Jul 31, 2007

3.5 awesome happy smiley-faced miles

run 100 feet, 5280 times - the last 100 feet of the vermont 100 mile endurance run.

you know, it's bizarre.. after yesterday's post, i was wondering if there was anything else i could be saying that i haven't said already.

yet, today's run had me think of so many things worthy of saying that i don't think i can remember it all. (:

this evening when i ran, it was warmer than the last two days' runs - 84º or so - but the humidity was only about 45%..

it is definitely more comfortable than the 78º and 85% humidity of sunday and monday.

is that the reason today's run went so unbelievably well?
well, it could be..
it could also be that I didn't push myself too hard on both S & M, when I ran a mere 4 miles over both days combined.
or it could be the fact that I ran in the oppressive conditions on both of those days caused an increase in mental toughness such that the discomfort of today's run wasn't even noticeable.
or it could be that i'm a much stronger runner because i trail-ran bear mountain, then jogged another 3½ miles on saturday- it wouldn't be the first time i've noticed a dramatic increase in performance after such an intense workout.
or it could be that i treated myself to too much of Rino's Pizza in New Paltz, on my way home from work, an hour before my run. Rino's is quite possibly the best pizza in the Hudson Valley, and good pizza always makes me happy. and a happy steve is a good runner steve.

suffice it to say, whatever the cause, today's run was incredible.

it wasn't particularly long - 3.5 miles. but longer than I planned.
I've run something similar (but easier) to this course once before, about a year ago. i remember that it had some respectable hills on it. it was unusually hard on me, for a 3-miler. i was accustomed to running on a flat surface.
today, i planned on running the identical course that i found so hard last year. it's an inter-state course that starts at my home in suffern (new york), crosses over into mahwah (new jersey), and stays there for a while before returning home. the first half is on a busy street, but the way back is quiet, tree-lined residential streets. both halves have hills, but nothing too serious.

it started out just like any other run. i didn't know how well it was going to go. it took forever for my GPS to get a satellite lock. when it finally clicked and as i started, my mind went through the typical bail-out scenarios and what-ifs it always goes through at the beginning of a run. then, to my surprise, i found myself running at a 9-minute-per-mile pace at the second block. and as good as it felt, i knew that i better hold back if i wanted to survive the run. so I settled into my typical 11 minute pace, which made me happy. it literally put a smile on my face. and, at about the half-mile mark, while starting an uphill, i noticed the smile.

"whoah, i'm running uphill and enjoying it!"

it was still early in the run, and i didn't know how i was going to feel at the 1-mile mark, but at that point i decided that i was going to do everything possible to enjoy this run. so i kept smiling. i smiled as i crossed a busy intersection. i smiled as i crossed paths with another runner. i smiled as i powered my way up a hill. and before i knew it, i was turning off the busy street, under the railroad tracks, then back north, towards home, up a hill, still smiling, at a better than 10-minute pace. i saw some children playing, and i smiled some more - but my pace combined with the hill, which was cresting, made me feel a little discomfort, for the first time this run. so, as i started a flat portion, i slowed down the pace and i immediately felt fine again. then the best part of the run came.

the course takes a left turn and ascends a slight incline before flattening out on a right turn. i remember this part of the course being really difficult when i ran it last year. what i didn't remember, until i was there, was just how steep the road gets if you *don't* turn right.

there was no question in my mind. as soon as i saw that steep hill, i knew i was going to conquer it. when i came to the intersection where i could have turned right to a flat relief, i noted my distance so i would know how long the hill was. then i ran up the hill. no question, i was working out. this was a tough hill, and my heart rate was skyrocketing. but i am a strong hill runner, that's my affirmation. it showed as i crested this .14 mile block that probably gains over 100 feet in elevation. I'm going to call it FireHill, because the Mahwah Fire Department is actually at the top of it.

