Thursday, April 18, 2013

9 Ways to Make Your Next 37-mile Training Run in the Mountains Bizarrely Easy. Seriously.

I just got back from a 37-mile training run in the mountains that was literally the easiest 37 miles I have ever run. Because most people do not automatically associate “37-mile training run” and “easy” I have decided to create a list for you. This is what serious people do. I know I’m a serious person because I distinctly remember my 7th grade teach saying as I entered the room one day: “Eric, you are the most serious 7th grader I have ever seen.” And then just last year my wife said to me: “Lighten up dude.” Part of my serious persona is a certain approach to things, my father-in-law calls it “the German method.” I have a German name. So here is how you do it:

This is what serious looks like

     1.    Play Mumford & Sons as loud as you possibly can on your car stereo on the way to the mountain. I’m pretty sure that Marcus Mumford is God’s vessel on earth and here’s why I think so. He had me wailing at the top of my lungs -- my voice strained and cracking with sincerity -- as I pulled up to my daughter’s elementary school to drop off supplies she had forgotten at home. The quizzical looks of young children arriving at school turned into true puzzlement as I emerged from the car in my 80s styled running shorts to deliver my package.
2.       Put your pot of anger on the back burner and let it simmer. OK, I’m being metaphorical here. But not about the anger. On occasion there is an event in the news that brings into focus the mostly vague and widely dispersed threats to our freedom. And NOTHING pisses me off more than threats to our freedom. Anger, like other passions, is a source of energy if properly managed. That’s why I suggest you cook with it (see #3).
3.       Bake a pair. This is quicker and more satisfying than to grow a pair. If you follow my recipe you will have Ultra Balls TM, the formula for maintaining vigor mile after mile. Unfortunately I cannot fully disclose the recipe to you. I can tell you that it involves grinding nuts – almonds and walnuts, and swirling with honey and, of course, baking. It also involves a dried fruit and one other mystery ingredient that – obviously – I cannot tell you. But you get the idea. You need sustenance of the kind that Ultra BallsTM will deliver.
4.       Grab a pair. The potency of Ultra BallsTM makes them difficult to swallow, so to speak, so you need to grab a pair of apples to go along with them. Using the apple as food on the run is a little trick I picked up in high school. I was both hungry and ready to run so I grabbed an apple and headed out. This food is nearly magical in its perfection. It has an edible wrapper and comes packaged with its own water. In combination with the protein and fat rich Ultra BallsTM you will have everything you need.
5.       Swing sticks. Also called trekking poles. Use these mainly for the purpose of slowing yourself down. Going slower will not only make the run last longer, but will prevent the strain and potential injury associated with speed. Because poles are long and awkward, you will need to bring foods that can be handled easily such as those in ball form (see #3 and #4). Because poles are long and awkward, you will need a lot of practice prior to your 37 miles of bliss. For this you will need hike the Appalachian Trail (see #6).
6.       Hike the Appalachian Trail. While on the trail it is important that you have the following experience. Having spent the night alone at the Flint Mountain Shelter on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee you wake up to a pummeling all-day rain. You have too little food left to wait it out so you make a run for Erwin. Based on previous running experience (in which 7 min/mile pace is “average”) you loosely estimate that going “all out” to compensate for the difficult terrain you can run the 35 miles in 4 hours. You proceed to go all out, romping through the pouring rain and splashing through the river that used to be the trail at maximum cardiac output for 4 hours straight. You have to walk at this point because the skin has basically separated from the flesh on your feet. Also you still have 15 miles to go. After another 5 hours of limping you arrive at the campground in Erwin. You get a ride to Kentucky Fried Chicken, which still sounds good especially since it is AYCE. Because you do not yet have Ultra BallsTM you eat enough to cause the establishment to consider changes to both its name and its pricing structure.
7.       Volunteer to coach your son’s middle school track team. The day before your 37 miler try to arrange for a track workout in which your young son concludes a full set of intervals by literally breezing through 200m in 29s, clearly demonstrating a genetic endowment in which you are implicated.
8.       Use self-talk. [You can indicate self-talk in writing later with brackets like this]. The easiest 37 miler ever will still take most of the day, and you will be alone. [Because nobody will want to go with you.] When you have got the hang of staying upright and not tripping on your own poles, you will find your mind wandering onto ideas that under normal circumstances would not seem worth exploring [like “why does this run seem so easy?” or “Should I write a list to my blog?”] Your inner voice will be gentle and encouraging as you explore these “crazy” ideas, as well as stern and ironically condescending when you nearly fall because you got lost in your daydreams [Everyone will be after your recipe - you are so creative…aacK! PAY ATTENTION YOU JACK*SS]
9.       Did I say 9 ways? Now that I’ve listed them I think it’s plain that those 8 pretty well cover it. As long as I have you, though, I feel I should tell you I’d probably recommend against applying any of the previous ideas. The problem is that to the extent that you actually pull them off you will become me. You don’t need to be that serious, and I don’t need that kind of competition. 

The Profile
Elevation Profile of the "Bizarrely Easy 37-mile Training Run in the Mountains." Start and finish at Skulls Gap. 1. Shaw Gap. 2. Beartree Lake. 3. Creek Junction. 4. Buzzard Rock. 5. Elk Garden. 6. Rt. 603


  1. Are you kidding me? This is hillarious. Kudos, my friend. Few things are funnier than humor based on self-deprecation. Keep up the writing. I think this Colorado deal has you inspired.

  2. GOLD!!! This is the best Top 10, er 9, er 8 list ever.

  3. Inspiring! You're going to make me work to keep up next month.