The Beauty of Bullshit

People love to fool themselves. They’re serious about their bullshit.

This was written about three years ago; the fact that Geoff Roes is referenced there and infamously even before that with respect to the same argument. . .couldn’t help but see his piece recently about ultra athletes crashing and burning. My appreciation of his dominance is well documented. My refusal (always) to go complete fanboy, however, spawned my need to call bullshit on his denial that something was seriously amiss. The distance kills, especially with guys like that. Nothing new here.

And the fact that AJW is in that latter blog. . .holy shit – when it rains it shines! AJW is the best. Old school, walks the walk, but he seems pretty rag-dolled at this point. The distance kills. No bullshit.

The NFL is great example of people making a lot of sandwiches (and money) out of bullshit. We’ve been talking for awhile about the chances that particular sport is foolhardy (not to mention one of its current news makers, who beat the crap out of his girlfriend is named James Hardy) and unsustainable. The discussion is actually more popular than ever, yet the sport is also more popular than ever. Go figure. There’s a lot of bullshit swirling around in that there air, like a deflated football unable to stay its spiral. That’s some mainstream, prime cut bullshit.

My take is that Roes’ recent blog about the difficulty to stay relevant/elite/productive/healthy/etc. in ultra running is all about what the 100 (the distance) does to people. My posts linked above and else where evidence my take on this. Again, nothing new here. Roes actually sounds like he is kinda giving himself a little shout out. Remember me?  I do, Geoff. You were a monster. I am a sport enthusiast and that run of yours was epic.

I like Canaday’s rebuttal to Roes championing diversity as a way to stay on the trail, competing. Roes mentions Kilian’s big yearly break from the grind as helping Kilian stay so dominant for so long; and he’s right. But so is Canaday: Kilian is smart. He doesn’t eat 100ers for breakfast like Roes did for a few years there. Unsustainable.

The Meltzer/Koerner/Jurek outlier is more or less easy to explain.

None of this is hard to figure-out. Those athletes who race and win “regularly” on the 100 calendar are destined for early exit. The latest victim (though one of these blokes is bound to prove me wrong) is Rob Krar.  Watching him beat Kilian and Jones, et al., at the UROC in CO (100k) was beautiful sport. Watching him close and crush fields at the likes of NF SF (50m) has been fun to watch.

But watching him practically explode at WS100 and RRR100 has been like watching someone drink too much before asking the prom queen to dance. A little awkward. The way the theory goes suggests that Krar is in the last stages of his dominance. He will get CR at WS100 this year and that just about ought to do it. Check please.

The eye test. Remember that one?

Perhaps one of Roes’s best points from his recent post has to do with this short-lived success not being a bad thing at all. I now agree with that. Part of me still thinks it’s a shame that these great athletes too soon burn themselves out at that distance; but it’s fun while it lasts, I guess. Bit of a freak show.

Since part of my charm still harbors one or two schooners of idealism, I will make the following (tired) supplication. Max King, Sage Canaday, Nike trail, other quick roadies thinking of MUT, hell anyone who can entertain and inspire among so many great 21st Century mountain running events. . . stop!

Don’t run the 100.  All the bullshit surrounding that hazard will hasten your ruin!

Look around. Take a whiff. Don’t fool yourself.

3 comments

  1. I run with too many people that have been running 100s for 20-30 years to agree that it’s the distance that is the killer. It’s the intensity, frequency, and inability to take a break that is killing these guys. Does the 100 destroy your body, no question about it. That’s why recovery and listening to your body is so important. Take some time away from running each year to keep your mind and body fresh. Personally I know I’m running too many 100s right now. It’ll be 5 in August in a matter of a two year stretch. I didn’t want to run two this year but needed a HR qualifier to keep my name on the list.

    If I can help it, and keep my name on the HR list until I get in, I’ll be running a max of 1 100 going forward and using the rest of the year for adventure runs, a couple shorter races and a few months of non-running, activities. I look forward to running 100s until I’m in my 60s and beyond if possible.

What say you?