Jason is advocating greater participation in 100-mile races. I can’t speak for anyone else, but his reasons have had the opposite effect on me: I’m now more certain than ever that I should never try to run 100 miles. He gives a list of twelve reasons one should give it a go, but they all read as DON’T give it a go to me.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t run a 100-miler, and this is in no way a criticism of his post. I’m just talking about myself here. Because that’s what I do.
Anyway, here are his reasons:
1. “There is no good reason to run a hundred miles… Hundreds tax you physically and mentally in a way that is impossible to replicate in our daily lives. Having the courage to face these obstacles is reason enough to make the journey.”
Yeah, see, I’m a coward. I love the idea of “the journey,” but I can barely handle the defeats that don’t hurt so much as it is. Seriously, I just struggled mightily to open a jar, and I felt so much self pity I cried. I don’t think I could handle a 100-miler.
2. “100s Compared to Other Distances… In short, the 100 introduces far more variables than any other shorter distance. That makes the experience a truly unique experience.”
To my ears, “variables” means “misery.” Don’t let the glasses fool you, I’m a simple person. I’m really not very bright. Oh, I still think I’m WAY smarter than average, but that isn’t saying much, is it? Anyway, I like things to be simple. For example, I much prefer the relatively strict guidelines of boxing to what looks to me like the chaos of MMA. Although, I haven’t watched any boxing in years, which has nothing to do with my point, but there it is.
3. “Cheap Therapy… You begin to see your true self in a way that is often surprising if not a little shocking.”
I’ve seen glimpses of my “true self” racing shorter distances, and I think I can say I know where that train is headed. Actually, the “self” is an illusion. I guess that rainbow has been unwoven for me. As it is, I’m skeptical of the whole “therapy” thing, regardless of the price.
4. Required Physical Skills, Lifelong Pursuit… If you have the physical ability to run a slow mile, you have the physical ability to run 100 miles.”
I suppose I am physically capable to run that distance, although the fact that I’ve broken down in distances as short as a half marathon gives me reason to doubt that. What I don’t doubt is that I do not possess the mental determination I witnessed when pacing at the Umstead 100, and that’s supposed to be one of the easiest 100-milers in the country.
5. “The Danger and Joy of Finding Your Limits… Those that have the courage to face the potential for failure have the opportunity to find their true limits.”
I don’t mind failing. I’m quite accustomed to the practice. I suppose it would be cool to find out that I’m capable of more than I previously thought, but is that cool worth the greater likelihood of the cost of the search team required to find me after I get lost? I get turned around on an outnback, for crying out loud.
6. “Intrinsic Rewards of the 100-Miler… There’s something inside that yearns for the experience, and I care less and less about other people’s reactions or other extrinsic motivations.”
The pursuit of speed in shorter distances have pretty much the same intrinsic (and extrinsic) rewards. I happen to find the misery of speed more acceptable.
7. “Problem Solving Practice… Hundreds cause problems. A LOT of problems. You face a litany of issues like dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, glycogen depletion, chafing, blisters, blunt-force injuries caused by falling, hypothermia, hyperthermia, animal encounters, getting lost, altitude sickness, rain, snow, wind, nausea, diarrhea, cramping, swelling, insect bites, and pain in places that aren’t supposed to hurt.”
Yes. Exactly. Doesn’t sound fun to me.
8. “Developing Faith in Your Abilities… Finishing a hundred requires you to silence frequent bouts of self-doubt.”
I need my self-doubt. Without it, I’m insufferable.
9. “Battle Against Yourself… There are times in hundreds where you will want to quit. No matter how much willpower you think you have.”
One of the benefits of being weak-minded is that I can meet these hurdles in shorter distances. It’s kind of like being an easy drunk.
10. “Lifelong Teacher… If you fail to learn, you’ll be punished without mercy.”
I don’t mean to sound like a prude, but I’m not into the whole punishing thing. I’m more of a “reward-based” pooch.
11. “Lots of Hotties.”
So in addition to the likelihood of painful failure, I’ll be reminded of how goofy-looking I am. Swell!
12. “Silencing the Doubters… Try telling someone that runs that far they can’t do something. Anything. It’s impossible.”
I need people telling me not to do things, because many of the things I think of to do are really dumb. So let’s say I run a 100-miler, overcome the pain and misery and awfulness, and finish with a new respect for my abilities to be my own man, then BAM! I have a forehead piercing, and it’s infected.
Lastly, the distance doesn’t interest me all that much because according to people who know much better than I, shoes are pretty much required. If I’m going to run that far in shoes, I’m going to need to train a lot in shoes. I really, really like being barefoot, and prefer the majority of my running to be without shoes. That for me is what it really comes down to. I like my feet.