There is a challenge out there of running the same number of marathons as you are old. So, a 39 year old man is challenged to run 39 marathons. My friend, at one point, had done that. But once he got married he stopped running entirely. Long ago, I gave up on that idea. I’ve only run three marathons (126.6km) in my life. (Four if you count the DisneyWorld Goofy.) I did contemplate trying to do the same with ultramarathons, but that would probably be too hard on my body to do that safely.
I have since noticed something though.
I am, at present, 39 years old. 39 marathons is 1645.8km. 40 marathons is 1688km.
The page that keeps track of all ultras I have ever run says that I have run 1596.268km total distance.
If I added the marathons I’ve done, that comes to 1722.868km. But, that seems silly. It’s just a marathon. And let’s be reasonable; the two 50km can barely qualify as ultras.
So, I’m at 1496.268km.
Iron Horse would put me over. Easily.
Then I would just have to worry about getting to 40 marathons of distance in ultras for next year.
The Alberta Triple still calls to me. I shouldn’t care, but part of me does. So I’m going to do the Iron Horse in a week and a half. If I complete that 160km run, then I’ll be able to say I’ve done the Alberta Triple twice.
But the site also keeps track of the ultras run in Alberta. The first time I did the triple, back in 2009, there was another prize for a friend because he was in the top three for his age category in points. He ran the same distance, and had less points than me, but because he was under 35, he was the best in his age category.
Ultras are an older person sport, so it is a lot more competitive as you age. But this year, I’ve been doing well. I was in the top three for my category. And I was hoping to stay there. My failure on the Lost Soul has dashed that hope. I don’t think finishing the Iron Horse will help me anymore.
Every time I go out for a bicycle ride with the purpose of pleasure instead of commuting, I end up in Rundle park. It is a very nice park, but I know there are parks to the southwest of Edmonton. Do they not have a right to be enjoyed?
Today, I was unable to find anyone who would want to go for a ride. And this is probably one of the last nice days this year. I had only done a short run in the morning, due to an ankle that has become a bit of a cry-baby, so I wanted to get more exercise in. With no one to join me, I decided to use my knowledge of the running trails to find a southwestern route.
Well, it can be done. I had to cheat and use a map occasionally, but there is a way. Terwillegar park has no paved trails, so it was more of an obstacle than a destination. The Anthony Henday bridge was where I finally crossed and started to head back. There were a few times where gravel and grass were involved, but it was doable. But, the way to Rundle is more pleasant. So the only reason to go is if you just want something different, or to see some very rich people’s houses.
My bike is running smoothly, which is a pleasant change from last week.
A week ago, on Friday, I decided to bicycle to a friend’s place where he was throwing a party. I had been concerned about my bike since I fell on it, but I had a friend who was going to look at it on Saturday, so I wasn’t too concerned.
Unfortunately, the route I chose to go had a big hill. And this would be the first real hill I dealt with since my fall. It didn’t go well. With one shift, there was a crunch and I stopped moving forward. I was able to unclip before I fell over. A quick examination was distressing. A piece of my bicycle had gotten lodged in my spokes and taken the chain with it. As near as I could tell, this piece was part of my frame. This was not something I could fix on my own. Fortunately I was only a five minute walk from my friend’s, and I was able to get a ride home for me and my bike.
The next day, I learned all about my derailleur hanger and how it can be bent a bit so that if you go into the lowest gear the derailleur can get caught up in your spokes. A good learning experience, and it seemed easy enough for a professional to fix. I was able to make it out to a ride that afternoon to Rundle park where I could get nearly run off the road by a four year old child on a bike who was more interested in what was behind him than what was in front of him.
I did the corn maze today. I think it would be better with other people. That’s because I overthink it.
If I have nothing to distract me (i.e. friends) then my brain will just completely work on solving the maze. And if you are thinking it though, you can notice several patterns. I never really got to enjoy being lost.
The maze is set up so that there are ten sections, divided into two phases. Each phase starts and ends at the barnyard, which you can occasionally see from a distance. Each section has a sign showing how far into the maze you are. The aerial view of the maze, which they show off at the start, is one big advertisement. With these facts, the overall path through the maze is easy to figure out.
