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Another lesson of Ultras...

Posted Nov 11 2009 10:01pm
As you all know… (because I’ve mentioned it non-stop since I signed up), I’m registered for a 50k race in January. The SwampStomper 50k outside of Memphis. This is my first attempt into the ultrarunning world. And while I’m super scared out of my freaking mind excited about the race, I realize that this going to be almost like starting out in running again. There are lots of things that are different about ultrarunning and even more things that are different about trail running. So, yeah, I’m excited to get into it and learn more about it (yeah, I’m excited to l earn more about it… not necessarily excited to run 50k on a single track trail).

I figured the first few things I’d learn while thinking about my training would be things like… how to fuel up, how to train, how to recover, etc. So, I was pretty surprised that my next lesson ( after learning to sign up for the races early ) was in math. Or, in a lack thereof, I should say.

How many times have you been asked the question that all non-runners love to ask… “how far was that marathon?” or its various other incarnations (Did you run that 5k marathon this weekend? Et al). A zillion right? I mean, it doesn’t bother me. Why should non-runners know how long various races are? (Although, come on… at least know that all marathons are the same distance. Am I right?).

Now… I’m no math whiz*, but I do know this one basic calculation:

1 kilometer= .62 miles.

So, using that knowledge… I can easily figure out how long a 12k race is, or a 20k. 7.44 miles and 12.4 miles, respectively. Easy, no?

I used this knowledge to calculate the distance of a 50k. 50k= 31 miles. Awesome. Less than 5 miles more than a marathon. No biggie. Right? So, the other day I was perusing the FAQ page for the event and I saw this question:

What are the true distances of these races?

Ummm… ok, I think to myself. That’s an odd question for a race FAQ. And then I see the answer…

The 50K is 32.6 miles, and the 25K is 16.3 miles.

Ummm… excuse me? What’s that?

I read it again,

The 50K is 32.6 miles...

WHAT THE HELL? 32.6 miles is like… a… 52.5k! Where did that extra 1.6 miles come from?

Amy: Welcome to the world of ultrarunning… it’s not an exact math.

So, apparently, ultrarunners don’t give two shits about bragging to their friends about how far they’ve ran like I do. Apparently, calling it a 50k and just completely forgetting about those last measly 1.6 miles is standard procedure. What universe is this??? Are you serious? The tee shirt that I receive from this race (that I will probably wear for 10 days straight after the race) will be LYING to all those people who see it. Because… guess what? I’ll be even MORE bad-ass than that tee shirt implies. I didn’t just run a 50k. Hells no, I ran a 52.5k! (This is all assuming that I survive the race and finish it, obviously). Don’t deny me any of my bad-ass-ness!!

I mean, I get it… it’s cool. These ultrarunners are totally chill and aren’t out there to brag and get their props. They’re just out there to run and be in nature and all that shit. But, I’m not like that… I thrive on bragging to beotches about how freaking hardcore I am.

I’m thinking I’ll just use some masking tape… cover over the 50k and write in 52.5k on the tee shirt**. I mean… just to be accurate, ya know?

Nevermind the fact that I’ve got to run another 1.6 miles***. Sheesh.

Lesson #2 learned: Always read the FAQs or look closely at the course map before you sign up for an ultra race.

*No comments from the peanut gallery, please.
**Classy all the way, baby. That's how I roll.
***Lest I forget the REAL issue at stake. Another 1.6 miles? Ugh.
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