FireHill ends in a "T"-style intersection, and I was to make the right turn that I planned to make a block ago, sans-FireHill. when it came into view, i saw another jogger coming into the intersection from the left. he probably had the same build as me, maybe not quite as fat but not as tall either. the road, when going from left to right, also goes uphill, though not nearly as steep. lo and behold, he was running at my typical 11-minute per mile pace. let's call him MahwahDude.

i was strong when i crested the hill and turned right into the not-nearly-as-steep-but-still-a-hill hill. MahwahDude crossed the intersection before I did, and as I turned right, he was about 30 feet in front of me. Long-time readers of this blog will remember BlueShirt, a guy, who upon reflection was remarkably similar to MahwahDude. I was behind him on a training run for a long time, and though he didn't know it at the time, I decided to make him my competitor. My race tactic at the time, demoralize him on an uphill, and hope he doesn't catch me on the flats. let my heart stay in front of him. It worked with BlueShirt, but MahwahDude didn't just climb FireHill. My only hope was to stay with him, 30 feet, until the hill we were both on (after turning right off FireHill) crested, then smoke him when it goes downhill. It proved to work - my heart rate was still high, but not above 95%, when we were nearing the crest of the hill, so I picked up my pace a little. I quickly passed MahwahDude and allowed myself to fly down the hill on the other side, which is very steep. My GPS tells me that I briefly was running faster than a 6-minute pace. I never saw MahwahDude again.

I never stopped smiling.

My run then crossed Rt.202 and into a quiet neighborhood where I would cross the state line back into New York. I backed off my pace as a cool-down, and just took it easy on the road where I did some Yasso 800s two weeks ago. Entering downtown Suffern Proper, I found myself running up yet another hill, still with a big fat smile on my face and a LOT of fuel left in the tank. So I picked up the pace and finished, once again, going uphill, at a sub-10 minute pace.

4 days down, 17 to go. and what may be the best workout of my life.

I actually have a lot more to write. but this blog post is already too long.. so it'll have to wait until the next time. For those of you who took the time to read what I just wrote, thanks. But I honestly don't think anyone (all two of you) got this far. That's ok though, because I wrote it for me. I want to have something to come back to ten years down the line and see where my mind was at. It should be fun.
in upcoming episodes of pizzapizza, steve's blog: popcorn and trail runners. and whatever else I couldn't fit in this post.

have a great day.


Jul 30, 2007

july 30th, starting to cool off..

after running up bear mountain!
i'm on the left. i'm 285lbs. joey is in the middle. he's 39 lbs. alexandria is on the right. she weighs more than 10lbs, and less than 1000lbs.

From Amby Burfoot's excellent "Peak Performance" blog:

Four Best Diet Practices To Help You Lose Weight
After reviewing more than a decade of dietary research relating to obesity, a team of University of California researchers came up with the four nutrition practices that are most likely to promote weight gain. They are: 1) increased dietary fat intake; 2) increased consumption of sweetened beverages; 3) eating out at restaurants; and 4) and skipping breakfast. Presumably, the opposite approaches would lead to weight loss. The UCal scientists found little support for the following practices, often mentioned as obesity causes: 1) protein intake; 2) consumption of simple sugars and fruit juice; 3) food variety; 4) portion size; 5) snacking; and 6) meal frequency. Source: California Agriculture. More PDF

My 3½ year-old human alarm clock didn't do his job this morning, as I rose earlier than he did, but later than I should have - left for work at 8:05am, arrived at about 9:50am. What's nice about this job is that they seem to be pretty laid-back about what time you're in the office so long as you're present at meetings and are productive. It's now 11am and both my boss and my technical lead aren't in yet. On the other hand, I have wasted a lot of time already by sleeping in this morning, which causes, erm, "challenges" regarding getting a run in today after work. I am committed to doing it, even if it is only one mile, because I like the idea of running for 21 consecutive days to establish a "habit" (not necessarily an "addiction"). Not that I'd particularly mind being addicted to running, as it is a lot better than an addiction to drugs, nicotine, or alcohol (or food!), but as with anything, that level of preoccupation is not good.

