In the mid-50’s, Frederic Brown wrote a novel titled What Mad Universe. In it, our protagonist, a science fiction editor, becomes the victim of a shift left logical event that lands him in a familiar, but not altogether sane alternate reality. Our editor eventually saves the world, which is not an unexpected result.
In my mad universe, I’m running.
The non-alternate-reality me would say Really? You’re running? Well, yeah, I am… and at times, it’s overwhelming.
It’s just over two weeks away from the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa — my second half marathon, and a race I said I’d never run again, and a distance I said I’d never do again. I was “one on done” with half marathons. In fact, if you look at the finish photo of me crossing the finish line in Tulsa last year, it’s like some photo for the loneliest runner. I was spent, and walking slowly across the line, ready for the day to be over.
And yet, here I sit, listening to the eighteen hours of music on my running playlist, overwhelmed by the thought that in just about two weeks, I will finish this race and distance once again, with high hopes to clobber my time from last year. (We’ll see how that goes!)
In Star Trek IV, Kirk quips, “May fortune favor the foolish.” Who, other than a fool, would not only chase a half marathon they said they wouldn’t ever do again, but use that one as an excuse to sign up for more of ’em?
Enter this fool.
Last year, at the Route 66 event, I won an entry into the Mississippi River Half Marathon in February. And after doing the math, I realized that the MS River event and Route 66 were less than 90 days apart. That’s significant.
Why? Well, there’s this running group out there called the Half Fanatics, who celebrate running half marathons all over the place. But, it’s not just a running group for which you sign up… you have to earn your way in. There are loads of ways to do that, and they range from the just plain crazy to the man, you should be locked away somewhere. For me, my path of lunacy was three half marathons inside 90 days.
So, you see the problem, right? A challenge, a calendar, and bookend races for completing this big challenge.
That put me on a quest for a half marathon that was close to Da Lou, and somewhere in between those two races. I found that race — the Run For The Ranch in Springfield MO on New Year’s Eve. It’s definitely close, but this isn’t going to be an optimal race for me… it’s laps.
I loathe laps, but this race only has four, so it’s not too traumatic, and frankly, feeds pretty well into my mindset around the half marathon distance. I try to think of a half marathon as four 5K races, with a little bonus kilometer at the end. That keeps it sane, and keeps me from thinking just how far that distance is. This maps pretty well to that view, so I think that’ll be a good thing. And, they have a six hour cutoff. That’s well within my ability, even if I have to loaf.
And you’d think I’d be done, right? Well, not so fast…
I’ve given a lot of props to the Moon Joggers virtual running outfit over the last couple of years, and have run a ton of their events. The people are fun, and I’ve had a hoot getting to know them virtually. Earlier this year, they talked about setting up an “in person” gathering of the group at some event somewhere. Well they did, so…
Yesterday, I signed up for the American Fork Canyon Run Against Cancer. Yep, I’m running down a canyon road in Utah in June 2017.
This is supposed to be a beautiful race, with loads of support, a cutoff time that oughta be right in my wheelhouse, and a chance to run some really fast miles since the course is essentially all downhill. How downhill is it, you might ask. Well, it looks like this:
I’ll admit that I gasp just a little every time I think about this race, and what I’m setting out to do. But I’ll tell ya, half the battle is actually clicking “submit” on the race entry web page, and that’s the harder half to me. Now that I’m committed, it’s just a thing, and like so many “things” over the last five years, I’ll nail this one, too.
What mad universe, indeed! 🙂