Ever sat back and watched yourself in the throes of your own self-induced trainwreck? And just let it happen? Because it seemed so much easier or more rewarding than doing anything else?
I spent the last year running in no-man's land.
And now - after my other foot gave up with a Lisfranc sprain, stress reaction, and miscellaneous soft tissue damage - I'm done.
I've been watching the evolution of the Soft Star line-up for a couple of years now. Crazy barefoot runners looking for a little protection, trotting around in Roos - which were never meant for much more than ambling about the house. Then came the highly-anticipated RunAmocs with (oooh!) Vibram soles - and a couple of iterations to help them withstand the abuses of running. And the next big refinement, the DASH RunAmoc, heartier still, and with a closer fit and oxford-style laces. Now, in a grand departure, comes the Moc3 RunAmoc - a sleek, modern moccasin designed from the ground up for running.
Running an ultra is demanding - even if your goal is simply to finish. (And - let's face it - for us hobby joggers, at distances of 50-100+ miles, we're mostly in it to just finish or perhaps beat some personal time goal.)
Ups and downs, terrific highs and despairing lows... you need all the smiley you can get. And so does everyone else out there with you - runners, crews, volunteers, and other hapless trail users.
So, with a tip o' the nib to other Run Smiley authors who've gone before, here are my ideas on running Ultra Smiley.
An update to my original New Balance Minimus Trail WT20 Review...
This past weekend I started the Ozark Trail 100 in the New Balance Minimus Trail WT20. My first race in them. My first real long run.
I managed to complete 60 miles on the Ozark Trail - a mess of sharp, square rocks and roots obscured by several inches of leaves. Oh, and a never ending series of water crossings.
I had the pleasure of running the Ozark Trail 100 for the first time this past weekend. I'd had my eye on this race since it was first announced in 2009. With only 6 months of running experience, it was at that time a goal best deferred. Then, in 2010, I was in a boot with a broken foot. This year, I had no excuse.
The race is nearly 102 miles, run point-to-point almost entirely on the Ozark Trail. The footing has become legendary for its treacherousness - smallish jagged rocks and roots covered entirely by a blanket of oak leaves. In other words, it's an ankle buster. And, to cap it off, there are water crossings too numerous to count (especially in an ultra haze). So, unless you are incredibly skilled at rock-hopping and log-balancing, your feet will be wet. The whole time.
If you've run, crewed, or volunteered at an ultra - especially a 100-miler - you're familiar with The Drop Bag. You may have fretted over and packed a few of your own. You've probably taken note of others'... What is he doing? How does she handle it? What were they thinking?!
Drop-bagging is an art and a science. It's a balance of trade-offs - maximizing efficiency, without sacrificing necessities, while still being able to cope with unforeseen race-enders.
I've posited that race day can be a great time to experiment. Heck, life is one big experiment. We move through our days testing the waters and learning with each new experience. Refining our theories until they become conclusions, only to be shattered by yet another experience or tested by our innate curiosity and quest for better.
In other words, we live in a world of uncertainty.