(i'm home now)
I just ran 2½ miles around suffern. the temperatures weren't too high, about 78º, but the humidity was such that my non-cotton lightweight t-shirt weighed about 3lbs when i was done with it. I'll call it an LT run, because i wasn't running particularly slow, but i wasn't sprinting either. i finished with a lot left in the tank, but i still enjoyed an earned slice of pizza immediately after the run.

this being day 3 of my goal of running 21 consecutive days (and therefore establish a habit), a picture of what the next 18 days will look like is starting to clarify itself as i think about it during my runs. the obvious implication of running 21 consecutive days is that i won't take any days off. for those of you who do not know much about running (or exercise in general), most people believe that it's a good idea to take at least one day off from running every week to give your body a chance to recover from the stress you've been putting it through. most runners take 2 or more days off per week. since i won't be doing that for the next three weeks, it's important that i manage my training such that my body isn't stressed so much that it needs time off. that's why i finished tonight with plenty left in the tank.

but the problem is that i *like* challenging myself! i really feel a need to run a hill, sprint a half-mile, or go the distance because that takes running and makes it interesting! i really am not interested in making a habit out of a bunch of daily junk miles, even though that would be good for me. plus, i have goals and running 2-3 easy miles a day just aren't going to jive with them. what to do?

well, i think i can find the answer when looking in the context of who i see myself being a year from now. i am an ultrarunner, even though i've not yet attempted an ultramarathon. being an ultrarunner, i put my body through unusual stress. i need to train it to run through the routine pain while being careful enough to distinguish it from injury-related pain.

so here's a worthy challenge - run 21 consecutive days, and include a couple of 'hard' workouts each week. in my case, a hill and a long run this week. next week i might make it two hills, i'll see how i feel. every other run will be recovery runs.. boring, but at my level of training, necessary.

in this way, i'm pushing myself and taking a risk, but it's a managed risk. i'll have 7 hours to complete the 50k.. so i need to remember the secret to good barbequed pork, and apply it to my running: low and slow, slow and low.

(and hey, i'll resemble bbq'd pork when i'm done with the 50k!)

3 down, 18 to go.

Jul 29, 2007

I'm in the light blue shirt. Alex and Joe are in front of the table on the right. The rest of 'em are my skiing friends, except for the weird looking guy on the far left. He was a recumbent bike dude that we befriended and had a couple of beers with.

Well, I said I would run on Friday. I did not. I said I would eat right on Friday. I sort of did not (but it was better than any other day last week.)

On Saturday, however.. I ran twice. And went on all-liquids.
The first run was a 1.5 mile run in 30 minutes - that involved about 1200 feet of gain. An ascent of Bear Mountain, from the east, on the Appalachian Trail. For a hike, it's pretty steep. For me on a trail run, it's stupid steep.

Then, after relaxing for almost two hours, I left alex and joey at a playground at Bear Mountain State Park and jogged 3½ easy miles, the highlight of which was a crossing of the Bear Mountain Bridge, briefly into Westchester County, back into Orange County, and maybe into Rockland County too at the very end.. I was excited to be running, and even though the runs weren't very long in the context of my goals, they were long enough and easy enough to encourage me in my goals.

Today after church, I did 1¼ junk miles while joe and alex were at another playground, this time in Teaneck, New Jersey. I'll be honest with you, it was kind of hard - after the super-intense bear mountain ascent yesterday plus the two-a-day style jog afterwards, my legs were feeling a little beat up. Also, the temp was 79º and humidity was pretty close to 100%, and a mid-day summer thunderstorm was on its way. Still, my heart rate was still about 59 when relaxed (if I can't get it under 65 then that to me is a sign that I'm overtraining). Before finishing up the first lap, I spied J&A running towards the car. Turns out that they heard thunder approaching, at which point I too decided that I didn't want to run a second lap.

