Saturday, September 19, 2015

Race Report: My Favorite Race I Hated

One of my favorite video games of all time, Left 4 Dead, has an achievement called "What Are You Trying to Prove?", which involves completing the campaign on its hardest difficulty.  It's not easy, it involves a lot of wasted time, it involves a lot of help from friends, it involves a lot of crying and screaming, and once you complete it you kind of question why you do the things you do.  That's basically the epitome of my experience at the 2015th Lost Soul ultramarathon. 
that's me after the race.  McKayla Maroney would not be impressed with my half-assed attempt at the McKayla Maroney is Not Impressed face, not that I wasn't impressed with the race...but rather my silly calf panty tan.  (Thanks Brandy!)

Just over two hours south of where I live sits Alberta's fourth largest city, Lethbridge.  It has less than 100,000 people, and is mainly a place suffering from an infestation of shops selling second-hand stuff, discount tire dealers, places that sell beef, and trucks.  It also has a brutally original flag.  (Look it up--I dare you.  You'll never look at this place the same again.)

But I digress.  

Lethbridge is also nestled in the small gorge in the centre of a parched featureless plain.  The drive down there, from any direction, is surrounded by an extension of that plain, stretched as flat undulation guaranteed to lull any new Lost Soul entrant into a false sense of confidence prior to the race.  This extreme troll-job is only balanced by the fact that the aid station quality is legendary among the Canadian ultramarathon circuit, fostered by an intense aid station popularity contest just as epic to watch as the race itself.  For those of you too lazy to click here, the course itself looks like two figure-eights stacked on top of each other--a 7km loop to start that takes you south and then back up to the start line, and then a set of three loops totalling 46k that intersect at two aid stations further up north.  Terrain is mostly single track, and with a total of 16 hills traversing the side of steep coulees.  For good measure you run by two gun ranges in case you need gunshots/that odd flashback to keep you awake.  Only 10% of the course has any tree cover.  Runners also have the option to run one or two loops of the race to make for a 50K/100K race, and the 100K race is a WSER qualifier (the 100mi is not due to insufficient timing constraints...which is bullshit). 

After finishing Fat Dog, the only race I had some sort of actual goal for was Lost Soul, which would mark the culmination for my bid for the Alberta Triple, which is to complete a maximum of three ultras in Alberta within the same season, each at least 100k but totaling at least 385km.  To finish the Triple would require me to finish this race (as I didn't want to enter a compensatory race two weeks after this), which meant completing 100mi in 35h but with 4000m+ of gain.  

I was quite confident I could do it given my Sinister 7 run was the same distance but with almost 1000m more gain, so I aimed to try to finish this off in a quicker time than that, but part of me knew that was unrealistic given I had Fat Dog almost a month before, and that I had worked back to back 70h weeks leading up to this race.  My thoughts at the start line was just to let it go--I was reminded of a run two Saturdays before this race, where I had initially wanted to run two 25k loops around Nose Hill Park in our city, pretty much consisting of the same gain as this race, but my running coach friend Mario talked me down to one loop when he told me I had nothing to prove by doing that, given I had just blown through Fat Dog two weeks before in a stupid amount of time.  Everything I ran at that point had no upside--every step I took was just another needless injury risk.   

And yet, here I was, considering accomplishing an objective that meant nothing. 

Loop 1
In any case, the race started while I was deep in deliberation and I found myself running through the first loop in 48min by the time I snapped out of it.  
and that's the first shirt I wore that day.  (Thanks Derrick!)

Once again, I opened a little fast because of my trail-claustrophobia when in a traffic jam, and because of a more conscious desire to get as much done before the heat kicked in and the siesta appearing over the horizon.  I blew through Headquarters with barely a nod to my Fat Dog crew chief/HQ aid station captain Julia and headed out towards Peenaquim on some more aggressive coulees. 
across the trestle bridge.  Yes I only pose like this for non-candid shots.  (Thanks Ralph!)

And once again, my body caught up to me as my uphill goat-speed dropped and my eyelids started getting heavier.  It got hot as balls by 9am and by the time I got to Peen I had to drop a few minutes to refill my reservoir with ice and then top it up with water.  I also noticed they had watermelon, so there was 90s gone from that as well as I ate through at least a half-dozen slices.  