First, since you start and end at the same place, there will be two overall loops; the first on the north part and the second on the south part. That means the path, for each, will generally be west, then a short south part, and then east back to the barn. So, if you can keep track of the highway to the north (which is easy; it is somewhat noisy and is bordered by some tall trees that you have a good chance to see) you know direction to head. The numbers track your place in the maze, so after three numbers, head a bit to the left and then start heading back.
Second, because the designers are beholden to the big advertisement that is their field, the maze is a secondary consideration. There are many obvious splits. There is a good chance that any path you take is going to meet up again. If you keep your eye out, you can see them and ignore many superflous paths. Basically, the path through is easier than it could be.
After I went through, I looked at the aerial photograph and noticed a discrepancy. I actually went back to confirm it. The picture was taken early in the season, and since then, they have cut a legal shortcut. It was nice to go through again with the map, and plot where you were. I didn’t do it a lot, but I found it interesting.
I would happily go back again, and let some friends lead the way, getting lost, while I tracked on the map the entire way.
The best corn maze I’ve ever done was back in Winnipeg, maybe fifteen years ago. It was a small plot, probably half the size of the Edmonton one. But they made it a maze. There were no convenient waypoints to encourage you. You could get lost, and half the family did. I felt good about that. This one just felt like a pleasant stroll in the corn.
On a drive home today, I heard on the radio about Mike Merrill who has made himself a Publicly Traded Person. Basically, he has sold shares in himself and the shareholders get to vote yes/no on any life decisions. The radio described how they even vetted his potential girlfriends.
This sounds like a great idea. Since shareholders have invested money, it isn’t in their benefit to “tank” the company, so they will maximize their return by voting in their best interests. One is beholden to your shareholders, instead of just taking the advice of friends and ignoring it. it is “a more efficient, and entertaining, version of what humans attempt to do all the time—seek objective advice—with the twist that the advice-givers have a financial incentive.”
I wonder what my “shareholders” would say about my life decisions. I suppose it would be dependent on who were the shareholders. I know at least one who would vote down on ultramarathon running. Would it make my love life improve if I has shareholders that were making demands for me to do actions?
I got pulled from the race after about 78km. I didn’t want to stop, but the nurses don’t like it when you throw up in front of them.
I forgot how hard a race it was, and the weather was hot and humid all day. The coulees focused the heat and there are so many of them to go up and down. I think I may have pushed myself too much for the first loop. It didn’t seem to get cooler at night. By the time I started my second loop, my legs were tired. Going up hills was painful and I needed a lot of rests. I’m usually great on hills. I suspect it was all because I didn’t do enough hill training, but I was sick and had not been getting enough sleep lately.
Friends commented that I was getting paler for the last few legs. And at the Pavan station, I was feeling queasy. I had assumed eating would help me have enough energy for the rest of the race. Maybe I ate too fast? In any case, I sat down and tried to recover again. I was starting to get less pale, and I felt a lot better after I was sick.
But I was there for an hour before I let myself be pulled. By that time I was probably in no shape to keep running. And the next leg was a hilly 15km, and not the best place to be incapacitated in the middle of the night.
It felt great to be pulled. I got to go to stop running and go to bed.
The worst part is that this morning, when I would have still been running, it was great weather. It was nice and cool. I would have been great today.
Today I am in Lethbridge. Tomorrow morning I run, starting at 8:00 in the morning. Hopefully finishing by seven in the evening of the next day. I have 35 hours to do this.
I am not confident about this run. My ankle is still hurting. My toe is probably still broken. I haven’t trained enough. I am starting to come down with a cold. I have not been sleeping much since Montreal.
But the hardest part will be not using any of those as an excuse to give up. This is a hard race, and it would be very easy to just stop. But I can’t do that. If I finish this, I’ve got an Alberta Triple under my belt.
