Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday's Numbers: 77,57,90, 3, 21 --- and why I don't really feel like a hamburger

You know, I love a hamburger as much as the next person but vanity will always get in the way of me wanting to be one.

Thursday Joe emailed me that there was a one day showing of Ultramarathon Man that day. Friday Lala gave me an article from the Wall Street Journal that she saved for me. She said something along the lines of I hope you never want to do anything like this. It worries me that you are headed in that direction. . .

And today while I ran in this ridiculous August heat I thought about ultra marathons and Iron man's and other endurance races. And I came to some conclusions about those races and myself. Yes. Absolutely. Those sorts of ultra endurance events definitely intrigue me. But. . .

Mom you can rest easy.

See, I once had the opportunity to run with Dean when he did the Atlanta course as part of his 50/50/50 that the movie chronicles. Sure, I would have had to pay like $100 to do it and it was less than 2 weeks out from OBX but I could have done it. Both of those reasons were good enough reasons as to why NOT to do it. But those reasons are not the ones that deterred me. I didn't go out that Friday morning and run with Karnazes and his groupies because it was raining.


I am a fair weather runner.

Sure I'll suck it up if I have to and today was about as extreme as I will go heat wise and I definitely do not like the cold--25 is my threshold. Rain is doable but I certainly do not seek it out. Especially not for a training run. Race, okay. It is the cards you are dealt in that case but for training I'll switch my days around for better weather. Cause me? I'm soft. But most of all I do not like to miserable when I run. I like to feel good when I run. I don't like to be uncomfortable.

This is not to say I don't accept and deal with a certain level of discomfort when I run. Of course I do but it must be very small because I am a well known complainer, whiner, brat when I am unhappy, uncomfortable and miserable. I know this and I try to suck it up, keep it to myself, push through it but really, if you compare me to others, I'm "sucking it up" through a sippy cup.

So, when I read that Wall Street article the deal breaker for me wasn't the 548 miles over 10 days, the no sleep, the hiking, running, kayaking, biking or even the climbing and repelling. Even though climbing and repelling are two things it is unlikely I will ever do (though I have done both in the past-- a long, long time ago) since I am scared shitless of heights. Honestly, it isn't the climbing or going up part that bothers me. It is the looking or climbing down part. Makes me want to throw up. But really, that is just fear and fear? Well, you can conquer that.

So no. None of the actual disciplines or the distance of Primal Quest put me off.

What is the deal breaker?

Well, so, I am reading the article, nodding as I go along. I mean yes. It does all sound extreme but I am thinking also very cool. Life changing. You know, really embracing life. But then about two-thirds down, there it is. A comment that both Dean Karnazes and Pam Reed had in their biographies detailing their ultra-marathoning experiences at Badwater and Western States. I've heard other ultra marathoners toss it around. It seems to be what you say. It is, apparently, what happens when you run an ultra and it makes me think: well I'm never doing a 100 mile race then. I think, maybe a 50k or 50 mile. THAT seems doable, less risky. Less chance of the dreaded thing happening.

What thing?

You didn't read the article?

Okay. Well it is the statement of "Some feet look like ground beef."

I wish I could say "I just can't imagine . . ." but sadly, I can. I can't help but get a visual. I totally see the hamburger feet and I wonder, how the hell does that happen? Hamburger. Feet. Ew. . .

This idea of hamburger feet--since I first read that in Karnazes and Reed's books last year-- is burned on my brain.

It is terrible because now, when I am at Publix buying lean ground beef all I can think is really? Feet can look like this? Every time. It is ruining hamburgers for me. I mean, I'm a carnivore. I freaking love hamburgers. I tried being a vegetarian once. Made it three months. But every single day all I thought about was hamburgers and how much I missed them.

To make matters worse I am further aided in my mental vision of hamburger feet by a memory of some photographs I once saw displayed in the sculpture building at UGA. Some artist had done sculptures of the human form made entirely out of hamburger meat. I promise you. I am not making that up. It was very gross. For some reason I also recall maggots being involved. Maggots totally disgust me. More than any other bug. Are maggots a bug? Flies. . . so yes.

So you see. If say, at mile 63 of some ultra marathon I pull off my shoe and my foot looks anything remotely close to how I remember those feet sculpted out of hamburger meat looked I can promise you. I would not be running anymore. Simple as that.

Hello bicycle. Good bye running shoes.

And no body better say anything about their crotch looking like hamburger after a 200 mile ride. Aw, damn it. That doesn't happen. Right?

You know. It isn't that I have pretty feet. I don't. Ryan says stuff to me like:"Baby you're so beautiful but your feet take you down to a nine. If it weren't for them you'd be a 10+."

You feel it to?

The love.

High romance at its best.

He even buys me special foot lotion in hopes to help my feet along. I never remember to put it on them. Lotion. Such an inconvenience.