I trudged on towards the gun range soon after that--a steep climb along the border fence and then found myself in a complete world of hurt.  Not so much from the fact my upper knees were getting unresponsive--but by the fact that most of the people around my speed had passed me, and I was alone with my thoughts.  
Running is supposed to be meditative, but I don't know why I couldn't clear my mind that morning.  I just seemed preoccupied with all the things I had to do at work on Monday--probably because I woke up too early and read through all my work emails from the European yonder prior to the race.  (Taking Monday off would have helped too.)  Coupled with the heat, the frustration of not getting far (seriously, I spent an hour on that gun range and was still less than a km away from Peen) ground my resolve into a million little pieces. 100kers and geezers started passing me too, but I was too lost in looking emo that I didn't really have any shits to give.  And that's why you sometimes need to have/make friends in these things.  You can run these things like a hermit, alone in your own little world, but it won't get you very far.  I told myself to rule #5 it (NSFW) and go find/make friends to keep me distracted from my work demons, through either chasing them or shooting the shit with them.  Switching to an electrolyte-heavy solids-only diet to keep me moving, my knees soon started waking up again.  

I got to Pavan and killed some more time reloading my reservoir and eating a quarter of a watermelon.  I took a lemonade slushie to go to walk into the start of the North loop, which is a 16km loop into private property with barely any trees on 3/4 of it.  The loop circumnavigates the Oldman River valley, which sits pretty wide; as a result the basin can turn into a heatsink at certain parts of the day.  I resolved to get this over with as soon as possible (i.e. ideally before noon) so I wouldn't get trapped wading through a fog of humidity.   Sure enough, I ran into my friend Erik Byman, who had sprinted past me on the first south loop but now found himself with unresponsive quads.  The two of us never really run together outside of races, so we hung out for a little bit while waiting for our legs to fully loosen up, first by shuffling and then breaking into a gentle jog.  We did not talk about work at all. 

And then we ran into a pot farm.  Yes, you read that right.  

Just right there, in the middle of an ultramarathon, it started reeking of sativa.  We were wondering where it was coming from when we just looked off to our left.......and there it was.  Probably a couple dozen hectares of short sativa and the occasional indica leaf, just growing in the middle of bumfk nowhere.  We both saw it so I wasn't hallucinating.....but shit, I can now say I ran through a pot farm three times during a 100 miler.  We joked that we should try to take a souvenir, but that may put future races in jeopardy given that would be classifiable as criminal trespass...not that either of us had suitable rolling paper or anything to set it off anyways.  (As noted, this is on private property but north of the intersection of Range Road 215A and the Lafarge access road.  In case anyone cares.) 

We soaked our hats at the top of the pond just after The Crossing.  It was gross (my jacket in my pack reeked of horseshit the day after) but it was refreshing.  I had to drop Erik about 2.5k from Pavan but I was now clamoring my way back up the field, passing both 100Kers and 100milers alike.  I got to Pavan, dropped another few minutes there eating EVERYTHING and then clocked the last 12.3km back to HQ in short order and uneventfully.  There was a still drainage pond just a couple hundred meters out from Peen that reeked of death, but seemed to be more potent than ammonia in waking me up, and I closed the last undulation by taking out a few more 100Kers.  

Loop 2
Not that any of that mattered, because I had to repeat the south 7km loop on my second lap whereas they did not so they proceeded back on the top three loops while I went the other way.  It was nice though--a cooling mid-afternoon, and I had the whole south loop to myself--nobody to chase, nobody to be chased by so I just ran at a mildly comfortable pace.  
I ran into Pat Wilson at the end of my south loop--a master who had passed me during my pity party between Peen and Pavan on the first loop--just as he was leaving.  This was where I started breaking this death march into smaller attainable objectives to make it an easier pill to swallow.  First, I would hunt Pat down.  Then I would try to get to Pavan without turning my headlight on.  Easy shit like that.

I did indeed hunt Pat down before Peen, as well as Joel Baldwin from Calgary, who I occasionally run with while training.  I had passed the latter on the North loop but he was doing the 100K; he had some ankle issues from what I suspected to be a camber issue with the trails, but resolved to hike the rest of his second loop to get his WSER qualifier.  I bid him good luck and told him to keep moving if he could, and that he was on pace for a <21h finish if he did just that.  

While the temperatures did drop, my cramping did not go away.  I tried to eat and drink more but that engaged my GI motility to a level I had never seen before, so as the sun went down I stopped eating as much as well.  I managed to get through Peen with my sunglasses still on, but I had to turn on my RXP about 2k out from Pavan because I may have stayed too long eating pasta salad at Peen.  Whatever.  