I bought a flashlight and a reflective running vest. I look forward to nighttime runs after returning from work. Courtney, who is going to do an ironman-length triathlon next month, suggested that the way you make a habit out of running is by not missing a day for three weeks. I'm going to try that. She also is suggesting that I do an ironman with her. Short answer is probably never, but I'll post more about that some other time.

i was thinking about my post from wednesday.

even though there are no comments, i regret writing that if i were to run, i wouldn't settle for mediocrity.
the implication is that someone who merely completes a marathon.. is mediocre.

i didn't mean to imply that, so i would like to change that word.

problem is, i can't think of a good word to describe what i was (and am) thinking.. so here's the thought.
one tenth of one percent of the world's living population has completed a marathon.
one in a thousand. that's a pretty exclusive club... but for many people, it's not exclusive enough.

Many people who run multiple marathons strive to complete one in under four hours - which might put them in the top 25% of marathon runners. that would upgrade these people to one in four thousand. (yes i am pulling that number out of my ass, but the principal.) many who run marathons want to complete in under 3 hours. that might put them in the top 5%, only one in every 20,000 of the people in this planet can claim.
completing under 2 1/2 hours, puts people in the top 1%.. 1:80,000.

you see, one of the reasons why some people run marathons is to get into the most exclusive club possible.

to be sure, everyone who runs a marathon, no matter how slow, is a marathoner. not too many people can say that. but i think that part of the motivation that makes people run a marathon in the first place, is, among other things, to gain the right to say, "I am a marathoner," an earned title - akin to saying "I graduated college" or "I am a vegetarian." These are titles you earn by effort and discipline.

so there's a marathon "club" composed of runners who put in the effort required to cross the finish line at a 26.2 mile footrace. and even the club is open to everybody, about one in one thousand of our peers are members of it. no matter how slowly you completed the marathon, if you are in the club, your effort is not mediocre.

so the word i'm trying to find is a word that describes me to try to be in the most exclusive club possible. maybe the correct word is "psychopathic." but the bottom line is, one in a thousand isn't exclusive enough.

and since i doubt that no matter how much weight i lose, and no matter how much i train, that i have the ability to run a 2:30 marathon and get myself into the super-exclusive "sub 2:30 marathoner club", i have decided to pursue an equally exclusive club of the ultramarathon. One thing I noticed in Vermont is that there are so few people who run 100-mile ultramarathons that everybody almost knows everybody. It is a very tight-knit, friendly and supportive group. But put that aside. This is hard to explain, especially as an outsider observing this group, but in the course of running a 100-mile ultramarathon, these extraordinary individuals seemed to have learned something very profound about themselves - a knowledge that could only be learned by pushing their physical and mental endurance to the absolute limits - and among them, there was a mutual understanding of each other's journey. I could, of course, be talking out of my ass.. but that's how it occurred to me.

That said, I don't have a goal to complete a 100-mile ultramarathon (although I do admit I am curious to know that I *can* do one.) But I do want to earn the right to say, "I did this, and I'm one in a hundred thousand who'd even try."

I think I am going to register for a 50k ultramarathon in Hartford on September 21st. 31 miles. I won't be properly prepared for it by then, but I will be prepared to run 20 miles.. I'll just take it easy and it won't be too bad. Whatever I go through can't be worse than the 100-mile people experience.


Jul 26, 2007

resolution and running

July 19, 2007

Transportation Security Administration
Claims Management Office
US Department of Homeland Security
Arlington, VA 22202

Steven Tursi
35 Park Ave
Suffern NY 10901

Re: TSA Control No.: xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Claimant:

We have reviewed your claim for lost or damaged property. Based on this review, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers to resolve your claim by paying you $130.04. The resolution amount is one half of the amount you claimed (less any depreciation) because TSA concluded, based on the facts of your claim, that it was not possible to determine whether TSA or the airline was responsible for your loss. We are offering this as our share of responsibility.