You know the saying of check out a girl's mom's ankles before you marry her? No? Well whatever, there is a saying and Ryan should have looked at Lala's feet. Sure, we've got great ankles-- oh boy but the feet. Hideous.

So really, I had ugly feet before I started running. And they really aren't that bad. Ryan just happens to be blessed with really nice feet so he is judging based on that. Bwhahaha. My husband? He has beautiful feet. Really.

Okay. In all seriousness (and all that is vain and human). I can only imagine what havoc ultra endurance endeavors wreck on the body-- not just the feet. Certainly my body has changed from running marathons but I guess I am lucky. The worst is that I lost a toe nail. AS in one. In the 10 years I have been running. And that was because I forgot to clip my toe nails before a long run and my toenail got smashed repeatedly. Eventually it fell off but it grew back. It is fine now. So other than that I have no other "scars" from running. Well, there are those monster calves but that is just genetics. Lala's got them too from running. They're fine if you like a girl with big calves and tiny ankles. What? It's a look. Some people like it. I swear. I heard that. Not making it up.

Anyway, taking the tangent, dropping it and crossing the bridge back to the main highway:

Saturday's numbers: their meaning:

77 is the temperature it was when I started my run.

57 is the percentage the humidity was during my run.

90 is the temperature it was when I finished.

3 is the number of hours it took me (plus 8 minutes for an 8:44 pace)

21.56 is the number of miles I ran.

It was hot. Somewhat-- not totally-- miserable but I got 'er done and I am happy about it--as always is the case after a long run. It's why I do 'em. Happiness is often there during the run but it is ALWAYS there after it is over. Oh, and then there is that celebratory beer afterwards . . .

So, yeah. Here I am.

Training for a half iron man and a marathon at the same time. And that? That I think is doable.

But most importantly, I will not be risking my love of hamburgers or my feet while I do it.

And that. Well that is something.

Totals for July:
Running: 164.24 miles
Cycling: 305.64 miles
Swimming: 22,400 yds


  1. Yeah, I'm with you on the feet. There is, however, a book out there all about how to take care of your feet so that hamburger doesn't happen. So you could still do Badwater. They give you a belt buckle for finishing. : )

  2. Oh, yah, hamburger feet would stop me for sure. I've lost a few toenails marathon training, but those you can paint over. I wish I had your love of running, it's been a challenge for me lately. And it's been HOT outside!

  3. Well we may have ugly feet but at least if we lived in India, and if a tiger decided to eat us, our footpads would be left for identification! Gotta look on the bright side. Lala

  4. OMG. I ran the article and this line stood out

    The most fanatic have their toenails surgically removed to head off foot injuries and infection

    Can you say lunatics. Ouch. no thank you. Thats just going too far

  5. Hi Ms Natalie,

    I have no desire to do an ultra. I'm usually cursing myself around the 20=24 mile mark during a marathon...I couldn't see doing anything more except doing an IM.

    Great job on your long run in the heat! You never cease to amaze me!

    Great monthly totals too!

    Have a great week,

  6. I hear you on the ugly feet. Mine are ugly and I have had guys comment on them before. I think someone referred to them as "Ewok" feet when we were in high school. I think these ultra marathon things might be for the seriously crazy. If you have that much time to devote to running you're not getting much else done. It's always good to be well rounded

  7. You could have joined us at the Hot to Trot 8-hour run on Saturday. ( As long as you take care of your feet, you'll be fine.

    Much fun was had...and the guilt-free hamburgers afterwards were delish...not de-feet. ;-)

  8. This was a hilarious post! A human made out of hamburger? Too funny!

    And you ran 21 miles at an 8:44 pace? Good LORD! Have you always been this fast? I mean, have you ever been *elated* that you ran a half marathon in 2:03, or has that just never been part of your life - being slow, that is? :)

  9. Moniac:
    ASk me after I run the half iron man and my 13.1 is over 2 hours.
    But yes, I am always happy with finishing whatever the time. Do I always want to be faster? Yes. But it is all relative. I just *try* to run the best I can given any situation. And remember "slow" is relative. There are always those that are much, MUCH faster and those that are slower.

    Anon-- I am assuming you are crazy GUTS member. I so want to join you guys, but like I said. I am soft. The GUTS part? Not so much.
    But I checked that link and it specifically says "DO NOT DO THIS AS YOUR FIRST ULTRA."

    Carrie: Your feet are prettier than mine because they are softer.kisses.

    Charlie: Whatever. You were smiles the entire time at CMM!

    Kevin: I think when you start removing any part of your body for your sport you really need to evaluate the value of that sport in your life. The other thing in that article that put me off was the part about bears. I worked in Yellowstone one summer. I am scared shitless of meeting up with a grizzly, so that is also a deal breaker.

    Lala: Yes the soles of our feet are really soles, as in leather made in China. It is like having natural birkenstocks. Functional, pracitcal but not so pretty.

    Sarah: The heat sucks. Stay on your bike.

    Steph: I am not doing badwater. I mean, unless you are. . .