I ran into Heather Harker here, one of my colleagues from work running the 100K.  She was on her way back from her first loop when she saw me, and I'm pretty sure I instilled a sense of urgency into her as she realized the danger of me lapping her.  (She finished in 18h.)  In any case, I took the first of many dumps here, propagated by an overactive GI tract subjected to only 1 ingested gel for the whole day and solids the rest of the way.  (I think it was worth it though.)  I also noted people passed out on the three air mattresses here--seemed legit. 

Next objective I had was to get the fuck back to HQ, where my pacer Tony was waiting for me, along with a nice can of Red Bull for the graveyard shift.  I may have told him to expect a ~10pm start prior to the race, but that was likely not doable at that point so I needed to haul ass across the north loop and back so he wasn't too dead from sleep deprivation.  As the coyotes across the river started to heckle me, this was where I started to slip from my rapidly decelerating diet--I started the north loop in good order but slowed down quickly as my cramps wouldn't let up, and Pat and a few 100Kers passed me at the top of the loop.  Thankfully I fully woke up before the second water drop, when I somehow ended up bushwhacking 100m parallel east to the trail, and lost two or three minutes panicking and wondering what the fuck was going on.  My common sense woke up and I headed south towards the lights of the Lafarge pits, and soon enough I was back on track....

...when I soon ran into two men in various states of undress at the first picnic table after the second water drop.  

"Gentlemen," I nodded.
one of them replied.
Fucking Lethbridge.  I told the race gods I was awake already from that bushwhacking and didn't need a few bears chasing me to keep me going, but in any case I hauled ass to Pavan in case nefarious intentions were in the air.  I don't know if they were real or not--they did leave a lighter behind on the picnic table for me to find on my third lap.  Whatever.  I am sure it was weird for both parties.  

Dropped another deuce at Pavan--probably because of all that watermelon.  I took some more pop as well fully knowing that the gas was going to really light a fire in my GI tract, but at that point I should have taken my Red Bull two hours prior.  I made it across The Saddle and Pavan Hill ok but just before Peenaquim Hill I found myself shutting my eyes only to wake up when I drifted off to the right into bushes.  Everyone started passing me--Pat passed me again after I had hauled ass out of the Pavan shitter--and after thinking about the steep narrow track on Peenaquim Hill, I found a nice rock, sat down and leaned my head on my poles until someone came along in case I were to fall asleep in a more precarious location in the 1k ahead.  Five minutes later, Ward Beemer, a 100mi friend of Julia's, showed up.  He was fresher than I was because someone erroneously let him start the second lap without doing the south loop, so I got my sorry ass up and followed him because in my mind he was still technically 7km behind me.  

I got to Pavan and found Pat there again.  "Oh, I've been here for five minutes."  He had been saying that for the last three aid stations now--which I thought was hilarious; there was no way I was keeping pace with him.  After drinking down some more pasta salad and trout and taking yet another shit, I hauled ass out of there to get a whiff of that drainage pond to wake up yet again.  Still potent.  I shuffled my way back into HQ around 1 AM, only three hours late to when Tony and I were supposed to start.  I was finally excited to have some actual consistent company to keep my mind off non-race things.  

proof I wore a second shirt for the second loop.  note the hilarious sternum strap tan.  (Thanks Brandy!)
Loop 3
Next objective: try to finish the race before noon; I did not want to bake in the sun for one more day.  The forecast had showed Saturday was supposed to be even more hellish than Friday so there was an urgency to this....and yet, I had spent in excess of ten minutes at HQ switching out my hamburger singlet and trucker hat for my unicorn horn headband, green tutu and vomiting unicorn singlet.  Why?  Because at that point, a few extra minutes did not matter to my overall goal of finishing the race, and what mattered more to me was to make people think they were hallucinating a green-accented unicorn was loose on the course.  (Yes, I am a fucking running troll.)

Having split the Red Bull with Tony, I headed out on the south loop at leisurely 60min+ pace before I ran out of gas midway between HQ and Peen and started falling asleep yet again.  (Tony gets boring after 9km and we usually run out of things to talk about by then.  He would be a terrible late night talk show host.  LOVE YOU TOO)  I asked Tony if he had enough juice to stay awake for 5 mins while I laid on the ground and he did.  So there I was, near the top of the second coulee--just lying there on the ground while Tony counted to three hundred.  

