One hundred miles.
Some might use profanity to accentuate the disdain with which they’d preclude their “No” response if someone asked them to run 100 miles. Even if I had to do it in a month. Or longer. Let’s say I have to run one mile per day for 100 days, still, probably not. Bud, you’re pushing it. I need my days off from physical torture of running with no ball to chase or throw or catch. Running is a necessary evil, no one wants to look like Phil Mickleson. That U.S. Open doesn’t watch itself, motionless for hours on a couch, out of the sun, still in much better shape than Mickelson.
Those crazy folks in the Big Horn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run left up a mountain yesterday for their 100-miler and the top placers finish early today. Pure insanity.
We’re not talking 100 miles on flat ground, without the threat of bear attack. I mean, those guys and gals run up the rugged terrain of a mountain, armed with water bottles and whatever they can fit into a fanny pack. I would not fight a bear or a mountain lion with anything I could fit into a fanny pack. I’m not Brad Pitt (“Legends of the Fall” reference, for you non-movie buffs).
There are different levels of athlete. Different sports-minded folk would debate what constitutes a sport. NASCAR is not a sport. Not sorry. If the riders were required to Flintstone their cars down the track, I’d see the athleticism. Crossfit? Also not a sport, even if it’s on ESPN now. I get a weird scientology vibe from those new muscle-bound groups of “workout communities.” Kind of like the kids who had never gone to church before college then have to tell you about their new best friend “Jesus” as if no one has ever heard of him before. We’ve known him for a while. Just work out. I don’t want to hear about it. Also, don’t wear your gym clothes in public past 9 p.m.
Anyway, I’ve interviewed a couple of ultramarathoners, as they’re coined, and each time felt empathy for the person as if I was talking to an athlete who was about to or had just experienced some career ending injury. But that’s not how the runner sees it. It’s an accomplishment, “how far can I push my body before it literally breaks down?” To me, that’s nuts, but for someone who can do that, you have my respect. A whole lot of it.
That mental and physical accomplishment is simply wonderful. If you see one of those folks around town this weekend, give them a handshake. Buy them a beer. Heck, while you’re at it, if you’re so financially inclined, maybe a nice new pair of legs.
Oh yeah, almost forgot, happy Father’s Day.