I won’t have real support, but this is a well organized ultra, so I am not that worried. My sister is in town with me, but that is so she can interview someone as part of her thesis. Then she will just stay in the hotel and work. Hopefully she will come out and see me a few times. But I am not requiring it.
I would like to say that I didn’t cover the last two days of Montreal because I was “living in the moment”, but that would be a lie. I was just not motivated. I had read this article about enjoying your alone time while traveling. Maybe I should stop constantly updating people as to what I am doing. But at the same time, I have that New Year’s Resolution to be a creator…
In any case, at the very least I should stop talking about the late night partying I did. I don’t want to sound like some “douche” with a tan that belongs on reality TV. I think “Jersey Shore” might be the one I’m thinking of, but I’ve never seen it.
Sunday in Montreal involved sleeping, to try and catch up for the little I was doing. In the afternoon, a huge bunch of us did a tour of Montreal. Not really to any famous sites, but more just to soak up the atmosphere. The city does have a nice subway system, so the two hundred of us were able to get around fairly well, even if it was like herding cats. We even got ourselves on TV at one point.
For dinner, I finally went out to a non-fast food restaurant for dinner. Previously I had been in too much of a rush to sit down for a long meal, but I made the time now. It helped that it had been planned with two friends from Edmonton. It was just a Japanese restaurant, but it had the same pace you would expect from a French restaurant. (We were there for a long time.) And they were an easy couple to talk to, so I had a good time.
In the evening, another party. This one was conveniently in the hotel. But even with the easy access to alcohol in my own room, I just didn’t feel like drinking. I still felt lonely, and did spend time with my Edmontonian friends.
Monday was the day I should have gone for a run, but my ankle was hurting from the long walk the previous day. But in the afternoon I got together with the Edmontonians and did a personal walk. We investigated old Montreal and the waterfront. I had seen it all before, so I didn’t take many pictures, but it was nice to actually get out.
In the evening was a fancy dinner with the group. I think I heard that the restaurant was normally closed on Monday, but they were doing a special dinner for us all. They had us outside, in the back, under a tent. It did start raining, torrentially, and the back corner where I was was getting flooded. Our table moved inside, away from the rest, but nice and dry. There I had a nice salmon pâté for an appetizer, a duck confit for the main course, and a dessert of chocolate marquise.
I sat next to an old Montreal friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. We talked, and reminisced, and she gave me some sound insight into my character. I’m going to have to think about what I learned.
Then back to the hotel to pack, because I had an early flight. Fortunately there were no problems getting home. I made it to a physical therapy on time, and then to the Apple Store to get a replacement iPhone.
Oh look, it’s morning.
It was a weird day for sleep. I rolled out of bed at ten-thirty in the morning and joined friends for brunch. Then out to see if I can find someone who might be able to repair my iPhone, which I got rather wet last night. The one place I did find said they wouldn’t be able to get it back to me until Tuesday. That is when I leave Montreal, so that won’t do. I got a bag of rice, and now my iPhone is marinating in that. Maybe it will fix it, but I have my doubts.
The rest of the day was really spent in bed trying to get my sleep deprivation over. It wasn’t a good sleep. But around 6:30 in the evening, I got up, and started doing stuff.
The next party was at a club nearby. It started with an hour long fashion show; I got some nice pictures of it. The club was seven separate stories, and each floor was pretty varied. The best floor was the roof, where it was quiet and you could talk to people. But the places where the A/C was blasting in your face were also nice.
That shut down at around three o’clock in the morning. I joined a small party of people at their hotel room for some drinks. That wound down after half an hour, and then we hit the official afterparty.
I got to try something fun. This woman had industrial balloons, and a leaf-blower. She would inflate the balloon, and then stuff someone in through the opening before it deflated. Then lather, rinse, repeat. You could get a lot of people in a single balloon. I think the one I got in on had thirteen people before it popped. It was like a weird version of Twister. Hope you make friends easily. I think someone was wearing cologne though; that could have been better.
And at about six in the morning, I headed back to my room to finally get some sleep.
I’m not that sleepy yet, but I should try and function tomorrow. Or today, because I can see the sun rising.