You may accept our offer as our final administrative action on your claim. To do so, please check off the first box located on the enclosed attachment, indicating that you accept the resolution amount,. This will also waive your right to seek any additional payment on your claim from the TSA and its employees or any other part of the United States Government. If we do not hear from you within 90 days, we will presume that you have rejected our offer and treat your claim as denied. To receive payment or reject this offer, please fill out the attached form and return it to the TSA via mail or FAX.

You can check the status of your claim online at www.tsa.gov. Should you have any questions, please address them to the TSA Contact Center.

Yours sincerely,

Nicholas A. Panuzio
Director, Claims Management Office
Transportation Security Administration


I should be running right now. I don't know why I'm not.
I'm losing control of my discipline.. every day, a little bit more.
I wish I could get addicted to running like people I read about.
Tomorrow I *will* eat right. I *will* run.

I've got to kick this lax attitude in the ass.

listened to 4 episodes of phedippidations at 140% speed driving to work and back home today.
steverunner would be concerned.

Jul 25, 2007

Is steve an ultrarunner?

somebody at my new job asked me to send him a little blurb about myself as an introduction to him. i can't quote my response verbatim, but it went something like this:

"I am impulsive and a risk taker. I often get in over my head or do something dangerously stupid just for the thrill of it. I will most likely die of hypothermia, exposure, or head/neck trauma about 12,000 on a mountain somewhere. because they won't find my body for 79 years from the date of death, it is not a good idea to rely on me for anything."

it is in that context, that i reflect on the following conversation i had with an ultrarunner who DNF'd (medical reasons, no fault of his own, completed 61 miles anyway) at the vermont 100:

me: "I can't ever see myself running 100 miles. I would love to pace somebody through the last 30 miles of an ultra, do a 50k, or maybe even a 50-miler. but 100? no way."

him: "It's a disease. you start out with the marathon, then it's such a small jump to the 50k. then you think you can do a little more.. so you do a 50 miler. then a 100k. 100 miles then becomes no big deal."

You see, while I can't imagine myself ever attempting, much less completing, a 100-mile foot race, I can very much see myself catching the disease that my friend at the finish line described.

but allow me to back up..

I walked away from that race, simply amazed. these people are incredible. 100 miles is just incomprehensible, and these people were doing it. and doing it well.. but that's not all. personally, i can't think of any occassion where i personally witnessed a more difficult or grueling task. 100 miles. damn. i think about all the emotion and physical/mental stress that people talk about regarding the training and completion of a regular marathon - and it seems so minuscule by comparison. there were pacers at this race who ran 30 miles over a course much more difficult than almost every 26.2 marathon in this country, who received absolutely nothing for it - they just did it to help someone finish their 100-miler.

so, you know, considering the magnitude of the accomplishment, i really thought there would be more fans. the finish line basically had a couple of volunteers (including me), a few DNFs hanging out, maybe a family member or two waiting for their person, the race director and registrar (both came and went) - and those working the coinciding horse race.

no fans, no groupies, nothing.

gives a whole new meaning to the term "all guts no glory."

these people go out and run 100 miles for themselves. and themselves alone. there's no money in it, even for the winners. you are briefly applauded by half-a-dozen volunteers when you cross the finish line. your friends, family and coworkers might be impressed, but there's no envy there, only worried curiosity. in short, there's nothing to gain.. except maybe the knowledge that you can do it, and the satisfaction that you did it.

regular 26.2 mile marathons are "normal." ultramarathons are weird. extreme. hardcore. and slightly dangerous..

and that is what i was reflecting on today after i sent that email to a coworker. he probably thought i was joking. i am, after all, a goofball.

so listen, i am only going to be honest here. what i wrote to him was indeed an exaggeration, but it highlighted an underlying truth. i am impulsive and a risk-taker. if i'm going to put in the time to start running, i am not going to accept mediocrity in doing so - and while i'll probably never be a particularly fast runner - i know i can build my endurance. one thing to remember about people who can complete a 100-mile ultramarathon in the mountains of vermont is that they're normal blokes just like you an me. some people are into flying model airplanes. some are into watching baseball. some are into building ant farms. these people are into endurance. and they are enthusiasts - just like the guy who drops a couple grand on an airplane or baseball tickets or a ginormous ant farm.

