The day before Rocky Raccoon…and the demographics of ultrarunners
I’m sitting at the Starbucks sipping a triple latte’ in Huntsville, Texas right now getting ready to run the Rocky Raccoon Hundred this weekend.
I’ve been chatting with several other runners. They’re from Canada, Utah, Washington, Texas, Mexico and several other places. I’m glad that I am not alone in my insanity. We really are a small, tight-knit family- if somewhat quirky and eccentric.
They’ve had some much-needed and well-deserved rain; I hope the course won’t be too muddy. A local who has run this race before reassures me that the course dries out quickly. I hope he’s correct. I enjoy running in the rain and mud but wet shoes can make blister management challenging.
The course is relatively flat with tree roots and a max altitude of perhaps 400 ft above sea level.
I told one of my students this week: “Compared to other ultras I’ve run, this should be a walk in the park!“
On further thought, however, I realized that not only will this race actually be run in a state park, but by the end of it, I may very well be reduced to a walk! A walk in the park it might very well be!
Oh well, in an ultra every step forward is a step closer to the finish line. Run or walk, it does not matter. All forward motion counts!
I’m also recovering from an upper respiratory infection. I still have a cough and quite a bit of mucus in my lungs. I’m not sure how I will do or how far I will be able to go. I understand that it is possible that I might not be able to do the full hundred in under 30 hours. I might get pulled for missing a cut off.
There is no point thinking negatively or having self-doubt now. Such self-defeating thoughts could end my race before it’s even begun.
Hopefully all will go well. If not, it should turn out to be one heck of a training run.
“…ultramarathon participants are largely well-educated, middle-aged, married men who rarely miss work due to illness or injury, generally use vitamins and/or supplements, and maintain appropriate body mass with aging.”
It appears that I fit right in.
I’m not one bit surprised. Our sport is not usually considered to be one very popular among rednecks or “Bubbas.”
Not that there’s one darn thing wrong with being a redneck. They’re great friends to have for going out to drink beer, four wheel and hunt or target shoot with (but most preferably not in that order).
If any of you ultrarunners have not yet volunteered to participate in Marty’s clinical research study evaluating the health status of ultramarathon runners, I encourage you to do so.
The Ultrarunners Longitudinal TRAcking (ULTRA) Study will follow the activity level and health status of ultramarathon runners over the course of many years. By doing so, they would like to determine if high levels of exercise alter health risks compared with sedentary or moderately active lifestyles. Although moderate exercise has been definitely shown to have numerous health benefits, no study has yet been done to show the benefits/risks of an extremely active lifestyle.
They are seeking participation by anyone who has finished at least one ultramarathon (50 K or longer). They would like a large study population in order to successfully complete the study. Each participant will then be asked to periodically update information about their activity level and health status over the course of many years. To participate, the initial survey is at: http://bit.ly/ULTRAStudy
Non-ultrarunners and occasionally even some short distance runners tell us how unhealthy running so far is.
But no one really knows.
Wouldn’t it be great to find out?
Well, time to go. My latte’ is finished. I need to get my drop bags packed. Then on to the race course this afternoon to register and listen to the pre-race briefing.
Run well, live well, and be well…
This entry was posted on February 3, 2012 by Tom. It was filed under Uncategorized .
"In the process of completely exhausting myself, I connect with an inner part of me ordinarily veiled by the everyday distractions of life. During that short time spent on a trail in the mountains, my life is reduced to its simplest terms. Most ultrarunners are people who find goodness and joy in difficult times, who see beyond the misery to the beauty of nature, and who truly realize the elemental and important aspects of life. Going for a run always clears my head... but running 100 miles distills my soul."
Keith Knipling - RUNNING THROUGH THE WALL