It worked though and I never drifted off again during the race. We got to Peen while it was still dark and took about five minutes recharging before heading out to Pavan.  Tony's ankle started acting up on the downhills so I started to pull away from him, and then managed to catch up to Hiroshige, who had started the race at the front of the pack.  The sun revealed a fog-laden valley on the north loop ahead, so I knew I needed to make the most of the cold before my cramps exacerbated in the morning heat.  I pulled into Pavan a few seconds ahead of Hiro, with Tony bringing up the rear thereafter.  I knew he had had a rough day--working, then driving down here, then waiting for my sorry ass to pull in at 1AM, and then dealing with a bunch of uphills--so I offered to let him rest easy at Pavan while I tried to close the north loop quickly.  He agreed.  

As I trudged east from Pavan, I realized I should have kept my trucker hat as the shitty coverage of my unicorn horn headband let the rising sun burn my retinas while trekking eastbound towards private property.  This wasn't too big a deal as it wasn't long before we went back down into the shade towards Range Road 215A........where I was greeted by the sight of a combine harvester going to town on the river side of the pot farm.  Interesting--you don't machine-harvest marijuana, but I guess they figured the jig was up and needed to start hiding things.   Not going to lie--there was a part of me that was sad from running by all the pulled plants along the perimeter of the farm. 

As I entered the coulees on the northeast part of the loop, I caught a glimpse of someone tailing me on pace for interception within the next five minutes.  I thought Hiroshige had caught a second wind from his sushi back at Pavan but it turned out to be Richard Carvahlo, who had beat me by a few minutes at Sinister 7.  He had opened up the previous day a little too fast and was finally recovering his stride.  There was no point dueling with him at Sinister so I figured the same should apply here.  Next objective--try to finish within fifteen minutes of this guy. 

With some new resolve I caught up to two girls who passed me while we were eating at Peen, and then got back to Pavan in less than three hours.  Tony was all rested and I reloaded my reservoir with ice for the first time on Saturday.  I told him we had 12k left, three hills minus the douchebag last hill, and that my final objective to get me home would be to finish before the 50Ks did.  He said it was doable given the top three 50K runners had departed Pavan to the north loop right before I arrived, and if we did a consistent march we should have a comfortable cushion on them before the finish line.  With that we got moving.

The sun was now sky high as the heat started to follow.  It was a steady march in the shitty tree cover and my unicorn horn recoiling in the heat, but with both of us energized it didn't take more than an hour between aid stations.  I even started actively planning/choreographing? out my moves at Peen--and I was in and out in less than five minutes.  

For one reason or another that drainage pond didn't smell that morning, so all I had left in the tank was icy Gu Brew and all the gels I did not eat (i.e. all of them) for the 6.1km past Peen to the finish line.  I broke it down into segments--first the bit to the Crowsnest highway, then the bit to the trestle bridge, then the bit to the part where I can see Whoop Up drive and Fort Whoop Up.  Next thing I knew, I saw Richard a few hundred metres ahead of me on the Last Hill.  Heather was there at the top to see me through, and I closed the race shortly after 12:30pm with a solid sprint, four minutes back of Richard and thirteen minutes ahead of the first 50Ker.  
 and that's three.  (Thanks Brandy!)
(Joel did manage to get his qualification with 45 minutes to spare.  
Ward also did finish his first 100mi, but it took a little bit of convincing with the south loop being deflagged before he had to do the one he missed.  
Erik too got his qualifier, despite me closing 100K faster than he did.  
Pat pulled out on his last lap.)

So that's my race.  
In case you stopped reading when I started talking about all my shits, and skipped all the way to this part, I will now return to the ruminations involved with that silly picture at the top.  

(I must apologize for my choice of vernacular for this next section.  It is only written as such  because Stan Wiens likes to read my blog to his dog, so it would be hilarious if he read this next part word-for-word.  This is not written because I want to offend everybody, but just Stan's dog.  Also, sorry if you have children listening to you read this right now.)

A lot of 50Kers and 100Kers told me that day that they have no idea how us 100milers can last three loops of the death march, and that they do not know what keeps me going.  
To put it simply, it all comes down to this:

The point is, most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given. We give a fuck about the rude gas station attendant who gave us too many nickels. We give a fuck when a show we liked was canceled on TV. We give a fuck when our coworkers don’t bother asking us about our awesome weekend. We give a fuck when it’s raining and we were supposed to go jogging in the morning.
Fucks given everywhere. Strewn about like seeds in mother-fucking spring time. And for what purpose? For what reason? Convenience? Easy comforts? A pat on the fucking back maybe?
This is the problem, my friend.
Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.
What kept me going on the second and third laps was basically the fact that I ran out of fucks to give to everything unimportant in my life, which included the downsides, if any, associated with running those extra laps. 
All that shit I had to do on Monday back at work?  Nope, other people can deal with that.
Getting another six hours of sun to work on my sternum strap tan?  I look like a vampire for most of the year anyways.
The prospect of running into those two bears before Pavan again?  You'll see them coming from far away this time. 