enough blathering. will i ever run 100 miles? i honestly don't know. but prior to this last weekend, i would have answered that question with an emphatic 'no.' will i catch a disease? gee, i might already have. i'm planning on running 4 marathons this fall. and none of them seem like a big deal to me anymore. what has me excited is the possibility of participating in an endurance challenge this fall in hartford, CT, sponsored by the north face and hosted dean karnazes. they have a half-marathon option, and a 50k option. i know i could do the half-marathon, it will be safe, and it won't interfere with my marathon plans (it'll actually complement them nicely.) then, i look at 50k.. and I've gotta say, it scares me a bit. I have an intense desire to do it, but I'm not sure about whether I'm ready or not. I'm still fat after all - I've lost 60 lbs, but I have at least another 60 lbs to lose.

and that brings me to my next point. albany is 120 miles from home, yet that is where my job is. I read stories about people with much busier lives who get up at 5:00 am to get their run in, then get the kid off the school , then go to work. wow. could i adopt that kind of lifestyle? wake at 5:30? finish my run by 6:30? shower and get ready for work by 7:30? drop joey off at school and hit the road for 100 minutes for the drive to albany? i have to.. that's all there is to it.

the drive to albany has given me the opportunity to get caught up on my podcasts - and in lieu of an ipod (which was stolen by a TSA agent), i use a laptop with an external speaker. It's great to be hearing endurance planet and the final sprint again. And in searching for other running podcasts, I came across Phedippidations - "thoughts, opinions, dissertations, and rambling diatribes composed during distance long runs." This hour long podcast, intended to be listened to with a portable media player during long runs, might be the most inspiring running-related thing I've ever come across. I can't explain why it is so motivating to me - but I am actually eagerly anticipating my commutes so I could listen to one of the 106 episodes - and I get so much out of it that I listen at 140% speed, which allows me to get 140 minutes of content in a 100-minute drive. It is a crying shame that I listen while driving my car while listening to it, which is just one step above sitting on a couch while listening to it - but that aside, I think the appeal to me is that I want to be like steve runner. His has a goal of running a 4-hour marathon. it inspires him to get out all the time. I have a goal of running a 50-mile ultramarathon. Same thing.

Anyway, the summary of Episode 104 of Phedippidations is as follows: "You owe it to yourself, and to the rest of the running community, to start writing a blog, or producing a podcast. Write about your thoughts, your opinions and share your rambling diatribes…because at some point you’re going to write or record something that will touch another fellow runner, somewhere in this world, in such as way that it will have an important and positive influence in their life." He emphasized that it shouldn't be just a training log (as I already have, generated by motionbased), but that it should contain honest reflections related to running, whether it be my own, my goals, someone else's goals or running, or whatever. So at this point, you might notice a shift in the nature of the posts in my blog. I don't know how it's going to look - it might be overly philosophical, reflective, insightful, stupid, or maybe even vulnerable. I don't know. But I do know this - it will be honest. that's what i owe to myself.. and if anybody is still out there after reading this way-too-long post, then that's what i owe to you, too.

two weeks!

wow, livejournal just informed me that it's been two weeks since my last post here..

well, i've been driving. a lot.
started a new job on monday. it's in albany. i live in suffern. 120 miles. each way. yeah, thank god for telecommuting.

but, for obvious reasons, at least for this week, i won't be telecommuting much.

now that i've driven to work three times, i can say that it takes me about 100 minutes. i've been taking the time to catch up on some podcasts - played at 140% speed, because i'm pretty far behind.

spent the weekend in vermont. volunteered at the vermont 100-mile endurance run. i'll post more about that later - but suffice it to say, it has renewed my deep and profound respect for ultramarathon runners.

in the next installment, thoughts about my own running.. and how 200 minutes in a car each day are going to affect it.

so until next time,


Jul 9, 2007

what would you look like after running 100 miles?

