The absurdity of the one-legged ultramarathon

(no disrespect to those who actually run ultramarathons…or run period!..with one leg).

I suppose I should be more worried if things were going EXACTLY as planned. This is an ultramarathon after all, a level of absurdity beyond expected levels of absurdity. As a coworker aptly put it, “I’ve never even HEARD of such a thing!” 50 miles…on trails…in the mountains. I love this kinda shit. There is something liberating about throwing all “supposed to’s” and “should be’s” out the window, embracing the absurdity of such a challenge and just having at it. In a way, the pressure is nearly completely deflated and all you have left is the pent up excitement about crashing around the next blind turn, wondering what sort of obstacle is going to stare you down, daring you to overcome it. This isn’t any ‘ol normal road marathon where you calculate splits ahead of time, pinpoint locations to fuel, demand the weather to hover between 47 & 54, and basically draw out the ideal race before you even run it.

No. This is an ultramarathon. You plan nothing.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but you get my point. Here, you prepare to deal with anything that comes your way, whether through the physical aspects of the race – water, fuel, clothing, etc. – or the mental – time, distance, hills, mountains, weather, etc. You not only expect the absurdity, you WELCOME it.

So I suppose I should feel a little relieved that I feel like I’m running on a ghost leg right now. I should feel a little less pressure that I start out all my maintanence runs with a limp. I mean, who runs ultramarathons with BOTH legs!!!? Weak sauce! If we are going to do this, let’s do it right….meaning wrong!

Let’s not stop at legs though. Let’s also drive clear across the country to get to the race. And hey, let’s make it rain THREE days prior to the race as well! Not enough?! I know…let’s stress out said race participants by running over a nail on a brand new set of car tires, necessitating a frantic bout of calling around town trying to find one tire, just ONE tire, that matches the others, which apparently is a brand and model that can’t even be found in the state, potentially setting back the drive departure another day. Yeah, let’s do THAT!!! (yeah, that happened today).

But hey, we are making it to the start line. And hey, we fixed that little tire snafu (we think…I’ll believe it when the tire is on the car). And hey, what’s a little rain but a nice way to shower before the race has even ended? And although one leg seems to be a floppy wet noodle, let’s just assume the other is 3 times as strong.

Bring on the ultra-absurdity. After all, this is an ultramarathon. We’re only trying to do it right.

See you in Vermont.

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