The fact that one of your friends you finished with at Sinister 7 now has a quarter of a day ahead of you in this?  Don't care. #FatDog120
The prospect of running into a slightly-defensive part-time pot farmer?  Maybe he can bribe me to keep my mouth shut by giving me something to take the edge off.
The prospect of not making it alive to noon on Saturday?  It wouldn't be a bad way to go out.

I know some people hesitate at the opportunity to run that second or third lap because of the uncertainty associated with it.  Have I trained enough?  Will I have enough sleep for it?   What if I get caught out in the sun for another day?  
But the thing about uncertainty is that it is a construct of the future, and thus it only has a downside when you concern yourself with matters of the future.  Once you start only giving a fuck about the moment and not the one thereafter, you will set yourself free of a lot of binds. 
That weird emotional shutdown that happened when I went by the gun range the first time?  Never happened again during the race.  Why?  Because fucks are reserved for what matters in my life.  The minute I started focusing on the 5 meter space ahead of me, and not any of the eleventy bajillion after that, or the day after that, or the week after that--I instantly felt liberated from my binds.   I felt the course running through my core and soul, developing and revealing who I really was. 

On a more macro level, you could have argued that maybe I ran out of fucks to give about my performance at this race before I even started.  As mentioned above, I only had to finish this to get the Triple, so there really was no point to trying at this.   It'd make sense, but I like to also think that there is a correlation between the number of fucks I need to give about my races, and the cartilage left in my knees.  As we mature and run more, we start to run out of both.  Inevitability arrives, but acceptance of this lets our lifestyle run free.  In another life, I would have tried my hardest at the 100mi because it would have been the first one I finished that year, or maybe the 100K to get that WSER qualification.  But this wasn't that life--I had two qualifiers already and this would have made it three hundies in three months.  I'm not saying this race is unimportant to everyone--I saw plenty of runners bawling their eyes out as they crossed the timing mat for the last time, so I know this was a transcendent experience for some.  But for me, this race was a catharsis from work; the culmination in a summer-long project to build upon the tribe I truly identify with, and nothing more than that.  

We pick our battles because we know we can't win them all, but life will go on nonetheless.  Our shorter supply of fucks and cartilage are given to the fuckworthy parts of our lives--friends, family, goal races, token annual qualifiers, the parts of life that define our identity.  We run some races for shits, some races for giggles, and some races for keeps.  And as for the ones we neglect--who gives a fuck?  The sun will rise again the next day.  