Larry Gassen is a photographer who was invited to shoot photographs of people who had just completed the Western States Endurance 100-mile endurance Run.

It is the most famous 100-mile race in the country, and perhaps the world.

The course features 18,000 feet of elevation gain, and 23,000 feet of elevation loss.

There is a 30-hour time limit. The course record is just over 15½ hours.

View the entire gallery here.

Jul 6, 2007

mutual insanity


something occurred to me about a conversation i had the other day - i'm insane.

allow me to introduce you to courtney. courtney is a 25 (or so) year old, very intelligent, very ambitious, kind, generous, and fun-to-be-around skier friend of mine who has dealt with weight issues of her own in the past and has set a goal for herself to complete an ironman triathlon. an ironman tri, if you don't know, consists of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 miles on a bicycle, and then a standard 26.2 mile marathon. all in one day.

she is at least as insane as i am, probably more. a lot more.

so i thought you'd like to see how insanity manifests itself when two crazy people get to talking. red text is our conversation. green text is comments about our conversation.

11:25 AM Courtney: So i was thinking on my flight (layover in chitown)...
why don't you do a triathlon?
next year?
specifically, you should do an ironman
it would be a great culmination of your weight loss efforts :)

at this point, if i was sane, my response would be "why would i do that? i ran a marathon last fall, and that was crazy enough!" but i am not sane, so therefore i instead said this:

11:26 AM me: actually, what i was thinking about doing
was an ultramarathon
maybe a 50-miler with lots of elevation

now, if c was normal, her natural response to that would be "um, steve - an ultra? dude it's great that you're under 300 lbs, but you're still almost 300 lbs - you probably shouldn't even be running anything more than a 10k. the marathon was very hard on you. a 50 miler? on a forest trail? with lots of mountains? come on, man - be realistic." But she didn't say that, she said this:

Courtney: that would be cool too

but, of course, everything the sane person would said about the 50 miler, she could have said about the ironman had i said i was interested in that. instead, she persists:

do you swim?
you'd have the bike and the run downpat
me: not really
a swimmer
i've tried, i look like a walrus
and swim like a cat

ok, so i'm not completely insane.

11:27 AM Courtney: hmm
well an ultra would be cool too
let me know if you find a good one, i would do it with you if you wanted a buddy

you see, here's the deal - NOBODY should be doing an ultra. it's not fun, it's not glamorous - it's not even healthy - but she, of course, is naturally interested.

me: ok
the idea of an ironman intrigues me, i will admit
but i guess ultras intrigue me more

yeah, because "intrigue" is a great reason to run so far that your body's natural response is to literally shut down.

11:34 AM me: anyway, yes i'll definitley let you know when i decide to do an ultra.
i may do a flat one.. there's one in newport rhode island every year that's obviously flat
or I may do a gnarly mountain one..
Courtney: gnarly mountain one would be awesome.... maybe that one in VT?
me: we'll see how my fitness is this time next year

yeah, my fitness. that would be an important prerequisite to running 50 miles. one thing i do have on courtney - every now and then i get a glimpse of realism.

11:37 AM Courtney: cool :) i will keep my eyes out for a nice ultra as well :) i know for a fact that you could do an ironman though with the discipline that you've done with the marathons... you might love it
chew on it for a while :)

realism, as you see, is easily replaced by optimism. a little cajoling doesn't hurt either. (:

me: have a good flight
Courtney: later

so here's a good test of your own sanity. if you agreed with the green more than the red, then congratulations! you can officially consider yourself normal and able to ridicule crazy people. if, however, you found yourself liking the red, then i have some bad news - you're going to often find yourself the object of ridicule by the normal people - often insidiously behind your back. but then again, you will also have experiences and memories that they'll never have. you'll learn more about yourself than they'll ever know, and you'll meet some pretty cool people to boot.

and that makes it worth it.

have a nice weekend,