jim O'Brien's San Gabriel Mtn 50k, then dropped out of racing for ten years.
April 2005: Mold infection [tearing up very old carpet minus hazmat protections]. Another 10-15% of lung capacity gone. And yet I persisted. The finish times are getting slower.
May 2012: reignited racing, discovered that everybody got faster, and that my UltrasignUp stats were historical.
Mar 2015: My brother was killed by a hit & run driver. The bottom dropped out of my life for the next 18 months as that body blow flattened me.
Its cumulative. Really glad I didn't paint myself into a corner being some bullshit influencer.
2019: A succession of DNFs were biopsies indicating a decline. Not fun, but hey.
Jan 2020 was probably my last ultra, a local mountain 50k. My speed was collapsing by 30sec per mile year on year. When I finished, I was 30sec after cut-off. I asked the RD if I was cut.
"No, because I've got 3 or 4 out there still."
June 2020: when every biomechanical malpractice I’d diligently accumulated in a lifetime of running finally caught up to me.
Each knocked me down a peg. Bottom line, I'd lost interest in the process. It wasn't fun for me any more.
The good news? I'm not taking anything away from anyone else's fun. Go for it! Get it while you can.
Conclusion: You get to make your peace with it. Otherwise you’re an angry ghost, annoying the fuck out of everyone else with your misery.