By the numbers:
  • placement: 12/55 starters
  • time: 28:32:34.72
  • DNF%: 54.5%
  • distance: 158km
  • elevation : 4323m
Tips for prospective soul searchers:
  • Train at those hills sometime.  They are most definitely unique and can't be found anywhere else.
  • Heat training.  Consider spinning in a sauna. 
  • You do not need poles for all parts of the course. Leave them at Peen/Pavan as required.
  • 100K bibs are colored differently.  Hunt accordingly. 
  • Run until you cramp, then keep running. 
  • Consider running with handhelds--the aid stations are close enough that you can drop bag the shit out of the race. 
And a bunch of shoutouts:
  • To the ones who did not finish - rest well and know that you all still inspire me with your training, efforts and bravery in toeing the line in the face of a cloudless sky and relentless sun.  You all have contributed to this unique race none of us will ever forget.  
  • To the 100K's who dug deep and found a WSER qualification - don't waste it.  You've unleashed the beast so don't cage it back up because you are going places. 
  • Tony - Thank you for shepherding me on my last lap once again--kind of.  It's too bad you couldn't see the pot farm on the north loop in the early morning fog; I know you would have loved it.   I have much gratitude for you sacrificing your Friday and Saturday to come down and chase a unicorn across the coulees.  Thank you for also threatening to fart in my face if you ever got in front of me--I really needed that and please know that that coupled with all the farting behind me is a very effective pacing strategy.  I hope you consider running this race for reals next year. 
  • Brayden - To reiterate what I said at the finish line, "PEE IN A CUP!".  Remember the man who asked Karen for crutches prior to finishing Sinister 7?  You've come a long way, brother.  Stay awesome; I can't wait to see what else you're sandbagging from us.
  • Alan - We both got chicked by 50+ year old women, so you're not alone in this.  It's ok.  ¡Salud!
  • Karen - Happy to have shared my first triple with your second.  You will always be my running mother and the baddest motherfker of them all; don't ever change.
    • Bert - thanks for seeing her through the last lap.  Looking forward to seeing how you do next year in this pressure cooker.  
  • Navkiran - welcome to the suck!  Excited to see your CDR redemption sometime.  
  • Larry - you are a legend.  That is all.   
  • Brandy - thanks for all the pictures to document my poor fashion choices.  And for coming down and helping out!  I know it's not easy leaving Diego alone so I appreciate your presence in the wee hours of Saturday through until the early evening.  
  • And dearest Julia.  Thank you for being cheerful and holding onto that smile on your face for sixty hours straight, despite the shitty week you had prior to this.  Sometimes I don't have a very fun time on Last Hill (yeah that's a lie; I never had a fun time on Last Hill) but then I see you and then I feel better.  I didn't need my headlamp coming up the last grind because you are just a light in everyone's life.  (It was partly because the spotlights were pointed directly into the chute and into our faces, but believe me it was mostly you.)  I am profoundly grateful for the brightness you brought into my race, and thank you for being bringing unimaginable joy and warmth to my life.  Stay classy and rest well. xoxoxoxo
  • The RD team and vollies - Lost Soul would be one of the few races I would say that gives you way too much stuff to help you finish the race.   There is absolutely no reason you can blame a volunteer for DNFing the race--even if you forgot all your stuff and just ran with a tiny-ass water bottle you picked up at a gas station on your way here, the aid station stock is more than enough for you to finish on.  The competitive aid station culture also fosters a volunteer attitude I have never seen before...volunteers being offended when I told them to help others instead--that one's new to me.  Everyone wanted you to finish, and this was reflected in the outstanding care and support to get you in and out of the aid stations as soon as possible.   Thank you for being awesome. 
  • Everyone else along for the ride--your continued heckles and encouragement give me strength to be me.  And witnessing people finishing while I was working on evening out my calf panty tan Saturday afternoon--that's all the feels I needed, right there.  Thank you for all your kind words and support.   
A bunch of other random things:

  • By finishing this race, I did indeed move on from this other pity partyThank you to those who told gave me their kinds words to help me through.  (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, MIKE)
  • Pardon the interruption: This blog will enter a period of reduced activity until mid-November as I will be rediscovering boring road running to build my gluteus medius and tensor fascia for Javelina and my first 24h run.  Please accept my apologies on the upcoming lack of trail porn and bizarre philosophical ranting.
  • If you're looking for a good time, look no further.  Lethbridge's hottest club is Headquarters.  This 24-hour Friday-only fantasy world bitchfest was built on a dare to answer the question, "Huh?!?!?!!?"  Don't be thrown off when you're greeted at the door by some lady bouncer wearing an authentic mask from the orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut--the password is "COME INTO ME diabeetuSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".  This place has everything: lights, screaming babies, vomit-music, unicorns, freezing cold air, a rental car filled with bottled water, charts, graphs, a guy who still thinks Vitamin Water is good for you, parents and children all standing around clapping, waving and having a grand old time watching a parade of Darth know, it's that thing when a group of runners have a handheld way too small for this race and come in sounding like a Sith lord.  
So what's next?
  • Despite being 18min off from winning the 3rd place rock in my age category, I came out of this with a large container of Vitargo S2 intra-workout carbo powder.  This stuff is legendary (see: Alissa and Sinister 7/CDR this year) so I'm excited to be using this during Javelina Jundred and then the KUS 24h run two weeks after that.
  • But first I have to stop at the Big Sky Brewery in Missoula to pick up some Moose Drool run Le Grizz to get my undulations in.  I know it's boring as hell but I need boring right now.
  • I also need a Halloween costume for Javelina.  Currently thinking bacon or banana (a la peanut butter jelly time), but the lack of neck rotation is a bit concerning for me.  I am thus starting to consider simpler things like Fozzie Bear's accessories and other minimalist concepts.  Suggestions are welcome. 
  • I asked Julia to save me a spot at HQ next year because I think staying up for almost three days heckling tired runners seems a lot more challenging than running this race.
Developing the ability to control and manage the fucks you give is the essence of strength and integrity. We must craft and hone our lack of fuckery over the course of years and decades. Like a fine wine, our fucks must age into a fine vintage, only uncorked and given on the most special fucking occasions.
     --Mark Manson

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